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“First Family Vacation!”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #10 of 73 Hotels in Wisconsin Dells
Merrillville, Indiana
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“First Family Vacation!”
Reviewed April 9, 2014

My family and I stayed here for spring break, an actual 5 day stay. I booked a cabana for our first day since we would be arriving before our room was ready and to allow the kids to just kind of jump right in. The cabana was great. There was a mini fridge stocked with beverages, a table with four chairs, two lounge chairs and a TV. And we were in a great location right across from the toddler area by the orange and blue slide. Fortunately when we checked in at 1 we were told that our Black Bear Condo was ready. When we got to the room after a little bit of a walk because the condos were on another side of the resort, we were very pleased. Everything was clean and up to date. So we changed and headed down to the waterpark. I was happy to see so many lifeguards. Our kids ranged in ages with the oldest two boys being 16 and 10 (good swimmers) to our girls ages 4, 2, and 2 mos. (non swimmers). When I booked the room, I also purchased two Pup passes for our little ones which was a great choice and highly recommendable.

The waterpark in itself was a perfect size for us. It also wasn't very crowded so the kids were able to have a lot of fun and do repeats on certain slides back to back. The boys really enjoyed the Tornado and the wave pool a lot. They also couldn't stay away from the water basketball. The areas for our toddlers were perfect! Although my 4 year old is much more adventurous and wanted to go to the wave pool! She also loved the big green slide in the back where the big bucket is.

I was happy to have had the Black Bear Condo which saved us some money on eating out because I was able to cook and have plenty of food for us. But we did end up eating at the Loose Moose and I must say the chicken was very good and pricing wasn't bad at all. The sweet shop was pretty good but I do think they were a tad bit overpriced. We got the cookie monster cookie ( a really cute idea) and the strawberry parfait ( I would've preferred yogurt instead of all that cream). My husband got Starbucks coffee every morning and he seemed to enjoy it.

After the waterpark closed the kids hung out at the Arcade til closing time of 11 which is a decent time to close. The arcade was similar to any other arcade. The thing that I was curious to see was MagiQuest. So initially we paid for our 4 year old to play a game but soon realized that our boys would get the most fun out of it due to the reading and walking. My husband was exhaused after what seemed like two hours with our daughter and I definitely couldn't do it while tending to our other two babies. I suggest that if you're going to stay two or more days to buy the game the first day to get the most out of it as it is very time consuming. Luckily my 10 year old son finished the game in two days.

Choosing to buy the cabana for our first and last day was also a good choice for us. Although on our last day when we arrived to the cabana around 11ish, another family was in it! Somehow they thought that our last name was just the start of their last name. Then staff told me that we had the cabana for the previous day and we hadn't booked it for the last day of our stay which was puzzling to me because why would our last name still be on the sign from the previous day? Someone screwed up and booked and charged us for the wrong day but also booked us for the day I requested, so we were charged twice. When I called the lodge I spoke to someone named Jodi and she said she would refund us the money as she would have to take my word for the mishap. I thought that showed great customer service and professionalism. She said it would take 3-5 business days to see the refund, so we will see.

Other than that small discrepancy, our first family vacation here was great. My daughter loved the story time, meeting the mascots,and the arts and crafts. I suggest having a nanny if you have small kids and want to get in on the fun too! I was exhausted and needed another vacation from this one! The staff was great, housekeeping was timely and everyone just seemed to be in good spirits. If I could change one thing it would be adding more elevators. The wait was too long and sometimes too crowded because no one wants to wait for the next one. And unfortunately our boys got rashes I'm assuming from the long periods of time they were in the water. I've been giving them hydrocortisone to soothe it. So beware.

By the way we visited the Circus World intending on seeing the Illusionist show but when we arrived 10 minutes after it supposedly started, we were told it was over. I don't believe that there ever was a show. The lady did suggest that we come back during the summer when everything was more lively. We ended up just buying the kids some souvenirs. So we went to the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory and had a great time there. I would definitely suggest going although it's a little vintage it was a ton of fun and very educational.

Room Tip: The condominium side was very quiet. Try to get one close off of the elevator to save on walking tim...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
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Thank ElleHall29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Level Contributor
48 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2014

The title sums it up...if we hadn't stayed at several other waterpark hotels in the Dells, this would've been a great time. However, we've stayed at several other ones so this one paled in comparison.

