We visited GWL Concord for one night this past weekend for my daughter's birthday. We booked a family suite with two queen beds. It was spring break for us and Easter weekend, so I would imagine it would have been considered a peak time to visit.
I would say overall it was a fun trip and good value for the money, but I'm not real sure it's worth visiting again. As much as the water park had to offer, after a few hours it had a "been there done that" feel to it. The slides are the best part of it for older children and adults. The other hit was the wave pool. Once you've done those a few times, there's not much more to do in the park itself, although the lodge has lots of other activities -- none of which we took part in (story time, toy stuffing, spa, arcade, mini-golf, etc).
Because we did online check-in, I received a text around noon stating that our room was ready, so we were able to go right to our room upon getting our wristbands, which also serve as room keys, waterpark passes, and room charging privileges. Since you can use the waterpark as early as 1:00, the lobby was very crowded with people. Also the space allowed for Online Check-in was very small for the number of people waiting and some people were not clear that it was *not* for those with online reservations, even though staff members repeatedly told people that it was a different process. Perhaps calling it "Advanced Check-in" or "Email Check-in" would make it clearer.
The water park was fun. The water was a great temperature and there were plenty of chairs to choose from. It didn't smell strongly of chlorine, although if your child is prone to asthmatic symptoms, bring their inhaler or nebulizer with you. The indoor chorline aggravated my daughter's cough, which rarely flares up and we weren't prepared for it. While we had a good time, four hours was plenty for us to enjoy the various slides and pools and activities they had to offer. I'm not sure how we would have spent more time in the park. We noticed that lines for the water slides were significantly shorter durng the dinnertime hour than in the afternoon.
Hands down the best water slide is the Howling Tornado!
The lifeguards appeared to be vigilant. All staff members we encountered -- even at Dunkin' Donuts the next morning -- were friendly and courteous.
We played MagiQuest the next morning. We didn't realize that it was one price to activate our wands (which we already had from Myrtle Beach) and it was good for our entire trip. Had we known that, we would have activated them earlier and played here and there during our stay. The MagiQuest setup is fun and makes the trip more worth it than even the water park, although it's not as creative as the one in Myrtle Beach -- but it's also easier in a way. Seek out the stairs -- avoid using the elevators. You'll get way more done that way.
I do wish there were staff members on each floor to police the MQ players. So many kids were running with wands -- an accident waiting to happen. Yes, a parent should be watching, but for the safety of other guests and small children, I think it would help for more staff members to be around watching and reminding children to walk.
Our room was on the 4th floor right at the end of one of the MQ hallways, but we didn't notice any noise or problems from MQ players that other reviewers had complained about. There is absolutely no reason for any MQ players to be on the actual guest room hallways. Also, contrary to what other reviewers have said, we did not think it was a long walk from the guest room to the water park or any other part of the lodge.
The rooms were spacious and clean. But the pillows are hard as a rock and the bedding consists of a thin down comforter sandwiched between two flat sheets. I prefer more blankets and insulation than that. The room did come with one blanket for the sofa bed, but if we were to return, I'd order extra blankets and bring my own pillows from home.
Again, it's a good value for the money. I don't see a need to stay more than one night if you're coming mainly for the waterpark, but it's worth a visit at least once. If you want time to do lots of MagiQuest, the mini-golf, and other activities, or if you are arriving late in the day, then two nights might be better.
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