Our much anticipated Great Wolf Lodge vacation in Niagara Falls had finally come. The kids had a count down penciled on my big Mom calendar on the fridge. We had counted how many sleeps and now that exciting day had finally arrived. As we pulled up to the lodge we were shocked how busy it was. Christopher and I are really not fans of crowds, and so we were trepidatious to say the least. The kids on the other hand were vibrating with excitement in the back seat, desperate to rip off their seat belts and throw themselves head long into the chaos.
After my brain had calmed down and I could see all of my children, all within arms reach, I began to take in my surroundings. It was the stuff of children's dreams. It looked like a little camping village, but all inside. Dead ahead were animated animals, surrounded by awestruck little ones. To the side was this inviting fireplace that begged to have me sit near it. The very check in area looked like a rustic cabin. In short it was nothing short of amazing! Immediately I could see what everyone had been talking about for years.
I mentioned yesterday that Vivian St. Onge, The Great Wolf Lodge's Group Sales coordinator was a hero. She tried her very best to help me get the group rate package, but in the end we just didn't have enough people. She was fantastic to deal with. She tried to find us the best deal, and she did. She was able to upgrade our room for us. I had no idea just how amazing the upgrade was until we opened the door.
Just inside the door of the room was a beautiful cheese basket with a card from Vivain, what did I tell you, the lady is amazing!!!! It was too late for lunch but to early for dinner, but we were all hungry. We set upon that gorgeous cheese basket like ants to a picnic. It had glorious cheeses and artesian crackers. I felt a little like royalty. I had this big stupid smile on my face the whole time.
It was becoming increasingly obvious that a genius had created the Great Wolf Lodge experience. I could now see why people raved about it, why families made so many return visits. They have thought of everything! The very room keys are ingenious. How many times have you been to a hotel with a pool? You walk down to the pool, the kids are rangy with excitement. You are about to jump into the pool, but wait, where do you put your room key? Inevitably our room key gets put into the end of either Christopher or my stinky shoe. That's all well and good for when you are putting the key in, taking the key out... now that's another thing. The other thing about traditional hotel room keys is that someone always manages to loose at least one (I'm not naming names, but he's tall and wears glasses). We usually find the keys somewhere stupid in our luggage when we get home, an unexpected souvenir of our trip. The geniuses at Great Wolf Lodge have eliminated the traditional keys. Your water park bracelet is your key. You just line it up with this little spot on the door and viola it's open ... like magic. The bracelets are attached to your wrist, so never misplace the room key again.
Our cabin, I mean room, really did feel like a cozy upscale cabin. There was a corner fireplace, that I couldn't wait to sit by with a glass of wine. There was a huge patio door, that in nice weather would have been amazing to sit outside and have a coffee to start the day. The decor was all rustic themed.
There was even a Ripley's Believe it Or Not book waiting to be explored on the table. My kid's loved it. The couldn't wait to sit and read it. Like I say, they have thought of everything!
Arguably the best feature of our room if you were to ask our kids was the kid's cabin. Right in our room was a little wooden cabin with a t.v. and bunk beds. The kids were ecstatic. They jumped up and down and squealed in delight.
They really have thought of everything possible to make this the world's greatest holiday. They even have games to loan out. After the water park closed (it closed at 8, it seems a too little early) the kids were already bored. I went to the front desk and signed out Snakes and Ladders. When the kids had finished playing that, the big girls went down and exchanged Snakes and Ladders for Jenga. This is built into the cost of your room rental.
For the kids and for ourselves the best possible part of the trip was the company. I had tried to book a group of rooms, not just to save money (although that was a good part of the reason), but so that the kids could share this amazing adventure with their friends. In the room right next door to us was Elly's friend and her family, and just down the hall were Grace's Friend and her family. I saw another Mom and her family at the water park and in the lobby for story time. We were away from home, but there was that familiarity. It had worked out perfectly that the kids each had someone to play with out of the groups. My guys loved the freedom of being able to run back and forth between the rooms and play with their friends / kids their age. Christopher and I liked being able to have adult conversation with really nice adults that we really liked.
They really do have everything there, it's truly is like a little village. There are restaurants, and to make your life easier you can purchase food plans for your visit (we are so doing that next time). There is a place to purchase swimsuits in case you forgot yours. There is a coffee shop, a little bakery, even a spa one for grown ups and one for kids!
The water park was huge. I really appreciated that it was broken up into different area for big kids and smaller kids, but they didn't have to stay within those particular areas. Going with friends made it better for the kids in the water park. Ordinarily the big kids get held back because what they want to do is not appropriate for Elly, and so we have to divide our time (which to them means that their time is wasted). Having three sets of trusted adults allowed the kids to branch off and do their own thing, but still be supervised by a parent, even if it wasn't their own.