Considering taking a preschooler to Great Wolf Lodge? Our preschooler Traveling Mom explains why Great Wolf Lodge is great for preschoolers. She’ll shares some tips to know before you go, covering everything from the best way to save money at Great Wolf Lodge to whether or not the themed rooms are worth the splurge with preschoolers.
9 Things to Know about Great Wolf Lodge for Preschoolers
- There are height limits for some of the attractions.
- Some of the shows and characters can be a little scary.
- MagiQuest isn’t just for older kids.
- The Clubhouse Crew Adventure only works if you create an animal.
- Not all rooms are themed rooms.
- There are plenty of free activities available.
- It’s always cheaper to get a pass.
- There is sugar everywhere you look.
- You could spend all day playing in the water.
Our Visit to Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine
I recently visited Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine with my husband and preschooler during the Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween celebration. This was our very first time staying at Great Wolf Lodge as a family and definitely will not be our last. In fact, we’re already planning a return visit to visit during Great Wolf’s Snowland celebration in December! I had always thought that Great Wolf Lodge was only for older kids because of the water slides, but I was wrong. Great Wolf Lodge has plenty of activities to keep not only older kids but also preschoolers busy and happy. Here’s all you need to know!
#1 – There are height limits for some of the attractions at Great Wolf Lodge
One of the main reasons that I’ve waited to take my family to Great Wolf Lodge is because I didn’t think my son was tall enough to do most of the activities. Like at any amusement park, there are height limits for some of the rides and attractions such as the water slides and ropes course. Do your research ahead of time to make sure you know what the individual height limits are at the particular Great Wolf Lodge property you’re visiting. If you know the height limits going into the trip, it’s easy to avoid those activities or set your kids’ expectations up front. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do for everyone, no matter how tall you are.
#2 – The Great Clock Tower Show and Story Time can be scary
My son doesn’t love characters. We specifically plan our Disney character meals later in the day, so he has time to warm up to getting a hug from Mickey Mouse. At Great Wolf Lodge, you have the chance to meet the Great Wolf Lodge characters throughout the day. If your kids love character meetings, go for it. If they don’t, just skip them.
Great Wolf also offers shows and activities throughout the day, including the Great Clock Tower Show and story time twice a day. Kids can get dressed up in their pajamas and come down to watch electronic animals and trees sing and talk. I’ll be honest, it can be a little creepy for younger kids, especially if you visit during the Great Wolf Howl-O-Ween celebration where they are all covered in spiderwebs. I recommend sitting closer to the back for an easy getaway if your kids are prone to getting scared.
#3 – MagiQuest at Great Wolf Lodge isn’t just for older kids
Great Wolf Lodge has a fantastic magical game called MagiQuest that’s been designed just for their properties . The basic idea is that you buy a wand and then use the wand to complete challenges throughout the resort. We saw boys and girls of all ages playing it throughout our visit, and my son was totally obsessed. We went through the entire MagiQuest booklet in one day and spent about four hours on it. It’s really fun and also really exhausting because you are walking up and down flights of stairs to find the clues and challenges. Here are some great MagiQuest tips and tricks if you decide to play with your family.
#4 – The Clubhouse Crew Adventure only works with a Creation Station Animal
Whether your kids are into MagiQuest or not, most preschoolers will thoroughly enjoy the Clubhouse Crew Adventure scavenger hunt that’s been created just for kids their age. You start at one kiosk, which gives you a clue to find another kiosk in the resort. You continue following clues to find the different kiosks and completing fun challenges (like playing a free arcade game, finishing puzzles, answering questions) at each one until you finish the adventure. The big caveat is that the Clubhouse Crew Adventure only works if you actually make a character in Great Wolf’s version of Build-A-Bear, Creation Station. If you’re not planning to build an animal, avoid the brightly colored Clubhouse Crew kiosks.
