Where did we go this time! Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos! We decided to give our family a trip for Christmas-not the first time but always a winner in our idea bank. It’s not easy getting 15 people aged from 1 year to 58 in the same place at the same time but somehow we pull it off. And there’s always a little sickness thrown in when you try and go somewhere in the winter. As sad as we were to have a few of the adults not feeling well we were certainly glad the little ones were relatively sickness free-yes some were on antibiotics for various ailments but maybe that gave them a little germ blocker. Who knows!
So on to the actual destination. I have traveled enough to know that you try to read up as much as possible before heading out. There’s no way you can know every trick but even a few little ones help to make the trip more enjoyable. A few weeks before we left a read you could rent a cabana in the water park. BAM! Done! And not just one but I sprung for 2 on Saturday. Hey-15 people is a lot for an oversized pop up tent! And I have no regrets! The cabanas come with 6 chairs, a table for eating, a table for storing stuff, an ice cooler filled with water, a dish of fruit, drinks for your group AND a PIZZA! Which oddly enough was actually quite good! Remember, we live in the Utica area so we are accustomed to all types of pizza. Side note. O’Scugnizzo’s (born and bred in our little city of Utica) is the second oldest pizzeria in America so we got the pizza thing figured out. To add to the fun we had a great gal who came to our cabana to make sure we had what we needed. She even went and got our free ice creams and happily delivered them to us. Here’s one downside – everything is so easy here-including wrist bands that open your door to being able to charge anything to your room-you just don’t carry cash! I know there is a tip included in our cabana but I sure hope that young gal got a little extra for her super smile and eager to help attitude. Another side note-I’m not particularly a fan of tipping as it’s so overdone today but once in a while there’s someone who goes above and beyond. I’m terrible with names or I would have remembered our sweet gal’s. Sorry-I have enough names to remember just in our immediate family alone.
Back to Great Wolf Lodge before I totally digress.
When we checked in the front end clerk was great. She explained everything in a very friendly manner and even apologized that it took so long. Seriously? She apologized for doing her job so well! Again-great customer service! Now I had read some guests didn’t have such a stellar experience but I have a hint for you. The nicer you are to the person helping you, the nicer they are to you. Find something to compliment them on immediately. Anything works-“love the way you do your hair-so cute!” “I bet people tell you all the time how beautiful your eyes are” ” You are just so helpful I can’t thank you enough” Seriously anything to break up the ho hum of their day. They really enjoy and appreciate someone paying attention to them for a minute or two.
We got to our rooms and they were just like the photos online. So cute! I’ll post photos at the bottom.
We decided to opt for the breakfast buffet both mornings. Hint-book your breakfast at check in and save a few bucks. Is it expensive. No doubt-YES. But this was our family vacation and we have a huge variety of likes and dislikes so we went all out. Do you need to? Absolutely not. There’s a Starbucks in the lobby and other food choices on the floor below. AND you can bring your own food for your room if you like. Talk about choices-they’re endless! Surprise too-the buffet actually had a very good variety and no one had anything to frown about.
The activities here are endless and we couldn’t possibly get to everything in our 2 day stint. But the kids at the ages of 1, almost 2, almost 3, 4 and 6 had enough to keep them grinning like a grizzly bear and a hankering to return some day. Grampa did go over the top and bought the 3 eldest Magic Quest wands. And guess what-they came with capes. So all those hours I spent sewing capes for the grandkids was wasted I guess. Grampa doesn’t always understand how much energy goes into planning these events. Hopefully the kids will have fun with their capes at home. The kids did love the arcade and the parents probably had to give up a month mortgage payment for that area. Just like all arcades they are money grabbers. But again, no complaints-the dads knew it would cost them a small fortune and they were happy to assist.
The water park! The main reason we came. And it did not disappoint. There was plenty of options for the ages we brought. The water wasn’t super warm but I think it’s because they keep the air temp very warm which certainly was appreciated by this Mimi!
If you’re looking for after bedtime things to do for the adults this is NOT the place for you. This resort is totally geared for family activities. The 8pm story hour in the lobby is super cute and if you’re planning a visit don’t miss it. There’s a small bar but it does close at 11pm. Feel free to continue your party in your room because again, they are very liberal about you bringing your own party gear with you. Just be kind to others and cool your jets by 11pm.
This is an older resort and you can hear a lot of the noises going on in the hallways or above you if you’re not on the top floor. Didn’t concern me because I knew they were families having fun together. If you think it will bother you load up you IPad with some ambient noise and forget about it!
In conclusion, would I recommend Great Wolf Lodge Poconos? A resounding YES! A relatively short drive for us, between 3 – 3 1/2 hours depending upon weather. If we were having a typical winter we would have had a slower commute with snow in the mountains. Because we’re experiencing the 100 year warm winter our travel time was just 3 hours.