Quick getaways in the middle of winter are a great time for the family to recharge, reinvigorate and spend quality time together. Last weekend my family and I had the pleasure of enjoying a weekend away at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. All of us enjoyed the facilities, service and it was great being a kid again and enjoying some action packed water slides!
Here is my full review:
Check in - We arrived around 4pm on Saturday thinking that check in would be a huge ordeal and were pleasantly surprised to see a short line at reception that moved at a really great pace. We were greeted by a wonderful front desk attendant who gave us a quick run down of the property, provided us with our wrists bands and gave us our room assignment. Within 15 minutes we were in our room quickly getting changed into our bathing suits! One of the newest advancements at the property is their wrist band technology. These new wrist bands can be used to open your guest room door and make purchases. We loved this as we never had to worry about losing our key or having to bring money to the watermark.
Guest Rooms - Since this was a last minute booking, the only room category that remained was a Family Suite. It was a simple room with 2 double beds and a pull out sofa which gave our family of 4 plenty of space. The room also came with a small microwave (which sadly can not be used for popcorn), coffee maker, and small fridge. My only negative comment would be that the bathroom was very small however they did do a good job of having a toilet/shower in the bathroom with the vanity in the wet bar area so it was accessible at all times. The room was super clean and the beds and pillows made for a great nights' sleep. The resort offers some fabulous room options with kid bunk beds and full kitchens, however they sell quickly even with the very expensive price tag.
Waterpark - Of course the highlight of staying at Great Wolf Lodge is the amazing indoor water park. My children (aged 8 & 6) were amazed by the scale of it all as they had never seen anything like this indoors. The waterpark offered everything that you would want from a wave pool, toddler splash area, small water slides to adrenaline pumping ones. The children enjoyed spending time in Fort Mackenzie - a 4 story tree house filled with suspension bridges, large dumping buckets and spray stations. Who can beat having the ability to spray water on mom and dad and not get into any trouble! Collectively, we all decided that our favourite water slide was the Woolly Mammoth. This slide allows the whole family to sit in one raft together and enjoy the many twists and turns together. I will never forget the expression on their faces!
Dining - This is definitely one area that GWF needs to work on. On our first night after spending almost 3 hours at the waterpark we were famished and were looking forward enjoying the main buffet restaurant, Antlers Shanty. We arrived to find a huge line, just to be told there would be a 45 minute wait! I can understand that 6:30pm is a popular dining time, however when we looked through the windows of the restaurant we saw table after table of empty seats. We spoke to the dining reservation agent and they were very unhelpful in explaining why we couldn't be seated. Once we were seated at 7:15pm we were pleasantly surprised to see the variety and quality of food offering. There really was something for everyone from ribs, to roasts, pizza, chicken, pasta and a very extensive salad bar. The dessert offerings and ice cream bar were a huge hit with the kids (and adults too!). We also decided to dine here for breakfast and after a 30 minute wait (again with numerous empty tables) we enjoyed an array of breakfast foods to satisfy even the pickiest of children.
Entertainment - At 8pm every evening GWL does a fantastic job at Nightly Story Time. We had a wonderful entertainer who read to the crowd of children 2 stories in an amazingly interactive way with crowd participation, funny voices and numerous hilarious moments. The crowd was roaring in laughter - a very different event from when I read my children their nightly stories! In addition, other entertainment included Chocolate Bar Bingo, bowling, arcade, wolf walk and spa services. The Lodge does a great job keeping the whole family busy even when outside of the water park.
Although this was only a one night stay for us, we could have easily spent 2 to 3 evenings here and found enough to keep us busy. In future, I would try and book at room with a kitchen thereby not having to spend the extra money on food ($22 per adult for buffet dinner, $18 per breakfast). Until next time, thank you GWL for providing us with a wonderful weekend away!
For more travel tips and reviews, be sure to follow my facebook page at www.facebook.com/ClaraPowerTPI. Follow our family as we venture out to NYC for March Break and take a cruise on Royal Caribbean newest ship, the Quantum of the Seas and visit ports in Florida, and Bahamas.