To kick off the holiday season, we had a special guest visit four Great Wolf Lodge resorts and he arrived in a grandiose way –not his typical sleigh to say the least.  You guessed it; our special guest was indeed Santa Claus who came to town riding in the Coca-Cola Caravan!  (You have to see it to believe it – the 18-wheeler is decked out from bumper to bumper in holiday lights and festive décor.  A truly amazing sight.)  He also brought a very special friend, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, with him to join in the fun.  Santa, the Polar Bear and the Coca-Cola Caravan made their way up the east coast visiting Great Wolf Lodge resorts in Concord, Williamsburg, Pocono Mountains and New England.  The first stop they made was in Concord, North Carolina.  Not only was it the first stop at a Great Wolf Lodge, but it was also the very first stop for the Coca-Cola Caravan this season. 

The Caravan spent two days at each resort. While there, guests were able to get a photo taken with the big guy and see the Coca-Cola Caravan.  The photos were a great souvenir for our guests, as they were printed right on-site and were ready to take home within seconds.  The caravan even stayed lit outside the resort after Santa turned in for the night. (He needs lots of rest this time of year, you know.)

Guests at the Pocono Mountains must have been on the really, really nice list this year because the weather cooperated and they were able to get their photos taken with Santa outside next to the enormous Coca-Cola Caravan big rig! 

During the four resort stops, over eight days, Great Wolf Lodge had over 4,200 guest photos taken with Santa and the Caravan!  It was an amazing experience for all to see that’s for sure.

There was also a very special treat during the Williamsburg visit; Santa himself was there to help light the holiday tree in The Grand Lobby, signifying the official Snowland® kickoff. He also took tons of photos with all the wolf pups and joined in the first indoor snowfall of the season. 

We had such a great time sharing the Coca-Cola Caravan experience with our guests this holiday season.  Wishing you and your pack a Happy Howlidays from all your friends at Great Wolf Lodge and Coca-Cola. 

It’s that time of year! The 48 Hour Sale is BACK and this time around, you can save up to 25% on your family’s next getaway. This sale only comes around a couple times each year and offers the best savings on one or multiple night stays at Great Wolf Lodge. If you’ve never taken part in one of our 48 Hour Sales, here are a couple tips to make your experience as simple as possible:

Once the sale is announced, the clock starts ticking. You’ll have 48 (or so) hours to book a trip to Great Wolf Lodge and take advantage of the savings.  To make sure you’re ready for every 48 Hour Sale, sign up for our ePack to receive deals and promotions straight to your inbox.  You’re probably familiar with the saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, in this case, ePack members are the birds and the 48 Hour Sale is the figurative worm. Members of our ePack are the first to be notified about the 48 Hour Sale. If you want to be among the first to receive deals and promotions, sign up here.

Do you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter? Following Great Wolf Lodge on social media is another easy way to stay in the know about upcoming deals. We post information about promotions on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. If you ever have any questions about the 48 Hour Sale (or any other promotion), social media is a great place to ask.  One of the most common questions we receive is, “Are you having a 48 Hour Sale anytime soon?” Although we can’t always share this information, as it would take the fun out of our “pop up” sale, here’s an insider tip: when we encourage you to sign up for our ePack, there’s usually a good reason for it!

Our 48 Hour Sale is a deal that you definitely don’t want to miss out on. Have you ever wanted to visit Great Wolf Lodge during Howl-o-Ween? This is your chance! The 48 Hour sale can save your family up to 25% on stays now through October 31st. Want to learn more? To view the details for your lodge, visit greatwolf.com/48hour.

If you have been to any of our lodges over the last few months you may have received a Boogie Wipes Plush at one our weekend dance parties, or an in-room sample of Boogie Wipes Gentle Saline Wipes.

