Great Wolf Lodge invited us with all the other media outlets around the Twin Cities to spend a weekend at their newest resort here in Bloomington. Our family had a blast spending the weekend together (with me sneaking away here and there to post on social media), and we kept our eyes open for the best deals and tips.
Disclosure: FFTC received a weekend stay and admission to the attractions. Keep reading because this isn’t so much a sponsored article as a insider’s guide to the resort. I promise that all opinions are my own.
My kids were so excited to go to Great Wolf Lodge. Unfortunately, the Sunday before, Daddy came home from a weekend away with the stomach flu.
So to prevent a possible cancellation of the fun, we had two rules for the rest of the week.
- Do NOT share any food or drink.
- Stay away from Daddy.
I am happy to say that the preventative action was successful.
When Friday came, the kids hopped off the bus, into the car and away we drove. We were excited for the water park and seeing what the room was like. What we didn’t know was that most of the weekend was spent outside the water park in the Adventure Park.
Why? Because Great Wolf was so much more than a hotel with a water park. A list of all the attractions and logistics about the resort are located here.
|Tip #1||Avoid Peak Check-in Hours|
Check in is at 4:00 pm, but the water park is open at 1:00 pm for the guests checking in for the night. Therefore, the line is down the hall at 1:00.
Again at 4:00 pm you will find a lengthy line, so my suggestion is to check in to the water park between 2:30 and 3:00 or into your hotel room after 7:00 pm.
|Tip #2||Take Advantage of all the Free Activities|
Our favorite free activity for sure was Wiley’s Waterpark, but Great Wolf Lodge also offers other free activities throughout the day. You can do yoga in the morning, make crafts, decorate your ears that you receive when you check in, listen to stories, play games.
|Tip #3||Make use of the fridge, microwave, and storage cupboards for meals|
While staying the night at Great Wolf is definitely a splurge for our family, they do make it possible for you to feel at home. They provide a mini fridge and microwavein each suite. Stock the fridge and eat for less.
|Tip #4||But First, Coffee|
The coffee available in the different restaurants was not my favorite, and the line for Dunkin’ Donuts was incredibly long–as in down-the-hall long. There is small coffeemaker in the suites, but I suggest having a coffee plan.
|Tip #5||Go Bowling|
Ten Paw Alley was my favorite activity of the entire weekend. It’s mini bowling so the balls are five pounds and approximately the size of a shotput. You play 10 frames for up to six players at a time. And I just want to point out to everyone that I won!!! I SMOKED my husband! Our whole family had fun bowling together.
|Tip #6||Enjoy the enormous wood burning fireplace|
Saturday morning, I–and two of my kiddos–woke up really early (I think we were too excited to fall back asleep), so I sauntered into the lobby where I found a rocking chair in front of the gargantuan fireplace. They came over immediately and added logs to the fire and I relaxed for an hour while my kids explored the Adventure park in their pajamas. It was absolutely my most favorite part of the weekend.
|Tip #7||Let your kids be the experts and play MagiQuest.|
Okay, this game is incredibly active. MagiQuest caused our whole family to fall asleep hard after walking probably 50,000 steps in one day. Up and down we went going from portal to portal.
There are lot of things to remember about MagiQuest, and it is on the pricey side. However, I believe of everything you can spend your money on, this is worth the cost.
To play, you need a wand and a wand topper.
For the weekend, we had three quests to complete: Rescue the Pixies, Defeat the Goblin King, and Defeat the Dragon. Each quest has a series of actions you need to take including (but not limited to) collecting money, collecting objects, finding paintings, etc. Now what is going to cause your head to spin is the number of things your children will wave their wand at and you will have no idea why. Their are physical objects to find, virtual objects to find, treasure chests to open, stars to collect, portals to discover, paintings to locate, and more. It’s the “and more” keep you shaking your head.
Let me give you a quick rundown of how the game works. In fact, here is a chart.
|Quest: Rescue the Pixies|
Obtain 3 runes. To obtain the 3 runes, you must collect certain items. (these examples are not accurate, just a representation)
|Rune 1||Rune 2||Rune 3|
|Collect Blue Crystal|
Collect White Crystal
Collect Red Crystal
Collect Purple Crystal
Collect Green Crystal
|Collect 1000 gold coins|
Collect the tanglebranch
Collect the brooch
Collect the crown
|Collect 5 stars|
|Step 2:|| |
Rescue the Pixies (at the Pixie and Princess Station)
It is a huge guarantee that you will wonder around not knowing what you are doing. In fact, it will take you most of a weekend to figure it out, BUT it will be loved by your whole family.
Budget Friendly Tips for Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is definitely a splurge, but with a little planning and budgeting, it can be a great memory-maker and not ruin your financially. Here are my top three tips to help your budget.
- Take advantage of the Park Passes.
- Spend most of your time in Wiley’s Waterpark
- Bring your own food.
And there you have it folks. I’m excited to have this resort in the Twin Cities since I’m a huge fan of Jellystone, and since Great Wolf owns Jellystone, we felt right at home.
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Published January 9, 2018.