Howling Holidays

Between bouts of illness, we had about 24 hours to squeeze in some fun last weekend. The planets aligned just in time for us to head out on a short vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA. They were hosting a special blogger event with discounted pricing and a blogger breakfast meet-up and we couldn’t pass up the chance to go back there. We had so much fun the last time.
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This time they were promoting their Snowland experience, the lodge decorated from top to bottom with snowflakes, sparkles and lights. Santa was there and a few times a day they did a “holiday show” and had a real fake indoor snowfall. Of course it also still had wolves and things that are great and lodge-like things. Hence the name.

gwl5I’m a big fan of Great Wolf Lodge. I love the way my kids’ gray matter explodes when we go there. They can’t put into words how much fun they’re having but they keep spontaneously giggling and their faces are split into ridiculous half-insane grins the entire time. Since we got home, Magoo’s been saying “Thank you for the Great Wolf Lodge,” every single night in his prayers. I also really like that all the employees, no matter what their job title, greet you and make eye contact when they see you in the halls.

There were a few things I don’t like. I don’t like this:
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The check-in line was insane. It’s nice that business is so good at the Lodge but they need to find a more efficient way to process all those visitors.

I’m also not a fan of animatronics.
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We missed the nightly story time last year because we were frolicking in the water. This year we were sure to dry off and get there in time for what turned out to be sort of an underwhelming, hard to hear, semi-creepy animatronics extravaganza followed by a real live story time. The kids enjoyed it but I think they would have been happier in the water. I know I would have.
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Wanda shocked us all by tolerating the whole experience quite well. Being inside the water park itself was like stepping into a giant white-noise machine and put her quickly to sleep. She was warm enough in her little swimmy suit with a towel wrapped around her and in a year she’ll be having a blast in the kiddy area. Her only trouble came late that night when everyone else was sleeping and she wanted me to stay up and rock her on the couch while watching Jeopardy on mute.

You know how unfulfilling it is to watch Jeopardy on mute and never know if your answers are right? What is – VERY frustrating? Luckily within minutes of starting that late night ritual I got a text from one of my blogging mom friends who was hanging out with some of our ladies down in the restaurant. They’d all put their children away and were enjoying some nocturnal girl time. They took turns passing Wanda around until she was zonked and I headed back upstairs and put her to bed. It was lovely and much more fun than mute Jeopardy.

Overall I’d still recommend taking a trip to a GWL if you have one near you. Your kids are guaranteed to have an awesome time and you’ll likely enjoy yourself too, especially if you like your children. Personally, I’d rather go when they’re back to doing what they do best without all the plasticky holiday noise. I don’t really want my kids to associate Christmas with lavish water parks and crazed animatronic moose and trees singing carols. I guess I’d rather have them associate it with storm troopers and old dead artificial foliage.

Read my other review for more details on why we’ll likely be back. Also – a tip – pay for the buffet for one meal and then bring the rest of your food from home. The restaurant was okay but nothing fabulous and it’s worth the money to watch your kids freak out over the sheer volume of choices they have to choose from in the buffet.

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