Summer vacation is a time-honored family tradition. Parents often spend weeks (months?) researching where to go, what to do, how to save money and activities everyone in the family will enjoy. Careful planning goes into packing, maximizing minimal space and time as well as determining each day’s itinerary. No matter how many blogs are read about travel tips, safety tips, planning tips and more….there’s one little secret you won’t read: vacation is tiring.

I just spent a week in New England with my son. We visited Boston Harbor, the New England Aquarium, and most importantly, the new Great Wolf Lodge. We had a ball. But – I’m tired. Very tired.

My son’s nap schedule was off, his bedtime routine was off, and no matter how healthy and yummy the food, his meals were off. As a three-year-old, temper tantrums are to be expected – but sobbing in an elevator for six floors…that was new. Sharing a room was tough. I would be wide awake at night, sitting in the (quiet) dark, afraid to turn on the TV, so he could finally fall – and more importantly stay - asleep. And while there were just two of us – our stuff quickly took over the suite. My new flips flops somehow ended up in the suite’s mini fridge (??). Each night I rinsed out sippy cups, planned the next day’s clothing needs, requested more and more towels and tried to keep track of my daily contact lens supply.

So, I’m tired.

In one of those non-TV-don’t-make-a-sound-there’s-a-sleeping-preschooler-dark moments, I did think to myself, maybe he was too young for a real vacation. Maybe I should have waited until he was older. I thought about how, in reality, he won’t really remember this trip years from now. I wondered if I should have saved the money.

Well, in showing the amazing wisdom little kids so innocently have, he answered those questions for me. During a visit to the waterpark, I watched him explore Fort Mackenzie. First, he tried a slide, and at the bottom, would reach for me to help him up and out. Later, after countless rides, he said, “I can do it” and no longer needed my help. Instead, something new happened. He looked up at me excitedly asked, “Mommy – will you come, too?”

Next thing I knew, we were sliding, side-by-side, hand-in-hand together. We laughed, we splashed, and he said, “Do it again!” (over and over).

I will never forget this trip! I will forget how tired I was. I will forget the tantrums. I will remember his smile. I will remember the joy I felt when he invited me to slide with him. I’ll remember I was his chosen slide partner.

My advice? Take that vacation and treasure every moment.

What do you get when you combine a new resort opening with an appearance by one of pop music’s fastest growing artists? A howlingly great time!

Days before heading to Europe to kick off his summer-long tour, Cody Simpson, performed an exclusive acoustic set for guests at Great Wolf Lodge New England. Between taking on the waterpark’s exciting attractions, playing in the Northern Lights Arcade with his brother and meeting hundreds of guests from around the country, Cody also took time to give a glimpse into his life for "Behind the Howl."

Below are a few submitted to Great Wolf Lodge via Twitter and Instagram, as well as a few from our Pack Members, and Cody’s responses:

Q: @Cute_fashionable_hh: What is your favorite slide at #greatwolflodge?

CS: The Wolf Tail slide was crazy. I was not expecting that drop!

 

Q: @Eva.co: What age where you when u first picked up an instrument?

CS: Way back when I was 10-11. My grandparents bought me a guitar and I started messing around with it. I still play guitar every night before bed so that I can improve!

Q: @Simpsonedits_: What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

CS: Hang out with my mates and hit the beach for a surf. Really just relax and enjoy not being busy every single minute of the day. I've realized how important it is to spend time with the people you love.

Q: @CodysSkateboard: Where’s some place you haven’t visited but would like to?

CS: I haven't been to a lot of the places that I’m hitting on my European tour. I have shows in Turkey, all over Scandinavia and Portugal. I’ve never been to any of those before and I can't wait to indulge in the culture.

Q: @liamprfxct: What do you like the most about touring?

CS: I love changing places from day to day. You go to sleep in one city and wake up in the next; sometimes this means completely different climates, languages, time zones, people etc.  It's surreal. I also love being with my tour crew - some great lads on the road!

Q: @CodyTitanicLove: How does it make you feel having so many people supporting you from all over the world?

CS: It's extremely gratifying. I appreciate the support from each and every one of you. It truly means the world to me.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when you write music?

CS: Anything that's relevant in my life really. If I'm experiencing hardships with girls, it'll come out in my music. If I’m happy over a particular situation, it will influence my mood when writing and that will ultimately reflect in the song.

Q: What did it mean to you to have your whole family with you at Great Wolf Lodge?
CS: I've been extremely busy lately and I don't always get to spend as much time with them as I would like. Great Wolf Lodge was a great place to spend some quality family time and re-connect before I left for Europe.

Q: What do you think your fans would like best at Great Wolf Lodge?
CS: There is a huge assortment of rides that suit all different types of people. My show was extremely intimate experience and I then got to spend quality time with my fans as well as my family!

