Friday, March 17, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge!

At the end of January / beginning of February my friend Melinda from MOPS mentioned that her home school co-op was going to Great Wolf Lodge and they were getting a really good discount. I have been wanting to take the kids to Great Wolf Lodge for years, but I really didn't want to take little little kids. Now that they are older I feel more comfortable about taking on this adventure. I didn't want to reserve it without talking to Michael first though. I thought that Melinda had said the room would be $189 and Michael seemed interested in going when I told him that price. Then I found out that the room was actually only going to be $139!!! I knew he would be all for it then, but again I wanted to wait until he got home to reserve it. Later that night after talking with him and confirming that it was something we were going to do I went online to reserve a room and they were booked! I was so sad!!! I texted Melinda and she said that she'd contact the lady from her co-op that set up the deal with GWL and see if they could add more rooms. Thankfully the next morning I got a text that it was a go and I could go online and reserve a room. We ended up getting a standard room with 2 queen beds and a pull out couch....with taxes it came to a $185!!! So cheap! 

I spent the next couple of weeks talking with friends that had gone and also reading blog posts about visiting GWL. I wanted to be prepared....surprise, surprise right! ;)

Since we were going with the co-op that meant that we were limited to that specific day. It ended up being Sunday the 19th - Monday the 20th of February. I was really shocked that they ended up giving out this deal especially since it was Presidents Day weekend. The awesome part about that was the the kids were out of school and Michael was off work! Yay for not having to take vacation time! 

Since this was the day after Ella's tea party it was a crazy busy weekend. Thankfully since Ella's party was so early in the day that that left the afternoon and evening for me to pick up from the party and start preparing food for our trip. The next morning Michael did take the kids to church....he had to usher and then I stayed home to finish getting everything ready. After church they came and picked me up and after a bathroom break and a snack we were on the road. 

The weather was horrible that day....pouring down rain...perfect for spending time at an indoor water park! It was SO rainy though I ended up missing our exit and had to drive an extra 13 minutes in order to get to GWL. It worked out perfectly though because that extra time made it so the kids could finish the movie they were watching. 

Our first stop was at a restaurant that's in the parking lot of GWL. It's called Burger Claim! It was good food and not expensive. We got the kids each their own food and Michael and I got food as well and it was $38. Not bad for 6 people really! 

After eating we went over to the Lodge and got checked in. I had requested that our room not be next to the elevator. I didn't want to constantly hear kids coming and going and being all loud and excited. Well they certainly didn't put us next to the elevator at all. It was a trek to our room! 

After doing a bunch of research I decided that we were not going to head to the water park first. That's what everyone does. Then later when everyone is exhausted they head out to do the quest game. I figured we would take advantage and do the quest when it wasn't so busy. 

When Melinda was telling me about this deal she told me that we could borrow their families wand to use on the quest. That saved us about $20. We did have to buy a game for $14.99 and 2 AA batteries for $5!!! I was going to remember to pack them, but I forgot! The game was super cool, but very confusing at first. 

For example this is The Forgotten of the clues said that we could find this thing we were searching for at the end of The Forgotten Hall. Well we went to the end, but it's really only talking about this little section right here. Like I said...confusing! 

Every time we needed to start another quest we had to come back to one of the trees and select the quest we were going to go on and then we were off. 

I didn't really take that many pictures of the actual Lodge. I meant to get ones of the outside because the entrance is gorgeous, but it was POURING down rain so that never happened. 

After about an hour or so of doing the quest the kids couldn't take it anymore so we came back to the room to get ready for the water park. I have zero pictures of the water park because I didn't want to risk losing my phone or ruining it by dropping it in the water. So you'll just have to imagine a giant indoor water park with a wave pool, an activity pool, a kiddie area with 2 water slides and a giant bucket that dumps water every 2.5 minutes, 4 huge water slides and a ton of people. It was amazing and loud!! It was hot when you first walked in, but then once you got wet it wasn't bad at all. In all I think we were at the water park for 3 hours before we were done and ready to go back to the room. 

