We had a great week in the land of Great Wolf Lodge social media.  

We hit the 300,000 fan mark on our Facebook page, we have over 3 million video views on YouTube and we now have over 9,000 followers on Twitter.  

To thank all of our Facebook fans and Twitter followers (and those of you who don't follow us but still tweet your love), I put together this video of some of our favorite moments from this week in Great Wolf Lodge social media.

Tweet us @GreatWolfLodge or follow us on Facebook to be a part of the action. 

Great Wolf Pack Members participate in Bowl for Kids Sake

Last night the Corporate Team and the Customer Contact Center Team from Great World Lodge joined together for a howling good time as we took part in the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake, benefiting Big Brother Big Sisters.

Since 2009, we have participated in the fun event. Over 100 Pack Members have taken part and last night’s theme celebrated the ‘80’s.  Pack Members came dressed in attire inspired by the era, ready for a night “Livin’ on a spare.”  (Bad pun, I know. I just couldn’t help myself.)

We had a great time! Even a few “future” Pack Members joined their parents, and utilized the bumper option on the lanes. I wish I could have done the same. The evening was complete with contests for bowling “Granny style”, bowling backwards and for hitting a strike when a colored pin appeared at the end of the alley. Truly, there is no better way to spend time with your colleagues than by bonding over frustrating splits and gutter balls, and knowing that with each frame, you are helping others. This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake raised over $13,000 for the local Madison agency, and we are proud to have taken part!

Great Wolf Pack Members participate in Bowl for Kids Sake

For the past three years, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has been the Great Wolf Lodge official non-profit charity partner. As a company that works every day to provide smiles and happy memories to children, it means a great deal to us to work with a charity that is as focused on childhood experiences as we are. Our Pack Members embrace BBBS and take part in many ways; from serving on the local agency Boards in resort communities, to volunteering as a “Big”, to hosting special events on property each year, we are proud to raise money for this amazing organization. Last year alone, Great Wolf Lodge raised over $200,000!

As a guest of Great Wolf Lodge, you can help us support Big Brothers Big Sisters. Next time you book your reservation online, please consider adding a $5 donation. You can also make a donation to the organization as you check-in at your local resort. 

Now, with my jelly bracelets, asymmetrical sunglasses and fluorescent nail polish back in storage, I can’t help but smile as I think of the great time we had last night. We work together, we play together and we help our community. Truly “You just can’t get enough” of the Pack!

 

Fun at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, Texas

Another fun time at Great Wolf Lodge for Davien, Dawson, and Jackson. Mom took them for another fantastic trip for Spring Break, and I (NaNa) got to tag along...with the camera, of course! I love watching them have fun and there is so much of it at your lodge. My son lives close and came out to add more fun for his nephews. They love Uncle Al! This was the second trip for the little ones and both of them started howling like wolves when they saw the wolves at the front of the lodge. It was a priceless moment. This was the first time we got the Paw Pass for the little ones, and we did everything on it, too. They loved the MagiQuest and really liked their magic wands with the dragon toppers on them. (NaNa bought those) They enjoyed the water slides and even got to see Wiley, the mascot. Yes, I got a cute picture of them and have it on their wall in their room.  Another favorite part was getting to pick out a stuffed animal and watch it come to life in their arms. We came home with Wiley and a Dragon and they sleep with them every night. Davien, the oldest brother, has been more often but still likes all the fun and enjoys time with his little brothers. Thank you for making Great Wolf Lodge so much fun and safe for our little ones. The staff was great and made us feel special. I knew the life guards were watching my angel babies at all times and that made me like it even more. We will be back for more fun and will get the Paw Pass again and do all the fun all over again! You should see all my pictures! :)


Name: Alene Davis
City: Texarkana
State: Texas
Email: alidavis97@yahoo.com
Lodge: Grapevine, TX

 

Project Green WolfWith the four year anniversary of Project Green Wolf approaching, all of us at Great Wolf Lodge continue to celebrate the distinction as the first national hotel chain to have all properties achieve Green Seal™ Certification – Silver.