Didn’t have a chance to make it to the lodge? You can still partake in the benefits of this partnership.  Great Wolf Lodge® and Boogie Wipes® have teamed up to bring you a family getaway this summer! You and your family can enter for a chance to win a 2-night stay at any of the Great Wolf Lodge locations, plus a $150 gift card to use during your stay.  Entering is easy at boogiewipes.com.  Saturday, May 31st is the last day to enter, so hurry!

Boogie Wipes, part of Little Busy Bodies, Inc. are the first ever saline nose wipes and were developed to help kids’ sore, red, runny noses.

To learn more about this great sweepstakes and Boogie Wipes visit boogiewipes.com. 

Traveling while being on a gluten-free diet can be quite stressful, as you are never sure if there will be something available for you to eat. I was so happy to find that was not the case during my recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge. I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Uselman, the Director of Food & Beverage at Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg. Chris assured me there were a variety of options available, many that are standard Great Wolf fare, just a gluten-free version. Chris stressed the importance of making sure gluten-free individuals, especially children, do not feel left out or disappointed with limited food options during their stay.

From hot dogs, to hamburgers and pizza, everyone can feel comfortable eating breaded foods at Great Wolf Lodge due to the resorts' availability of gluten-free breads, dough and mixes. Due to the possibility of cross-contamination, these options are prepared separately to ensure its safety. There is a gluten-free menu available in The Loose Moose Bar and Grill, but food options are available to eat in the water park snack bar as well as Hungry as a Wolf. Chris also recommends that anyone speak with a server or ask the chef about any special requests or questions. While I personally eat gluten-free, the lodge culinary staff is fully trained and well-equipped to deal with a variety of allergies and dietary needs. 

Even without asking for special preparations, I found a myriad of naturally gluten-free options readily available during the breakfast and dinner buffet. For breakfast, I chose cheese eggs, potatoes and fruit. For dinner, I was able to eat fish, couscous, sweet potatoes, baked beans, mashed potatoes and more. I was more than pleased with what was available and felt comfortable knowing I could ask for something else if need be. Being able to adhere to my diet while I vacation at Great Wolf Lodge - without sacrificing quality and taste - is just one more reason why I love Great Wolf Resorts!

-Kira Riley, Ask a Mom Panelist for Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg

What do you get when you simultaneously bring together hundreds of families across three time zones under the glow of a full moon? An event that is truly something to HOWL about!

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, our ten Great Wolf Lodge resorts across the United States offered a unique challenge to our guests: come together for the chance to set a new world record for the most people howling at the same time.

Earlier this year, we read about a record attempt in St. Cloud, Minn where students from St. Cloud State University gathered together to set a record for most people howling. Their event attracted 296 people.

Howling is a fun tradition at Great Wolf Lodge resorts. Guests stomp, clap and howl alongside Wiley the Wolf and his cast of lovable characters every day. It is a part of the Great Wolf Lodge experience.

Each October the resorts also all celebrate Howl-O-Ween, complete with trick or treating through the lodges, Monster Bash dance parties and more. After reading about that record attempt in Minnesota, we knew we could not only beat that record – but also set a new one that would REALLY have everyone howling!

When planning a world record attempt, in order to “beat” the existing record, you must re-create the same circumstances as the original. For us, that meant bringing everyone together in one spot, outside and having them howl for 60 seconds. The full moon provided the perfect setting across the country for everyone.

Of course, we still had to put our own unique Great Wolf Lodge flair on our record attempt: as a special surprise, we gave everyone who took part a limited edition set of bright orange wolf ears to wear while howling at the moon!

At exactly 8:45 p.m. EST our resorts counted everyone down and the howling began. 4,341 people of all ages howled for one minute! I’m sure wolves in the wild all paused and perked their ears at that time, wondering just what was inspiring so much howling that night!

Were you at one of our resorts? Curious how many people howled alongside you? Check out our totals below. And next time you see a full moon, take a moment to howl, Great Wolf Lodge-style!

