Great Wolf Lodge: Chlorine Oasis of the East Coast

When we were talking to Luke about his big 4th birthday plans, he couldn’t make up his mind about where he wanted to throw his party. Everyday it was a different place…this basically told me that he had zero preference and really just wanted cake and to play with his friends. So I got to my googling and made the executive decision to make Luke fall into my plan of nixing the typical birthday party shenanigans and go on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge instead :).

No clue what that is? Basically it’s “Disney lite”. It’s a big resort chain that houses indoor water parks, overpriced activities for kids, an insane stake in the chlorine industry …seriously, by day three the kids had weird rashes from the chlorine exposure after about 3 days. But when your kids birthday is in the middle of January, options are limited, and an indoor waterpark with a Dunkin Donuts is right up my alley, so yes, I forced the idea upon my four year old and it was a great parenting win :).

Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA is only about 2.5 hours from us, and since the kids decided not to nap all the way there, it allowed us to arrive in great moods…actually I take that back, Luke finally fell asleep at exit 231…GWL is at exit 234…so he had a solid 3 mile nap…just enough to really fill his cranky tank…and mine too if we’re honest.

BUT, as soon as we walked in and I saw that there was in fact a Dunkin Donuts with an option to purchase a refillable coffee mug for my entire stay…MOOD PERKED RIGHT UP. Side note: no Dunkin Donuts is not sponsoring this post or anything about my life, but if they wanted to…I’m here for them…always waiting.

They gave us a set of matching wolf ears and sent us on our way to enjoy a couple of days of fun filled Goggin merriment.

In general, the place was great, smaller than I thought, but worked out well for our ages. of 2 kids under 5. Luke got his fill of being a big kid on some really big slides and Emma spent her time walking around the park with a towel around her neck, swimming like an old lady whose afraid of getting a “chill”.

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Downsides?

  • The wolf call for the wave pool will give Emma nightmares for years. Nothing against the resort, but she is now terrified of wolf sounds.
  • Lack of affordable food options. No, I don’t want to eat a cheeseburger with bacon and mac and cheese on top of it for $9…or pay $7 for hummus and pita chips…or $20 for a buffet with overcooked chicken tenders…
  • That awkward moment when I took the kids back to the room before the check came after dinner on Sunday cuz…no naps remember…and the waitress brings a personalized cupcake for Luke’s birthday to the table and he’s not there…oops.
  • Watching the Superbowl in the pitch black with closed captioning on…oh and the Bachelor the same way…however it was comical to see that CC picks up everyone one of his “ums” and “kissing sounds”.
  • Housekeeping stole my bag of plastic elastics I use for Emma’s hair….it’s more annoying than anything…and I’m just confused…WHY WOULD YOU TAKE THOSE?!

Upsides?

  • Luke’s giggle sounds radiating through all of the waterslides
  • Emma’s delight at being able to go down the toddler slides solo (this video shows her crying, but in reality she loved it and did it a hundred times…until she realized she could just sit at the top and let the jets give her a back massage, then she decided she wasn’t going to move ever)
  • Their pizza and garlic bread was pretty baller
  • Did I mention the Dunkin Donuts refillable coffee mug? I did…great…it was GREAT.
  • No sunscreen!!!!
  • The “Clocktower” morning show had some weirdddddd songs and low budget animatronics…truly terrible and needs upgrading, but ironically hilarious, like their song “theres nothing to be scared of here”as in nature…oh really? nothing? what about bears? wolves? dehydration? snakes? spiders? nothing at all huh?
  • Watching Luke ride the waves like a pro-surfer when grown men fell off in 5 seconds…you show them kid!

We had an awesome time. It’s a great spot to escape the winter blues and get some winter wiggles out. It would be great with a big group, already trying to con some friends and family members into going next winter and just taking over the joint.

Side note: if you’re in the area, they’re still running their 30% off room rates and since we went during the week, a zillion dollars cheaper and way less crowded.

Ever want to follow along with The Goggin Diaries more? I know…you’re just dying to know what we do ALL the time…follow us on instagram or snapchat @thegoggindiaries.

 

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