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“Great Resort for families”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #4 of 128 Hotels in Niagara Falls
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 1, 2013

We stayed Sun Dec 30 - Tues Jan 1st 2013 - Wolf Den Room traveling with a 2 and 4 year old.

Arrival - we arrived around 2pm hoping our room would be ready early and it wasn't. Be prepared for long lineups if you arrive anytime before 3pm, but they do go pretty quick. When I looked at the checkin at 4pm there was maybe 2 people in line - If you are staying 2 nights checkin online to secure your room and come later - go and enjoy the falls for a bit during the day because you will have enough time in the waterpark. We had a bag packed and were going to use the waterpark, but it made more sense to use the arcade and use our room once it was ready. Very conveniently they sent a text message to our phone when it was ready so we didn't need to wait around. We also opted to get 1 "paw pass" that allows you a late checkout (1pm instead of 11am). The animals in the lobby kept the kids entertained while my wife checked us in.

Room #3022 - Wolf Den Suite - had a balcony, a couch with coffee table, table with 2 chairs, 1 bunkbed with a TV in it separated by a wall and a queen size bed. This was great for putting the 2 kids to sleep. Very large fridge and microwave were also available in the room. Overall the rooms were clean and tidy. The one downside is that the heater in the room was very noisy. If you aren't getting a suite - stay on the 4th floor so you can't hear the kids running above you.

Noise - yes there is noise, but what do you expect from a bunch of kids having fun? Our stay was over New Years and while there was some noise, I wouldn't rate it that high unless you are a light sleeper and we were in our room for both the 10pm new years balloon drop for the kids as well as the midnight one (our kids wanted to go to bed and only lasted until 8:30pm)

Waterpark - Make sure you get there relatively early. Towels are on all the chairs and tables that make it difficult to find a "home base". If you have short kids there is a limited number of slides they can go on and they are strict with height requirements. There is 1 family slide you can go on no matter what the height is so long as your child can hold on. Life jackets are available, but we brought our own waterwings for the kids. Both kids had fun in the wavepool, lazy river and kids slides, but by the 3rd day they were ready to go. There were lineups at the larger water slides, but they did go quickly and the resort was sold out.

Food - we brought cutlery, bowls, knives, milk, oatmeal, cereal, bread, peanut butter, snacks, fruit, veggies, drink boxes, water etc. etc., and didn't buy breakfast or lunches. It's worth it to do this because while the food there is good, it is fast food and is also expensive. We ordered pizza combo for dinner and it was good and on New Year's we had a special dinner booked which was outstanding (your usual culprits for kids plus shrimp, oysters, roast beef, lamb, and the list of food went on and on). There is a meal plan available if you want to keep it easy.

There are so many different things that are going on at the resort and it isn't just the waterpark. I would recommend this for a family to visit. While our kids did have lots of fun, i think once they get above the 48" height requirement for the slides and 7 years old it would be that much better.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank EtobicokeKenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5,018 - 5,024 of 6,077 reviews

Reviewed December 31, 2012

The whole resort is geared toward families so it is very family-friendly. The check in line was very long and it took awhilen to check in. The lobby was very crowded and it was kind of chaotic. We stayed in a suite and it was wonderful. Very clean, spacious (2 adults, 4 kids) and nicely appointed. I only wish they offered suites with 2 bathrooms.
The water park was awesome. There were plenty of different levels of activities for all ages and the free life jackets are a nice touch. I would recommend they install a few more toy-type things for very little ones but that's really the only complaint there.
The food was good. Brunch was comprehensive with tons of different options.
The spa looked fun but they "lost" my reservation so I can't comment since I never received anhy services there.
Overall, we had a great time and have already booked out Spring vacation at the Cincinnati location.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank RunMommy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

Overall, we had a good time. We are 2 adults and 2 four year olds. We stayed in the Kid Kamp suite and we really liked that the kids had a separate area (with a TV) to sleep. We didn't have to sit in silence when they went to bed in fear of waking them.

The waterpark was a lot of fun for the kids. Water was warm. It was nice that there was a dedicated area for little kids with four slides. Perfect for kids aged 2-4.

We didn't enjoy the food and found it very expensive. I am not a fan of buffets (ever) so I'm probably not the best person to review the buffet at GWL. We ate there for dinner once and didn't find it worth the money. But, if you didn't get the buffet, you basically had to get pizza or canteen food from the pool area. I strongly advise bringing breakfast foods and snacks for your room. It will save you a lot of money.

My kids enjoyed the Cub Club but it's too bad there aren't more organized kids activities. We tried to put them in the "Pups at Play" program but they didn't have sufficient employees to do the program on either of the days that we requested. The PJ party was also sold out both nights that we asked about it.

The arcade was fun and was something else for the kids to do.

