6/14/2010

A Real Vacation: Great Wolf Lodge!

Typically when we leave on vacation we look like this....
Or this....
But I can't tell you how happy I am to say when we left on vacation last week, we looked like THIS...
TaaaDaaa, no trailer, no luggage on top, just the kids, the husband and a few bags in the back.
WOW, really nice!

We ran away from home for a long weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. Just outside of Dallas.

Many families here on the Gulf Cost spend and plan their vacations along the Gulf. Last month our vacation plans were unfortunately cancelled due to the Oil Spill. So we started looking elsewhere to go so that we didn't loose any already planned vacation time.

We had heard about Great Wolf, but didn't have any friends that had gone. So we thought we would be the guinea pigs!
Honestly, my husband and I were super impressed from the very beginning. The drive took only 3 1/2 hours for us. I checked in while my husband parked, I only talked to the man at the desk for a minute. We took the kids up to the room and 30 min later we were headed down to the water park. As we went past the front desk again, I ran up to ask a question, the man who had helped me earlier said, "How can I help you Mrs. Ivanovsky?" I seriously can't believe he remembered my name, and said it correctly! Very impressive!

The water park itself is very nice, I would say about 75% of it is indoors, there were a few slides and pools outside, but we stayed mostly inside. As a Mother of 6 kids, 8 1/2 months pregnant with my 7th, I could have kissed whoever planned the park.

1. I didn't have to haul any towels down, they were provided.
2. No SUNSCREEN! I wasn't applying sunscreen all day to kids! Awesome!
3. No "STUFF" to worry about loosing. My room key, my credit card, etc. were all programmed into my bracelet that was securely on my wrist the entire time. This kinda scared me at first, but was soooo nice!
4. It was really safe. My kids could run all over the place and I wasn't worried.

It was truly a vacation. I really enjoyed myself and had the time to do it. I wasn't the pack mule for everyone.
Besides the water park, the other main attraction for the kids was the MagiQuest game. At first I didn't pay much attention to it, but as my kids watched all the other kids having a great time I knew were going to have to play!

Being a frugal Mom with a bunch of kids I about passed out when I saw that the wands that the kids had to have to play were $30 each! There was no way they were each getting their own, so we got 3 of them and my husband made a fun game of breaking us all up into groups to compete against each other. This actually worked out better, it kept the kids in pairs and made them work together!

The entire Hotel is full of objects that if they point the "magic wand" at give them clues and other cool things to help them in their Quest. MY KIDS LOVED THIS! At one point we had to drag them to the water park :) We put the little kids to bed one night and watched a movie, while the big kids ran around the Hotel for 3 hours.
They have to take the stairwells as there are clues in there, which is brilliant, who wants a ton of kids playing with the elevators, and I can't tell you how much exercise they got! It was really fun. Take care of your wands, the next time you go you just pay an activation fee and can play again. You don't have to pay that much again.

Also, they have a ton of other activities for the kids to do, like story time and a wolf walk.
When you book a room, it includes your water park tickets. Kids under 3 are free so don't count them into the number of people in the room.

We brought some of our own food. Each room had a mini fridge and a microwave. We packed food for breakfast and lunch and ate in the room. The breakfast buffet at the Hotel was beautiful but would have cost us $75 each meal to eat there, $8.95 for the kids and $14.95 for Paul and I. So we had milk and cereal in our room! We had friends who were up there at the same time and ate at the buffet, they said it was AWESOME, but they also had 2 kids!

We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. The first night we went out to eat at a close by mexican restaurant that was super good. The second night we stayed at the Lodge and ate at the Grill on the 5th floor. The food was really good and kid friendly, Paul and I had a hard time deciding what we wanted it all looked fabulous. We got 4 kids meals and 2 adult meals and I think our total was about $65. Fairly normal for our sized family.

We had the loft room, 2 queen beds, and a sofa bed on one floor and a queen bad and bathroom in the loft for us. They brought us a port a crib and set it up for the 2 year old, he was really confused by it, but slept in it without a problem :)

I have to say they really take care of you, at one point my husband and son were trying to set up a baseball whiffle ball thingy in the room and needed a mini screwdriver. They went downstairs to ask at the desk if they had one. They didn't right there so Paul told them to please not worry about it, it was NOT a big deal! A few minutes later, much to my husbands embarrassment, there was a maintenance man at the door with an assortment of screwdrivers! He was so friendly and helpful. We were sorry to bother him but he totally didn't care.

It was so sad when we had to leave, no one wanted to. We could have spent another 3 day's and not been bored! It was really a true vacation.

We spent the entire drive home planning on coming back next year and making it a tradition. Having a large family it can get expensive, we thought about just taking the big kids one year and the next year taking the little kids. If you have 2-3 kids it is a reasonable trip that I would not pass up.

Just like everything else, look for a great deal. The summer is more expensive than off season times. If you sign up for their email's you can get updated deal info and a heads up on their 48 hour specials. Go HERE to check out deals they have going anytime. There is also a book 2 nights get the 3rd free deal that is nice. If you have any questions about our trip email me and I can help answer them! We had such a great time! I was really impressed and we can't wait to go back!

Disclosure: Great Wolf Lodge provided our family with 1 free night. These are my own opinions and if I had hated the place I would have told you!
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3 comments:

Robyn said...

YAY! you were in our neck of the woods! we love great wolf! they run specials in the fall for the big bro big sis program and you can get the waterpark tickets for $15...a HUGE steal if you live close and don't want to shell out the moola for a room! glad you had fun!

Lauren said...

What activities were available for your toddler to do?

oliv2b said...

That looks like so much fun!
-Heather