If you’re looking for an inexpensive, fun family vacation. Look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge. Living in Southern California, I had heard about a great new attraction opening up in Anaheim, CA. My friends raved about it and I had been dying to take Cash. A few weeks ago we got the opportunity to experience The Lodge and all its glory. The Lodge is a one of a kind hotel filled with endless hours of entertaining activities such as magic scavenger hunts, 5-star restaurants, build-a-bear workshops, arcades, and the biggest ticket attraction: a HUGE indoor waterpark.
You must be thinking: something like this is bound to come with a Disneyland price tag. WRONG. Great Wolf Lodge is extremely affordable and well-worth the money spent. The only catch is that you must be a guest of the hotel to experience all the amenities. Room rates vary but at about $200 a night, that includes a room + passes for the waterpark from the moment you check in + free wifi + kids activities. Let’s dive into Great Wolf Lodge….
The Waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge
First off, the waterpark at GWL is huge. I’m talking 105,000-square-foot huge. We walked in and even my jaw dropped. I had no idea that this huge of a water park existed in this hotel. The waterpark is completely enclosed and the temperature is set at a nice warm 80-ish degrees. It is packed full of giant water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and a toddler area. Most water parks I’ve been to are gross; I’m not even going to sugar coat it. They reek of chlorine, there’s loose hair everywhere, and debris in the cloudy chlorine water. I told you – gross. However, this was not the case at Great Wolf Lodge. One of the first things I noticed was how clean the water park was. The second thing I noticed was the bar. Yes, a family-friendly place that also caters to adults.
I would hope that no one gets sloshed, because after all this is a place where families go. But it’s your vacation too, relax a little! Added bonus that there’s no driving necessary (you have to be staying at the hotel to be at the waterpark).
Side note: They provide you with everything you need to have the best experience: towels, food, drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), floaties, and much more.
Our favorite parts of the waterpark were the lazy river (shallow enough for a 3’8″ toddler to stand in) and the wave pool. Cash needed a life vest but he had a blast riding the waves. He was able to do certain slides but not all of them due to his height.
The Dining at Great Wolf Lodge
The dining is divine; hands down. I would recommend eating at The Lodge Wood Fired Grill where executive Chef Hany will rock your tastebuds! We got to sample their new Summer menu which included 5-star sandwiches, salads, and burgers. GWL also has a character breakfast, pizza joints, wine and food pairings, and so many more delicious spots.
The Attractions at Great Wolf Lodge
If you’re anything like me, you might assume that the waterpark is the only attraction at the Great Wolf Lodge. Wrong again. The water park is by far the biggest attraction but not the only attraction. The Lodge has this thing called a Paw Pass where you purchase one of the three tiered packages in advance and you save big on everything the hotel has to offer. With our $79 Paw Pass, we got a MagiQuest Game with our choice of magic wand, a Creation Station animal we got to build, 20 paw points at the arcade, 12oz. of candy, goggles for the water park, a glitter tattoo, and a leather bracelet with Cash’s name etched into it.
This Paw Pass alone kept us busy for 4 hours and then another 2 hours at the waterpark. If Cash were about 11+ years old, I probably would have let him run around the hotel by himself redeeming his Paw Pass.
We had a spectacular time. As SoCal residents, we’ve done the whole Legoland experience, Disneyland Passes, San Diego Zoo, you name it, we’ve done it. And hands down Great Wolf Lodge would be my recommendation for anyone looking to book a vacation to Southern California. I think the Great Wolf Lodge is best for kids ages 3 – 15 to get the optimal fun experience.