When it comes to family resorts and traveling with kids, you have to have the attitude of, "it is what it is." Go to Great Wolf Lodge expecting an indoor water park and you won't be disappointed. That is exactly what we did. We booked our room (a standard king with a pull-out) in advance, reviewed the Great Wolf website to know what we were in for, and went prepared to spend time at the water park from 1:00 pm until we were done the next day. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Check in was extremely fast when we arrived a little after 1:00, and even though our expectation was that our room would not be ready (and we took the website's advice to have our swimsuits accessible in that case), ours was. If we hadn't done that, we certainly could have taken advantage of one of the activities that is offered daily in the lobby (Master LEGO building, Animal Encounters from the Dallas Zoo). Our room was clean and nicely furnished and exceeded our expectations of someplace to shower and crash after a long day at the water park.
The water park was extensive and offered activities for kids of all ages. Safety is top priority there, with lifeguards everywhere. We really enjoyed all of the water activities, and felt comfortable leaving our things at a table while we all rode the slides, or sent the kids (ages 8 & 10) to go it alone while we took a break. After reading the reviews, I was concerned that there'd would be a lot of rude kids, and frankly, I encountered maybe one. It is loud, and there are kids everywhere, so be prepared. If you need a quick break from the action, head over to the adults-only hot tub located in a corner by the indoor cabanas. There's hardly anyone using it, and it offers a good view of the giant kid's water playground. There are plenty of places to grab a snack and even an adult beverage without leaving the water park. Our only criticism of the entire visit is that concessions sometimes ran a little slow.
Here's a hint: remember that you can enter the water park at 1:00 the day you arrive and stay until closing at 9:00 pm the next day? Crowds are small from 9:00 am- 1:00 pm, so don't sleep in- go down to the water park and ride with minimal lines before the next day's guests check in.
The arcade, Magiquest, and all the other kids' activities are a bonus. My kids did Magiquest In the afternoon before we left, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Running up and down the stairs with the wands was a little too much for my husband's patience. So we handed the kids a cell phone (ages 8 & 10 remember), told them we would be at the restaurant on the main level, and to call or find us if they needed help or when they were done. We enjoyed a drink and an appetizer in relative peace, knowing the kids were just fine.
Remember that I mentioned that it's helpful to have the attitude of "it is what it is"? Well, that's true! Great Wolf is an indoor water park geared towards kids. Go expecting something different and you will be disappointed. Great Wolf is not intended to be a relaxing adult retreat (despite the hot tub and adult drinks) or even a Disney-esque "something for everyone." It's for kids, and my kids had a blast.
Is Great Wolf expensive? Sure, but we weren't disappointed. It's perfect for a once- or twice- a-year overnight visit. The food was good, service was friendly, and we rode home with kids who were happy and tired, gripping their Magiquest wands. What more could you ask for?
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Grapevine
- Great Wolf Resort