Great Wolf Lodge Concord, NC – 605

Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, PA – 615

Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound, WA – 412

Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City, MI – 381

Great Wolf Lodge   Kansas City, KA – 346

Great Wolf Lodge Wisconsin Dells, WI – 261

Great Wolf Lodge Mason, OH – 492

Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky, OH – 478

Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX  - 339

16
May
2013

My wife and my son love the Great Wolf Lodge so much that we have been there three times already. Being afraid of the water due to my inability to swim, I didn't enjoy my previous stays to the max.

However, it all changed this time when we visited the lodge earlier this month. My son asked me to get into several sections of the waterpark. Playing basketball and floating around in tubes finally made me relax enough that I bought a waterproof camera from the lodge's shop and when the roll was developed, this photograph of my aqua boy made me happy. As a family, we always have a good time at the Great Wolf Lodge and this photograph is a witness to that.

Kashif Javaid
Williamsburg, VA

 

14
Mar
2013

Last fall we launched a nationwide search inviting moms and dads to join our 2013 Ask-A-Mom panel—our resident parent experts who provide their tips and tricks for a great trip to the lodge.  After reading every submission and watching every video (there were a lot) we’ve finally made our selection. 

Here they are folks, our new Ask-A-Moms (and Dads)!

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts introducing you to each of our panelists.  In the meantime, head over to askamom.greatwolf.com to ask them a question.

One of the best parts of my job is finding the little vignettes and anecdotes that collectively make our full Great Wolf Lodge story. Recently, one of our resorts did something that goes beyond the howl and straight to the heart. In the spirit of this holiday season, here is the story of the Norman family and their recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg.

At Great Wolf Lodge, we focus on creating family traditions and making memories. For five year old Nathan Norman from Rustburg, Virginia, his recent visit made memories that will last a lifetime.

Like most boys his age, Nathan is happy, energetic and full of joy and hope. Unlike most boys, Nathan is fighting brain cancer. And in the middle of doctor appointments and treatments, Nathan’s parents are always looking to ways to help him feel and be like every other little boy. For example, in September, Nathan told his mom that Christmas lights would make him feel better. Soon his home was decorated, and his neighbors' homes were decorated, to help encourage his early holiday spirit. In October, a group even came to his home to sing Christmas carols to Nathan and his family.

Two weeks ago, the family took a much needed trip to Great Wolf Lodge and there, Nathan’s holiday dreams got even better.

Nathan’s heroes are those who keep us safe—firefighters, policemen, EMT’s—the men and women who help others when they need it most. When the York County Fire Department heard Nathan was coming to Great Wolf Lodge, they wanted to do something really special for him. They partnered with Fire Rescue TV who put out their own “All Points Bulletin” to create a lasting memory for Nathan. Together with the resort, the area's first responders threw Nathan his own parade.  

The fun began with a personal escort to the resort by police motorcade. Upon arrival, Nathan was greeted by Great Wolf Lodge’s Wiley the Wolf and characters from the local stations. The family then boarded an antique fire track to lead the parade around the resort.

The extra special treat was the arrival of Santa Claus on the Life Flight helicopter. He surprised Nathan and his family with gifts and then a ride in the helicopter. And to think – all of this took place before Nathan ever set foot in the resort!

During their stay, Nathan and his family got to experience everything! They enjoyed a dining experience in the magical life size gingerbread house, road the resort’s trolley and splashed in the waterpark—complete with their own personal cabana.

At this special time of year it warms my heart not only as a Great Wolf Lodge Pack Member, but also as a mom, to know there are people in our community who help others. Thank you, York County Fire, Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, and Nathan, for making us all smile.

 

Angie Brown General Manager Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VAWe are excited to celebrate the recent promotion of Angie Brown to General Manager of the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. As a long-time Pack Member, Angie truly understands what it means to create family traditions, one family at a time.

