Friday, July 3, 2015

Tips for Great Wolf Lodge, MagiQuest & What to Pack

Photo: Rob Finch, The Oregonian

 We just made our second visit to Great Wolf Lodge recently.  It's a nice little trip to take with your family.  There's a little bit of everything to do in the water park which is great since there is a real spread in the ages of my kids- from toddler to teenager.

  We also got the hang of the MagiQuest scavenger hunt game on this trip, so it was less frustrating than the last time we tried it.  Since we stayed Friday and Saturday nights the kids also enjoyed the dance party GWL hosts in the main lobby area at 9 PM those nights (Sunday is the most popular day to check in because of better pricing.  We stayed when we did because we had a Groupon).

  On Sunday, when it was time to return home, we ended our last day at the park with what has become our tradition:  one last stand all together underneath the giant water bucket.

What to Pack

1.  Packing for Great Wolf Lodge is easy, and for a family of 6, it's a refreshing change to not have to haul a lot of bags on vacation!  Basically all you need per person is:
  • 2 changes of clothing
  • 2 swimsuits
  • flip-flops or crocs
  • goggles
  • chlorine removing shampoo
  • toothbrush. 
2.  If you have a baby or toddler I recommend swim shoes, because for some inexplicable reason only certain areas of flooring inside the park is slip-resistant.  On this trip my little boy wore
 i Play swim shoes  and they worked out great.  The green was on sale for $9.99 so it wasn't too much of an investment for a little peace of mind.  These aren't the kind of shoes you want to have "room to grow," so order what fits now.  Give yourself enough time that if you need to, you can return and buy a different size. A tip about putting these on:  Put your finger into the loop before you start to give yourself leverage while trying to get your little one's foot inside.

3.  Another item I was really glad to have brought for my toddler was a Disney Hydro Wheels Car.  Over on one side of Fort Mackenzie (the giant water-dumping bucket) there are several jets and water features that create currents the car can follow and jump along.  The cars are plastic and have specially designed wheels, so they don't get lost under water.  I supervised the use of the car and kept an eye out to be sure no one would step on it and slip.  My little boy had lots of fun with it and it kept him busy for quite a bit of time each day.  I actually brought two so I had a back-up in case something happened to the first one:">Disney/Pixar Cars Hydro Wheels Sarge Vehicle</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />

Tips & Observations
  Best swimsuit style is a one-piece or a tankini because then you don't have to think about rearranging your swimsuit after a coming out of the tube slide, etc.  Choose swimwear with bright, distinctive colors/styles to make it easier to find your family members at the water park.  In my family, "The Men" wore bright green,  my girls wore matching orange Nike sport-style tankinis :

...and I wore a pink and red striped Speedo one-piece (similar)


1.  Bring your own breakfast items to eat in your room.  For example,  I brought applesauce pouches, fruit cups and Jimmy Dean Pancake on a Stick and kept the box in the little in-room freezer.  Before we went to the hotel we stopped at the near-by convenience store to get some milk and orange juice.  Don't forget to also bring paper plates and cups!  Eating in the room means you can be at the doors when the park opens at 9- the kids loved being among the handful of first guests in the park.

2.   Buy the Great Wolf Lodge souvenir cups which entitle you to unlimited free refills.  There is one for pop and slurpees with a lid and straw as well as one for beer.  You can use them in the park as well as at all the restaurants inside the Lodge.   T

3.  For lunch you can get a pizza from Hungry Like A Wolf near the entrance and take it to your table inside the park, or get hot dogs, etc. at Buckets which is below the entrance level. 

  Dinner the first night we ate at GWL at Lodges, where the kids really like the macaroni and cheese with bacon and Andouille sausage (although they mostly ate around the Andouille.  The second night we walked across the parking lot to Burger Claim. It was really good and inexpensive.  There are a lot of good reviews on Yelp.

How It Works
  On the main floor, in the stairwells and on the first five floors of the hotel there are a variety of objects that can be activated to light up or play a message or animation by using a wand that you buy/activate at the MagiQuest Marketplace.  Once you visit one of the trees by the main staircase or by the arcade, then you will be asked to find certain items in a specific order to solve levels of the quest until you work your way to the "Boss Level" and defeat the bad guy at the end.
1. Use your phone camera to take a picture of the screen the tree will display of what items you need to find to complete the task. 
2.  Document what you see around you on each floor, either on your phone in the notes app, or bring a notepad and pen to use.  You might think you will remember, but trust me:  the crystals come in several colors, and each color has 3 locations, for slow, medium and fast blinking.  They start to blend together after a while. 
3.  If you really get stumped go ask back at the MagiQuest Marketplace and they will tell you.  We did that a couple of times although we didn't show the kids the answer so they could still have fun figuring out the location with an extra hint from us.
4. Consider sharing a wand among the kids and save it (along with your GWL refillable souvenir cups) in a place where you can find it again when you visit again.

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