I had brought a bunch of our food with us because again we like to stay on a budget and I had only brought $130 spending money. We had a bunch of food left over from Ella's party so that helped with making it easier for packing food. After dinner we took the kids down to the gift shop. We told them we would give each of them $5 to spend on whatever they wanted. They all had money they had brought with them. I think Ella had the most at $23. Ella ended up getting this reusable water coloring book and a rainbow colored wolf, Owen got a giant pixie stick and pop rocks, Zeke got a pixie stick as well and Jack got a cute gray wolf. Later on Michael did walk over to the Burger Claim and brought back french fries and milkshakes for a snack. 

The 3 youngers ones and Michael were all pretty tired so they were just chilling out watching America's Funniest Videos, but I really want to go do more of the quest. Owen was up for going with me so we sneaked out just the two of us. 

One of the things I read about the Lodge is that it's not like a typical hotel where you wouldn't or shouldn't walk around in your jammies. This place is full of kids running around in swim attire and they have a story time at night so the kids are in their jammies. It's just totally casual. Owen has been in love with his camo footie jammies so this was perfect time for him to show them off. 

This is probably my favorite memory from the trip....just me and my boy having one on one time together. 

Since story time was over and the water park was closed there was a ton of people doing the quest. I know it doesn't look like it in these pictures, but we had to wait a few times for people to finish in order to get to the area we needed. 

I think we were out there for an hour and we were pooped by the time we were finished. We headed back to the room and finished watching Tangled with the other kids and then it was lights out at 10pm. 

We all slept in until 7:30 or 8...PTL! I had packed breakfast for us. I had cooked a whole pound of bacon on Saturday night after Ella's party so we'd have some protein to keep us going. I was fine with eating cold bacon and so was everyone else except Owen. He wanted his heated in the microwave. I don't know if something was wrong with the microwave or if heating bacon up in one is just a no no, but it was only in there a few seconds and half of it was burnt and it smelled up the whole room with this awful smell that was worse that burnt popcorn! Thankfully the window open and it aired out really quickly. I was so afraid we were going to set off the fire alarm! 

We had read that you should check out of your room before you go to the water park which makes total sense. Who wants to get all dried off to go check out and then get back in your swimsuit again. I figured it would just be easier for me to get everyone packed and ready so Michael took the older 3 kids to go do more of the quest while Zeke helped me pack up. Once they got back we all changed into our swim clothes and then Michael took all the suitcases down to the van. The kids and I went to the water park and amazingly we found an empty table. This made all the difference to me when it came to enjoying the water park. The day before we couldn't even find an open chair let alone a table. It was so nice to have a home base to come back to. We also got more relaxed with Owen and Jack. I mean they are 10 and almost 9! So we let them go off on their own as long as they wore life jackets. That made the day much easier for Michael and I. Zeke of course only wanted to hang out in the kiddie area, but he did do one of the slides twice. I did all 4 of the slides with the boys during our stay. After a while Zeke was cold and hungry so we sat down and got some chicken strips and then Michael came back with the older kids and they got more chicken strips. Around this time is when Ella didn't feel so good. She said her tummy was hurting, but she didn't feel like she was going to puke. I really think she didn't drink enough. We ended up staying a bit longer and then getting all dried off and changed. We stopped and got pizza at the pizza place that's right outside the water park entrance and then we were on our way. I was hoping to stay until 5:30, but we ended up leaving at 2:30. By the time we got home Ella was almost asleep so we put her to bed and she slept for almost 2 hours. Even after eating a bunch of food that day at the water park we still had enough spending money to get dinner so Michael went out and got that for us. Yay for not having to cook any meals for over 24 hours!!! 

In all it was a whirlwind trip that was just over 24 hours and it was great!!! Michael said that we will be making this a yearly tradition if we can get that same deal with the co-op. It was fun to see how things worked and learn what we liked and what we didn't like and now know that we would do somethings differently. The number one thing we need to do next time is really make sure Ella is drinking a lot! 

Thanks Melinda for introducing us to a great family fun vacation!