Project Green Wolf at Pocono Mountains Great Wolf Lodge

I can remember the first year we celebrated this momentous occasion at the resorts. Each lodge planted their own tree in front of the lodge. It was also during this Earth Day celebration that Wiley the Wolf was introduced in his new Project Green Wolf gear. With his help, the all the lodges have maintained their standard of environmental sustainability while not compromising the guest experience.

In 2007, Great Wolf Resorts started reducing energy and water usage across its properties as part of the Green Seal Certification process. After implementing a variety of energy-saving business practices, the company is proud to report a reduced electricity consumption of more than 1.5 million kWH in 2009.  Gas usage was also reduced by 234,806 Therms for the year. Lastly, reduced water usage resulted in an overall savings of nearly 4.5 million gallons in 2009.  Most recently, some lodges have initiated their own battery recycle programs, composting and food sharing with local non-profits were permitted.

Although the Green Seal Certification only applies to the lodging portion of Great Wolf Lodge, we are dedicated to creating “greener” waterparks through our Project Green Wolf efforts. This includes  management of fresh water resources, waste minimization, energy efficiency, environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing, and guest education.

What did you do to celebrate Earth Day with your family? 

 

Happy Moms Pack the Pack:  If there is one thing we don’t have much of around here, it’s “co-workers”, but who needs them when you have a Pack?  Co-workers are those things that have a cube near yours and give a stiff “hello” upon meeting you in a break room.  A pack is a group of people that work together and drive each other forward, with speed, support and passion. 

Apparently we are recognized as a happy bunch too!  I recently had someone from another floor in our office building enter the elevator with me.  He looked at me and pressed “7” for himself and “6” for me.  Wondering how he knew where I worked, I checked myself for any sign of Great Wolf wear, paws or logos – I wore none.  He just smiled and said “I know you Great Wolf people, you’re the ones that always look so happy to be coming to work.”  This is true.

Time for Your Family, Time for My Family:   It’s no secret that Great Wolf Lodge changes with the seasons.  We enjoy the waves of families during summer and welcome them in for our Snowland celebration in the winter.  Our promise is to make time for your family, and we are so excited to share your vacation with you no matter the season. 

My non-Great Wolf family experiences seasons too.  We have sick days and vacation times (it’s not always at Great Wolf Lodge, but yes, my family enjoys its fair share of the waterpark).  We have school programs to attend and family to help.  And, Great Wolf wants me to be spending time with my family too. 

Howlin' at home

It’s Fun to Share:  Like most parents, sometimes I need to bring my work home with me.  But to me it isn’t work, its fun.  And I get to share the fun with my kids.  We talk about the Great Wolf characters a lot – we color their pictures (you can print them online at greatwolfkids.com), review their factoids from our trading cards (coming to the Lodges soon!), and play with the plush versions. And just like at the lodges, story time includes a lot of howling.

And that nagging feeling – every working mother knows it – of “where should I be right now?” is balanced a little more every time we share.  I love my kids and I love my work.  But there is an added bonus at Great Wolf Lodge – my kids love my work and even my work loves my kids.  How’s that for a love triangle?

For me, there isn’t a work life and a home life.  I just have a life – and I love howling through every minute of it.

Hi All
My family and I have been going to the Great Wolf Lodge for many years. We started with the intention of having some good old family fun which we have at the Great Wolf.  Over the years we have celebrated many events: birthday, anniversaries and we are again going this year in August and celebrating our daughter's Sweet 16. The Great Wolf Lodge is great for any age it's safe, the staff is fantastic and the food is excellent. We love it and if you have never been there look into it you won't be disappointed!!! I would like to say a special thank you to Laura who has been fantastic to my family. See you see at the Great Wolf!!!!