Overall, the kids had fun so we consider it a great family getaway. Not sure if we'll go back but I would recommend it.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Rooms
1  Thank Luvthesun4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

This was our 2nd time visiting GWL and we had another great visit! We travelled with our 19 year old daughter (her 1st visit) and 13 year old son. Both kids had a wonderful time! I wanted parents with older children to be aware that this hotel is great even for teens and young adults. My 19 yr old enjoyed the outdoor hottub and was thrilled when it started snowing quite heavily...such a beutiful experience to be outside in the hot water surrounded by snow covered pines and swirling snowflakes. The hot tub is ages 16 and up but there were several kids obviously under aged who were out there enjoying the snowfal with us so we invited our 13 yr old out to come and see too. All of the kids were behaivng themselves but unfortunately the staff came out and askled them all to leave. Rules are rules I suppose but it would be nice for them to have a kids outdoor hot tub. It really was magical being out there in the dark with the snow falling. The buffet restuarant was great for dinner lots of quality choices and even though we were honest and told them our son had turned 13 the day before and should be charged adult price the waitress gave him the childs price which was very nice of her :) We had a family suite which was roomy with 2 double beds and a pull out sofa so everyone got their own sleeping area which was nice. The only complaint with our room was that the heater kicking on and off was very loud and woke us up through the night. I highly reccomend the paw pass as it includes a late checkout as well as 10% off food purchases, a free Magiquest wand and game (which my son loved!) and other free gifts which both kids enjoyed collecting. Our whole family loved the slides and waterpark. I still feel it's over priced but if you can afford it for one night it's a nice winter getaway. This was a Christmas gift for our kids.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank shwagal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2012 via mobile

Let me start with the waterpark. The kids (2 and 5) loved it. They had a blast and didn't want to leave. The foyer/lobby entertainer was also well received by them.
The room however was very dated. The heater in the room was so loud that we actually had to turn it off at 1am. It was constantly cycling on and off and it sounded like a jet engine.
We decided that being cold would be better than being women up every 10 mins when it kicked in.

  • Stayed: November 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Thank Oz2can
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

My husband and I took our 2 children, their spouses and 5 grandchildren to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls for an overnight as a Christmas present. The grandchildren are ages 5 and 7 (triplets who are 5 and another 5 and 7 year-old). After a lengthy wait at check-in, misspelled names which caused more delays in trying to find our reservations, we got our three suites squared away and were ready for the water park. The grandchildren, who all love the water, were so excited to get into the water park. They got measured and were given their bracelets to wear during their stay. However, the oldest grandchild was not allowed to go down the younger children’s slides, and therefore was not able to participate with them. What made matters worse is after we explained to them that she is autistic and really needs to be with her cousins to feel safe and be able to participate with the others on the slides, the staff told us that the park could be closed if they allowed her to go down the little kids’ slide. I took a picture to show that she was just about 1 inch over the height for the little kids’ slides. The staff said that I should have read the web site. I explained to them that we made our reservations via telephone and that we were there last year and saw nothing in any brochure in our room that said anything about a child eligibility based on height. I understand that a very small child may not be allowed to ride on a very big slide for safety concerns, but to have no accommodation for a special needs child was disheartening and unbelievable. If these regulations are so rigid and stringent, then it would seem important to have reservation agents review them with potential guests as the reservations are being made. The staff in the water park was totally calloused and unresponsive to our granddaughter’s needs. They seemed to have no ability to show any compassion or willingness to make accommodations of any kind for a special needs child. We were stunned. They told us that according to their ”TSA rules” (supposed government safety regulations which they refused to show us – and further said that these rules were not to be shared with the guests) – the park could be shut down if our granddaughter were to go down – even once – on the little kids’ slides. Now again, this child was about one inch over the listed height for those slides. The water park managers also said that they have “lots of autistic kids come to the park and they go up the big slides no problem!” They also would not allow us to go down the next bigger slides with her – just once – to help her feel safe and show her that she was able to ride the bigger slide safely. . . . not even once. Again, it was “TSA regulations” which we were not allowed to see. So here we were on a family vacation, and the one child who has more challenges than all the others – was not allowed to join the others on the slides that she felt confident enough to ride.

On the other hand, within an hour of getting into the water when we arrived at the park, our son actually saved a young boy who was in serious trouble as he got caught under a tube jam in the Crystal/Lazy River. This young boy fell off his tube and couldn’t get up. There was a big jam up of tubes and my son just happened to see the boy’s head at one point. He dove off his tube and went under the tubes, grabbed the little boy and lifted him up out from under the tubes. The boy came up coughing, gasping for breath and after getting some air – began crying hysterically. Another adult took their child off the tube and sat her on the side so she could help with the little boy who was just rescued from under the tubes. There were no life guards watching any of this. After it was all over, a life guard ran over and asked what happened? My point is this: a drowning at the park may shut it down – that’s where their concern should be – much more than a little child going down a kiddy slide when she is 1 inch taller than a required measurement. Not only did no one address this situation, but the next day, as we were still upset with the uncaring attitude toward a child with special needs, we again asked them why they were unwilling to help her in any way and again compared our situation with the child the lifeguards nearly let drown – AND I AM NOT EXAGERATING WHAT HAPPENED – they had not even looked at the video – if in fact there are cameras throughout the park as one of the managers said – again no concern for what almost happened. At the same time we were talking with yet another manager in the water park and again he was stating these “TSA rules” – we turned around to see a young child still in diapers – floating along – sitting on top of one of the floating devices in the pool - with no adult around. We said – how can you allow that and tell us that it’s safe and that’s not against your TSA rules, but your park could be closed if our granddaughter takes one ride down a kiddy slide???!! The response was – “that child is in no immediate danger” – what kind of response is that!!! The pool depth was above my waste – so there was no way that little child could have walked in that water to the stairs if he fell off. So we were just in a state of shock as we experienced all the road blocks that absolutely crushed the spirit of our little girl as she could not join her cousins’ play on the slides. One of the managers said that the CEO makes the rules so there’s no point in contacting her whatsoever. I just couldn’t believe that we paid $1800 for one night’s stay at a “family-oriented” facility that was so unaccommodating for a special needs child.

