We just returned from a trip to Great Wolf Lodge North Carolina. You may recall that we didn’t pick the resort, but it became part of our Fall family vacation destination. Since we were unfamiliar with the Great Wolf brand, we didn’t have any expectations before our arrival. The name itself got my preschooler excited and I was looking forward to head North from Atlanta. I made the decision to leave my infant at home, which was a smart decision (more on that later).
Great Wolf Lodge North Carolina – Complete Review
Checking In & The Accommodations
Upon check-in, there was only one person working at the front desk and no bell services. After a long trip into the night, this was a minor disappointment. Even though we did our online check-in, we still had to get our wristband. The wristband serves as a room key and waterpark pass.
Our family of three stayed in a Luxury King Suite, but it could’ve easily slept four people. The room was spacious and included a pullout full bed with the King. They had a wall partition to divide the space. I always like when the sink and vanity is separate from the shower/tub area. It makes it easy for several people to get dressed at the same time.
The Waterpark Area
The main attraction, at any Great Wolf Lodge, is the indoor waterpark area. This is my son’s favorite thing to do during the day and I loved that I didn’t have to worry about sunscreen. The waterpark includes a toddler area, a bigger water playground for bigger kids, wave pool and adult slides. My son was tall enough for everything but one slide. The kids receive a second wristband that designates which slides they can do.
The area has several quick service food locations that offer adult beverages. Cabanas are available for rent, but I didn’t see the purpose since you aren’t escaping the sun and there was plenty of lounge chairs. I highly recommend packing a Puddle Jumper for your little ones. The website offers a bucket lunch, specifically for the waterpark area, that you can purchase ahead of your trip.
Dining and Activities for Adults
The resort offers several dining options, including a buffet style restaurant and a table service restaurant. I ate the ‘Lodge Burger’ and wasn’t impressed. Most families seemed to pick the quick service pizza option, which fits for a busy day at the waterpark. There’s a full service bar located inside ‘The Lodge’ restaurant.
Great Wolf also has a spa and fitness center for adults. Unfortunately, I can’t speak to the spa services. I walked in though, and noticed a full spa service menu.
Extra Attractions for Kids
Believe me, your kids will have plenty of options to entertain them at Great Wolf Lodge. Aside from the waterpark area, they offer a girly kid’s spa for manicures and pedicures, an arcade, bowling alley, interactive “quest” games and a stuff-your-own toy store. The older kids loved using wands to play the interactive games. By pointing your wand at a designated station, you’re given clues to journey around the building on solve your quest.
The arcade was my son’s favorite and he had the opportunity to build a dragon which had a similar interactive game for his age group. We purchased the Pup Pass, which allowed us to experience the resort’s actives for his age. If you purchase the pass before your trip, it’s at a discounted rate. They also sell passes for older kids.
Every night, in the Grand Lobby, families can watch the Forest Friends Show. The show explores the rhythm of nature and gets the kids clapping and singing. The kids loved gathering, in their pajamas and wolf ears, to watch the show. To me, the show seemed outdated but that didn’t stop the little ones from loving it.
Everyone has been asking me how Great Wolf compares to a Disney vacation. Obviously, our family loves Disney. There is no comparison. My preschooler loved his trip to Great Wolf Lodge North Carolina, but the resort was lacking in service and hospitality. After one meal at ‘The Lodge’ restaurant, with poor service and food, we chose to leave for the remainder of our meals. That was the biggest difference, to us. Disney is well-rounded and excels in all areas, where this particular Great Wolf location needed improvement in the places it matters most to parents.
I was thankful that I decided to leave my 9 month old at home, with Grandparents. It’s hard to watch two kids under the age of 3 in the waterpark area. I don’t recommend visiting with a baby.
My oldest son had a fantastic visit and I recommend the resort if you’re passing through town and need a few nights to rest. I’m sure it’s packed when Nascar is at Charlotte Motor Speedway and it’s the nicest hotel in town. Otherwise, I wouldn’t plan an entire family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge North Carolina.
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