Name: Marie
City: No White Plains
State: NY
Email: mbobmarie@optonline.net
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA

In my first post I wrote about being a new member of the Great Wolf Lodge Pack. I’m also a new guest to the Great Wolf Lodge experience. Recently, my husband, eight month old son and I enjoyed our very first experience at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge.

Our family suite was wonderful! Not only did we have a king size bed, but we also had an inroom Jacuzzi, fireplace and complimentary refrigerator and coffee maker. I was also pleased that we were able to borrow a safe “Pack and Play” by calling Guest Services.  

My husband and I love waterparks and we were excited to explore the Lodge’s. We started at the North and South Hot Springs whirlpools. Aiden loves to “swim” in our arms and soon he was bobbing away.

Our next stop was Fort Mackenzie. Aiden is too young to splash through the 4-story interactive tree house but he did smile big when the 1,000 gallon bucket spilled over. We all enjoyed Slap Tail Pond, the Lodge’s wave pool. Listen for the howl that signals big waves are coming!

While we did not experience the “thrill” rides this time, we had a lot of fun. I was pleasantly surprised by the relaxing atmosphere; it wasn’t loud, overwhelming or uninviting. It was a true indoor water playland!

Next we played MagiQuest®. The interactive game is part scavenger hunt, part live action, part video game. We purchased one wand, complete with a cool armillary topper, and shared it on Aiden’s behalf.

MagiQuest is quite unique. We had fun reading the quests, searching for clues, collecting coins and elevating Aiden to “High Score of the Day”. I think we also underestimated how quickly we would become competitive with each other.  

We enjoyed dinner at the Loose Moose Bar & Grill. We had not yet put away our MagiQuest wand and soon discovered we could make a raccoon swing from the ceiling. What a fun surprise - the wand even has powers in other areas around the Lodge! 

The one souvenir I wanted from our stay was a pair of wolf ears. While a set of ears comes with a children’s meal, you can purchase them a la carte. I bought three pairs! 

Our visit ended much too quickly and I can definitely see why a Great Wolf Lodge visit is best for multiple nights. There was so much to do. As a Pack Member, and as a guest, I cannot wait for our next Great Wolf Lodge getaway!

Susie

 

I'm hanging out with my new BFF - Oliver Raccoon - as he prepares for his upcoming stay at Great Wolf Lodge.  Oliver's arrival has been a plan in the works since early last summer, and he is more ready than ever for his debut event: Oliver's Big Day, scheduled for April 14, 2012.  Join him for a DJ Dance Party, Story Time appearances and lots of fun surprises!  Visit greatwolf.com/oliver for complete event details at a lodge near you. 

And just what is Oliver Raccoon most excited about for his visit to Great Wolf LodgeMagiQuest, of course!  He has an amazing collection of wand toppers, featuring the most powerful secrets to defeat the mighty dragon. From the looks of his suitcase, he's going to pack them all!

My personal favorites about Oliver are found in his quiet, heroic personality.  Oliver is the younger brother of Rachel Raccoon, and where she is the more talkative of the two, Oliver keeps things pretty quiet.  But when asked, this little genius is just FULL of information.  His zillions of zippers on his cargo shorts and nifty camper vest are always full of techie devices.  When planning building projects like forts or waterparks, his little detailed calculations always help things turn out just right.

Speaking of planning... my kids - crazed with excitement - have already brought out the suitcase in preparation for our own visit to meet Oliver on April 14 at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge.  Swimsuits - check.  MagiQuest wands - check.  And for this special visit, I'm packing the orange shirts and cargo gear to dress my kiddos up just like their new buddy Oliver.  Great Wolf is hosting an Oliver Look-A-Like Contest and you can join the fun too.  Snap pics of your family dressed up like Oliver and find the details to enter online.  Enter for a chance to win an Oliver Prize Pack and an overnight stay at any Great Wolf Lodge.