“Throughout my life, and since joining Great Wolf Lodge over a decade ago, I’ve had the opportunity to be influenced by, and work with, many great and amazing leaders,” Angie said. “The leaders that have impacted me the most are individuals that had a passion for three primary and essential elements of hospitality: their employees, their guests and the product or Brand that one represents.   This is the culture that I try to live by every day of my life and I hope to build enhance with the team here at our resort in Williamsburg.”

Brown held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility and industry expertise in her career with Great Wolf Resorts, which began in 1999. She has worked as Rooms Division Director for Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City, MI; Assistant General Manager for Great Wolf Lodge – Grapevine, Texas and most recently, as the General Manager at Great Wolf Lodge – Wisconsin Dells, WI.

Angie is excited to now be living and working in the Old Dominion.

“The hospitality of those who  live and work here, the culture, scenic landscapes, amazing history, the restaurants, shops and attractions—everything is extraordinary,” Angie has shared, “I still have so many areas in this region to visit and to learn about. I know that each day here I will find a new gem in the treasure chest that is known as the Historic Triangle!”    

Next time your family visits our Williamsburg resort, be sure to stop by and say hello to Angie. She is excited about her new role and continuing to ensure families like yours have a safe, memorable and fun time at Great Wolf Lodge.

During the summer months, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce you to our talented culinary team. Our executive chefs work each day to provide delicious, healthy, fun meals to our guests. I look forward to introducing them to you so you can learn a little more about what makes them howl in the Great Wolf Lodge kitchen.

Chef Tim Reardon Great Wolf Lodge WilliamsburgStarting as a Sous Chef at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Chef Tim Reardon was promoted to Executive Chef 10 months after joining the team.  His desire to learn and be creative with the resort’s meals is reflected in all that he does.

With culinary arts training from Johnson and Wales University, Chef Reardon brings over 13 years of restaurant and culinary leadership experience to the resort.  Most recently, he won the 2010 Williamsburg Iron Chef Competition and the top two awards at the Taste of Williamsburg 2010. He looks forward to the opportunity to show off his award-winning cuisine with families at the resort each week.   

Great Wolf Lodge - Do you have a favorite recipe or culinary treat that you have created just for Great Wolf Lodge guests?

Chef Reardon - The Mahi Fish Tacos at the outdoor pool is a dish I am very proud of at the Lodge. It is a big hit with guests and a fun seasonal item. My year-round favorite is the Pepper Jack Chicken Quesadillas. While I’m not the one who created the recipe, it is something I could have once a week.  

GWL - What makes a meal at Great Wolf Lodge different from other places?

Chef Reardon - The fact that it is a great atmosphere for kids, but also caters to adults with great regional cuisine. Our range of menu items makes it easy for every member of the family to find something they like to eat.

GWL - What have you brought to Great Wolf Lodge during your time as a chef?

Chef Reardon - Since joining the culinary team at Great Wolf, we have really have raised the bar on food quality.  I have also worked on the initiative to create a standard appetizer menu for all of our resorts, added healthy options for the Spirit Island menu and created an order guide for all properties. While these are things done behind the scenes, everything is to help us continually improve the guest experience at all the lodges.  I hear great feedback from our repeat guests.

GWL - What inspires you most as a chef?

Chef Reardon - Probably the fact you cannot be complacent in this field. The ever-changing variety and ingredients to work with create new challenges and change each day. Being able to use creativity on a daily basis is a passion of mine and something I try to instill in my staff.

 

Pepper Jack Chicken Quesadilla

Ingredients

1 each -12 inch Tomato Flour Tortilla
4 oz Chicken Fajita Breast Strip Precooked  
2 ½ oz Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2 ½ oz Fire Roasted Tri-Peppers
2 oz Pico De Gallo
2 oz Sour Cream
1 each Lime Wedge
1 Sprig Cilantro

 Directions

  1. Assemble Quesadilla as follows: Chicken, Pepper Jack and Tri-Peppers.
  2. Cook on flat top until browned and cheese is melted thoroughly.
  3. Cut in fours and plate as shown.
  4. Serve with a side of sour cream and Pico de Gallo for dipping.

