An Action Packed-Day at Great Wolf Lodge

An Action PAcked Day at Great Wolf Lodge
Photo-A-Day #3345

My family and I attended the Grand Opening of Great Wolf Lodge New England. We were provided a standard family suite for one night, meals, admission to the park (which is included in hotel stay), a paws card for the arcade, and additional fun items. Opinions of the experience are 100% our own.

We woke up pretty early this morning even though the kids were a bit wiped out from yesterday’s experience. I brought milk and cereal for our breakfast because I knew that our family suite had a fridge. Breakfast was not included and I figured that we don’t eat that much in the morning anyway and one of the things I always loved about vacations as a kid was having special sugar cereal on vacation. So when I saw them in the store I picked them up. While we had breakfast we watched some kids shows and built the Lincoln Logs (a gift I bought for the kids based on the theme of us going to a lodge). Andrew is loving playing with the Lincoln Logs. Eva spent her time writing in a special Great Wolf Lodge notebook that I received in the mail and the wooden pen that looked like a stick. She wrote about the things that she liked about our trip. Meeting the characters was her most favorite thing.

Things don’t really get going in the resort until around 9am. That is when some of the shops open up. The arcade is always open so kids can play those games (as long as you have the paw points). We received a paw points card and the kids loved playing with those games. Before we left Eva picked out a few items for herself and something for her brother from the prizes based on the points that they earned playing games. If I was there specifically to have a vacation and not to cover a media event I would have liked to have been able to get into the water parks a bit earlier than 9 or 10am (I’m not quite sure the opening time). I do know that the Howlin’ Timbers Play Park does not open until 10am. This makes sense because there are guest rooms on the outer perimeter of the play park. So it makes sense for that to open a little later so people can enjoy sleeping.

Family with Violet Wolf at Great Wolf Lodge New England

We did go out exploring the facility before the Grand Opening press conference. While exploring we met Violet Wolf. Eva loved this character the most. The Social Media team for Great Wolf Lodge put together a fun scavenger hunt for people to participate in. There were 6 activities that people could do and post to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook in return for some badges with Characters on them plus if you completed all the tasks you were entered into a contest to win a return stay. We completed all the tasks and I forgot to submit our final card saying that we had completed the tasks. The day got very busy and there was so much to do that I completely forgot.

Eva coloring a pillow case at Great Wolf Lodge New England

One of the items that we received complimentary was a voucher to do a “Color Your Own” item in the Great Wolf Kids® Store. The choice was a T-shirt or a pillowcase. WE let Eva do this one and she chose a pillow case. While Eva colored Allison and I switched off in wrangling Andrew.

Character Stuffed Animals that you can make and dress at Great Wolf Lodge New England

Great Wolf Lodge has their own line of stuffed animals that kids can fill with stuffing and then buy outfits to dress the characters. There are books about the characters that are read at story time and in our welcome packet there was the story of Great Wolf Lodge which I read to the kids at night and in the morning. They enjoyed it and got into the characters.

Eva got a Princess Sprinkles Treatment at Scoops and Andrew felt very left out at Great Wolf Lodge

One of the stations to stop at in the Social Media Scavenger Hunt was Scoops, which is a kids spa. There are many Spa services available which were out of our budget but we did receive a complimentary pass to have Eva get one of the most inexpensive treatments. This is a cute little princess package called Sprinkled in Scoops which included a sash, a tiara, lip gloss, hair scent and some hand lotion. At a cost of $10 it can make a little kid feel like a million bucks. It did not make Andrew feel that great though. He really wanted a tiara and sash. Eva shared with him later on.

Princess Eva with Violet and Wiley Wolf

I was there to cover the Press Conference for the Grand Opening which happened at 10:30am. Allison took Andrew up to our room and Eva decided that she was going to hang out with me. But then she didn’t. She found it to be too busy and loud so she asked to go back upstairs. No big deal I could get to the room and back down for the Press Conference. On our way to the elevators we saw Violet and Wiley Wolf. Some of the staff beckoned Eva over and she got a personal introduction to the characters and some private photos. That is one thing that we noticed all over the whole place, the staff is wonderful. They are friendly and energetic, they look for ways to make a stay special. I spoke with people from the CEO to one of the lifeguards and many people in between. Everyone had a great attitude.

Checking out MagiQuest Wands and Toppers

There is an activity at Great Wolf Lodge called MagiQuest. Kids can use magic wands and special wand toppers to perform quests all around the property. You have to pay to play the game and an game activation lasts for four days. Kids can start and stop playing quests all throughout their stay. A game of MagiQuest can last between 3 and 6 hours. We did not have time to play this time around. There are packages that you can buy that are add ons at the time you book your stay this will get you Magiquest games, wands and more. There is even a specific MagiQuest package that includes even more items.

Kim Schaefer, CEO, Great Wolf Resorts and Wiley Wolf at the Great Wolf Lodge Grand Opening

So, I get Eva up to our room and plan to meet up with Allison and the kids after the press conference. they can watch the whole thing from our room. I rush back downstairs to listen to some politicians speak and also the CEO or Great Wolf Lodge, Kim Schaefer. If you ever watched Undercover Boss this is probably where you learned about Great Wolf Lodge and Kim Schaefer. She taught the crowd the Wolf Howl and stomp and congratulated Phil Cunningham, the General Manager of Great Wolf Lodge New England on the Grand Opening. Then it was time for lunch and tours.

