KidsOutAndAbout.com Readers Review Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls
Okay, KidsOutAndAbout.com readers! It's your turn.
It's time to review Great Wolf Lodge!
From Toni Lynn: Great Wolf Lodge is awesome! All the rooms have small refrigerators and microwaves. Why is this important? You are able to bring some of your own favorite foods and snacks, which allowed our family to eat dinner there and purchase a special/fun treat if we wanted. There are always great deal that include different packages where you get tokens for the arcade or a Great Wolf towel. Story hour is fun and everyone is very pleasant, very accommodating and family friendly. The front desk has games you can borrow (connect four, checkers, etc...). There is also a room where you can color, play, be a kid. The establishment is clean the lobby, the rooms, the water area, and the locker rooms. Depending on the age of your child depends how much parent duty is needed. There are chairs/tables all around for parents to sit and relax. We have gone in the winter and summer. The summer, one would also have access to the outside pool and mini golf. There is also a spa and I was lucky enough to check it out, my husband and son made a special appointment for mommy, I received a massage and it was quiet and relaxing. Great experience, for me comparing it to Splash Lagoon very different environments, I prefer Great Wolf.
From Amy: We have been to Great Wolf Lodge several times. We LOVE it! You definitely feel safe with your kids in the water park. There are lots of fun things to do with all ages. The PJ Storytime at night is really cute. Get there early so you can get a spot, the lobby area fills fast. We have found the cheapest time of year to go is in April. The outdoor pool is not open at this time of year, but the low crowds make it worth it. Our only issue with Great Wolf Lodge is the food. They only have a buffet restaurant and that is not our cup of tea. In the past they have offered an a la carte menu during certain times of the day, but last time they went, they said it's only certain times of the year and it depends on if the hotel is full or not, so hit or miss. The alternative is that in each room is a microwave and small refrigerator. I usually bring things for breakfast, lunch and dinner and we eat in our room. I'll make chili or something ahead and heat it up for dinner and it works out great. Also, bring your own bottled water for while you are there. It's pretty expensive to buy it there. They do have a nice coffee shop off the lobby where you can get a decent cup of coffee and a pastry in the morning if you like. You have to splurge and get a themed room. The room is just as much fun for my kids, ages 5, 6 & 8 as the waterpark is. The kids have their own "sleeping" area with their own tv. So, the kids can watch what thy want and Mom & Dad can watch what they want. It's worth the extra money. If you look on their rate calendar, it will tell you which days are more expensive than others so if price is a factor, you can choose dates that are less expensive. It's SO worth the quick trip over the border to go to Great Wolf Lodge and on your way home you can drive by the Falls. Otherwise, not a very good neighborhood around there, so plan on staying at the hotel while you are there.
From Nisha: We have been going to Great Wolf Lodge since our daughter was 18 months and our son was 2. They are now 3 and 5 and we have been there six times!! Needless to say it is one of our favorite places to visit. The entire experience is made for families. From the lobby full of talking animals who tell funny jokes and the howling wolves to the rooms designed with families in mind to the waterpark and the areas designed for even the smallest guest... we love this place. The waterpark is clean and lots of fun. It has a special area for small kids up to age 5 with four waterslides just for them. Each area is very well staffed with lifeguards. If you didn't see the episode of Undercover Boss that highlighted Great Wolf Lodge, then you missed the fact that the lifeguards have 15 seconds to identify and save any swimmer in danger. On a regular basis they put a "dummy" in the water to test the staff. After seeing this, I felt even safer there. If you don't bring your own lifejacket, they have plenty of all sizes to you to use -- free of charge. You cannot use a bubble or other flotation device. The lockers are also free of charge. I have seen lots of parents with older kids relaxing, but since our kids are so young, we are in the water with them. But, there are lots of lounge chairs and tables for folks to sit and read a book. The food is fine, but we learned after our first visit that the veterans bring their own food. Each room is equipped with an apartment-sized fridge and a microwave. So, now we pack up a cooler take our own drinks and food (something we can microwave), paper plates and cups, and save a ton of money. When the kids are tired of the water, we go to the arcade to play (lots of games there), play miniature golf when the weather is nice (it has lots of fun and hidden little critters that talk to you), or go to the cub club where the kids can color or play for free -- they also have crafts you can buy. At 8pm is story time and it is always packed. The kids get in their jammies and go to the lobby where the staff entertains the kids with a very fun book. The staff has always been very, very helpful. All in all, it feels like a tiny bit of Disney in our backyard. Everyone has a great time.