So the first time I ever set foot in the Great Wolf Lodge was down in Williamsburg, VA.  My mom took my sister and me for a few days during our break from school.  I was almost 6 and couldn’t understand why my mom was taking us to a waterpark in the middle of the winter. 

Coloring at Cub ClubOnce I saw the waterpark I was so excited.  This was back before Williamsburg did the addition, so the Lodge was small.  We stayed in a family suite—which is a standard room.  I remember playing for hours in Fort Mackenzie. My sister, who was 14 at the time, wasn’t as excited as I was.  But being my big sis she went with me on all the slides—at least the ones I was tall enough to go on—and she loved them.  I colored my first Great Wolf Lodge t-shirt at this Cub Club, the Cub Clubs have gotten so much bigger since then.  

It was at the Lodge in Williamsburg that we realized that there were Lodges all over the country.  It was there I challenged my mom to go to all of the Lodges.  Little did I know she would take me up on it.

Trying the Wolf Rider Wipeout

So flash forward a couple of years later and the Lodge in Williamsburg has become one of my favorites.  Why?  When they did the addition they added the Wolf Rider Wipeout (the ride that simulates surfing).  It is not as easy as it seems.  One visit my friend came with us and my mom allowed us to take the group lesson after the waterpark closes.  Cool to be in the waterpark after it has closed. We had one-on-one instruction and learned a few tricks, mostly how to hold on. My friend Eric discovered that it is pretty funny watching others on the  Wolf Rider—especially when people wipe out.  

The trip that Eric went with us we stayed in a Majestic Bear Suite.  In this suite there are actually bedrooms.  My mom had her own room with a Jacuzzi bathtub and us boys shared the second bedroom.  We still had the living room with the sofa and fireplace.  Eric said this was the suite that his family got when they went with another family—plenty of room for every one. 

Ask A Mom Son

RJ H.

RJ is the son of our Ask A Mom Panelist, Leslie H.  Like his mom, he has visited all 11 Great Wolf Lodges. Stay tuned for more from RJ and his mom Leslie.

 

This year Great Wolf Lodge is adding a wide array of family fun attractions and experiences resort-wide that will bring smiles to everyone in your family. Whether you are a first time visitor, or one of our loyal returning guests, you will find something new at your favorite resort. All summer, we will include posts about these new amenities so you can plan to take it all in during your next visit!

One of our newest family activities is Ten Paw Alley. This spring, we took the sport of bowling and put our own Great Wolf Lodge spin on it. Starting with bowling balls that are perfect for little hands, the new six alley lanes are already striking a chord in our resorts in Pocono Mountains, PA; Mason, OH; Williamsburg, VA and Concord, NC.

I had the opportunity to see how many pins I could knock down during a recent visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord. The first thing I noticed – no rental shoes were required! Who hasn’t wanted to bowl in their own shoes?

The length of the lanes are half that of a regular alley, and as I bowled alongside children who ranged in age from 2 to 14, it was such fun to watch the little ones stare intently as their ball rolled toward the pins. The lanes also have the option to add glowing bumpers during play. This way the littlest bowlers can watch their scores go up alongside their older siblings, rather than watch their balls get trapped by the dreaded gutters. (I’m afraid, I had no excuse.)

Each game automatically scores, too, so you don’t have to remember when to mark an “X” and how to add the score after bowling a spare. And, just like everything else at Great Wolf Lodge, the atmosphere is light, cheery and definitely family-friendly. At Ten Paw Alley, parents can play alongside their kids and with other Great Wolf Lodge guests.

While a photo is worth a thousand words, as seen in the above picture of my little friend Spencer, you can watch our new YouTube video showcasing the fun to be had at Ten Paw Alley. Reservations are not required to play – just drop in after enjoying the water park, or before heading to the Loose Moose for dinner. As you prepare to visit Great Wolf Lodge, make sure Ten Paw Alley is on your “must do” list!

 

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