Did a lot of research to determine what would be the best place to stay in December in the Dells. Kids are 11, 9 & 7 - wanted to stay three days- waterparks and local skiing. Could not decide based on several widely varying reviews of all Dells locations - decided to drive up, check out the hotels and make a decision on site.
Because we wanted to take the kids skiing for the first time, and we were on a budget - we decided to check out Christmas mountain skiing - because Mount Olympus offered "free skiing and tubing" with stay - but reviews were mainly poor for that location. Christmas mountain looked online like a small ski area, and Cascade nearby had better reviews. When we arrived at Christmas mountain, we thought it would be sufficient for new skiiers - just two lifts, and a bunny hill plus the tubing area. The ski rental shop worker informed us that the Atlantis stay would give you either the lift ticket or a two hour tubing pass - you would still have to rent equipment. Next we drove to Mount Olympus - which seems like a great place in the summer, did not have much of a waterpark to offer indoors. We also discovered we would only be given the Christmas Mountain passes for one day of our three night stay. The water park was very small - no real pool - just a lazy river, bucket splash area, and a couple of small slides.
Next stope was Chula Vista - which is very nice and affordable - nice indoor halls to get to the water park, but the water park was on the small side, and no real pool to speak of.
Next we toured Wilderness and it was a no brainer - we chose to stay there for our three day stay. The room was a little "worn" - but nice - room for everyone to have a place to sleep with our family of five - the sofa bed was surprisingly comfortable, and the kids actually fought over who would get to sleep in it.
The three water park areas were awesome. The wave pool is the biggest I've seen in any indoor waterpark. The deep end is six feet - and waves are large! Pretty cool to hang out by the pool and see the snow deep outside. Two family raft rides in this area.
The "hot tub" waterpark area had an indoor/outdoor hot tub which the kids LOVED. Lazy river was nice, had a bucket dump kids area, and three large slides. The hurricane is a little much - too high, kind of scary - my 11 yo bruised his face and cut his lip on his knee on it - the drop is almost a direct 90 degree drop into the huge tunnel going VERY fast. I do not recommend it - but for daredevils - it is right up there with the thrill rides.
The last waterpark is mainly a kiddie pool which would be so awesome for the under five crew - we didn't use it, but would have loved to at younger kids ages.
The resort has a few shops, and restaurants - we didn't eat there . The Dells in winter is limited to what you can do - over half of the restaurants, shops and attractions are closed. The outlet mall is very close to Wilderness and is fairly decent - but not huge.
Cascade was awesome! It is expensive, but they make it affordable with the kids ski free. Still havet o rent the skiis, but we bought just one lift ticket and got all three kids lift tickets at no charge. The equipment rental process was very organized and moved quickly and we were on the slopes in no time. I think we made the better choice to ski there over Christmas mountain.