We were initially on the second floor in the hotel area. The walls and ceilings are so thin that whenever the person above us walked across the room, our ceiling lights shook. We heard every door open and close in the hallway. We heard toilets flushing from other rooms. We also heard every single noise of every single person that walked by. 'Quiet time' doesn't start until 11 pm, so things were loud pretty late.

In the morning, we requested to be moved to another room, so we ended up in the condo section. The rooms were a bit smaller and didn't have a balcony, but were also quieter--but I'm not sure how much of this was due to us being on the top floor this time. The condos are also behind two sets of doors, so all hallway noise was muffled.

The heater in the hotel area was older and didn't work properly. It was too loud and constantly cycling, so we had to turn it off and we were cold by the morning. The heater in the condo area was much better--it was newer with a digital thermostat which worked properly (despite the heater cover being broken off).


The waterparks were disappointing. I have never seen a lazy river smaller than at Great Wolf. It took 3 minutes to go around the entire thing--no joke. Great Wolf does have the Tornado (similar to the Hurricane from the Wilderness) and my kids really enjoyed that. But there were only 7 rafts for it (3 of the 4 person ones and 4 of the 2 person ones) so it took a while to get a raft. Everyone had to carry the large and unwieldly raft up all those flights of stairs. We may be a bit spoiled by other waterparks, but generally when the rafts are that huge and cumbersome, they are brought up to the top by some mechanical device. It was difficult to get an inner tube for some of the other rides as well. You also can't use tubes in the wave pool.


Some overall pro's and con's of this place:
PROS:
our family fireplace suite had a nice layout with a privacy wall, enough lighting, and a sink inside and outside of the bathroom.
There were 6 full sized towels in the bathroom
Check-in was fast (we arrived right at 4 on Friday afternoon)
The pool rooms are all connected
There is a separate recycling bin in the room, as well as several throughout the building
The manager very nicely moved us when I asked her to as a result of the noise.
There is a 'warm tub' for kids and adults which won't get above 95 degrees and a 'hot tub' for adults only which had actual hot tub temperatures
The sweet shop was reasonably priced
We didn't run into any rude employees

CONS:
The waterpark was much smaller than several others at the Dells
The price was higher than other waterparks at the Dells
No map of the whole resort--we found a map of the hotel area and a map of the waterparks, but nothing that showed how to get from one to the other
The plugs actually fell out of one of the outlet because it was so loose
The restaurant didn't have a large selection of foods.

Overall, Great Wolf was not as good as I'd hoped. My family loves waterpark hotels and we were all hoping to add this one to our list of favorites, but as long as there are other waterparks at the Dells, we'll be staying there instead.

Room Tip: The path to the waterpark runs through the first and second floor hotel area and were LOUD.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Melody A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells! We appreciate your feedback and will share it with the respective teams so we can improve for future guests.

I hope you will return and stay with us again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Batavia, Illinois
Level Contributor
38 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 5, 2014

We only stayed one night which was plenty of time for me, by husband and 13-year-old son. The water was a wonderful temperature and the air felt like a balmy day at the beach. The wave pool was especially relaxing, if a bit crowded. The park is designed for younger kids but we still had a blast. The staff was professional and accommodating. The only negative was I was unable to get a massage since they were totally booked. Call ahead!

Room Tip: We had our choice of floors at check in and choose the top floor. There was a huge vaulted ceiling a...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Denise H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Charles, Illinois
1 review
Reviewed April 3, 2014

The high level of chlorine is worrisome. Out of six people in my family four of us were covered in red itchy bumps, cutting short our vacation. I was told by the aquatics manager that it does happen and because of the dry winter our skin is more susceptible. We were not in the pools for an unusual amount of time. We have toddlers whom nap which removed us from the afternoon period. Likely we were in the pool 1.5 hours in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon. Seems extreme! I saw lots of other patrons itching poolside as well. I wish they posted the results of their water cleanliness/filtration efforts. . . .there must be a reason that they don't. We go to water parks frequently and have never had this experience. We won't be returning. Thankfully the condo was very nice and accommodated our large family. The only exception being the blinking lights in the smoke detectors right above the beds. I must be sensitive (ha!).