We met our cousins at Great Wolf Lodge last March, and we arrived Saturday afternoon. We were promptly checked in and ran as fast as we could to the water park. Our kids ages ranged from 3 to 7 and we all LOVED it. It was very clean, and I was concerned about the chlorine level being bothersome, but it was fine. We got a 1 bedroom suite and our room was spotless. The girls loved the water slides and we felt very safe. Most important, they sleep VERY WELL after a day of frolicking in the water. We remained there all day Sunday (you have to check out by 11 but you can stay in the water park all day). We enjoyed the meal plan - the buffet had enough choices for everyone and the food was good. Since I am in banking, I have to warn you (for those of you who have not been to Canada recently). Each time you use a credit card, you get hit with a 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. If your bill is $500, that is a $15 dollar fee just for using your credit card! Check with your bank credit card to see if your bank waives this 3% Foreign Transaction Fee (HSBC Premier does, but it is only for Premier). If not, bring Canadian cash. (Excellent advice! Thanks! --KOA Editor)
I went to Great Wolf Lodge about 3 years ago. My children were 8 and 4 at the time. Recently I went to Splash Lagoon in Erie PA. I would go to Great Wolf Lodge again in a minute. There is so much more there for every one in the family. From the moment you walk into Great Wolf Lodge you are in awe! From the fireplace, and big comfy chairs, to the talking trees, everywhere you go, there is more to explore. We went to Great Wolf in May, so we were not at summer outdoor time, but the mini-golf was open. My son had a great time, on their themed mini golf. There is also an arcade, and an activity room (that put Splash Lagoons to shame). Everything in the place is an Adirondack theme, and I’m not a woodsy person, but it was all beautiful! There is a story time at night, we did not take this in. The whole place is attached to the water park. Everyone gets their own wrist band, that is activated for the stay, and it is also your key to your room, so no one is fighting over who gets to slide the card, and everyone has one right on them!!!!! I enjoyed the breakfast buffet, they had everything from fresh fruit (and I mean a whole array), to waffles, and omelets made to order, bacon, sausage you name it! Even the tables were themed to the outdoors! In the waterpark, you do need to watch your kids a little more maybe because of the layout, but as stated earlier by another reader, there are chairs and tables all around! One of the better parts was the fact that there was a family water ride, that you can all go in together, it is one big raft for everyone to sit in, and they have a conveyor belt to carry the rafts to the top. We did do this trip on a budget, we went on off season, a basic room, a Thursday to Friday, and we brought some food, to eat for dinner, microwaves, refrigerator, and a safe in every room. The whole place was clean, friendly, and cheery! We had no complaints except that we did not stay long enough. There was so much to do, that we felt rushed and we would never stay for only one night again! It is more expensive than Splash Lagoon, but so much more worth it. I am not sure about this but I believe the only people allowed in Great Wolf Lodge are the people staying there, where as when we went to Splash Lagoon, Everyone was there. There were 3 or 4 birthday parties, and people just coming for the day. It was SO over crowded! I would go back to Great Wolf Lodge in a heart beat!!!!!
From Jennifer: We went to Great Wolf Lodge over February break. We still don't have our passports (we've really got to get those!) so we Googled water parks and found out that there are Great Wolf Lodges in the US. There is one in the Poconos, but the one that we decided to go to was in Sandusky, OH. It was a 5-hour drive, not bad. The best part is that it's a bunch cheaper than the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls (and the Poconos, for that matter). It was $189 a night for the very large room that had a seperate cabin within it for the 3 kids. This price included use of the water park. They offer a deal to their current guests, if you book another stay at the Lodge before you check out the rate will be $109 (weekdays) for your next stay. I think that's a great deal!
From Pam: I would like to say I have taken my daughter to the Great Wolf Lodge for the last three years and we have always had an awesome time. Our last visit there was September 2010 and we had a wonderful time except for the fact that Friday night of our stay we were informed that they would not accept any American money over $20.00. We had brought fifties with us and even if we were spending more than that they would not accept our $50.00 bills saying it was because of a huge counterfeit problem and this was becoming the rule throughout most of Canada. So we had to spend our Saturday trying to find a bank that one) was open and two) would exchange our American bills from $50 to $20’s and still give us American. We went to a restaurant, a souvenir shop and the bank who so kindly exchanged our money and none of them have heard of not taking American $50’s in Canada. The lodge is great but I think this is their way of getting you to use your credit card instead of paying cash. They still have not noted on their website that they will not take anything over $20.00 American, so anybody going there may want to call or just be prepared and only bring $20’s. It is still a great place to go but this made our last trip there less enjoyable to say the least.
From Phung: We just came back from our third annual trip to the indoor water park by the Falls. We love it there. It is affordable if you make your reservation 3-4 months in advance. I was able to get our hotel and water passes for $192 per night in a family suite. I usually check all the travel search engine and call the hotel to compare prices before I confirm my reservation. If you plan to buy food there, be prepared to spend $45 dollar per person each day. I tell my kids we are there for the water park and nothing else. I allow my kids to get ice cream for dessert, kiddie size, $4 each. I also let them have a bagel with cream cheese in the morning and that was approximately $3 each. We usually go in the middle of the week for only one night, but we make 2 days out of the water park passes by getting there by 1pm, and we don’t leave until around dinner time the next day. Check-in is at 4:00pm and check-out is 11am, but if you give each person their own gym bag, they can change and enjoy the extra water time. I tried to pack all of our meals and snacks to make it affordable; food and extra entertainment can be really expensive. I love that the room has a safe, refrigerator, microwave etc. The family suite looks like a studio apartment. Great Wolf Lodge is clean, and the staff are nice and friendly. The first hour we were there, my daughter fell badly down the stairs. The life guard took excellent care of her. If you are sensitive to chlorine, I recommend drinking lots of water while you are there to help your sinus. Our kids are 6- and 8-year-olds, and we felt comfortable letting them walk around by themselves from one ride to the next. Because we are by the water, I don’t like letting them go for long without an adult with them.