So, you wanna take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge? We just went to the Anaheim, CA location this past weekend and I wanted to share some tips while they’re still fresh in my head. *Please note: all the below information is targeted towards people visiting the Anaheim, CA park. The attractions and descriptions will most likely be different at other locations.
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No.1 The best – and cheapest- time to book a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge is in the fall/winter.
During the summer months, this place get’s packed. SUPER packed… Like, ” We can’t even find a chair to put down our things” packed. With antsy little ones just dying to get into the water I’d rather visit this park when it’s a little slower. By all means, this doesn’t mean the place is empty… in fact the hotel was booked full during our winter break. The difference is in the number of day passes that are sold. Naturally in the warmer months people are visiting Anaheim,CA for Disneyland and other attractions so this place fills up quickly.
Side note & Tip from my 8yo son:
“Taking a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in the winter was pretty cool because snow falls in the lobby.”-Max
No.2 Splurge on your room – Just get the upgraded themed room.
This was a last minute trip for us and we weren’t fully prepared for the cost of our stay which is why we opted for the basic af room. I wish we had just gotten the themed room with the bunk beds and the whole shabang because my kids were looking forward to it. We had shown them photos and videos of Great Wolf Lodge before the trip and the one detail they remembered? The woodsy decor bunk bed.
No.3 The Water Park is open from 9am-8:30PM
I didn’t really look this up before our trip so we missed out on pool time the first night we got there. Also, If you want to avoid the crowd (especially if you have younger kids) I advise getting to the pool right when it opens.
No.4 They have a 21+ bar and hot tub in the water park area
I found out about this little perk only AFTER I got back home. . .(story of my life). But if you’re smart you’ll be researching The Great Wolf Lodge BEFORE your visit (I’m assuming that’s why you’re here) and yea, need I say more? Kids are great and all but we all need that hour or two of adult time. Isn’t it great to know that you can grab a drink and chill out in a kid-less hot tub? I posted a Q+A about the Great Wolf Lodge on my IG during my trip and had quite a few people ask me if it would be decent as an adult vacation. My answer is still no, there are better options out there as an adult only group imo but if you’re o.k with the noise and little children running around it could be a decent overnight trip.
No.5 Bring your own robe or towels to the water park
This might not be relevant if you’ve decided to visit Great Wolf Lodge in the summer, but in the winter that walk from the water park, up the elevator and to your room will be cold. Although they provide towels inside of the water park you’ll have to return them before leaving (you check-out the towels with your key-bracelet thing so they’ll know if your towel has gone missing, they’ll probably charge you). If you have younger children definitely bring an extra towel or cover up robe for the walk out of the pool area.
No.6 Pack one of those waterproof phone case pouches
You know, those little plastic pouches for your phone that hang around your neck? Bring it.
No. 7 Don’t valet your car, just park yourself – you’ll want to take a trip out to eat
The main reason I say this is because the food options at this particular Great Wolf Lodge weren’t the best imo. The buffet was $25/adults, $15/kids. I didn’t look at the Fire Grill restaurant menu but I’m assuming you’d be paying a good $15-20 per person. Your other options are pizza, pasta, salad, and Dunkin’ Donuts. For lunch I guess these places were o.k but I wanted to eat something better for dinner. Postmates was my best friend during my visit! The Anaheim/Garden Grove, CA area has great family style restaurants for pretty cheap too…and if you don’t want to pay the delivery fees on your app, you’ll want to take a drive out to eat.
No. 8 There is no convenience store inside
This one is my husbands little addition to the list of tips. He was expecting a Vegas-style convenience store with beers, water and snacks. None to be found in the hotel but there is a 7-11 at walking distance from the park. Buy your waters and snacks before arriving to save time and money.
No.9 There’s a lot more to do at the Great Wolf Lodge than just the water park, these were our favorites.
Additional $ things to do:
MagiQuest , ShadowQuest + CompassQuest
Guests can purchase a wand and complete an interactive mission through the hotel. You don’t have to purchase a new wand every visit either, just bring it back and you’ll only pay for the game itself next time.
We spent a lot of time at the Northern Lights arcade. There was something for every age and they didn’t make it impossible to win prizes. The arcade itself is open 24 hours but you’ll have to fill your Paw Points card with money during redemption hours.
At just $6 per person for a 10 frame game, this is a great a affordable way to spend some time out of the water.