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lisette L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this review, April 7, 2014
Thank you for staying at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells and sharing your feedback with us! We routinely monitor the chlorine levels in the waterpark and ensure they are maintained at safe levels for the number of guests we have playing. It is recommended during the winter months to take short breaks from the water to shower off and have fresh water run over the skin, and the use of a moisturizer to combat the drying effects chlorine can have on skin.

We hope you will return to visit again soon.

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sterling, Illinois
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2014

We took our 2 year-old daughter for a two night stay. She had a wonderful time at the waterpark, and we did as well. What impressed us the most were the amenities. We enjoyed the restaurants, arcade, and Aveda spa. Our daughter loved the coloring, balloon animals, and the bedtime story. The waterpark offered plenty of towels and life jackets. Unfortunately, our room was not to our standards. The carpet and bathroom tile flooring seemed newer, but the beds were horribly uncomfortable. There was something smeared on the wall behind our bed and there were holes in the blankets. I am still giving a "very good" rating because our daughter had such a great time. Unless changes are made to housekeeping and bedding, we will not be returning.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank shopgirl1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 2, 2014

We stayed at another area resort the night before our stay here, and my husband hurt his ankle. When we arrived at The Great Wolf my husband was in so much pain that we ended up taking him to the nearest urgent care. When they thought he did it there, they seemed very caring, they brought up a wheelchair, gave him some ice and gave us directions to urgent care. When they realized he didn't hurt himself there, they said ok, good, hope he's ok, if there's anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable, please let us know. We returned shortly before the water park closed, so my kids couldn't play in it that night. The next morning we went to breakfast, my husband was not at all feeling well, probably because of the pain meds he was on and because his ankle hurt. We got him back to the room, made him comfortable, and called to explain the situation and requested a late check out, that I would be willing to pay for it. They said they would call me right back. They did and advised they weren't doing any late check outs. Not only was my husband in pain, by this time he was vomiting and felt faint. So we packed up, loaded the car and went to the water park. We only lasted there a little over an hour before my husband couldn't take it anymore and we had to leave. Now I realize it was an accident on our part, but given the circumstance I feel they could have at least allowed us a late check out knowing my children were excited as all get up to play in the park, and didn't get to the night before. I sent back a review to the resort stating my disappointment in my experience and requested someone contact me in regards to our stay. It is now April, and still no email, no phone call, nothing. If this is how serious they take their customer service, I want no part in every returning there to spend my hard earned money. I have already deterred a few families from going there, and I will continue to do so. Not to mention, the water park is very outdated and lacks enjoyment for all of my family to enjoy. We will continue to go back to the nearby resort, and have another reservation to do so this month.

  • Stayed February 2014
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Momof2monkies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this review, April 7, 2014
Thank you for staying at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells! I sincerely apologize for the experience you had and for not being been contacted in regards to your feedback survey. If you still have not spoken with our team in the Dells by the time you see this, please contact me directly at guestrelations@greatwolf.com. I will be happy to facilitate a discussion!

Thank you for choosing Great Wolf.

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
River Forest, Illinois
Level Contributor
160 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2014

We stayed two nights at Great Wolf over Spring Break. The hotel room was clean and nice. The service was good. Our only complaint about the room was that it was difficult to figure out the thermostat and it seems like it ran constantly when on the "auto" setting. The indoor waterpark was large and perfect for my 8 year old daughters. There are tons of super vigilant lifeguards everywhere. The restaurant at the hotel was not very good. The fitness room was basically awful - a few old machines and no TVs. There is a guest laundry. The MagiQuest attraction was my kid's favorite. My wife and daughters went to the Scoops Kids spa and really enjoyed it.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Cord-69
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

Property: Great Wolf Lodge
Address: 1400 Great Wolf Drive, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Wisconsin Dells
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Wisconsin Dells
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Wisconsin Dells
#15 Family Hotel in Wisconsin Dells
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 204
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Lodge Hotel
Wisconsin Dells Hotel Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells
Great Wolf Hotel Wisconsin Dells
Black Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Hotel Wi Dells
Great Wolf Wi Dells
Great Wolf Resort

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