Real Family Review GWL

My family and I were finally able to find time for a quick getaway to the Great Wolf Lodge New England.  We stayed for 3 days, 2 nights in a Wolf Den Suite so I thought I’d share our experiences with you!  Please note that this not a paid review, it’s just my thoughts on our time spent.

Check-in. We arrived a few minutes before 4 pm, the official check-in time.  There was a line of about 10 guests before us and we waited approximately 15 minutes for our turn at the counter.  The reservation agent was very helpful and even gave us a couple coupons for a mini sweet dessert at The Lodge when I mentioned it was Miss O and Mr. O’s birthdays.  Our room was not ready yet, so Mr. O stayed with our bags while Miss O and I took a walk to explore.  I received a text about 10 minutes later letting me know it was ready and we headed straight in.

Note: Our experience with check-in may not be the norm since we traveled on a very busy weekend (the hotel was sold out), and we were arriving immediately following a blizzard, which probably had many people arriving at the same time.  They do offer online advance check-in, but due to the weather we didn’t use it in case we had to reschedule.  I will also say that the staff at the main telephone line was extremely gracious about rescheduling and gave us until 4 pm on the day of our reservation to make our decision to go or not.

Rooms.  We had a Wolf Den Suite in the Howlin’ Timber building.  The rooms are right off the timber play area, which is open to the public, and are quite loud until the play area closes at 9 pm.  That wasn’t a problem for us, but some families might want a quieter space.  The room itself was adorable.  Miss O was thrilled with her little Wolf Den area and we liked that it gave us privacy after she went to bed.  There were lots of cute details that made the room very “wolfy”.

 Great Wolf Room

Food.  This was the most disappointing part of our trip.  The food was okay – just okay – and very expensive.  We were told that reservations are suggested for The Lodge Wood Fired Grill – how true!  The Lodge is the only true restaurant in the resort and it’s relatively small.  It was fully booked through all the busy times, all 3 meals.  When The Lodge is booked, the lines at all the other food shops get quite long (20 minutes or more), even for Dunkin Donuts.  Given that Great Wolf builds its resorts in towns with few options in terms of dining and entertainment, I expect there to be enough seats and faster service.

Water Parks.  There are 2 water park areas (in the New England lodge), both with activities for all ages.  My 4-year-old loved the Fort Mackenzie play area and spent over an hour going down one slide after another.  There’s also the Cub Paw Pool, which she liked, but the slides weren’t as big so she moved on pretty quickly.  There’s a wave pool, lazy river, water sports area, multiple large slides for big kids and adults, and a sauna.  I’m told there’s also an outdoor water area, but the entire region was under several feet of snow during our visit, so I’ll have to take their word for it.

Activites & Entertainment.  The lodge is jam packed with things to do, some included, some not.  Every room include passes to the water parks and the ropes courses – there is one for big kids and grown ups and one for little kids too.  The Forrest Friends show is cute and is followed by an appearance by a lodge character.  There are also a few extras like the laser tag and movie ride for older kids.  There are lots of short activities in the grand lobby if you need a break from the chaos of the play area or arcade.

Wrist bands.  The people at Great Wolf Lodge are geniuses.  The wrist bands issued to every family member at check-in make it so convenient to get around and make purchases.  The bands are your room keys, passes to the water park, and if you leave a credit card on file, your method of payment for all the shops and restaurants in the resort.  They’re very convenient for guests and the park because they let you spend without thinking.  Convenient, but not great for your wallet.


Wands.  Kids 5 and up can go on a quest throughout the lodge, using their wands to play games and get clues.  Wands are ~$20 and play packs are extra, but kids get a kick out of finding their next clue.  Mr. O wasn’t impressed with the functionality of Miss O’s wand – it only activated a handful of things – but Miss O was pretty happy with it.  There’s a racoon, rabbit, and squirrels in the lobby that will dance when you wave the wand at them.

The verdict?  We would definitely go back, maybe with another couple.  Our 3 days, 2 nights was a good trip length, though an extra day would have been nice.  All told we had a great time, and Great Wolf offers a lot of activities that families can enjoy together.  We can definitely use more of that!

There are also some changes I would make next time, like asking for a room in the larger hotel, bringing more of our own food, and bringing a drying rack for bathing suits.  Next week I’ll be posting some tips for getting the most out of your time, so stay tuned!

Real Family Review GWL 2

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