Build-A-Bear is always fun for young kids, but this one is special: They have all the Great Wolf Kids characters available along with accessories and clothes.
Others worth mentioning that we didn’t get a chance to try: Mini Golf and Laser Maze.
Free things to do:
Character Meet And Greets
Kids Dance Party
I got a few of questions about where my swimsuit was from, JCrew! They still ave the exact stripe one available and solid colors too. Here are my current swimwear obsessions from JCrew.
Q+A From my Instagram Stories
After posting on my IG about our trip to Great Wolf Lodge I quickly realized that a lot of people had the same questions. Here’s the list.
Do you recommend Great Wolf Lodge for younger kids? (3yo and younger): What’s pretty awesome about Great Wolf Lodge is that there is a designated pool and slide area ( Whooping Hollow and Cub Paw Pool ) for little ones. My 2yo (although more adventurous and thrill seeking than most his age) really enjoyed it. This area is at the deepest area 2 or 2.5ft deep. I still had to watch my younger ones and be at arms length but for the most part they were able to enjoy this area on their own. Now this being said, most of the water park is geared towards 8yo+ to teens and your younger toddler won’t be able to go on some of the slides even at Fort Mackenzie( a four-story ‘treehouse’ with a giant tipping bucket).
Can you bring floaties?: Yes, you can bring your own but if you get into the water park early you can grab the free life vests and floaties. They had all sizes available during our visit, even when the park was pretty full. Also, a couple of people asked me about water shoes and if they were totally necessary, I didn’t mind my kids walking around barefoot, but it does get slippery. They sell water shoes at the hotel for $15.00 but just in case they won’t have the correct sizes in stock I would invest in one before your trip if you’re looking into it.
Is MagiQuest worth it?: I’m not sure how to answer this one really. For our family it was tough because Maxton (8yo) would have been the only one to really play. The game itself is $14.99 and the wand you need to purchase is $23.99. Would my family be able to play in peace with only 1 wand? Hell no. All of the kids would each need their own to avoid a meltdown. If you have older kids who love interactive mission and quest type activities, totally worth it. If you’re like me with young toddlers and 1 kid who would actually play? Not so much.
Would Great Wolf Lodge be fun for teens?: Yes, totally! The extreme water slides are fun for adults and teens. My personal favorite was Howlin’ Tornado. ( you know, the one you see in the commercials? It’s a 6 story funnel you can slide down in a tube with up to 4 people). Again, to avoid lines, get there when the park opens.
Do we pay for ones that are 2yo and under?: Toddlers and infants 2yo and under are free to enter the water park. They do not require a bracelet. BUT they do count as a person for your room. I bring this up because there is a limited number of guests that can stay in one room. For example – if you stay in a room that is allowed 6 people my family would count as 5 (2 adults, 8yo, 3yo, and 2yo) which means we’ll be able to squeeze in one more person, like perhaps my sons friend. Anyone else who wants to join us from around area would have to purchase a day pass.
Do they charge a resort fee?: Yes, $30 per night.
How can we purchase a day pass?: Day passes can only be purchased online and they have a limited number for each day. If you or a friend needs one, buy it as soon as you can especially during the summer months.
Are Pack-And-Plays available? For how much?: Yes, like most hotels you can request a Pack-and-play. There is not additional charge for one. On the day of your arrival you should receive a text from a Great Wolf Lodge “personal assistant”. I reserved one through a text and it was delivered to my room before we got there. You can also check out through text as your leaving which is definitely easier than calling the front desk.
What’s the average price to have a birthday party at the Great Wolf Lodge?: That really depends on the number of guests you have but here is a ball park idea. There is a minimum of 10 guests (3yo -adults) and the price is $55 per person. This price includes 1.5 hours in the party room, 1 pizza pie for every 5 guests, all day water park pass for each guest, and your choice of cake or cupcakes. They also require a 1:4 adult to child ratio (I’m assuming for safety reasons).
How much is it to rent a cabana at the water park?: About $120 on weekdays and $300 on weekends. This includes seating for 6, a flat screen t.v, fridge with non-alcoholic drinks, and towels. This would be great if you were visiting great Wolf Lodge with other families and want to have a space to sit together and take a break from the water.
Well, that’s it! hopefully the mistakes I made during our family trip can help you have a more successful and smooth one with yours. Have fun!