Escape The Heat At Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX
As a Frisco, TX REALTOR® it is always tough fitting in our family vacation with work as the summer months are my busiest work weeks of the year, especially before the children return to school which this year is August 27th 2012 for Frisco ISD.
This year we choose to take our vacation the week before the children return to school and as all my children’s passports have expired and it costs over $120 to renew each one ( I have three children) we decided to do a Texas vacation this summer.
On previous years we went to Schlitterbahn waterpark in New Braunfels, TX, Sea World in San Antonio, TX & Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, TX. This year however we stayed closer to home and out of the sun somewhat and choose Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX. We came here last year for one night after spending a couple of days at Hurricane Harbor and the children loved it.
Firstly I would like to make a few things that are obvious to me but may not be to everyone ( I read some reviews of Great Wolf Lodge and some people amaze me). This is not the four seasons, even though it may end up costing you more! Great Wolf Lodge is aimed towards the children and not adults, (although they do serve adult beverages). If you are looking for fancy restaurants or high thread count sheets on your king sized bed then look elsewhere. What you get at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX is a themed indoor / outdoor water park with additional indoor activities for the children to enjoy during their stay.
We arrived a around 2pm on Monday 20th August and although I was aware that check-in was not until 4pm I knew that we could use the water park from 1pm on our day of arrival in the event that our room was not available when we arrived. We lucked out as we did last year as our room was ready so we checked in straight away. Check-in was fast and we only waited in line five minutes. I choose the Cabin Themed room which features a bulk bed for the children that looks like it is built of tree trunks and a TV mounted on the wall for them to watch. With three children they are taking it in turns to use the “top bunk”. Also two of them a sharing even though the room also has a pull out sofa bed one of them could use. The room also has a queen sized bed for adults and a sitting area with desk etc.
One feature that I always like in my hotel room is a fridge which we have, along with a microwave and coffee maker etc. One thing I learned from last years trip is there is no way to do Great Wolf Lodge on the cheep. The children are going to want the magicquest wands etc., so this year I choose to purchase the “paw pass” for each of them which covers many of the activities. Below is a list of what the “paw pass” includes. I won’t tell you the price as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.
* 20 Tokens for the Northern Lights Arcade
* One Traditional MagiQuest Wand ($19.99 value)
* One MagiQuest Game ($12.99 value)
* One Small Glitter Tattoo
* One Single Scoop Ice Cream in a Cup
* One “Color Your Own” item at Cub Club (Tee Shirt or Pillowcase)
* One Animal at Great Wolf Stuffing Station (outfit included)
* One 4″ x 6″ Paw Prints Photo
Once we had been up to our room to drop off our bags we went to the water park for a couple of hours. As I suspected they soon wanted to start using doing the activities on their “paw passes” so I gave them an hour and a half before dinner to do that.
Although their are restaurants on site and I will be using them on day two I expect, the first night I choose to take them to one of their favorite restaurants which is also in Grapevine, The Rain Forrest Cafe. As it’s in Grapevine we only get to go here one or twice a year so as Great Wolf Lodge is only a couple of miles from the Grapevine Mall where the Rain Forrest Cafe is located we went there for dinner.
We made sure that we were back in the hotel by 8pm as the children wanted to attend the “bedtime” story that is held down in the main lobby by the clock tower. The “story time” lasts about 20 minutes and they seem to enjoy it.
I don’t like lines, so I will do anything to avoid them which means I always plan to do the rides in the water park at off peek hours. As the water park is open from 9am – 9pm I chose to be there at 9am so we can get to ride the slides that we want to ride without much of a wait. Also we had breakfast at the Loose Moose Cottage at 7.30am which gave us plenty of time to be ready.
The Loose Moose Cottage buffet was good. It has the usual things you would expect from a breakfast buffet and as we were there when it just opened everything was fresh and hot. I liked the breakfast burritos, which I removed the flour tortilla from and ate.
Tip. We arrived at the water park at 9.05am and we able to rid all the water slides within the first hour with very little wait time. The first 30 minutes was the best as there was no wait and I got in a bit of a cardio workout walking up all the stairs whilst carrying a double tube over my shoulder.
In the evening we went to dinner at the Camp Critter bar and grill which is within the hotel. The food was ok, and was overpriced but I knew what to expect before we went there. The main reason of going there to eat was the children wanted the free “wolf ears” that you get when you order the kids meals. The meal cost $60 (1 adult & 3 children).
After dinner the children wanted to attend the bedtime stories at the clock tower again so I let them do that while I sat in the restaurant a few feet away and enjoyed some quite time and an adult beverage.
As I said at the start, this trip was all for the children and they enjoyed themselves. They had hours of fun with their “paw passes” and playing Magiquest, especially my 8 year old son who completed it all. The water park also provided hours of fun for us all.
All told with hotel taxes, the two nights cost $750 which includes the breakfast onsite and 3 drinks purchased at some point during our stay. We also spent an additional $250 on outside restaurants which could have been cut in half if I had chosen cheaper spots to eat. Although the hotel does offer free Wifi, I found it was very slow and really only good for checking email. I used my 4G connection on my Ipad to watch movies on netflix which cost me another $20 in bandwidth.
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