Our family, two adults and three children four and under, spent six nights at the Wilderness Resort Properties (specifically the Glacier Canyon Lodge) the last week of August 2008. We chose this week because most kids were getting back to school and we prefer the smaller crowds. Everything worked out perfectly and we saved a little money that week as well.
We booked a two-bedroom deluxe condo. The room was clean and spacious for our family of five. The kitchen was nicely stocked with cups, dishes, cookware and utensils. The bedrooms were comfortable and the living room was clean and modern. We knew in advance that housekeeping would only be doing towel and garbage service daily. Room cleaning and bed linen changes would only be done after the fourth night's stay. We received a room that overlooked the rear of the property, which gave us a serene view of the forest preserve, horse trails and a nice large barbecue area for guests to use. The grounds were very well maintained and clean. The resort was at about half to three quarters capacity, which seemed jut right as far as being able to get chairs at the indoor and outdoor pools as well as getting on all of the rides. Although it was busy, it was not overcrowded. All of the indoor and outdoor pools were open during our entire stay. We cooked all of our meals, with the exception of breakfast, in our room. The local Wal-Mart is about ten minutes away, so it was easy to stock up on food and adult beverages. For breakfast we did the buffet at the Wild Canyon Cafe. The pricing was as expected for a resort and the food was typical of any decent buffet style restaurant. We all enjoyed it and the kids were happy with all of the choices.
As far as all the walking bewtween the different waterparks that a some of the reviewers have complained about, we didn't find it to be a problem. We were in building two of the GC Lodge which is two buildings away from the skywalk leading to the main resort area. Everything is clearly marked and signs directed you on where to go. We actually enjoyed the walking. The kids liked the view from the skywalk and it felt to them like crossing a big bridge across the jungle (the area around the skywalk is wooded with a creek that runs through). All of the pool areas were within ten minutes one way or the other, plus we got to explore parts of the resort we wouldn't have otherwise. We ended up finding a small reasonably priced pottery painting store called Polka-Dot-Pots in the New Frontier section of the resort, just a little past Klondike Kavern, which the kids loved. They painted their pottery (many pre-cast designs and sizes to choose from), which then went into a kiln overnight to be baked, then it was ready the next day for pick up. The kids proudly display their art in their rooms at home. It was good to spend the family time being creative with the kids, something they will remember. Dodge 'Em City, a huge multi-level dry indoor play area, located in the Wild West section of the Wilderness was a big hit with the kids. Unlike the new Theme Park at the Kalahari, which charges guests extra, Dodge 'Em City is free to Wilderness Resort's guests.
Out of all the pools our favorite indoor pool was the Wild Water Dome and our favorite outdoor pool was the Lost World Waterpark, which has the neatest lazy river I have ever seen; it is huge with multi-levels. All of the pool areas were kept at comfortable temperatures, although the indoor pools were humid at times, and provided people of all ages a large variety of things to do and rides to go on. I actullay like the way the Wilderness has everything spread out a little. It gave us something different to look forward to each day.
This was our first stay in the Dells, so we were torn on what resort to book. After looking at the most popular resorts we finally narrowed our choices down to two, the Kalahari and the Wilderness Glacier Canyon Lodge. After spending the week in the Dells we were extremely happy with our choice. We did take the time to visit the Kalahari, which was a short trip just down the road. It was a nice faciity, but laid out tightly and seemed more confined as compared to the Wilderness Properties. The other thing we didn't like about the Kalahari is that it sat right along the highway and had this industrial feel about it. There was no view other than buildings and traffic racing by on the highway. The Glacier Canyon and the Wilderness property felt a little more open and surrounded by nature.
The Sundara Spa was gorgeous and relaxing, a bit expensive, but well worth it. I was completely relaxed after my four hour session. I didn't want to leave. They provided a free towncar to pick you up and drop you off bewteen locations, which was a plus.
We are looking forward to returning to the Wilderness again this August!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.