Friday, December 7, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge - Concord

From Sarah C.:

On the spur of the moment, DH suggested to me a stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Concord. We had a few good reasons to celebrate and our weekend lodging plans had fallen through so why not toss in a little adventure?

Before we left, we simply showed D a few photos online. Keep in mind, this 3 year old had never even been to a water park or a hotel. The horror, right? The photos alone had him excited during the road trip and begging to get out of his car seat the moment the Lodge was in view.

Great Wolf Lodge has a number of room options from more traditional style hotel room to various suite options. We selected the KidKamp Suite which featured a separate "room" designed to look a tent. Inside was a bunk, small table and wall mounted tv. Admittedly we set the bar high in the room alone for our son's first hotel stay. He'll expect all hotels to have a "tent" now. As parents, we loved it because it did give him his own kid-sized space and, minus one venture to our side of the room at 11pm, spent the entire night in his own bed.

The main feature of GWL is the indoor waterpark. There is an outdoor section, but, of course, that is closed this time of year. We spent most of our time in a fenced area with secure gate designed specifically for the little ones. We also took turns trying out water slides, took a dip in the wave pool (D learned the warning sound quick and scrambled to "shore" before the waves came), and I even dared to try a floating obstacle course. Proud to say I didn't fall into the water, but it was definitely not my most graceful moment!


Beyond the waterpark there are a lot of other activities spread out throughout the resort. We didn't try any due to time constrictions, but did wander a bit to take a peek. These include arcade, MagiQuest & Compass Quest, kids spa, Creation Station (make your own stuffed animal), bowling and mini golf. Note there are fees for these added options. You can purchase individually or buy a multipass (Paw Pass) for each child.

Daily activities included in the stay will be listed on a schedule given to you at check-in. The story time each evening in front of the fire in the lobby is supposed to be quite popular. I confess we missed it while playing in the water park! Next time.

Things to remember ...
  • Check-in is at 4pm. You can access any "dry" area of the resort beforehand and enter the water park as early as 1pm the day you arrive. Check-out is at 11am with a fee for late check out. You will have access to the water park until 9pm on the day you check out. There are locker rooms (men, women & family) plus rental lockers in the water park area.
  • Water park passes are included with your room stay. Each member of your family will have a colored wristband that is your pass to the park and, for the adult ones, it also acts as your room key + resort charge option (no need to carry a wallet here).
  • Life jackets are provided for use. Personally we packed our son's Puddle Jumper and found it to be handy. Even the Cub Paw Pool which starts at zero entry got deep enough that it was reassuring to have the extra protection and, since he's used to it, we had no issues getting him to wear it.
  • The rooms have small fridges and microwaves so consider bringing some bottled water and a few snacks with you to help save on extra charges. Note there restrictions on outside foods in the water park so check the rules first.
  • The water park does have towels for use. They are small and must stay in the water park. Consider bringing your own or a cover up to wrap each family member in to stay a little warmer for your walk back to your room.
  • The water park is open 9am - 9pm. If you arrive around 9am, expect a line. My advice, hang out in your room or roam the other areas until about 9:10 to let the line disperse. As you enter the park, each child is measured and given a 2nd wristband that notes which areas he/she is tall enough for. If you didn't get one the night before or it came off (it's paper vs the plastic water pass/room key wristband), you will have to take the time to let the lifeguards measure your child and give them a new wristband.
  • Finally, personal preference here but it agrees with reviews DH & I read. We did find the mattresses to be very firm and the pillows hard. We packed D's pillow but definitely next time will be bringing our own as well. Again, personal preference but as all parents appreciate a good night's sleep, I thought I would suggest to help make your stay a tad more comfortable!


Enjoy your stay!

Great Wolf Lodge
http://www.greatwolf.com/concord/waterpark
10175 Weddington Road
Concord, NC 28027

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