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“Good times for a price.”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #1 of 19 things to do in Centralia
Attraction details
Reviewed 30 June 2014

This place is very fun but the is the price worth it. During the summer is the best prices but with lots of other water parks outside it is not worth the price. We stayed two nights (which cost over 250 a night), the room was great but we had a very poor check in as did others. The check in time is 3 but we did not get to our room until after 5 and they gave us keys that did not open the door. By time this situation was fixed it was after 5:30. Not a good start to a vacation with 4 kids. The beds were comfortable and the waterslides fun but very crowded. I will not be returning to this establishment.

Thank Motzkus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 June 2014

Our teens were a little too old for the adventure indoors but they enjoyed the slides and pools. Our toddler was too young to enjoy the indoor activities but enjoyed the pools and pirate Gymboree. A little steep on the pocket book for food and extra activities but the water experience with convenience of hotel room was great. The rooms were spacious and clean, our had a balcony which was a nice addition. The staff was very helpful and friendly. This is what our family calls a "one-time adventure"

Thank Kristina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2014

This was our third trip to GWL in a year (August, November, June) with a two and five year old. The five year old going on six really loves this place, and after watching other kids waving wands, decided to get her the Paw Pass and the Pup Pass for the two year old going on three. The kids thoroughly enjoyed choosing a stuffed animal that they helped stuff with a foot pedal. Fortunately they chose toy wolves that didn't need clothes as that would have been another $14.99. The animal came with a cinch sack that was very handy for carrying the new toy, wand, rules, wolf ears, candy, etc. The Paw Pass came with one entrance to the Forest Adventure (by the ice cream) that the five year old and her dad enjoyed making their way through various obstacles. Rather than "failing," they just didn't get all of the possible points. It was kind of the staffer to let dad go with the little kid who could not have gone alone.

So here's what we learned about quests. The next time we come, we can have the wand reactivated on "demo" so that the chests, etc will light up/speak without going on another quest OR buy into another quest for $13.99 or $14.99 using the same wand.

We checked in at 1:00 p.m., played in the water from 1:30 to 4:30 pm, ate dinner, and did the quest thing for an hour. By the time we got back to the water, it was 8 pm, and the lines were quite short. Same thing in the morning at 9 a.m. even though there were a jillion cheerleaders present at the breakfast buffet that obviously opened earlier than the stated 7:30 a.m. time. We went down the water slides that required tubes including the Howling Tornado with no or less than ten minute wait. On the lower slides under the dump bucket, what worked well was for my granddaughter to go down either the red or yellow slide while I went down the other so that we met at the bottom. It also worked for me to go down one of the slides first and leave her at the top with a staff person and be able to meet her at the bottom.

I agree you can feel pressured to spend a lot of money, but here's why GWL is a decent value for our family: 1. It is a two-hour drive from our house so relatively convenient 2. For under $100 per person, we all had good, clean, family fun including a one-night stay, breakfast, dinner, the water park, and the Paw and Pup passes that were about $100 combined 3. Friendly, helpful staff that let dad go with five year old to the Forest Adventure; got into our room at 1:00 p.m.; and allowed us to buy the breakfast buffet at check in. It was not offered when making the reservation, and that is when it is supposed to be added.

1  Thank AnnKirby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 June 2014

We took our 3 yr old for a one night stay and it was a nice quick trip. The lobby is nice and open and fun for kids to look at all the woodsy type scenery. Check in was quick and we were able to get into our room 2 hours early which was very convenient so we could head right to the park. Our room was spacious and had a nice couch, table for two, fridge, and all the other amenities we would need. The water park was decent. There were quite a few rides our little one couldn't do because of height restrictions but still plenty things to do. They have a wave pool and kiddie area. Would be nice to have a pool or lazy river type area to just "float" around. There was no little kid pool either. The water wasn't as warm as I would have hoped. It seemed pretty crowded for a Monday afternoon and there were a lot of kids just running around seemingly unattended to. We ate dinner at the little bar and grille inside the hotel and it was great. Would definitely recommend it as the service was good and the food excellent. We attended the story time at night and it was a nice option that didn't cost extra. Most everything else inside was extra and not included in your stay (arcade, magi quest type game, spa, etc) Bed was comfy and even though we were right next to the spa and water park entrance area it was very quiet. We ate at the buffet downstairs for breakfast and it was okay. nothing extraordinary but fine. We had to check out by 11am but were allowed to stay all day for the park. Overall it was a nice trip and we got a good deal. I wouldn't pay the regular price as that is very expensive for a one night stay. I would go back again but wait until our kids were tall enough to do all the rides and probably go with friends so they had someone to play with.

