This year for Hayden’s birthday she had a few choices: 1. have a pool party with her friends, 2. get a room at the Disneyland Hotel and spend the day at the park, or 3. stay at the Great Wolf Lodge. Well before I had even finished the last option she had already made up her mind.
I know what some of you parents are thinking, Great Wolf What?? Believe me, I had no idea this place existed before my cousin brought it up. I was left unimpressed even when I googled “Great Wolf Lodge.” It looked like nothing more than your average hotel and indoor waterpark; nothing spectacular. But that’s what baby wanted, so that’s what she was going to get. Luckily, my opinion went out the door as soon as we walked into the hotel lobby.
So what changed my mind??
Well, let me tell you…
GREAT WOLF WHAT?
For those of you that have not heard of the Great Wolf Lodge, let me fill you in.
Located in several states throughout the U.S., the Great Wolf Lodge of Southern California opened its doors in 2016 in the city of Garden Grove (just about 10 mins from Disneyland). With over 600 rooms, this kid-friendly resort host a 105,000 square foot indoor water park and over a dozen activities for kids and their families. From mini golf to bowling, poolside dining, and even a 4D movie theater, the Great Wolf Lodge leaves no stone unturned when it comes to entertaining its guests.
Like most hotels, the Great Wolf Lodge makes booking a room quite simple. All you have to do is visit www.greatwolf.com/southerncalifornia, chose you the dates you want to stay, pick out your room, and fill in your information, done and done. Easy right? Wait, it gets better.
Say you’re on a budget, like myself, or just would like to save some money. Well, the Great Wolf Lodge offers some amazing deals and packages through Groupon. I actually booked through Groupon for our stay and saved quite a bit of money, which was amazing! Granted, these packages are not always available so make sure you check the Groupon site frequently. Believe me, it’s totally worth it.
Another great way to save is to browse the “special offers” section of the Great Wolf website. Or you can the discounts sent straight to your phone by signing up for the newsletter. Since subscribing I have received offers up to 50% off! So if for any reason Groupon fails you, make sure to check these options out.
A day prior to your stay, the resort will email you the option of mobile check-in. Although I was not able to utilize it myself, the mobile check-in line was SIGNIFICANTLY shorter than the front desk check-in. So take advantage of it if you can. But even if the check-in line is long, the staff at the Great Wolf Lodge does a wonderful job at making it a hassle-free experience.
One of the very first impressions I got from the resort was the way check-in was handled. Even though I showed up during peak check-in hours, the line ran rather smoothly. The front desk was fully staffed and took guests promptly. They even had two employees handing out complimentary cookies and wolf ears! You don’t know how amazing and helpful that is when you have kids dying to run to the waterpark.
With a snack in hand and wolf ears on, the kids made no complaints when waiting to get our room. But wait, it gets even better. If the cookies and wolf ears don’t do the trick, they even provide periodic activities for the kids in the lobby. When we arrived the kids were able to join a drawing class. Which gave me a wonderful break from “CAN WE GO TO THE WATERPARK YET??!?!”
All in all, I had such a great first impression of the resort. From booking to check-in it was all so seamless, all we had to do was focus on having fun!
Once we had checked-in and were given our wristbands (which not only gave us access to the waterpark but to our room as well!) we settled into our room. For being a standard room, it was not too shabby at all. Included was a refrigerator, big screen tv, dining table and even a pull-out couch. Which worked out perfectly since we had a few visitors.
I was completely shocked by just how massive the waterpark turned out to be when I finally saw it. With over a dozen water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, a “water fort tree house,” a surf simulator, and other splash related activities, the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark had something for every age group. But one of the best parts was the lifevests were provided complimentary! How amazing is that?!
Besides not having to worry about your little one’s water safety, feeding them is another thing you won’t have to worry about. The Great Wolf Lodge does a great job at providing multiple food options. Whether you chose to eat poolside or not, the Great Wolf Lodge has you covered.
The most convenient option is to order directly from Buckets Incredible Craveables or Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill. Buckets is a great option for the kids or anyone who is craving a burger, hot dog, pretzel, fries, or other yummy snacks. Grizzly Jack’s, on the other hand, is geared more towards adults with offerings like Cuban sliders, seared ahi tuna tacos, and of course cocktails!
If for any reason you don’t find those options to your liking, the Great Wolf Lodge has other dining outlets on the property. Of course, any food bought within the resort is permitted to be eaten poolside. Outside food, unfortunately, is not permitted. Bummer, I know. But, if you’re sneaky enough, there are ways to getting your own snacks in. Just don’t expect to pack a cooler and think they’ll let you through the doors.
Anyways, back to the waterpark.
With so many activities, it’s hard to keep the kids in just one place for too long. Although I did manage one day solo, it was tremendously helpful when my sisters came to help. So, if you can, make sure to invite some helpful hands! The more eyes on the kiddos the better, especially since the waterpark can get extremely busy.
Speaking of which, another suggestion for tackling the waterpark is to try to get there early; especially if you want a prime spot to place your belongings. Even though we never had an issue with finding a chair, all the centrally located chairs were taken long before we arrived. So if it just so happens you’re traveling with a large group, or just want to keep an eye on your stuff, getting to the park early is best. But if you’re like us and aren’t early risers, no need to worry, the Great Wolf Lodge offers lockers for all personal belongings.
If you have water babies like me, then dragging the kids away from the waterpark is going to be a bit of an issue. Luckily, the Great Wolf Lodge provides even more activities that are included with your stay!
WAKE UP WITH WILEY-Join Wiley the Wolf and friends for some morning activities like yoga, wolfercise, wolf walk, and the forest friends show.
LUNCHTIME LINEUP– If you need a midday break check out the lobby to join in on such fun as face painting, critter cartoon drawing, balloon twisting, and other “paws on” projects.
PJ PARTY AND STORY TIME– Celebrate a day well spent with a pajama party and bedtime story with your favorite forest friends.
Besides the enormous waterpark and hands-on activities, the Great Wolf Lodge has even more to offer! Make sure to check out these additional attractions for fun for the whole family!
MAGIQUEST- try this immersive game as you explore the lodge and complete various quests along the way.
TEN PAW ALLEY– a bowling alley made especially for kids!
LAZER FRENZY– navigate a maze while jumping and dodging lasers.
HOWL AT THE MOON GLOW GOLF– check out this glow-in-the-dark mini golf course that has all your favorite woodland creatures.
NORTHERN LIGHTS ARCADE– arcade games and prizes, what more can you want?!
CREATION STATION-just like Build-a-Bear but you get to create your own Wiley the Wolf and friends stuffed animal.
HOWLY WOOD XD THEATER– a fully immersive 4D movie experience for the whole family.
THE GREAT WOLF LODGE, A YES OR A NO?
As you can tell, the Great Wolf Lodge is not a place that can be conquered overnight. With a massive waterpark, activities for the kids, and an assortment of eateries, the Great Wolf Lodge covers all the bases.
So would we go again? If you haven’t already guessed the answer is YES!
Even though our vacation was short it filled with activities and fun. From check-in to check-out there were no complaints from the girls or myself. The only regret we had was not being able to check out all the attractions the Great Wolf Lodge had to offer.
Whether you need a vacation spot this summer or just a quick getaway, we definitely recommend the Great Wolf Lodge. The kids will love it and so will you! In fact, mine are still are talking about it 2 months later so I must have done something right!