My older son loves Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio. Last year, when he was three we took him and his 3 month old brother there as their Christmas gift. For approximately 365 days after our return home from our weekend adventure, Mr. D.’s bedtime prayers included thanking God for Great Wolf Lodge. Let’s just say he was hooked.
My husband and I also enjoyed Great Wolf Lodge in the sense that we loved watching our oldest son have a blast. The water park resort is great for real littles and is perfect for a quick weekend or weekday getaway, especially because Sandusky is only about 2.5 hours from us. The rides and attractions are majority geared towards younger kiddos, but for our stage in life it is perfect for us.
As one might guess, I’m always finding things that remind me of Walt Disney World. I mean, you definitely would have guessed that, right? Well, if you didn’t, I do find myself thinking of similarities of how our vacations outside of Disney remind me of Disney. Great Wolf Lodge, has tons of similarities to Walt Disney World. Take a look at a few of my favorite activities that are included in both places.
During the day at any pool on Disney property there are a handful of activities that occur. A cast member or two will be putting on water activities, trivia games, arts and crafts, tons of different activities to keep young ones (and older ones) all occupied. It’s like a giant pool party!
Great Wolf Adventures
At Great Wolf Lodge, the water park lends itself to its own devices in terms of entertainment. Activities and adventures are built into the various areas of the water park. Outside the water park, Great Wolf Lodge gets to work by putting together daily activities for littles. My boys didn’t participate in 100% of the activities (we were having too much fun in the water park), but those they did participate in, they loved.
The Wolf Walk was perfect for my preschooler. A Great Wolf Lodge pack member (is that a thing? I’m going to just go with it) spent an hour providing interesting facts about different forest animals. The animals could be spotted all over the lobby of the Great Wolf Lodge, giving the kiddos a visual as the information was being spread. The ‘walk’ part came in as the kiddos walked from one area of the lodge lobby to another. Of course they had to act like the different animals each time they walked. At the end, the kiddos were given a Great Wolf Lodge collector’s card, as a little souvenir from the morning.
At night, both my boys, participated in the Jammie Jamboree. The boys came down to the lobby in their jammies (truth be told, I was in my jammies, because, hey, when in Rome. Or Sandusky…). Music was playing, there were bubbles and glow in the dark wands being waved, and my kids were having a blast.
My little, little, Mr. E, just learned to walk about two weeks prior to this trip. No joke. He was a dancing machine! We set him down and he was instantly grooving to the tunes. My bigger little was having a great time too.
In addition to lobby activities, there is a Cub Club available for the kiddos. During the day, the Cub Club is open for kiddos to come in and create various arts-and-crafts projects. You are even able to rent out games to take back to your room. My son loves this place (he’s a fan of make-and-take activities), and had been talking about it, among other things, non-stop since the last time we went to Great Wolf Lodge. Cub Club is perfect for preschoolers.
All the Walt Disney World resorts have amazing pools. Some are more themed than others, but all are a ton of fun. Walt Disney World also has two water parks that guests can purchase tickets for and enjoy.
Great Wolf Adventures
Great Wolf Lodge has its water park and pool right on property. The large outdoor pool is only open during the summer months at Sandusky, but the whole indoor water park is open year round. My family absolutely loves this place. I’m a big fan of how warm it is. Even though I’m from Michigan, I’m such a weakling when it comes to cool pools. Great Wolf Lodge has helped me by keeping its water park at 84 degrees. Woohoo!
The Great Wolf Lodge water park consists of several different areas. There is a medium indoor pool with basketball hoops and a floating log for kids to use. Then, the main attractions include a smaller little, little tykes pool with a zero entry side and a splash and soaker area with water slides. In addition, there is a lazy river and additional larger slides. Plus, Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky has a sweet hot tub, two actually with the second being strictly for adults.
Basically, Disney has great pools and water parks, so does Great Wolf Lodge. The advantage goes to Great Wolf Lodge in this situation as you don’t have to leave the resort (or even go outside for that manner) in order to reach your water destination!
Wrist Bands = MagicBands
New to our trip this year, Great Wolf Lodge changed the function of their water park wristband. In addition to granting you access into their water park, you can now use it to unlock your room and charge items to your room account.
It was SO nice to not have to carry a room key with us into the water park. We usually are able to keep track of our room key. Well, one of the two they issue us, anyhow. Let’s be honest, we usually lose one of the keys within the first few hours of being at the resort. Now with the wrist bands and the built-in keys, we didn’t have to take a key down to the water park.
One downside is the adults were the only ones that had the ability to unlock the rooms with their wristbands. This was a slight bummer for my son. He is used to the MagicBands granting him access into the room at Walt Disney World. He kept checking his wrist band just to make sure he hadn’t started working on the room door. The disappointment was soon forgotten every time we went to the water park though!
Food Options On-Site
Just like the various resorts on Walt Disney World property, Great Wolf Lodge has a variety of food options for adults and kids alike. While we didn’t have much luck with the options meeting our primarily vegan diet, it was nice to see a variety in the options available.
At the Sandusky Great Wolf Lodge, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts, a quick services place (to put it in Disney speak) in the water park, a pizza and pasta place and a sit down restaurant. Plus, each room was equipped with a microwave and a refrigerator.
The microwave was definitely welcomed at Great Wolf Lodge. Most Disney resort hotels have microwaves in the food court, but most rooms aren’t equipped with in-room microwaves. It was seriously nice to not have to leave the room in order to warm up food.
You all know I’m a huge fan of Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears. I’ve several pairs and love them all. Great Wolf Lodge hands out ‘wolf’ ears to the littlest guests at check-in. My boys who remembered the ears from a previous trip, (mostly my older one, as my little one was 3 months the first time he visited Great Wolf Lodge) were definitely looking forward to receiving a new pair of wolf ears upon their arrival at the resort. I may have swiped them a few times to wear as well…
Bedtime Stories on the Room TV
During our last Walt Disney World Resort vacation we discovered a TV channel that read stories to our kids at night. Tangled and Cars were a few of the stories told, among a few others. This channel actually played all day, but we just flipped it on at night for a quick bedtime story for the kiddos.
At Great Wolf Lodge there was a similar story channel that cycled through two Great Wolf Lodge stories. Mr. D. just ate it up. He’s a big fan of those types of things and loved watching the stories over-and-over again each day at the water park.
There are many more ways that Great Wolf Lodge is similar Walt Disney World from the animatronics in the lobby to the Great Wolf Lodge ‘propaganda’ tv channels in the room. While my heart will always reside with Walt Disney World, living in Michigan, it is tricky to be able to make it down to Orlando for a weekend. We are only 2.5 hours away from Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky. It gives us the opportunity for a little getaway when we can’t sneak away to Walt Disney World.
Oh, plus we sneak a little Disney magic into our days when we can as well. Glow wands, turned light sabers, anyone?
There ya’ go! Ways in which Great Wolf Lodge is similar to Walt Disney World. We loved making the short trip with our boys and they love the adventures we have in Sandusky. Plus, in case you didn’t know, BB8 loves water parks.
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