Q: Will you come back to Great Wolf Lodge again?
CS: Of course!  I was stoked to check it out and it was a blast. I hope that I can return when I have some time off the road.

 

The Great Wolf Lodge wristband is an important part of a lodge stay. In fact, for many of our guests, it is even a unique souvenir. Kids love to wear their wristband and take advantage of the “all access pass” it grants them. With the flick of the wrist, they can enter their suite, waltz into the waterpark and, if mom and dad give the OK at check-in, even buy treats at Bear Paw, Paw Points in the Northern Lights arcade and Great Wolf Kids merchandise from the store. We often hear stories from guests whose kids refuse to take their wristbands off even when they return home. The daughter of a colleague actually wore hers for four months!

But, there is a flip side to the little wristband. They don’t fit perfectly. Once you position it to fit around your wrist – there’s almost always an extra piece. If you’re like me, you LOVE the convenience of the RFID technology, and not needing to carry a wallet around the resort, but that extra “flap” can be a little annoying. However, as I received discovered, snipping away that little annoyance is one of the simplest and coolest acts of guest service at the Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains. It’s also a bit competitive.

Pack Members at the resort carry scissors on a small zip cord. If they see guests with wristbands that have the extra “tail” - they approach and offer to snip it away for the perfect fit. Problem solved.

However, the snip is only half of the activity. The story of the little wristband tail does not end in an abrupt cut.

 

Instead, wristband snips are saved by each department and are then entered in the “Great ‘Wolf Tail’ Competition”. Each little tail is collected, saved, and put in a large container as part of a monthly, spirited contest across all resort areas. The challenge is on to see which department is a cut above the rest, and how many guests had their wristbands sized to perfection.

While I was at the resort in the Pocono Mountains, the Retail Team was in the lead. Their jar was so full; the team had to tie bags of tails to it!

No prize is given out for “most tails” collected, but everyone enjoys the fun and simple competition. Departments take great pride in turning in their colorful band snips. And judging from the collection I saw, guests are happy to have their wristbands sized, and extra tails bobbed off.

This tale of the tail, I just had to tell.

 

New England families will soon have something to howl about—we are excited to announce that Great Wolf Lodge has official begun construction in Massachusetts on a new resort.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will give families more than 100,000 square feet of entertainment and lodging space to enjoy together—all under one roof. The centerpiece of the resort will be the indoor waterpark—the largest in the state with more than 68,000 square feet of fun for the whole family.

Of course it will have some signature Great Wolf Lodge water rides like the Howlin’ Tornado, Slap Tail Pond wave pool and everyone's favorite—Fort Mackenzie with its 1,000 gallon tipping bucket.

Just like all of our lodges, Great Wolf Lodge - New England will feature guest suites that provide the perfect place for families to relax after a day of waterpark fun. Families can choose from several suite styles, like the popular kid-themed Wolf Den and KidCabin suites.  The resort will also debut never-before-seen suite styles—the Majestic KidCabin and the Grizzly Wolf Dens.

The Majestic KidCabin will sleep 11 people and will have two bathrooms, a separate king bedroom, two queen beds and a themed cabin for kids, complete with a daybed and a set of bunk beds. The Grizzly Wolf Den will sleep ten people, have two separate bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room area and themed kids Wolf Den, complete with bunk beds. Two awesome new additions to our line up of comfy suites.

You can also find a ton of other activities throughout the lodge that are perfect for kids of all ages, like:

  • The brand’s first and only indoor dry play area—over 16,000 square feet of entertainment complete with a multi-level ropes course and indoor miniature golf
  • MagiQuest
  • Scooops Kid Spa
  • Ten Paw Alley mini bowling
  • The Great Clock Tower Show and evening Story Time

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will also feature several restaurant options like our new Lodge Wood Fired Grill restaurant and bar, Bear Paw Sweets & Eats, Hungry as a Wolf and a Dunkin’ Donuts®.

As always, the indoor water park is exclusive to resort guests and waterpark passes are included with each suite—a great value and the perfect place to spend time together as a family.

Great Wolf Lodge - New England will be our twelfth resort. Located off Route 2, 45 minutes from Boston—Great Wolf Lodge - New England is expected to open in late spring 2014. 

To stay up to date on all the building progress, visit www.greatwolf.com/NewEngland, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

As the Wolf Your World Tour continues to travel across the country, we have written about all the great things that Wiley the Wolf and friends have been able to do outside of our resorts. During our Tour stop at the Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City we got to have a great deal of fun inside the resort, too.

This summer has been a BIG one for the resort. Guests visiting our Michigan property this year will see and experience something new all throughout the property. Each suite in the resort has been updated and enhanced. New televisions were added, brand new sleeper sofas installed and all beds were replaced with our brand new mattress exclusive, the Cabin Comfort Collection. Sure—we know our guests don’t spent that much time in their suites, but there truly is nothing like a big, comfortable bed after a full day of water play!

