when my daughter was getting over a random alarming week-long bout of asthma, client projects were getting super crazy, the stress was waking me up too early and keeping me drinking 4 cups of coffee a day, the school year was ending, and the pressure was closing in from all directions… it was pretty much the most unideal time to go on vacation. it couldn’t have been a busier time at work. it was nutso to take off. but i did, because i paid for a groupon dammit and i couldn’t reschedule it because of the date restrictions.
and it turns out it was the best timing ever. because if i didn’t up and leave at that point, i maybe might’ve just punched somebody in the face. (most likely myself.)
it was also amazingly fun to get on waterslides and ride the terrifying funnel-looking tornado raft thing and not have to wait in long lines. while a lot of other parents watched from the sidelines, i got in there and screamed the whole way down. then did it again and again. the kids loved it so much that if i say “waterpark” my 2-year-old’s eyes will light up and he’ll say “waterslide? i ride waterslide. rayyyhoooo!” so i pretty much have to avoid referring to a waterpark ever again lest he think we’re about to go there again. and my 9-year-old will tell you that “great wolf lodge is better than disney world AND universal studios.” even considering harry potter world.
so thank you, great wolf lodge in williamsburg. your commercials were spot on. the haters’ reviews were overblown. (and we had zero signs of bed bugs, fyi.)
even when the derecho came passing through and the whole resort lost power, we had fun in the lobby, getting balloon animals and eating free cups of dippin dots. we also got down and did the Wobble.
the magiquest game that the hotel offered also was actually neat. after reading about it on their website and looking at the pricing, i thought it was sure to be some dumb ridiculous waste of money, but it was a cool and fun ridiculous waste of money. it’s not cheap… you have to pay for the wand (and they have all sorts of fancy wands with prices ranging from $15 up to about $28, not to mention special wand “toppers” for even more money that are completely unnecessary but sure to be very appealing to your kids). then you have to pay for the game (about $13 or so? i’m blocking it from memory). and you can also pay $1 for a cheats booklet. but the cool part is going up and down throughout the mid-section of the hotel on “quests” and waving the wand at items like treasure chests, books, lights and framed pictures on the wall to bring them to life and accomplish these quests. it mixes gaming and exercise (hello, stairs) and sometimes-creepy animatronics and can keep an older elementary aged kid occupied for hours.
we stayed in a basic family suite with two queens and a sofa, and it was nice and clean with a plentiful array of free soaps and toiletries geared toward both adults and kids. i also was glad that our room was not on one of the far-flung outer edges of the hotel, because those were some loooong hallways.
onsite food options vary from dunkin donuts in the lobby (a real dunkin donuts! not like those places that say “we serve starbucks coffee” but then literally only have one carafe of starbucks coffee, this is a legit dunkin)… to the loose moose buffet-style restaurant also in the lobby. or a pizza place and ice cream/candy shop downstairs near the waterpark. but if you get in the car and drive a bit, you can get to sonic up the street (cherry limeades and tater tots are a must) or pierce’s pit bbq, which i heard a lot about but was unable to try.
since the weather was crappy for part of the time and our kids basically didn’t want to leave the premises, we stayed onsite for pretty much the entire stay except for one drive around williamsburg designed to induce a toddler’s much-needed nap.
it’s been a couple weeks now, but my son can still do the stomp-stomp-clap-clap-ahh-woooo wolf cry that he learned at the nightly story time, and my daughter is asking me when we’re going to go there again. we’ll see, great wolf…. we’ll see…