Great Wolf Lodge has been on our radar for awhile and we were excited to finally visit for Xander’s birthday this fall! We hit up the Poconos location and were ready for a weekend full of making memories.
Great Wolf Lodge did not disappoint!
Great Wolf delivers on the family fun big time! They have rides and activities for all ages that thrilled my 6 year old and 14 year old alike. Maybe even a couple of 40 year olds too.
For big families with a wide age range of kids variety is important!
The rustic lodge feel is fun and the enormous lobby with a welcoming fire makes you instantly glad you came. All of my kids were wowed driving up to it’s grand entrance.
The check in process went smoothly and we LOVED the wrist bands that served as your entry to the water park but also as your room key! No misplacing or losing your room key (we do this a lot).
You can even designate certain wristbands to be linked to your credit card so there was no need to carry cash or a card. Nice!
The enormous lobby area is where you can take in the daily shows (geared for the 10 and younger crowd) and makes for a great backdrop for family pics!
Our crew of 7 stayed in a Themed KidCabin Suite (it’s the only room that fits our family size).
Immediately the little guys were thrilled with the enclosed bunk bed area and private little TV.
The rooms are nicely sized and decorated with the rustic lodge/wolf motif and provide a microwave and mini fridge which we took full advantage of (more on this later).
Side note: Prepare yourselves for beds that go a bit beyond firm to just plain HARD.
The Queen bed for adults is fine (firm, but fine) but the beds in the bunk room and the pull out couch were pretty uncomfortable.
My little guys didn’t mind (they’ll sleep anywhere) but my three big kids weren’t fans.
Now for the fun part…
Braden’s (age 6) favorite feature of Great Wolf Lodge was the Slap Tail Pond, a giant wave pool! Or as he adorably called it, the ocean pool. Although he tried out all the rides he was tall enough for, he loves jumping waves and could have happily spent the whole weekend here.
Zion (age 7) is a bit more adventurous and his favorite ride was the Coyote Cannon, or as we all nicknamed it, the toilet. It’s basically a slide with a big drop down into a huge circular tub where you swirl around two or three times and then exit to the pool. We all loved this one!
The Hydro Plunge is a cool water roller coaster, and the River Canyon Run was a blast because it’s longer ride and 5 of us could fit on it at a time.
Maya (age 12), Xander (age 14) and Big Papi all had the same favorite ride and that was the Double Barrel! Lots of drops, twists and turns that make you feel like you’re gonna tip over. AND it’s mostly in the dark!
Maya chilling in Crooked Creek…
Request a room on the TOP floor! The Poconos location has 4 floors, we were on the 3rd floor and could hear a lot of overhead foot traffic until 11pm, which is when quiet hours start.
Request an ODD number room! Odd number rooms face the pretty view. Even numbers face the parking lot.
Go on a weekday to AVOID crowds! We scheduled our trip on a Friday and Saturday. Friday was noticeably less busier than Saturday.
Our crew tends to be a bit impatient so waiting for 30+ minutes to get on a 1 minute ride is a no go. Fortunately the lodge was not at full capacity the October weekend we went and the lines ranged from no wait at all to maybe 20 minutes on Saturday afternoon.
Keep in mind that early mornings (park opens at 9am) and late evenings (closes at 9pm) are also less busy!
Bring your OWN food! Like most vacation destinations you can quickly spend A LOT of money on food if you don’t bring your own.
Great Wolf Lodge has a nice variety of food options (from pizza and cheeseburgers to sushi, steak and seafood) but it ain’t cheap. The items we tried (kid fare like pizza and garlic bread) were tasty but pricey. Think $17 for a cheese pizza that only fed half of us (keep in mind we are a family of 7).
But there is good news!
Great Wolf Lodge provides an in room mini fridge and microwave. We planned ahead and brought our kids favorite cereals and donuts for breakfast. We stuck some milk and fresh fruit in the fridge and breakfast was covered.
Since we reserved with a 20% coupon plus a $50 lodge voucher, we ate lunch in the waterpark and used up every bit of that $50 without buying any drinks.
Side note: Although there is a sign when entering the waterpark, stating no outside food or drink in the waterpark, we saw plenty of families who brought in their own food. We even saw one family with a giant spread of Popeye’s. Staff walked right by and did not seem to mind.
We brought in our own snacks and sodas to the waterpark area without so much as a side eye from anyone. It seems the posted sign is more of a suggestion than a rule.
HOLIDAY travelers beware! Please know that if you choose to visit Great Wolf Lodge during Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s the lines WILL be long. Not just the ride lines but also the line to check in.
The holidays can be an especially magical time to visit Great Wolf Lodge as staff goes all out on decorating and creating themed experiences, but you have to weigh those pros with the cons of the crowds and the long lines.
For our family, we avoid crowds as much as possible so Great Wolf Lodge would not be our first choice holiday travel.
I’ll leave you with one last pro-tip!
When packing up your family to spend the weekend at a water park, remember your swimsuit! It isn’t enough to just remember your husband’s and all the children’s! If you forget your own suit, you’ll be forced to purchase a swimsuit from the Great Wolf Lodge swim store and spend $60 on a swimsuit you will never wear again. Ugh.
Hope you enjoyed reading our reviews and recommendations!
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