Resort favorite, Scooops Kid Spa, has expanded, too. The ice cream-themed spa has been so popular, it is now almost double in size! Down the hall just a bit, a brand-new attraction has opened as well. Newly added to several resorts last year, Ten Paw Alley bowling is now open in Traverse City. Complete with balls that are perfect for little hands, the six lane alley and its “no rental shoes allowed” policy has been bringing smiles with every strike!

The most exciting addition is the River Canyon Run and the Wolf Your World Tour was on hand to celebrate its dedication. The new water attraction gives families a quick taste of what it’s like to try whitewater rafting! The River Canyon Run takes parties of three people at a time sliding and winding down a long indoor tunnel that stretches outside the resort and then back in, culminating in a final splash. The 330 foot long attraction even features a 32 foot vertical drop!

Wiley the Wolf and his friends could not actually enjoy the thrilling new addition, they did cut the ribbon and give a round of "paws applause" - and a few howls - as our first family, the Schmitt’s from Plymouth, Michigan splashed down!  

We also celebrated the resort’s newest dining option – the opening of Traverse City’s ONLY Dunkin’ Donuts® location! Resorts guests and local families alike are all now enjoying their morning with “America’s Favorite Coffee”, breakfast and bakery sandwiches, donuts, and my personal favorite, Munchkins®!

Haven’t made your summer plans yet? If a trip to Michigan is in your future—plan to stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City—and take in all that’s new!

19
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Meet Diana, our Sandusky, OH Ask-A-Mom.  She and her family have a passion for amusement parks and waterparks in Sandusky and go at least twice a month, especially in the summer months.

Whoever coined the phrase “relaxing vacation” definitely wasn’t a mom. No matter where the destination and no matter the duration of the trip, Mom always has to be on her toes to plan for the unexpected and be at the ready with kisses, wet wipes, crayons or whatever else might be needed at a moment’s notice. That’s why I love taking my family to Great Wolf Lodge. They too have tried to plan for everything, making my job as a mom that much easier, making it possible for me to kick back and relax.  They’ve thought of everything so I don’t have to. There’s the amazing water park, with water slides and pools for every age, even special areas for small toddlers. If the family needs a break from the water fun, there’s still so much to do—craft activities, arcade games, evening Story Time, and even a kid’s spa!  I also don’t have to worry about meals because they have lots of dining options and menus that are kid friendly. That means I don’t have to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our entire stay!

Great Wolf hasn’t forgotten about mom and dad either. Time in the whirlpool is just what we need after a day of fun with our busy toddler. And if we didn’t get enough of a workout throughout the day, there’s always the on-site fitness center. Call me crazy, but the room suites are one of my favorite things about Great Wolf Lodge. They have so many options to fit any size family. A must for our family is a separate living area so that the hubby and I don’t have to sit in the dark once it’s time for our son to go to bed. Of course the thrill of sleeping in a bunk bed in one of the themed suites is almost as exciting as the water park!

So while some moms thrive on stress during their vacations, I prefer to have a hassle-free, fun adventure at Great Wolf Lodge. Because I shouldn’t have to worry about my family having fun— that’s guaranteed at Great Wolf Lodge!

15
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Meet Dave for our Pocono Mountains lodge—husband, father of two, runner with a PhD in neuroscience with a passion for travel.

Why does my family love Great Wolf Lodge? Wow, that’s a loaded question now, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, I’ll take a stab at it.  Things our family loves:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with strings.

Wait! Shoot, wrong list, sorry about that.  While we do love all those things mentioned above, this is the list I meant to include:

Spending time together.
Swimming and laughing.
Cookies, Brownies, ICE CREAM.

All of these things we can do at Great Wolf Lodge.  Yes, of course they are not exclusive to Great Wolf Lodge, but we relished them during our recent stay at the Sandusky, OH property, and the family memories created have produced a soft spot in our heart for the resort.

Admittedly, I am not an expert on Great Wolf Lodge, but in addition to Sandusky, OH, we have also visited the Niagara Falls, Ontario location.  That being said, as a Dad who likes to travel and is the family’s vacation planner, I do consider myself somewhat of an expert on family travel (at least our family travel).  We have journeyed extensively throughout the country—from New York City, to Walt Disney World, to California and many places in between.  And our stays at Great Wolf Lodge compare favorably to any other vacation, and have always allowed us to unwind and relax in a fun, safe environment.   

If I had to think of a favorite experience at Great Wolf Lodge, it has to be the water park itself.  Having access to a full water park, only steps away from our luxurious hotel suite, is heavenly.  The water was toasty warm (a definite plus for the cold water wimp in me) and we took advantage of every slide and water feature in the park.  And after playing for hours in the warm water, it was soooooo easy to fall asleep in our soft and cushy bed.

Why would I like to be selected for Great Wolf Lodge’s Ask-a-Mom (or Dad) Panel?  Mostly because I really enjoy sharing my travels and have a spot in my heart reserved for Great Wolf Lodge.

