Earlier this week, our family visited Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. We had heard such great things about it, we just had to see what it was all about, so we planned an end-of-the-summer trip to visit.
Overall, we had a great time and will most definitely visit again (it reminded us a lot of a Mohegan Sun for kids), but there were a few things that we wished we had known before our vacation, so I wanted to share them on CNC just in case you are debating a trip to GWL with your toddler. Just a heads up: While this post is not sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge, our family received a discounted media rate for our overnight accommodations. And, as always, all opinions are my own.
Great Wolf Lodge makes travel really easy and convenient for families.
I could seriously go on and on about how easy and convenient GWL made things for our family. They really had us covered– everything from 15-minute parking and luggage carts right by the front door to resort bracelets that also acted as room keys and a variety of room options to fit your family’s size and budget.
There was even a Dunkin Donuts INSIDE the resort. (Of course, we loved this amenity.) GWL really thought of everything to make our stay enjoyable.
The Water Park
We spent the majority of our stay at the water park, and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. There were plenty of slides and rides for “big kids” (adults included), but there was also a separate “Cub Paw Pool” for smaller children, which was perfect for toddlers. It had plenty of tiny kiddie slides and toys, the water was shallow and only 18″ in the “deep” end, so we didn’t have to worry about Quinn hurting himself/falling into the water or bigger kids getting a little too rowdy around him.
GWL is accommodating to all ages
We knew GWL was geared toward kids both young and old, but we were especially surprised that so many of the attractions and activities were appropriate for a 2-year-old. Our favorites: water park (obviously), arcade, bowling, kiddie rides, and “The Forest Friends Show.” We did a lot, but we could have easily stayed an additional night and not have gotten bored!
Yikes. The food was not good, both quality- and service-wise. I wasn’t expecting 5-star meals or anything like that, but the food was definitely sub-par. We went to dinner at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill, which was the “nicest” of the dining options. The menu looked decent with a number of tasty-sounding options, but what we were actually served was, well, sort of gross. I ordered the Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad, which was basically a bunch of greens with a crapton of shredded cheese, tomatoes, and like 5 pieces of plain grilled chicken breast… no green onions, black beans, crisp fried jalapeños, cilantro, barbeque sauce, or crisp onion strings like it was advertised. I almost sent it back, but we waited nearly 45-minutes for our food and, when you have a hungry toddler on your hands, 45 minutes is an eternity. By the time our food was served, we just wanted to eat and go. The restaurant wasn’t even crowded, so I’m not sure what happened. Our waitress disappeared for a good 15 minutes, so we couldn’t even ask for bread or crackers or something for Quinn to snack on. Dinner was kind of a disaster, so we hoped the breakfast buffet the next morning would be better. It was, but not by much. Again, the quality (and, this time, selection) of food just wasn’t great. There weren’t many healthy options and the food overall just wasn’t high-quality. Long story short, if you visit GWL, definitely pack some snacks or bring your own food (most rooms have mini fridges).
Silver lining from dinner: We were able to take our glasses of wine to go! #parentwin
Most activities don’t open until 9:00 AM
When you have an early bird toddler, who wakes up at 6:00 AM, waiting until 9:00 AM is kind of a long time. And when Qman woke up, he immediately started asking about the water park, so it made for an interesting morning.
Thankfully, the arcade never closes, so we killed some time there, went to breakfast at 7:30 AM, and then went back to the arcade until the water park opened. Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal, but just wanted to give the toddler parents a heads up. Bonus: Dunkin Donuts opens at 6:30 AM. I’m pretty sure we were their first customers of the day!
Check-in isn’t until 4:00 PM.
Again, this isn’t a huge deal, but I wish we had planned a little better and arrived earlier in the day, so we could have spent more time at the water park. (Pro tip: Wear your bathing suits to GWL and have the resort hold your luggage until check-in time.) By the time we checked in and got ourselves settled, there wasn’t much time left to play before we needed to eat dinner and get Qman to bed. Live and learn!
All in all, it was an awesome trip to Great Wolf Lodge and we can’t wait to visit again soon!