Wiley Wolf Cake at Great Wolf Lodge New England

There was this amazing cake to celebrate the Grand Opening. I got too caught up in everything else to snag a piece. But we did have some great deserts at the complimentary family lunch that we attended. We sat at a table with Annie Stow of Stowed Stuff and her family. Andrew got bored and rambunctious toward the end of the meal so I brought him up to the room for a diaper change and to see if he’d possibly nap. He didn’t and so when Allison and Eva were finished they came up and Allison took the kids to the water park and I went on a tour and to meet Kim Schaefer and Phil Cunningham.

Speedy Andrew down the water slide

While I was on the tour I learned a bunch of things about the property which was formerly a Coco Key water park. When Great Wolf Lodge bought the property and started making it their own they created a whole second water park including a bunch of huge slides directly across the hallway from where the existing water park was. I personally didn’t get a chance to go on any of the water slides but I’ll get to that. We did pop into both of the water park areas and while we wee in one I got to see Andrew and Eva having a great time. In both sections there are great spots for kids of all ages. Andrew and Eva were both playing in the same areas and neither of them got bored for hours. They did not want to leave the water park at all. They loved it.

A Wolf Den at Great Wolf Lodge New England

I did get a chance to see one of the special Wolf Den suites on my tour. These are fantastic rooms that are set up with a special area just for the kids and in the spots where kids sleep there are images of sleeping wolves. It is very cute and I would have loved to have stayed in a room like this but we’ll certainly come back. I also learned that the Howlers Peak Ropes Course™ is also included as part of your stay. There is a kids ropes course and a taller ropes course for older kids and parents.

Met with Phil Cunningham, General Manager, Great Wolf Lodge New England and Kim Schaefer, CEO, Great Wolf Resorts at the Great Wolf Lodge Grand Opening
Photo by Keriann Wilmot

After my tour I had a sit down with Phil Cunningham, General Manager, Great Wolf Lodge New England and Kim Schaefer, CEO, Great Wolf Resorts. Kim was really nice and down to earth. She answered all of our questions and then my friend Keri the Toy Queen asked if I’d take a photo for her and then she took one for me. I also showed Kim my NXMini camera and the Smile mode for taking selfies. We took a goofy one together. she has a good sense of humor.

Tipping Bucket at Great Wolf Lodge New England
Photo by Annie Stow.

After finishing all of my media obligations and doing the work portion of this trip I headed to the water park to get changed and relieve Allison. She had already had the kids alone for the past couple of hours. I caught up with them in the new park section where he kids were playing in the kid pool which was filled with all sorts of fun things to do. There were slides and little jet skis that shot water and more.

Both Allison and I were impressed by the lifeguards and the security staff. There is a high value placed on safety and the staff is pretty incredible. We watch them do drills and there was a point where the water was stopped and some of the tubes in the kids part were checked. Once things were determined to be safe they started things up again.

We played in both water parks for most of the rest of the day. Andrew played till he dropped. He got tired enough that he actually fell asleep at the park in Allison’s arms. Eva and I played int he Lazy river and then back to the wave pool. She had a fantastic time and there was so much for her to do. She didn’t want to do the slides though and I had already been away from the family enough that I didn’t want to take off and do the slides while the rest of the family was still in the kiddie areas. So we all had fun and spent that time together. Maybe next trip I’ll get Eva to do a smaller water slide.

When we were all exhausted from the water park fun we got changed and used our last voucher for a meal at Hungry as a Wolf®. They serve pizzas and salads. Our voucher was good for a large cheese pizza, large salad and a two liter of soda. We had also received a voucher for a 32 ounce Coca-Cola Sipper with unlimited refills. Allison and I switched off on our drinks with that. The park has Freestyle machines so we could get whatever combination we wanted. There wasn’t enough room to eat near Hungry as a Wolf® so we took the meal back tot eh water park with the Tipping bucket (as seen above). Then once we were fed and re-energized a bit we went to the Howlin’ Timbers Play Park™ to check out the Howlers Peak Ropes Course™.

Various Photos of Great wolf Lodge
Photos by Allison Bennett

I learned that the ropes course was included with the stay and told Eva about it. she was super excited to try it out and so we went and she and Andrew both got harnesses on and played on the kids ropes course. It is a really nice course and parents can go through lift gates and give the kids a hand and moral support. Both kids were super brave and Eva stated that she wanted to do the higher ropes course. She could do it as long as an adult was with her. That would be me. I’m not a fan of heights but the course isn’t “that” high off the ground, just high enough to make me a little nervous.

I got into a harness and Eva went ahead of me. she got to the top of the stairs, looked down and decided that she was too nervous to walk around on the upper course. I stayed up and tried a few of the things to show her that it wasn’t so bad. Although I as not trying anything that I had to walk across though holding anything. I did a net type thing and a rope that had ropes on the side to hold. I was happy to get back down. But I had to show her that it was okay to do so many be next time she does go for it.

A Happy Family heading home from Great Wolf Lodge New England
Although we were sad to leave we were a happy family heading home from our trip to Great Wolf Lodge.

After a jam packed two days it was time to head home. We will certainly be back again and when we do we will book a two night stay and do MagiQuest and book a wolf den room. The kids loved it, the place is close to Allison’s grandparents, a nice destination for families to go to. We were impressed.