 

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Today, meet Naomi, our Kansas City Ask-A-Mom. A native of Oahu, Hawaii (jealous), she lived in Texas, Washington and Tennessee before landing in Wichita, Kansas.

We live in the middle of Kansas, in the middle of the country. It’s very flat and dry here, which is pretty much the opposite of where I grew up in the Windward Mountains of Oahu, Hawaii. Being landlocked is okay, for the most part, but the weather here is totally insane.

The skies here in the plains states are unbelievably gorgeous. Wide open and blue with nothing to interrupt the endless horizon, it’s easy to see why a song like “Home on the Range” was written. But the past two summers have been so hot and dusty that the kids haven’t even wanted to go outside. It’s like being inside of an oven for much of the year. Or, more accurately, like walking into a hairdryer since hot wind whips all around you. In the wintertime, the winds are icy cold and cut right through to your bones. For two or three weeks a year, intermittently, the weather is perfect here in Wichita. It’s kind of hard to plan family get-togethers when Mother Nature is always playing tricks on you.

One of the things my family loves most about Great Wolf Lodge is that the environment is controlled. Sure, it’s a three hour drive from Wichita, but once we get there it’s going to be a balmy 84º no matter what time of year it is—and no matter what kind of craziness is going on outside! Everything is under one family-focused, climate-controlled roof. We can spend our days in bathing suits, on fantastic quests or even getting pampered in the spa. My kids note that even bedtime is more fun at Great Wolf because they get to sleep in the Wolf Den. Anytime going to bed is less than a struggle, I am mightily impressed! Truth be told, they’re usually ready for sleep after packing all the Great Wolf Lodge fun into their day.  

08
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Today, meet Dan Anderson for our Grand Mound lodge.  Dan is a husband, father to a son, two Golden Retrievers and a bearded dragon named Spike. 

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound Ask-A-MomMy family enjoys having fun together, which is why we love Great Wolf Lodge—there is something for everyone and we can experience it all as a family.

My 4-year-old son, Matthew, loves playing in the water and has been taking swim classes at our local pool. Although he is not yet ready to conquer the big thrill rides, Great Wolf offers plenty of fun appropriate for his age. The indoor waterpark is perfect for him and the giant tipping bucket dumping on his head is always a highlight. Of course, it is more fun when mom and dad play along, which is why the design at Great Wolf is so great for our family.

My wife, Amy, is partial to the Starbucks in the lobby—we truly can’t start our day without a good cup of coffee. Having our favorite coffee place in the lobby makes all the difference and makes you feel like home. While my wife and I have our coffee, Matthew always gets a cup of steamed milk which he also refers to as “coffee.”

I am a bit of a technology geek, which is why I get a kick out of Great Wolf Lodge’s innovative games like MagiQuest. It is neat how Great Wolf has used the technology to create a fun experience that can keep families entertained for days. I also like MagiQuest because it is something that my family can do together.

The overall value is a larger part of why my family loves Great Wolf Lodge. Family vacations are expensive and we try to make the most out of every trip. With a visit to Great Wolf, our admission costs are bundled into the price of the room. This is great for us because we don’t have to worry about paying separate fees for admission to the park, like we have to do with trips to Disneyland.

The rooms at the hotel are wonderfully themed, especially the Wolf Den Suite, which is another reason why we enjoy visiting Great Wolf Lodge. My son loves having his own space to play and sleep in. My wife and I love that we’re not all crammed into a small hotel room, and actually have space to spread out and enjoy being away from home.

The best part of Great Wolf is that it is nearby for a quick escape. Living in the Pacific Northwest can be tough when you go for several weeks without the sun. Having a warm, indoor waterpark within driving distance is a huge perk and makes those cold winter days more bearable.

My family loves having fun together and Great Wolf Lodge is one of our favorite places to visit. There is something for each of us, but the best part is that we can enjoy it all together.

 

04
Apr
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Mom (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them and give you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  Today, meet Anne Loucks for Great Wolf Lodge – Niagara Falls—lover of skiing, swimming, boxing, spinning and traveling with her family.

When the snow is blowing and the winds are howling, this Canadian family starts to think of traveling. Great Wolf Lodge is an escape that has been coined “Mini Canadian Disneyland” by  my family. No planes to catch and my family has everything they need under one roof. 

My son sings the Raffi song “I think I must be growing” in desperate attempts to see if he can go on the big slides yet.  At a mere 45 inches, he still has a little ways to go.  As my daughter follows everything her older brother does (the only female Spiderman for Halloween) she is excited to be tall enough to break out of the splash zone tree house area.

Promises of an adventure that includes: make your own sundaes, crafts that don’t mean colouring on the dining room table, arcade games, Story Time and of course waterslides have my children packing in record time.   

