last week we took our big girls, Parker and Jolie, on a mini staycation to Great Wolf Lodge. we didn’t really tell the girls what we were doing until we dropped Baker and Brady with the grandparents and made the 30 minute drive to grapevine for a special treat to celebrate turning 5! we arrived a bit early, around 1:30pm and although they didn’t guarantee our room to be ready before 4pm we were able to get our keys and drop the bags off before hitting the water slides.
with your stay at Great Wolf Lodge, each guest gets a pass to the indoor and outdoor waterpark (open during the summer months…so we didn’t get to take advantage of the outdoor area). the inside is huge and I was impressed to see that this place has something for every age. giant water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a huge kiddie pool area with smaller slides perfect for babies and toddlers,
a pool for the bigger kids with ropes course and basketball hoops, and indoor hot tubs. the water was heated and much warmer than I expected it would be! so we weren’t bothered by the 60 degree weather on the outside. we went hard and strong for 4 hours- rode the slides over and over, almost as if we had the place to ourselves. I thought Parker was going to have a stroke she was SO EXCITED. before I could even get off the slide she was running back up the stairs to ride again. Jolie squealed with excitement over every new thing we saw. being that we visited during the week and the fact that it was the end of November (and not a holiday), we did not experience a lot of the crowd people talked about when I shared some of our time there on my IG stories. one of the lifeguards did mention that the week before during the Thanksgiving holiday they were at capacity.. SO- note to self, come back to this place in the off season.
I was whipped by the time we walked back to our room to clean up for dinner. it felt like it was midnight and it was only 5:30pm. we ate dinner and came back for ice cream and a walk through the arcade. we hit the room early because the girls hardly made it through dinner. they were exhausted! we watched home alone on the television in the living room and then sent the girls to bed- their room had two double beds and Parker and Jolie were so excited to be sleeping “like big girls!”
we woke the next morning (I felt like I had been hit by a truck) and made our way to the lobby still wearing our jams where there was family yoga in front of the giant fire in the fire place followed by story time with characters that ended with a snow fall in the middle of the lobby- the kiddos loved it! we watched all this as we enjoyed the most yummy buffet breakfast (the pancakes were amazing!) and then went back to the room to get ready to hit the slides for the second day. the “family ride” was the girls’ favorite slide! all four of us rode in a huge tube down the big slide in the middle of the park. goodness I love these girls SO MUCH! people have asked me about the twin bond and I assumed it was still there, but after spending time with just the two of them I really did see that the sister/twin bond is still there and very strong. our lives are so busy these days and I can easily miss the little moments shared between Parker and Jolie as I am managing chaos somewhere else. I’m so thankful for the special time we spent with the two of them. I got to see their little personalities shine and fall in love with those smiles over and over again. watching joy cover your babies from head to toe is something that you will never forget. I have been getting so emotional thinking back about our time there.. it was the best time! Baker watched the videos on my phone after we got home and kept telling me “I wanna wide dat!” Jordan and I repeated many times that we had to make this an annual birthday trip! and next year we can definitely bring the other two babes and they will have a blast!
the basics for GWL
- if you’re going to celebrate a birthday while you’re there, be sure to let them know. the twins were elated to see a special poster hanging on our hotel door after coming in from the water park after check in. they gave our birthday girls a special pair of wolf ears, and an ice cream voucher for a special treat after dinner during our stay.
- the bracelets you receive at check-in provide guests access the water park and also act as your room key + credit card. we LOVED the bracelets because we never had to worry about packing a room key or credit card with me when we headed down to the water park- we just swiped the bracelet to enter our room and again if we wanted to buy something while out at the pool.
- they take safety seriously. when kids enter the water park for the first time a lifeguard will measure your child’s height and give them a colored wristband which determines which rides they are able to go on. Parker and Jolie were able to ride all but just one slide in the park. they provide life jackets/puddle jumpers and they are plentiful, come in a variety of sizes, and always available. there are also lifeguards about every 3 feet covering the property. I was very pleased to see that!
- even though check-in isn’t until 4:00, you can pick up your waterpark passes at 1:00pm the day of check-in and they are good until the park closes (at 9pm) the day you check out. we got there about 2pm to check in and we headed straight to the water park. even though check out was at 11am the next morning, we loaded the car and played out hearts out until almost 4pm the day we checked out. this feature really allows families to maximize their water park experience.
- you can save money by packing snacks and even breakfast because the rooms have a mini fridge and microwave available. I usually pack snacks and light breakfast items like granola bars and yogurt for the kids and myself to eat first thing in the morning and usually leave them in a cooler during our stay, so I was pleased to see how well they accommodated us with these room features!
a sweet video to commemorate our trip- enjoy!