#5 – Not all rooms at Great Wolf Lodge are themed rooms
Before I visited Great Wolf Lodge, I thought all of the rooms were the themed rooms you always see in pictures and on commercials. Those rooms are themed or premium suites. There are plenty of them available at every location, but there are also standard rooms available as well that are just like any other hotel room with standard beds. If you can afford one of the themed suites, preschoolers will love the separate enclosed area with bunk beds, and parents will love that they have their own space for naps and bedtime. We stayed in a Wolf Den during our visit, and my son was in heaven!
#6 – There are plenty of free activities at Great Wolf Lodge for preschoolers
When you walk in the door, you’ll quickly notice that Great Wolf Lodge isn’t just a water park. There are typically a plethora of other activities kids can do, depending on the location. Some locations have mini bowling alleys, others have ropes courses, 3D movies, and more. If you want to spend money, there are definitely ways to spend money. There are also a ton of free activities available as well, plenty to keep your busy for your entire stay without ever doing any of the other activities. These are just some of the free things you can do. Make sure to check out the daily agenda and schedule provided at check-in for a full list of entertainment.
- Nightly story time and show with Great Wolf Lodge characters
- A waterpark
- Indoor/outdoor swimming pools
- Free crafts and activities in Cub Club
- Character appearances
- Yoga Tails (morning yoga)
- A Wolf Walk around the property
- Dance parties
- PJ party with bingo
#7 – It’s always cheaper to get a pass
If you are planning on taking part in some of the paid activities at Great Wolf Lodge, I highly recommend looking into the pass options at your particular location. The savings you receive buying a pass compared to buying each of the activities alone is tremendous. For instance at the Grapevine location a Pup Pass is in October 2017, $71.99 (bought online in advance) or $79.99 (bought on-site) and includes:
- One MagiQuest or ShadowQuest game ($14.99)
- A wand with standard topper ($15.99-$22.99)
- One Creation Station Animal ($29.99)
- One Glitz Glitter Tattoo
- One 6×8 3D Paw Prints Photo
- One 12 oz candy cup
- One Leather Treaty Bracelet or Keychain
- One pair of Great Wolf Lodge goggles.
If you were to purchase just the MagiQuest game, a wand with standard topper, and a Creation Station Animal, that would cost between $60.97-$67.97), only a few dollars short of the $71.99 cost of the Paw Pass, and that doesn’t include the cost of the rest of the items included in the Paw Pass. Price it out before you go depending on what you’re planning to do, but we found that in almost all instances, it was cheaper to get a package of some kind.
#8 – There is a lot of sugar at Great Wolf Lodge
One thing I was not expecting before our visit was the amount of sugar and treats available everywhere at Great Wolf Lodge. Every location is a little different, but at the Grapevine location there was a Beat Paw Sweets & Eats store, candy prizes in the arcade, treats available to purchase in the gift shop, desserts in every restaurant, and even an ice cream themed kids’ spa for little girls. With so many options, I recommend letting your kids choose one thing each day you’re there and making sure that’s clear ahead of time. Otherwise, they’ll be asking you for candy, cupcakes, ice cream, and more. A lot of sugar + not a lot of sleep can equal a disastrous Great Wolf adventure.
#9 – You could spend all day playing in the water
If there’s one thing people know about Great Wolf Lodge, it’s that it has an indoor waterpark. The Grapevine location’s waterpark had water slides (with height limits), water slides without height limits, a wave pool, a lazy river, a huge water fort tree house, a kids’ water play area, hot tubs, swimming pools, and so much more. There is even an entire section geared toward younger kids like preschoolers and younger. We easily could have spent an entire day just exploring the different parts of the water park together. It’s amazing and a great way to stick with a budget since passes for your entire family are included in your stay!
The only regret I have about our trip to Great Wolf Lodge is that I waited so long for our first visit. My preschooler was already asking when we could come back as we walked out the door to go home. I think Great Wolf Lodge is a great option for families with preschoolers, especially with so many locations around the country. It’s an easy place for a staycation in your own hometown and worth a short drive to the closest location near you.