As a parent, I want planning a vacation to be simple and take less time than one load of laundry. Great Wolf Lodge reservation system is foolproof.  I can pick bedrooms that suit whatever my vacation demands.  Having two children born in the winter makes it challenging for birthdays. With a trip to Great Wolf Lodge I can book a Wolf Den and everyone comes away happy and feeling special. 

Niagara Falls is only 6 hour from Ottawa, with outlet malls, casinos, fall wine tours and a place my children can have fun on slides year-round, who could ask for more?

Having 2 waterparks in our town, means I am constantly checking lifeguard safety.  I am impressed with Great Wolf Lodge’s ability to hire competent, friendly and efficient lifeguards—something you don’t get to see enough of these days.  This puts parents’ minds at ease, knowing and trusting that safety is a top concern.   

To sum it up, Great Wolf Lodge is a journey to adventure that should happen as often as possible.  It is easy to promote a vacation hot spot when it is as fantastic as Great Wolf Lodge. With a fun theme, various activities for all ages (MagicQuest, hot tubs, parent free time) it leaves you with a burning desire to book again as soon as possible. 

Although we don’t live in an igloo, we do have a woodstove and shovel lots of snow. My children are asking (aka begging) for Great Wolf Lodge “pleeeaaasee”.

It happens to the best of us.  You wake up at Great Wolf Lodge, walk outside of your super suite door…and can’t remember which way to the Grand Lobby (which is near the coffee, which you need…and near the waterpark, which your kids need).  What to do?!

Turns out, all you need to do is follow the light!  The lamp light that is.  Notice the cute little woodland animal themed lights lining the hallways of the lodge? (Check the photo.)  Well, they can point you in the right direction.  The nose of each of those critters is installed to point directly towards the Grand Lobby.  That’s right—the animals face the lobby!

You can test me on this.  Follow their noses to the Grand Lobby (or waterpark, or other center of the lodge) and then continue to the stretch of hallway on the other side.  See that?  Their noses switched direction, pointing back towards the lobby as well.  Brilliant!

Just a little something new for you today…you're welcome.

19
Mar
2013

We recently announced our 2013 Ask-A-Moms (and dads)—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  Over the coming weeks, we are going to introduce you to each of them, giving you a look at why they love Great Wolf Lodge.  First up, Anitra Elmore for our Charlotte/Concord lodge.  Anitra is a wife, blogger and stay-at-home mother of two living in Cary, North Carolina. 

We are not your typical family. When it comes to having fun, we each like very different things and have very strong opinions. Since none of us are afraid to speak our minds, it makes for some challenging times when we’re deciding what to do together.  And when we decide to get away, it’s not always easy to make the right choice.

Except, of course, when our destination is Great Wolf Lodge.

Where else can we go, within driving distance, where we find something to please each of us? Mom can enjoy the spa while dad and the kids play in the water. Mom and the kids can run wild playing MagiQuest, while dad relaxes in the lobby or works in the cozy suite. We all enjoy mini-golf, bowling and the arcade, so that keeps us busy together for a while.  When the kids need some quiet time, the Cub Club comes valiantly to the rescue.

We discover something new each time we visit. It’s amazing how much they’ve tucked away in the nooks, crannies and hallways of the lodge. While there are things we haven’t tried, like the kids spa, we definitely have our favorites—Story Time and the water slides are a must. And, if we decide not to eat at one of the restaurants on property, we’re surrounded by so many of our favorites right there in the area.

There’s absolutely no room for anyone to get bored when we visit. The concept is absolute genius and each time I’m there, I am overwhelmed at how well thought out everything is.  We were hooked from the first time we heard that “Goin' to the Lodge” and we remain hooked because Great Wolf Lodge delivers what they promise.  It’s the ideal place for families to make memories, and I am proud to say that we have indeed made a few.

As a blogger, I spend a considerable amount of my time making recommendations to other moms. When I find a product, service or destination that helps us enrich our family life, I’m pleased to shout it from the rooftops and across all of my social media channels.  Great Wolf Lodge is definitely one of these places.

 

Ask Anitra a question about our Concord lodge online at askamom.greatwolf.com

Great Wolf Resorts Bed TestingWorking in the corporate office, and not physically in a Great Wolf Lodge resort, I’m often asked, “What do you do all day if you’re not in the hotel?” Well—a recent answer would have been, “I relax in bed all day.”

The office next to mine currently has two comfy, queen size beds, fully made up with tons of pillows and crisp, white sheets. Go a little further down the hall, and you’ll find three more beds, just waiting for someone to take a nap. It’s like having a Majestic Bear Suite right here in the office! I promise, though, these beds are not the norm. They are just the latest chapter in our ongoing effort to continually improve the guest experience at our resorts. This week’s focus has been on hibernation hours—when everyone is sleeping.

2013 is going to be a big year for each of our resorts. From new attractions, to new entertainment and new dining experiences, I’m excited about everything we are adding to our lodges this year. We have a lot of great news to share!

