I just completed plans for a 3 night Wisconsin Dells August trip with moderately frugal activity/food items and a discount rate at Great Wolf. Adding up all the numbers we're going to spend about $1,100 on a four day trip for 2 adults and 1 child.
I'm reeling in shock! I could seriously go to Disney World for this kind of money! We did Disney World in February for 5 nights and only paid $1,500 and that included resort, park tickets, dining and airfare!
Not only was the Dells hotel expensive ($570 for THREE nights after taxes and fees) but even frugal activities really add up. Our room has a fridge/microwave so my plan includes only 1 restaurant meal per day, either breakfast or lunch to keep costs down. The rest is stuff I bring from home that we'll heat and eat in the room. The only activities planned are 1 round of mini golf, 1 round of MagiQuest and 1 night at the drive in theatre.
If you're planning a Dells trip add it all up first and I bet you'll be surprised at that big fat number in the Total box of your spreadsheet.
The next time I plan a vacation I'm not even looking at the Dells.