07 March 2009

Great Wolf Lodge Mini Get Away

Did you ever have an idea about a little trip for your kids? You know everything we do is for our kids and whatever makes them happy, makes us happy too. My child, like lots of other children believes that Great Wolf is the "funnest place ever." You continue to think you have a good idea up until the day comes and then it hits you that you're pretty stupid... why on earth did you have to come up with an idea that only creates a headache for you as well as additional work? That's another blogpost in itself but right now we'll stick to the current topic. Our trip to Great Wolf.

We loved planning a little surprise for our 8 year old daughter. She's worked really hard in school this year and she's a good girl. I've been sick quite a bit this year and she's so patient with me an so caring by always checking on me, making sure I'm warm enough, that I have everything I need, that I'm not hurting and that I'm getting better. Sometimes you'd think "I" was the child and she was the adult. Just to let her know how special we think she is we wanted to create a affordable little getaway for her and what better place than the place she thinks is the "Funnest Place ever?" Great Wolf now has two locations in Ohio which is really great for us. We're in Columbus (or just north of it) so we can go either north or south and end up someplace fun.

I know that for those of you who can afford European vacations or trips to the tropics this won't sound like fun, but to an 8 year old, a trip to Great Wolf is just like a trip to Maui! It's also more affordable and that's what I'm all about these days!!

Just like with any adventure away from home there are things to be done. Even a two day trip is no different. The day of the trip we're running around to the bank, the vet to take the dogs to be boarded, trying to pack, get all the suits and watergear packed, snacks, pillows and a quilt for the road (ok, these weren't necessary but I always fall asleep in the car and I'm always cold so I wanted these items to be comfortable)... anyhow you get my point... a bunch of additional work that we created for ourselves... DUH...

Mason OH is only about an hour and a half away. We got there earlier than the standard check-in time and our room was ready. This was a wonderful welcome!We could get situated, get dressed and hit the water. Our child was THRILLED!! We had a nice room with the "wolf den" for the child which was a bunkbed area with a separate TV and it was enclosed in a timber-like cave. Very cute and she was happy to have her own accomodations. We changed our clothes and headed to the waterpark. It was about 1 p.m. on a Friday afternoon so it wasn't that busy which we appreciated since we don't really like crowded areas anyhow.

The first thing you notice about Great Wolfe is how clean the resort is. The grounds and the interior of the lodge. The second thing you notice is that everyone who works there is as friendly as your next door neighbor. Its a welcome change. We live in a world where everyone is in a hurry and not really interested in being too friendly but here, they make you believe they really like their jobs and I found that really refreshing.

One thing we found that we didnt remember from our last trip was that they serve alcohol in the pool area. Now I'm not a college graduate and I don't claim to be the smartest person on the earth but in my lifetime I've determined that lots of water + alcohol + stupid people usually = trouble. We saw people all over the pool area carrying around bottles of open beer. My first reaction was surprise that Great Wolf would allow alcohol in the pool area and then that they'd have bottled beer. For some reason the feel of it just didnt sit well with me. Still doesn't. It kind of gave me the Put-in-Bay party all the time feel, more of a bar than of a family atmosphere.

Great Wolfe is a family place, something you do for your kids. I'm not a prude and I like a cocktail every now and then so it's not like I'm being unreasonable but why does it seem that some parents cant go 1 or 2 days without drinking in a public environment like that? It just doesn't look right.... I'm not judging, not my place but when I do things for my kids and with my kids I don't want to have to drink to get thru it. If I have to start doing that then I'm losing the joy of being with my children.

The people staying in the room above us were a whole blog post on their own. I honestly believe they had a small herd of elephants up in the room with them. Until bed time we heard those elephants running circles around the room, around and around and around... for hours..... Eventually they must have passed out from exhaustion. They had to have... was exhausted listening to them.

I had hoped that we'd be able to sleep in a bit. The pool didn't open til 10 and there wasn't much else to do. Ok - sleeping in didnt happen. We all woke up at 4:58 a.m..... just like we do every other day... our internal body clocks went off and sure enough we were all wide awake. Luckily we could have some quiet time because the elephants upstairs were still sleeping.

The quiet didn't last and soon the elephants upstairs woke up and the elephant parade started all over again. I didnt even have the energy to complain. I've found in the past it just annoys people and then they make even more noise. A little consideration on their part would have gone a long way!

A little two day excusion to Great Wolf can be a costly experience. If you go, be prepared nothing is cheap at Great Wolf. They have a captive audience and they use that to their maximum advantage. For example: Dippin Dots $4 a pop, Icee $3.46 for a small, medium Pizza Hut Pizza $14.95, 12 oz pepsi in bottle $2.00, 12 milk $2.00 It is convenient that they have stores on site but like I said, captive audiences cause escalation of prices and in this case it was really true.

Great Wolf had the foresight to build a spa and I really wanted a massage but after paying $4 for dippin dots I figured the massage would be well over $100. Unfortunately the prices for their services were not posted at any location in the resort except inside the spa itself. There was no way to gauge whether this would have been affordable. If they would post the price ranges for services they might find that thier business would increase if people find it's something they can afford after all. I wonder how many are like me and assume it's just too expensive. Why didn't I just ask? Well then when it was too expensive I would have felt small and cheap.That would cause more stress than it would relieve so I skipped it.... guess I am getting cheap in my old age.

Anyhow... all in all, I wasn't too happy with the Great Wolf experience. I can say the ground were nice and clean, the staff was really nice and my daughter enjoyed the park but "my" experience will cause me to entertain alternate ideas next time we want to surprise our daughter. Other things are less expensive and may be more enjoyable. I plan to let them know it wasn't a good time by all. I dont know that my one opinion will make a difference. The place was pretty packed when we left so what is one person complaining? In these times, it's a lot because here I am broadcasting the experience to the entire world. That word of mouse advertising can make or break a business!!! If Great Wolf responds in a positive manner my opinion might change but I'll be sure to keep you all posted on that!! Until the next post, Live, Love and Laugh!

1 comment:

maizzy said...

if I had kids, I guess I would do that sort of trip but for now it's just traveling w/ BFG... Our poor kitties are either babysat or at the kennel.

OMGosh, drinking with kids around no way. That personally is a no, no! Wow, totally surprised when I read that... And as for the elephants, I would have complained to management and made them move me.

Overall, I'm happy to hear your daughter had a wonderful time. :) Sorry that your experience wasn't that great...