Great Wolf Resorts CEO Kim SchaeferHere’s a sneak peek—we’re working to give you an even better night’s sleep! The beds set up in our offices are all samples—new mattresses, new linens, and new color schemes. Together with our CEO, Kim Schaefer (and her wolf pup to cuddle), the corporate team tried out the mattresses to help determine which would help give Great Wolf Lodge guests the perfect night’s sleep.

Everyone shared their thoughts, “Too hard.” “Too soft.” And, “This is so comfortable!” Some people bounced on them, a few tried to snuggle and others stretched out, fully relaxed. It was a fun, albeit slightly unusual day. And our procurement department also had a mini challenge for all of us. The bed experiment also featured a blind “taste test” of sorts—our current Great Wolf Lodge bed was one of the five!

Physically lying around on the office beds was just one part of the overall decision making that will take place in the coming weeks. But I’m really excited to share that just in time for summer, several resorts will have brand new bedding—linens, mattresses, box springs and pillows—throughout the entire property. And while I may not know which actual mattress will become “the” new bed, I’m glad my fellow Pack Members and I got a chance to try them out.

I wonder if I can squeeze in just one more nap…

Great Wolf Resorts Bed Testing

Every day our lodges work hard to help families make memories. From simple moments in the Cub Club between daddy and daughter, to annual family traditions—they see it all.  

Working in the Corporate Office, I don't get to experience all of these stories first-hand, but I do get to hear about a lot of them. Some of our guest share their stories on Facebook, or they tweet us during their stay.  They even take the time to submit their favorite memories to our blog.  But my favorite way to hear about the stories is from our pack members at the lodge.  The following story was emailed to our Great Wolf Lodge - Cincinnati/Mason pack members and I just had to share it.  

My son, Stephen, returned to us from Army Ranger school in Georgia very late the evening of December 16th. The next day, I helped to launch a scheme that would "buy" him the time to drive to Kenwood Mall to purchase Brittney's (now his fiance) dream engagement ring. The next "project" became creating a special moment for the proposal. "Stevie" (as I lovingly refer to him) was a little undone because his younger sister, Meghan, just became engaged on December 21st—her fiance took her to New York City and surprised her with quite a lavish production. Stevie was determined to do something equally grand for Brittney (without stealing his sister's thunder).  What became problematic was the amount of time he had left before he would have to return to Georgia. So, those circumstances, combined with a very anxious and curious Brittney, inspired him to secretly turn to me, again, for the next "scheme." Given that it was the early evening of Christmas Day, I wasn't completely optimistic that we could create the moment he desired—that is, until I placed the call to Great Wolf Lodge.

When Jennifer heard my explanation, she didn't hesitate to spring into action. (She, quite honestly, sounded as giddy as I did...it was fantastic!) Through just a couple of phone calls and her consultation with her leader, Jen, the plan came together that offered Stevie the chance to propose in your beautiful lobby, complete with snow—on cue!  When they arrived at their suite, they were delighted by a special arrangement of chocolate-covered strawberries and a select celebratory beverage—details crafted by Jennifer and Jen—details that made the experience complete! In Stevie's and Brittney's words, "Everything was amazing...and awesome!"

The next day, I texted Stevie to see how things were going. He replied that they had checked out of their suite, but were "hanging out" in Great Wolf's lobby because it was such a "cool place...a great place to relax, talk and have some coffee." (I also think they were continuing to relish in the experience and didn't want it to end!)

As you might imagine, by now many family members have heard this story and plan to visit your resort—even the family that's local, including me! (It's funny...I had previously considered staying at Great Wolf, myself, thinking it would be a great spot to bring my husband, given that he's terminally ill and can no longer travel any sort of distance. It's that thought that inspired me to think of Great Wolf for Stevie and Brittney's special occasion.) As well, there will, most assuredly be events related to their upcoming wedding (not sure if it will be in 2013 or 2014, as of yet). We will be certain to locate guests and/or host additional gatherings at Great Wolf! And, let there be no doubt: our immediate and ever-lasting loyalty to Great Wolf Lodge was earned by Jennifer and Jen.

Thank you and have a wonderful Holiday!

Thank you to Susan Hampton for allowing me to share her story, and for letting us be a part of her family's big day.

Remember being in middle school and having to learn a new vocabulary list each week? You’d study the list just enough to get through the test and then move on. And, occasionally a word would stick with you. Welltoday’s blog post is sponsored by such a word. Triskaidekaphobia.  And most importantlywhat Great Wolf Lodge is doing to combat it!

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. Did you know this fear is so real, that most hotels do not have a thirteenth floor and airplanes do not have a thirteenth row? 13 has long been viewed as an unlucky number. For anyone who has the fear of the number 13, 2013 will probably be a tough year.