You can learn more about Oliver Raccoon and all of his friends at greatwolfkids.com.  Play fun games, find out what's new and grab some activities for your drive to the lodge! 

 

  

 

We love the Great Wolf Lodge. It is our happy place. We just returned from our 7th visit there and I just have to say this....When we arrived my husband and I were exhausted. However, the moment I heard the squeals of delight and "howls" of laughter from my children, and my husband (!), all that seemed to melt away. The staff have always been so kind to us, and we have always been treated much better than we deserve when we visit. THANK YOU would never be enough for all they have done for us. Really, we have never been treated so well by any establishment. My children have their favorite slides, the wave pool, the arcade, it is too hard to narrow it down to one favorite because there's so much to do. My husband, well, he likes the big Howlin' Tornado slide and the "Wolf it Down" pizza meal we eat in our room. Me, my favorite could be the Dunkin' Donuts coffee in the morning, or it could be the fact that when we visit the Great Wolf Lodge it is not just a fun family vacation for the kids, it is a great mental vacation from all stress for mom and dad. You just can't put a price tag on that!

Name: Kerry Ogrodowczyk
City: Hickory
State: NC
Email: 4ogies@gmail.com
Lodge: Charlotte/Concord, NC

 

We made our first trip to the Poconos to stay at Great Wolf Lodge with another family and quickly found ourselves having a blast. Our trip had to be extended because a foot and a half of snow dropped on us. But being inside the waterpark in the 84 degrees made it the best snow storm we have ever had. The six children that we had there enjoyed the arcade, spa, bakery and MagiQuest too. The staff was beyond awesome scrambling to find their own staff rooms to camp out in overnight they helped us extend our stay for two extra days making it ever so more awesome. We are so excited about a return trip back to the Lodge soon.


   

Name: Krista Gill-Snyder
City: North East
State: MD - Maryland
Email: kristas2kids@yahoo.com
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA


 

 

Who doesn’t enjoy slaying dragons and collecting all the runes? I sure do, and I can’t wait to try out the latest addition to MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge...Topper Powers.

When magi select their wand in the store, they have the option of adding some pizzazz to their wand with a themed topper. This spring, guest at all the properties with MagiQuest will see their wand topper gain abilities that affect the game in a various fun ways.

For example, the topper on my wand - the Majestic Pink Gem and Crown - will now allow me to win the pixie adventure in one cast. Also, when I duel the red dragon, the topper will allow one resurrection when I’m out of healing mana. I don't know about you, but any help I can get with the red dragon is great!

Some of these powers even have a chance to recharge while playing the game while others are only a one time use. While the toppers vary a little from property to property, you can expect to see some combination of the following (with powers listed) –

  • Red Dragon & Dragon Gem – Power to one Silver Dragon with the fire burst
  • Majestic Pink Gem & Crown – One cast to win Pixie adventure & one resurrection when dueling the red dragon
  • Unicorn & Horn – cause Magic to spread through the realm
  • Trixter – spread the “power of laughter” through the kingdom – will give every screen a joke and tell which Magi brought this bit of laughter your way
  • Blue Claw – Xavier’s “draining” magic; steal mana from other Magi
  • Armillary – ability to get hints at select status stations through the Kingdom
  • Skull & Dark Stone – beat back the red dragon with a laughing skull of light

Locations with some variety of the toppers listed above include: Charlotte/Concord, Cincinnati/Mason, Grand Mound, Grapevine, Kansas City, Pocono Mountains, Traverse City, Williamsburg and Wisconsin Dells.

MagiQuest has always been a blast to play, and the addition of Topper Powers increases the ways you can interact with the experience. I can’t wait to go try out my new topper power at the Wisconsin Dells Lodge. How about you?

We are happy to announce the Grand Prize Winner of our Spring Surprises Video Contest—Debbie McFadden of Towson, Maryland. 