So the staff issues continues the next day as we got lunch at about 2:30 in the park area, but there were no tables to eat at. So, the 5 children sat on the floor to eat their pizza and sandwiches and I looked in horror as they ate on the floor – and I paid $1800 to stay here??!! A staff person walked by and said “is this where all the cool kids hang out at?” and I responded, well “it doesn’t seem too cool to me to have to sit on the floor to eat lunch.” He said, if it’s not busy upstairs, you can eat at a table up there. So we picked up all our food and went upstairs - the cafeteria was empty – it was not even 3 p.m. yet. We no sooner sat down to eat when another staff person came over and said – “what would you want from the buffet?” and we said – we’re just trying to finish our lunch. A staff member downstairs said we could eat here at a table if it wasn’t busy. Would you believe that the staff person made us pick up our food again and move to the other side of the cafeteria? There was not one family there!!! I took a picture. I told the staff person that we would be done in about 10 minutes – did she really think that side of the restaurant was going to fill up in 10 minutes? Her answer “it might”.. . . again unbelievable. We were the ONLY family in the side of the restaurant that we moved to – and when I checked the side we had to move away from – there was ONE family – in that entire side of the restaurant. What is wrong with this organization? How can their staff be so robotic and completely insensitive? In each and every case, the staff was more concerned with the “letter of the law”, rather than the “spirit of the law.”

When we went to the store to purchase something for the children, the staff would not even acknowledge us standing there. They were busy writing in their books, counting toys, etc. At one point, one of the kids touched a stuffed animal, the one they were going to get with their coupon, and the checkout girl actually scolded her. . . again . . . unbelievable. . this supposedly family-oriented organization . . . which I paid $1800 just to have my special needs grandchild separated from her cousins because there could be no accommodations according to some supposed government rules which were all that the staff cared about. I also asked after we told them about the near drowning in the Crystal River, how they can continue to let kids run through the Crystal River, diving under the tubes – risking knocking little kids off their tubes – and there’s nothing against this in their rule book?

We were just appalled by the whole experience. As I said at the beginning of this post, I won’t be surprised if we get no response from GWL (we wrote a letter to the CEO), but just had to let people know that I am just sick about my family’s experience there. The park would not be in jeopardy if our special needs granddaughter went down a kiddy slide one time. . . and you know that is a true statement. The very sad and disappointing fact is that I paid $1800 to have my granddaughter experience such cold, callous treatment from an organization who is supposed to be about families. The only explanation that I could give to my granddaughter was that some people just don’t understand. She did nothing wrong; yet was forbidden to go down appropriate slides for her and was refused assistance for other slides through no fault of her own. I can’t understand it and I’m an adult – how can I expect a 7-year-old to understand other people’s indifference?

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
26  Thank Carol S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

Lots of things to do for a young family. Kids friendly. Rides have height restrictions for younger kids but there are other things to do.

1  Thank 2thdoc1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Great Wolf Lodge

Address: 3950 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 7M8, Canada
Phone Number:
Location: Canada > Ontario > Niagara Falls
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Niagara Falls
#5 Family Hotel in Niagara Falls
#14 Business Hotel in Niagara Falls
Price Range: $226 - $422 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 406
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
From the moment you arrive at the Great Wolf Lodge, expect to be amazed and amused. Situated close to awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, the entire Lodge is designed to capture the spirit of adventure and the atmosphere of the great Northwood's. The Northern theme inspires everything from the spectacular stone fireplace and timber in the five-story Grand Lobby to the cabin-like comfort and decor of our all-suite guest rooms. The Lodge features an indoor/outdoor waterpark of over 100,000 square-feet; an 18-hole interactive miniature golf course; Ten Paw Bowling Alley; our 7,000 sq. Ft. Northern Lights Arcade, including a ticket redemption center; MagiQuest, interactive adventure game; Elements Spa & Salon and Scoops Kid Spa. Five themed restaurants, including a confectionary cafe and Northwood's Pizza. We assure your stay will be a howling great time! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Hotel Niagara Falls
Great Wolf Niagara Falls
Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls

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