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Great Wolf Lodge

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Greenville, SC
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236 posts
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Great Wolf Lodge

Hello all!

We will be staying in Williamsburg the last week of June. My husband and I are in our mid-30's and our daughter is 11. We've booked 4 days at the Governor's Inn to take in all the history we can stand in Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. Then the last two days of our trip we will stay at the Great Wolf Lodge and enjoy all the waterslides...

I have read previous posts on this site and others saying that the amenities and food at the Great Wolf Lodge are overpriced. I am looking for some creative ways to cut costs on food and extras. All ideas are greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Williamsburg...
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1. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

At Great Wolf, you are a short drive away from Sonic (fast food, but good); a bit further is a Chik-Fil-A. You're also close to other "family-friendly restaurants (like IHOP), and to the WalMart that has nearly anything you could want. There are other supermarkets, too. You could buy breakfast items, lunch items, and snacks to avoid buying all your meals at Great Wolf, for example.

Williamsburg, VA
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2. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

You are also on the same road and only a couple of miles from the world famous Pierce's Barbeque, which is a local favorite and a great fun place for an inexpensive, darn good meal. They have picnic tables, so make it a fun lunch or dinner.

Greenville, SC
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3. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

Thanks - we will plan on eating out at some of the nearby restuarnts. The BBQ place sounds great. In VA is the BBQ shredded or sliced? What kind of sauce is common there? Here in SC we have ketchup based and mustard based sauces. In eastern NC they have vinegar based, which I don't care for. Just wondering what VA BBQ is like.

Coupons - are there ever coupons or specials for the extras at the Great Wolf?

Thanks so much!

Williamsburg...
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4. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

If you don't like the vinegar based bbq, then you won't think much of Pierce's. I prefer ketchup-based, slightly sweet and spicy sauces, and I don't recommend Pierce's for that very reason. It is pulled pork, and you have the option of coleslaw on the sandwich or on the side. You can check out their menu here: http://www.pierces.com/menu.asp

I really wish there was a local bbq place that I like; for me the best in town is Red Hot & Blue, which, although a chain, has never let me down.

gettysburg, pa
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5. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

We saved money by going over to the grocery store (Ukrops was close, if I remember correctly). Their salad bar was delicious...I only wished that I had brought a smaller container, as the large salad box didn't fit well in the fridge. It was a good way to get some healthy food that wasn't very expensive. We also picked up some drinks...buying a few little pints of milk worked well. There is also a WalMart Supercenter nearby. Having things like granola bars and other treats on hand really cut down on the "I'm hungry!" afternoon blues.

For less healthy food, my children liked the Sonic that was near the Walmart.

We did our Williamsburg trip the same way--CW first and then Great Wolf--and loved it! We thought we wouldn't want to do the MagiQuest, but our 8 year old son thought it was a blast. Just prepare to be very, very tired by the end of your two days!

Williamsburg, VA
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6. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

Unfortunately, the Ukrop's grocery mentioned in a previous post near the Great Wolf Lodge is closed. But there is a WalMart right around the corner from the Lodge, along with an IHOP and a couple of fast food restaurants. A Burger King just opened in that area this weekend.

Enjoy your visit.

Southgate, Michigan
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7. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

I haven't been to the GWL in this state but have been to others. The overall hotel room price can be a bit high. As can anything else you may want to purchase there. So, I bring breakfast foods and snacks. We order pizza for dinner and whatever fast food is around for lunch.

Be careful with the room credit card. It's so easy to use and adds up quickly.

New York
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8. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

We've been to Great Wolf Lodge many times and the rooms come with coffe maker, small fridge and microwave, a little kitchen sink and counter. We've brought just about everything we need with us...a DVD player and microwave popcorn, too. This can keep the kids out of the expensive and pointless arcade! The bear claw sticky breakfasts are not my speed anyway and I like to have coffee in my pjs. SO I BRING TONS OF GROCERIES! OJ, milk, cereal, microwave oatmeal and easy mac, bananas and fruit cut up in a tupperware, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers for snacks, cold cuts, pbj and a loaf of bread for lunches, yogurts, hard boiled eggs, a bottle of wine and some kitchen tools (salt shaker, apple peeler, corkscrew, paring knife) Paper towels and paper plates & bowls, a sponge and small kitchen soap. This all goes in a big plastic tote in the minivan.

Put small servings of snacks in ziplock bags in your beach tote to avoid buying nasty french fries poolside. The best thing I learned to do at GWL was bring a "decoy" beach tote, flip flops and newspaper to the prime beach chairs when the water park opens. Use towels and "decoy stuff" to claim your spot early, then go back to your room and feed the kids. Otherwise,by the time everyone has got it together, the chairs are all taken.

The craft room was more for youngest kids, but mine loved the wand game. Good luck and have a great trip!

Greenville, SC
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9. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

Thanks for all the great insider tips! I plan on bringing a lot of food & am glad to know about the microwave, sink, refrig, etc. Will the refrig hold a decent amount of stuff? Soda cans, water bottles, a couple wine coolers, pudding snacks, etc?

The decoy bag & towels is a fantastic idea. I will be doing that!

Would an 11 1/2 yr old girl be interested in the wand thing? She was way into Harry Potter but has now moved on to more sophisticated 'tween literate - Twilight, etc. Don't know if it will be too childish. She will say she wants to do it but I am afraid that a few hours into it she won't use it any more. What do you all think?

Can you show up to use the water park before 1:00 on check-in day? Their website says 1:00 but I was wondering if they are strict about that or not.

Keep the insider tips coming!

New York
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10. Re: Great Wolf Lodge

If I remember, the fridges are 1/2 size, that is, "under the counter" models. Call ahead and ask, but we were 4 people and made out fine. Most stuff doesn't go in the fridge. GWL also has a good website were you can look at room layouts and amenities.

They did not check people coming and going in the waterpark, and I doubt the towel desk or lifeguards are aware of check out times. There are changing/locker rooms where you could stash clothes. That means you could officially check-out, pack up the car, spend more time in the water park, then change and drive away when you've had enough. But by then, you've had enough! It's a good stop for 2, 3 days tops. I always find the chlorine smell overwhelming.

About the wand game, you know your girl best. But if she meets up with a new BFF and they want to wand together, you're sunk! Really, its a harmless scavage hunt-type/quest game where they wander the corridors that lead off of the lobby and collect "points" by waving a wand at animated props. You can supervise or not, if she buddies up-a lot of parents were at the lobby Starbucks. If I had girls, I would pre-book mani/pedis for us at the spa - now that's a vacation! The GWL we go to has a seperate "tween' spot just for this. Also, GWL was were I got one of the best massages ever. So mom should take some time, too. After all, you saved all that money on food....