Debbie’s video features her daughter, Haley, and her 9th birthday surprise.  Debbie and her husband waited until the night before Haley’s big day to surprise her with a trip to the lodge

“I’m glad I taped her opening her card. I just figured it would be nice to get her reaction. I never thought she would get so emotional!” Debbie told us, “It showed us how much she appreciated it and how much she must have loved her first trip.”

Staying true to the contest theme, Debbie and her husband surprised Haley when they told her their video had won.

“We waited until Haley got home from school and told her we needed to talk to her. She asked us, ‘Did I do something wrong?’…we made her wait it out a little!”

Once they told her the video was the winning entry, Haley screamed (again) and jumped up and down with excitement.

Debbie and her family will receive a two-night stay, plus meals, at the Great Wolf Lodge of their choice.  And in case you were wondering, Haley’s BFF Bridget will be joining the family on their trip back to the Williamsburg, Virginia Lodge.

 

Visit our YouTube channel to view our top 5 finalists.

Great Wolf Lifeguards Deserve a Howl!

At Great Wolf Lodge, the safety of our guests is our number one priority. Every day, families come to our resorts to play in our waterparks and make lasting memories. Our Great Wolf Pack Members are a key part to delivering these safe and fun experiences.

Great Wolf lifeguards are among our most visible Pack Members. It is their job to ensure that our guests are safe while they enjoy our indoor waterparks. To help in these efforts, Great Wolf works with Ellis & Associates, a third party consultant that specializes in aquatics safety. In addition to assisting with our training programs, Ellis & Associates conducts random audits of our guards at work, to ensure key practices and procedures are being used.

Each year, Ellis & Associates announces its list of “Golden Guards” – lifeguards around the country who epitomize what it means to be a great lifeguard. Leadership, knowledge, and teamwork are areas that the guards are rated on. This year ten Great Wolf Lodge lifeguards earned the honor.

Great Wolf Lodge sends a collective “Howl!” of congratulations to the following Pack Member guards who work each day to provide a safe, fun waterpark experience for our guests.

  

Nathan Hughes and Zyra Edwards from our Niagara Falls Lodge

When it comes to creating family memories the first place that comes into my mind is one of our family's favorite places to visit, Great Wolf Lodge Poconos. It's somewhere that all the kids want to visit and everyone can have fun as a family. Since my children are all 8 years apart, sometimes it's hard to find a place that appeals to everyone. Great Wolf Lodge makes it so easy!

I can't even begin to choose a favorite trip or memory from GWL. We have so many! We have visited for special birthdays, Halloween, winter snow tubing, and Snowland!

Our most recent trip was to celebrate Valentine's Day. I could not have thought of a better place to be. Great Wolf Lodge just warms my heart. We had a little celebration in our room. Staying in the Fireplace Loft just made the trip, with two floors of happiness. There is something about Great Wolf Lodge that lets the love in our family shine. Maybe it's all the quality time we get to spend together.

Our family had so much fun checking out the new Main Street while we were there. We loved the Ten Paw Alley, even though the kids won and I came in last! I guess that only means we have to get back there for a rematch! My daughter was strolling the halls with her new best friend, Sammy. She made her as part of the Story Explorers! My son had a blast, as usual, with MagiQuest! He finally beat the dragon and was pretty excited about that! As for hubby and I, spending a few days together with everyone, uninterrupted was priceless!

Of course everyone's favorite part of the trip was the water park! Between the slides, the wave pool and the splashes, I could not have asked for anything more! As for my husband and I, there is no greater joy then spending time with our three children and seeing them just enjoying life. It doesn't get any better! If I had to choose one place to make family memories, it would be Great Wolf Lodge. When I am there, life just can not be any better! Thanks for the memories GWL! We'll be back in the future to make more!

Name: Diane Sullivan
City: Harrison
State: NJ
Email: elgeorgia@aol.com
Lodge: Pocono Mountains, PA

As one of the newest members of the Great Wolf Lodge Pack, I have been excited and enamored with all things, “Wolf!” During my first week, I took part in Wolfology; that’s Great Wolf Lodge-speak for “employee onboarding.”

