The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City invited me and my family out for an overnight stay to experience the kick off of Snowland - their Christmas Winter Wonderland. We had never been there before so were quite excited to see it. We had heard it was their busiest time of year and this proved to be true!
(For a full photo album of this trip, please visit my Facebook page.)
When we first walked into the lobby, it was a "Disney-style" Christmas wonderland. The kids were amazed - there were lights and beautiful decorations everywhere.
We were greeted by the kindest staff. When checking in, they informed us about all the fun and activities going on. This is definitely a trip where there is more than enough to do. You have to plan it all out to squeeze it all in, and there's no chance of the kids getting bored!
We headed first to the waterpark. There were areas for all ages. Waterslides small enough for my 5 year old daughter, and tubing slides for my son (he liked the water slides too). There was also a family raft ride that we rode together - the kids loved it. The rides were not too long, which really helped the lines move quickly. So, even though this place was packed, we did not have to wait in any huge lines. My daughter also liked the lazy river. It is a shallow, circular waterway that moves continuously as you float or swim along. And, don't forget the infamous 700+ gallon giant bucket that dumps down after sounding the "warning" bell so everyone has time to gather around. My son also enjoyed the basketball nets in the pool and the obstacle course effect of Fort Mackenzie. My daughter is typically quiet and shy, but she just took off and "lost" herself in Fort Mackenzie.
After the waterpark, the kids had dinner. The dining options are endless. You can eat in at the restaurants, order from the snack bar in the waterpark, or visit any one of the local eateries, many of which offer free delivery to the lodge. We ordered from one of the restaurants and they delivered it to our door! We ordered from the snack bar for the kids and because my daughter has food allergies, I asked to read ingredients. They pulled out a readily available listing of the menu items and their ingredients for me to browse. I really appreciated this! There have been many times where I get looked at weird for asking, but here, they were ready and expecting that somebody would.
After they were done eating, the kids wrote their letters to Santa and dropped them off in the North Pole mailbox in the lobby. Then we headed off to Candy Cane Lane. This is where we got to view and vote for our favorite decorated Christmas tree - all eight done by the staff. They all had different themes - Candy Land, Disney princess, toys, etc. While waiting in line, the kids got to decorate cookies, and we also got to see a beautiful candy rendition of the Candy Land game laid out on a large table. It was so awesome. After voting, the kids received a craft and ate their cookies.
Then, we got ready for story time in the lobby. This was an entertaining event. The clock tower is decorated with a holiday theme and animals that talk and sing. Then the staff comes out to sing songs with the kids. After singing, they make it snow inside the lobby! The kids loved this! (Even though there was plenty of snow outside, this was so cool!)
And, the big surprise for story time was that it was being done by Santa himself! Santa told a story about how the elves and Santa began working together to make toys for kids. Then, he recited 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. The kids were mesmerized.
We never had time to visit Cub's Club - but it was an adorable room set up for kids to do crafts and activities. It's also part of the North Pole University for Elves program where the kids can complete five assignments to earn a "diploma" and game tokens for the arcade.
We walked around some more to explore. We visited the arcade which had several games. We checked out the MagiQuest store. This is a magic wand/Harry Potter'ish kind of scavenger hunt that tallies the kids' scores as they all compete to unlock puzzles and move onto the next levels located all throughout the lodge. We also saw the workout room which is open 24hours and the SPA (there's a kids' spa too!).
The atmosphere was very casual. Kids were walking around in jammies and socks having a great time. Many wore their jammies to story time.
Bedtime was also fun. In our room, the kids had a Wolf Den which was like their own little room with a bunk bed and TV in it. They loved their little fort. While they got ready for bed, my husband and I made separate trips to the sweet shop and picked up some ice cream:).
Also in the room are a fridge and microwave which are very accommodating. It makes it quite easy to bring along your own food if desired.
At the end of the day, my kids pretty much summed things up when my son said "This is the best day of my life," and my daughter said "This is much funner than our real house."
Click here for more December events via The Great Wolf Lodge website.
This review reflects my personal opinion. I have not changed my viewpoint in any way.