Great Wolf Lodge

My wife and I had wanted to take the kids to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina ever since it opened in April of this year. When a representative of Great Wolf Lodge's public relations agency offered my family a complimentary two-night stay, I couldn't say "Yes" fast enough. Below is a review from that stay.

Here's my one-word review of the Great Wolf Lodge: Awesome.

Where to begin? The Great Wolf Lodge is a resort with an indoor waterpark. The rooms are very nice and spacious with a microwave, mini refrigerator, couch, desk, and several other amenities. In most of their suites, the sleeping quarters are divided in half: there is a queen bed for the parents and an area made up to look like a cave, a tent, or a cabin for the kids, complete with their own TV. Unfortunately, the kids' quarters in these suites have bunk beds and since I'm neurotic and my kids are crazy sleepers, we opted for a room with two queen beds. BOO! DAD SUCKS!

But while the rooms are very nice, the main draw is the waterpark. My son's favorite sections were Beaver Tail Lake, a wave pool where the waves reach heights of three feet, and Cub Paw Pool, a section designed specifically for toddlers (the maximum depth is one foot) with stationary jet skis, geysers, and a toddler-sized water slide. My daughter loved the water slides: Mountain Edge Raceway, where you could race against each other (I only lost once! (yes, I am petty)), Alberta Falls, a four-story water slide, and River Canyon Run, a raft slide. There was another slide, the Howlin' Tornado, which was a 6-story funnel, but she was too short to ride that one. And don't think I didn't hear about that all weekend. [Click here to see pictures of the waterpark*]

Both kids enjoyed Fort Mackenzie, a treehouse with two additional water slides named the Twin Towers, with water guns and buckets that you could use to dump water on people below you. Fort Mackenzie also hosted a 1,000-gallon bucket that dumped water on people every few minutes. The kids also enjoyed the Chinook Cove Activity Pool. My son swam while my daughter completed the agility course, hopping from lily pad to lily pad. "Look, Mommy! It's like Wipeout!" she yelled at one point. Big red balls, flat green lily pads: same thing in the mind of a seven-year-old.

Although the kids would've been content to stay in the water all day until they shriveled into little prunes, we did do a few other things at the Great Wolf Lodge. There's an arcade where kids can exchange tickets they won from the games into trinkets. There's also this game called MagiQuest, a scavenger-hunt game where you use clues to find objects hidden throughout the resort. My daughter and I must've spent three or four hours alone on this.

The Great Wolf Lodge is very family-oriented. Every night at 8:00 PM, the children are encouraged to come down to the lobby in their pajamas for story time. Every morning, there's an arts and crafts activity in the lobby.

Even though we were there for two nights, we couldn't fit everything we wanted to do into our schedule. My daughter wanted to go to Scoops Kid Spa and get a manicure. We were planning on playing a round of mini-golf at the resort, but went swimming instead. You really need three or four days to experience everything the resort offers. The Great Wolf Lodge also boasts a gaming/karaoke room for teenagers and a spa for the Moms. There is also a fitness room, but I could've stayed at the resort for a whole month and never stepped foot in there.

The Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing place. We had a wonderful time there and the kids can't wait to go back. The staff was friendly and helpful. Everything was clean and well-run. The resort is very green: guests are encouraged to reuse towels and every suite has its own recycling bin.

There were two things I would like to see done differently there. MagiQuest takes place in the lobby and on three of the resort's four floors, mostly around the elevator. This could be quite a nuisance when you're checking in and you have to wade through a sea of boys who are waving their wands at everything they see (just like Spring Break!). While I personally didn't have a problem with it, I could see where some might take issue with it.

One very cool thing about the park is also a negative. When you check in, each member of your party is given a wristband which you must wear for the duration of the trip. The adults' wristbands are also keys to the room. You hold your wristband up to the scanner on your door and it unlocks. Cool, huh? You also have the option set it up so that your wristbands can be used to charge things to the room. This can very useful when you're wanting to grab something to eat after hitting the waterpark and don't feel like running up to the room to get cash. But the kids' wristbands can also do this. More specifically, the kids can use it in the arcade. You just wave your arm up to a sensor and $5 in tokens comes out of a machine. We have friends of friends that found out their son had rung up a $400 bill in the arcade while they were staying there. Ouch! I think to prevent this, the kids' wristbands should not be used to charge items to their parents' rooms.

But in the end, the many, many positives far outweigh the few negatives. The kids had permanent grins on their faces the entire weekend. We will definitely be saving our money to return next summer.

*I took tons of pictures while we were there and they would add a lot to this review, but all of the photos had other people in them. I'd rather send you to the Great Wolf Lodge's professional images of the waterpark than compromise their patrons' privacy.

1 comment:

gabrielle said...

That sounds like so much fun! Both of my dudes would love it. I can't believe I've never heard of the place. It's only a couple of hours away from us- we'll have to check it out next spring.