2  Thank Melinda K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2014

We recently took our two girls (2 & 4) to the GWL for an overnight stay. The water park was great fun for them, and we had to drag our 4 year old out of the place each day. We stayed in a Family Suite, which was adequate, and not unlike a double room you would get at Best Western, or other chain type hotels. The room had a blow dryer, small refer, small coffee pot, microwave, and a nice in wall safe that you program yourself. We had a nice large flat screen TV in our room, but we were too busy to be watching tv, so I can't comment on what programming they offer. They offer free wifi, but I was not getting a signal on the 5th floor, so I resorted to my portable Verizon hot spot, which worked perfectly. I noticed a nice work out room on the first floor. The elevator situation was terrible, and I have now vowed to ONLY go again if we can get a 1st or 2nd floor room. They simply don't have enough elevators, and I was there on weekdays. I can't imagine it on a weekend (yikes!!) The stairwells are nice and wide, so I recommend taking them whenever possible. The water park entrance is on the 2nd floor, with a set of stairs going down into the park. All the stairs we encountered were very grippy, even with wet soles. The water park had a great mixture of simple safe areas for the little ones, and fast and furious tube slides for the older kids and adults. Most of the water park staff were teenagers or young adults, and we found them to be very patient, and friendly. The wave pool has a very regimented staff of lifeguards standing watch, and it was clear that they have everything under control in there.

A few things to note about the water park:

1. There is a large structure in the center of the park that offers lots of different water spouts, sprayers, etc, and it also is the platform for two large slides. On top is a 1000 gallon bucket that dumps about every 3 minutes. It dumps down on the structure mostly, but there is an area where you can stand and get pummeled by tons of water if you choose. Keep an eye on smaller toddlers there, as that water would surely pound them to the ground if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Luckily there is a bell that dings exactly 34 times before the water dumps.

2. There are lockers everywhere. Each day you can pay $10.00 for a key (really...? $10.00? c'mon. They should be free). This allows you to secure your valuables while you are off enjoying the park.

3. The bathrooms have showers and semi private dressing areas. They also have centrifuges that you can use for free to spin your wet suits in. They work really well.

4. Certain slides require you to be a certain height. You can have your child measured at the park entrance and then they will be given a colored wrist band to show the staff at a glance they are tall enough. This speeds up the lines at the tube slides, which ranged from 1 minute to 10 depending on what time of the day it was.

5. There is no real security in the water park, which is kind of surprising to me. I was expecting some sort of entry exit system for the younger kids, but one can simply walk right in or out.

A few things to note about the hotel, etc.

1. Forget about paying for the late checkout. That has to be the biggest scam known to man. There are so many lockers available and huge dressing rooms that you can simply check out at 11am on your departure day, take your clothes to your car, and then head to the water park with your essentials in a bag. The $10.00 lockers will hold two large bags stuffed full of items. Your park pass is good until 9pm on check out day.

2. They have a few restaurants, including a breakfast buffet. We brought our own breakfast food. There are a couple of eateries outside of GWL within walking distance, and Centraila is about 10 minutes away with a full range of restaurants, fast food, and grocery stores. They don't allow you to take outside food into the water park itself. There is a pizza place at the park's entrance, and another burger/hotdog/french fry joint down in the park, so there are plenty of options for food while you spend your time in the park. It's perfectly fine to consume those items in the park, and there are tons of tables and chairs spread out around the place to sit down for a while and recharge. They also have souvenir cups for an ungodly amount (like $13.00 I believe) that allow you free soft drink refills during your stay. We bought 1 for the family and shared. There is a small adult beverage area in the park as well.

3. The GWL is NOT firearm friendly. There are signs posted at the entrance saying concealed carry is not allowed. Keep this in mind if you carry. The wall safe in the room is plenty large enough to hold a handgun in a soft case. Just saying.

4. There is a Starbucks in the lobby.

5. There is a nice arcade that I wanted to visit, but the girls kept us busy with the water park.

6. As with any theme resort, everything is geared around extracting as much of your money as they can. They place the arcade, pizza, ice cream parlor, etc at the entrance of the water park so you have to "walk the gauntlet" with your kids to go in or out of the park. I saw more than one tantrum in the area if you know what I mean.

If your kids love the water, this place will be a hit. My advice is to either take a suitcase of cash, or take as much of your own food as possible. Simple foods and items that can be stored in the small refer. Arrive as close to 1pm as possible. If your room is available, they'll give it to you then. If not, there are plenty of things to do, including the water park. Everyone gets a wrist band, but the adults get one that doubles as the room key. Flip flops, aqua socks, etc are recommended for your venture into the water park. Oh, and the water park is ONLY for those staying at the hotel. There is no "day use" option.

5  Thank sdhyde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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