The class took part at our Wisconsin Dells Lodge, and included two of my colleagues from the Corporate Office and several new employees from our many important resort areas. Over the years, I have taken new employee classes at other companies. While each had its own spin and tone – no such class ever asked me to howl before!

As a guest at our lodges, you have probably learned how to “Stomp, stomp, clap, clap, HOWWWLLL” – but did you know that pack members do it, too? We even have our own little version of the Howl that is slightly different at each lodge. For instance, the Wisconsin Dells Lodge is our first Great Wolf location. Pack members in the Dells proudly say, “Stomp, stomp, clap, clap, Howl! Number one!”  Our Grapevine, Texas Lodge pack members welcome all new pack members by taking them to the lobby and having them yell, “Stomp, stomp, clap, clap, Howl! Yee-hah, y’all!” I love that!

Wolfology then went on to discuss the Great Wolf Guest. With are so many options for family entertainment these days, we are honored each time you choose us. It truly is our responsibility to do all we can to ensure that our properties are clean, inviting, exciting and as wonderful as our advertising makes us out to be. We must exceed our guests’ expectations. Call me a little geeky – but that makes me proud. (More on that later when I write about my first experience as a guest.)

Soon, we were knee deep in Great Wolf Lodge lingo: “pack members” – employees of Great Wolf Lodge; “dens” – employee offices; “wolf wear” – employee uniforms. Do you like to give the celebratory High Five from time to time? At Great Wolf Lodge, we give the “High Paw.” Teach your kids to do it tonight! Start with your hand open, palm facing out. Then, bend each finger inward at the knuckles. Lastly, raise your paw and howl. You can’t help but smile as you do it.

Welcome to our pack!

Susie

Visit YouTube and search “Great Wolf Lodge Surprise”.  You will find page after page filled with videos of parents surprising their kids with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge.

What a fun idea.  Plan a trip to the lodge.  Scheme and brainstorm.  Find some fun way to tell the family about it—a fun riddle in a Christmas present or a birthday card.  Or wait altogether and tell them about it as you are on your way to the lodge.  Then record it.  Brilliant.

So brilliant that we decided to make a contest out of it.

 

 

For two weeks, we’ve encouraged Facebook fans and Twitter followers to upload their own version of a Great Wolf Lodge surprise video to our contest app on Facebook.  And upload they did.  We received a ton of great videos (stay tuned, we will highlight some of the top contenders on Facebook and Twitter).  A team of Great Wolf Lodge judges gathered together in a room and watched one by one.  We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more.

They were all so good.  Eventually we narrowed it down to our top 5 finalists.  Now it’s your turn.  Head to our Video Contest app on our Facebook page. Watch all five videos (I dare you not to laugh or cry).  Then vote for your favorite.  You can vote once every 24 hours from now until 5:00pm EST on Wednesday, March 21st.

Be sure to share the contest with your friends and family so they can take part in the fun.

Happy voting!

 

Have you ever wondered what goes into creating the Great Wolf Lodge experience?  How do we make it snow during Snowland?  What new family fun is being added to the lodges each year?  Just where does all that water go?

Enter Behind the Howl—the official blog of Great Wolf Lodge.

This is where we give you a behind-the-howl look at all things Great Wolf.  Our Communications and Marketing teams, Kid’s Experience team and others will help tell the story of Great Wolf—from the eyes of a pack member.

Check back often, share with your friends and family and give us feedback by leaving comments.  Let us know what you like.  Let us know what you want to know.  And what we can do as we continue to grow.

We also want to hear your personal stories—your favorite Great Wolf Lodge memory, a story about your favorite slide, what it was like to meet Wiley for the first time.  We know you’ve got a great story, and we want to hear it.

We are excited to share our stories with you and look forward to hearing yours!

 

Howls,

The Great Wolf Lodge Blogger Pack