The number 13 isn’t all bad, though. The United States was formed from 13 original colonies. A baker’s dozen is 13 yummy treats, not twelve. Turning 13 is a milestone for kids as they transition from child to teenager. And to give this New Year a lucky start—we are excited to announce the search for the Great Wolf Lodge Lucky 13.

Is your child turning 13 this year? Perhaps your niece, nephew or grandchild? Wouldn’t a trip to Great Wolf Lodge be the perfect way to help ensure they have a luck-filled year? Families that have a child celebrating their 13th birthday in 2013 are invited to enter the Lucky 13 contest.

When: Sunday, January 13, 2013 from 12:01 a.m. Central Time until 11:59 p.m. Central Time that night.

How To Enter: Eligible guests can send an email to lucky13@greatwolf.com with the subject line “Lucky 13” and the following information in the body of the email:

  1. Your name (parent or guardian submitting the entry)
  2. Your address 
  3. Name of your child who is turning 13 in 2013
  4. Birth date of your child who is turning 13 in 2013

13 lucky winners will be randomly selected to receive a single night’s stay at the Great Wolf Lodge resort nearest them for just $20.13. This very lucky reservation rate is more than 90% off of the average cost of a stay in a Family Suite at Great Wolf Lodge.

For official sweepstakes rules, visit www.greatwolf.com/sweepstakes.

Don’t have a child turning 13 this year? That’s Ok—all luck is not lost. You can still save up to 20% off a multi-night stay at your favorite Great Wolf Lodge by entering the promotion code EARLY to book your reservation by January 18. Want to keep this lucky savings streak going? Join the Great Wolf Lodge E-pack to receive news about limited time promotions and deals all year long! 

So next time you play Trivial Pursuit, you'll not only know the definition of triskaidekaphobia but you’ll also remember Great Wolf Lodge resorts helped ensure 13 teens were not affected by it!

 

 

I love theming. While I am not very artistic, I do have great admiration for places that understand theming and create immersive environments. My husband and I love to visit theme parks, water parks and resorts, not just for the attractions and rides themselves but also for the overall look, feel and even smell that is created to help “transport” you to another place.   

At Great Wolf Lodge, we create an immersive environment for your family. The inspiration for the look and feel of the Great Wolf Lodge resorts comes from the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Our resorts have a quiet, comfortable, rustic feel. From the color on the wall, to the wood fixtures and "log cabin-like" furniture, to the warm and inviting fireplace, the focal point of each lobby, we surround you in our forest home. As you look up at the antler chandeliers, and around at the soft earthy colors and cozy furniture—have you ever looked down? You should. We theme for your feet, too.

I love that our carpets reflect our lodge theme. Depending on which resort you visit, you may be greeted by bears, moose and “patchwork” pattern or a lighter patterned floor with leaves, soft greens and fall colors. If you haven’t really noticed the carpet—I guarantee your kids have. While visiting the Great Wolf Lodge Mason, I watched one little girl play her version of hopscotch by only touching the “animal squares.”  She skipped over the patterns and prints and moved her feet by hopping from the bear to the deer to the moose and so on. It took her family awhile to get to their room—but everyone had fun along the way!

In 2012, our resorts in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and Sandusky, Ohio were fully renovated and that meant adding brand new carpet throughout the entire resort. The colors pop brighter than ever and little feet enjoy the plush feel as they scamper down the hallways from the family suite to the water park.

Breaking with the outdoor theme a bit, the Northern Lights arcades also got a full facelift (that will continue into 2013) and once again, feet were not forgotten. I love the new swirly design, stars and bright colors that enhance the overall look and feel of the arcade. And don’t worryWiley the Wolf left his “paw of approval” on this new floor, too. The carpet is filled with our signature Great Wolf Lodge paw print.

Next time you visit a Great Wolf Lodge resort, be sure to glance down at your feet during your stay. They just may be pretty enough for a picture!

I grew up in a family with three kids. Vacation hotel stays always presented a challenge. Most hotel rooms could only accommodate four people. Inevitably one of us slept on an uncomfortable fold-away bed that came at an extra cost, or on the floor. 

A trip to Great Wolf Lodge would not have presented this challenge to my family. No one would have to sleep on the floor and everyone could have comfortably spread out. My parents would have been happy too—they would not have had to pay for a second room so we could enjoy this comfort.

Great Wolf Lodge resorts are all-suite properties. Most families book a Family Suite, which includes two queen beds and a full size sleeper sofa, so six people can comfortably relax after their full day of water park fun! And while the Family Suite is a wonderful option, we offer so many additional others, too!  

During a visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, we surprised our son with a KidCabin suite. While he is probably too young to full enjoy it, he immediately recognized the KidCabin was just for him. The suite provides a separate sleeping area for children, complete with two bunk beds and a third bed. (It would have been perfect for my sister, brother and me.)

