September 14, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia

Unfortunately, the summer of 2011 is officially in the books.  Where did it go?  Just like that, we are entrenched in back to school activities and sports practices/games.  Our last stop on the “summer of fun” tour took us to the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia (  It’s become a tradition to stop at the Lodge on our way home from the yearly Outer Banks beach trip with my side of the family.  This year we did it a tad differently.  We didn’t tell the kids we were going.  In fact, we told them it just wasn’t in the cards this year for a visit.  Oh the sad faces (and whining - hey my kids aren't perfect).  As we headed out, we talked about all the fun times we had at the beach and stopped for breakfast.  As luck would have it, about an hour outside Williamsburg, VA, the entire gang fell asleep (a feat in and of itself to get all 4 down).  Each one started to wake up slowly as we were literally pulling into the parking lot.  Oh the shock and awe on their faces when they saw where they were.  We downplayed it and said we were just stopping to use the bathrooms and get a bite to eat. 
Before we left the beach, I had packed my diaper bag with bathing suits, crocs and goggles so it didn’t dawn on them that anything was amiss when I just grabbed the diaper bag.  We went in and used the bathrooms and then headed to the Loose Moose Bar and Grill (  As we ordered lunch, we fielded questions like “why can’t we use the waterpark while we're here?” and “wouldn’t it be nice to stay the night, mom and dad?”  When the food arrived, I asked everyone to close their eyes and make a wish.  I then handed out to each of them their bathing suits and we watched in great anticipation as they figured it out.  You know how you play these moments in your head a million times but they never really play out the way you want them too.  Well this one did.  It was indeed a “Kodak moment.” 
We went straight to the bathrooms after lunch, changed into our suits, and hit the waterpark.  I don’t know if we always luck out or what but it wasn’t busy and there were no lines anywhere.  I always feel that the lifeguards do a fantastic job watching the waters and for the first time, Prine William and I let Sirs T and K and Lady E (9, 6, and 5) run amok.  We limited where they could go (no wave pool or outside area without supervision) and they must stay together.  We designated a spot and called it home base.  Worked like a charm.  They always made their way back.  We stayed with Lady A (she’s only 22 months).  We could basically catch a glimpse of them about every 5-10 minutes so I wasn’t worried like I normally am.  On a side note, I read a lot of missing persons cases in the news so I am a real hands-on mom to a fault sometimes. 
I don’t usually partake in water activities (I’ve got hair issues – yet again another blog post) but when Sir T  asked me to take on the Howlin’ Tornado, I was intrigued.  What a blast.  I haven’t had that much fun in years.  Prince William and I took turns watching Lady A while the other one rode the slides with the kids.  We did the Beaver Lake Trail, Crooked Creek and the outside pool area together.  Again, we really lucked out with the weather.  It was a gorgeous day. 
We played in the waterpark for basically 6 hours straight before heading to the room.  I opted to upgrade our room this year to a KidKamp Suite.  Normally, I wouldn’t do this because Prince William gets nose bleeds about money but my company had a year-end special corporate discount going and we got the room for 30% off (big selling point for Prince William).  The kids loved the special area for them.  It was a tent looking area with bunkbeds and a television.  Nothing fancy but the kids loved having their own area/room.  We pulled the sofa out into the room and made a small wall  to put Lady A's pac-n-play behind and that worked like a charm.  Once Lady A was off into la-la-land, I took the three other kids back to the waterpark.  Prince William needed a break.  It was awesome.  We ran around the park with virtually no lines and all the slides were either lit up or dark.  I felt like a 10 year old kid.  Their is a ride call the Red Canyon Run.  It's a big tube that all 4 of us could go on together.  They played fun music and flashed colored lights on the way down.  We had a ball (only thing missing was Lady A and Prince William) .  After that, it was back to the room and sleepy sleepy time. 

Of course, we had breakfast at the Loose Moose Lodge again and hit the waterpark at exactly 9:00 a.m.  The fun ensued for about 6 more hours before we had to end our trip and head home.  All in all a great time.
PROS:  The kids loved it yet again.  I think there are tons of activities to keep anyone at any age busy.  The food is always acceptable (nothing fancy).  The employees are as nice as can be and check-in is quick and painless.  They have added a small bowling alley area.  We did that and really enjoyed ourselves.  They also had a robot ice cream vending machine which for $7.00 you can have a robot make you an ice cream treat.  We got 2 for all of us to share.  A tad pricey but the kids loved the robot.  On the way back to our room, we caught the story time activity that they do 3 times a day near the entrance to the Lodge.  I never really was interested in this but I have to say the kids were entertained for about 15 minutes and it was really cute.
CONS:  I always have an outstanding time at the Great Wolf Lodge but I do feel it’s pricey.  They give you a wristband to wear which also doubles as a key to your room/credit card.  I recommend this way of paying while at the Lodge.  It didn’t hit Prince William until checkout just exactly how much we were paying for stuff.    The upgrade was a nice treat but I wouldn’t do it again unless I got the 30% off.  The regular rooms are just fine in my opinion.  They have the MagiQuest activity that you purchase a wand and walk around the Lodge picking up clues.  We opted out of that because most of my friends said it was very time consuming.  I will say, there were tons of kids partaking and it did look fun.
OVERALL:  We recommend this place.  We always have a fantastic time and the children seem to really love the theme/activities.  It’s a pricey trip, I’m not going to lie, but you can definitely seize some awesome family moments.
TOTAL COST:  The total cost for one nigh for a family of 6 was right around $375.00.  That includes the (upgraded) room (remember the 30% I got), lunch, dinner (at the Express Pizza Hut), snacks, breakfast and, of course, 2 (almost) full days of the waterpark.   You could definitely save money on the room.  There standard rooms are nice and clean.  We did do a few extra things. We bought a few souvenirs and we spent about an hour at the new bowling alley ($20.00 for 4 people to bowl).  If you put it into perspective, 2 days at the waterpark for 6 people (and we had a blast), it’s well worth it.
If you go, tell us what you think

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