The KidCabin has its own TV, and while it does not have a door, the suite’s layout makes it easy to put your pups to bed, but still keep lights on in the room. (How many of us have sat in a dark hotel room because the baby was sleeping?) And, if you’re keeping score, the KidCabin suite is perfect for seven people, with its queen size bed and pull out sleeper sofa.

The KidKamp and Wolf Den are two other suites that are as fun and playful as they are spacious and comfortable. The cozy “tent” and animal-themed den feature bunk beds in a similar, separate space just for kids.

Cute theming aside, you can choose several other unique suite to meet your needs. My personal favorite is the Whirlpool Fireplace suite. Luxury king size bed, inroom fireplace, huge whirlpool tub. While this suite is for four people, nothing says vacation like a room with a fireplace. Great Wolf Lodge Suite

Our guests tell us that Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect destination for family reunions. From the Majestic Bear suite which includes a breakfast bar; to the Grizzly Bear suite and its two bathrooms; to the truly amazing Great Frontier Loft condo in Wisconsin Dells complete with four bedrooms; Great Wolf Lodge resorts have the perfect alternative to the boring hotel room.

Don’t forget all of our suites include a complimentary microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator, so sippy cups, bottles, snacks and leftovers from your dinner at the Loose Moose buffet can be saved and enjoyed throughout your stay.

For your next vacation - what suite style will you surprise your family with?

My family and friends stayed at Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky AGAIN this weekend. I wanted to let you know what a great experience we had. 

  1. They upgraded our room do to vacancies. Which was great! We usually do the KidsCabin Suite, but couldn't afford it this time around.
  2. The room was so clean, and the bed was extremely comfortable.
  3. All of the staff was kind and courteous!
  4. And can we talk about your lifeguards!? Holy....greatness! Extremely attentive. I was worried because this was the first year we were there when my 4 year old could swim with no life jacket. With the lifeguards attentiveness, I was stress free, SCORE!  

Thank you for a wonderful stay. We will be back either around Halloween or Christmas time for my daughters birthday. Tough choice between the two holidays!

Thanks again!
Nowosielski Family


Name: Melissa Nowosielski
City: Perry Township
State: Ohio
Email: mnowosielski@roadrunner.com
Lodge: Sandusky, OH

It started like any other event in our life.. .I make a million efforts at researching a place for our family to go spend quality time together for a winter get away. Unlike other families, our trip is 100% based on where can I get a full kitchen to cook for my children in our room because of their food allergies to milk and soy.

Amazingly I stumbled across Great Wolf Lodge where they provide a microwave and sink in the suite.  I also found out that they actually have concerned and educated chefs who will accomodate my children's needs for their meals. This left us with the ability to go have an amazing time at their fabulous indoor water park and then go to the restaurant to enjoy hot prepared meals.

This is one in a million for us. We are not accustomed to this service and we had an incredible experience. My children were elated that they could not only swim at the best waterpark ever, but go eat like "normal" families without feeling like we are hiding in our rooms to eat.

Thank you a million times Great Wolf Lodge for the best mini vacation ever!!

Melinda Joseph
Zanesville, OH


 

Last winter, I went to Great Wolf Lodge. I had lots of fun at the indoor water park. One of my favorite things to do was go to Fort Mackenzie because I loved the twisting and turning slides. The tipping bucket that splashed down tons of water was fun because the anticipation of water falling was exciting. The Alberta Falls was a ride that my father and I enjoyed many times together. At first I was a little scared to go down the tube ride by myself so my father joined me on my first ride. I loved the splishing, splashing, twisting and turning. We kept on going on Albert Falls until my dad said he needed to take a rest from climbing the steps. It is a ride that I will continue to take with my dad on our next visit. I didn’t like the mountain edge raceway because the mat wasn’t as comfortable as a tube. The Slap Tail Pond was one of my favorites because I loved floating on the huge waves.

At first I thought MagiQuest would be boring because I thought it was for younger kids. Once I tried Magiquest I found it to be interesting and fun. I liked the scavenger hunting with my pink MagiQuest wand. The running around on the different floors made it more exciting because more than one floor to explore. My next visit I will surely bring my wand to play again.

For our next visit we will be staying in a KidCabin Suite. This is so exciting because I get my own little cabin inside the room. I get to camp out while my parents sleep outside the cabin. I have never been in a KidCabin Suite before and I hope it will be fun.

Our last visit I did enjoy the Story Time, but towards the end of the story I went to play Magiquest and I still was able to listen to the story.  We didn’t have time on our visit to play in the arcade, but I might try to get it in on our next visit.

We didn’t bring our camera on our first visit because my parents didn’t want to ruin the camera. We will be bringing the camera this time because there are many places to store the camera when they are done using it. Since we didn’t have a picture of our first visit, I asked my mom to take a picture of the two items on my list to take on our next visit. In the picture is my bunny and my pink MagiQuest wand.

Jessica Frank
Elon, NC