- Value **
- Fun Factor ****
- Food ***
- Cost ****
- Ages 2.5-12
- Maximum Duration 3 Days 2 Nights
150 Great Wolf Dr
Fitchburg, MA 01420
There is lots of fun to be had at The Great Wolf Lodge, for a fee. Renting a hotel room for the evening gets you all access passes to the two water parks, both which contain water slides and various pools.
There is lots of fun to be had at The Great Wolf Lodge, for a fee.
- Snacks & Drinks
- Flip Flops/Sandals
- Ibuprofen (Children’s & Adults)
- Swim Suits
- Swim Diapers
The first thing to consider when booking a vacation, is what type of room, whether it be a suite or standard room. Be prepared to spend triple for the suite in-season, and by all accounts, it’s not worth the cost. Keep in mind, this is a kids resort designed to make you spend as little time as possible in your room, so the added cost of the room is wasted because it’s never used. Sure it’s a cute novelty to have the bunk beds, which on our last visit for my daughters birthday we splurged for.
But the novelty wears quick when you realize your room is only used when the kids (and more so you) are pass out tired from all the fun you’ll be having. Unfortunately, families of six have to rent a suite, so I guess I’m stuck, but you don’t have to be. If anything, spending less on the room will add to your enjoyment because that free cash can (and will) be used.
our room was too big for our furniture
We had some significant problems with our room; let’s say, in terms of plumbing. Forcing us to not comfortably use the rest room or shower. That could have been a one off problem, so I’m not docking points for that, however the quality of the room is also just mediocre. The TVs are small, the amenities are few, and for some unknown reason, our room was too big for our furniture. We had a love seat instead of a couch, and a queen (maybe a full, it was small) size bed instead of a king. Both would have fit comfortably, and for the cost probably should have been included.
There’s quite a number of paid and free activities besides the water park.
Magic Quest $$$
This is an expensive game that kids can play throughout the lodge. The game requires a purchase of a wand (with Infra Red tip), and a pass to play. Here’s a bit of a tip, you can purchase just the wand and interact with all the game pieces. So if your kid is too small to understand the game, they can have fun making stars light up by flicking the wand at them. The wands hover around $20, and they have various accessories that can decorate it and give your character additional abilities in the game, for an additional cost. Once you have your wand, the game has to be activated, which is an additional $20. So, with 1 kid you are into this for $35-$50. Believe it or not, it’s dollar for dollar the best value in terms of game play hours at the lodge. The game is played by taking quests from stations and interactive decorations from around the park. There are even some hidden stars and animatronics that will twinkle and dance on ceilings around the facilities if you are looking hard. We found two, one near the climbing walls, and one in the forest areas.
While my kids didn’t play the game, it did appear those playing were really into it, running around the different places trying to finish quests. I noticed quite a few little girls wearing capes they had purchased from the wand shop, they looked very excited. All in all it appears to be a good value, stick with the basic wand, and prepare for a lot of walking and imaginative play. Kids between 6-12 would probably have the most fun with this one.
The arcade is quite nice, lots of games to play that focus on physical aspects of arcade games. You aren’t going to find many traditional games here, like Frogger, MK or the like. This arcade is about winning prizes. If you are familiar with Dave and Busters, it’s very similar in both style of games, and cost. The claw games are fair, I saw tons of kids with winnings (including my own).
Again the focus here is on the cost, because they measure the games in paw points, so most games cost 4-8 paw points, which you get by purchasing a card you scan at each game ala D&B. If you were booking your vacation through the web site, note they have packages, and the highest level package includes 20 paw points. Since the average price per game is 8 points, we are talking 2-3 games; aka just a few minutes of fun. That’s not good. Purchasing the paw points from the self checkout will get you a few deals. I purchased the $20 cards, and during checkout they asked if I wanted to upgrade to $30 for a total of 120 paw points and I took that deal. This will get you and hour to an hour and a half at the arcade with enough tickets to walk away with some slinky’s, candy, or my favorite cheap toy the flying fist.
Speaking of tickets, we racked up tickets much faster by way of the children’s games, rather than the tween/teen games and coin pushers. Sounds funny but it’s true.
Ideally, if you love games, spring for the $100 card for the best value and make the kids share it. Although that might cause more problems then it solves. Never mind, stick with the $30 cards, choose your battles I say.
Also, minor tip, if you are traveling with 2-4 year olds then save 8 points for a train ride arcade machine located in the far end of the park, past the ropes course. My youngest boy got a real kick out of it. Also located near there are some air hockey machines that the older kids would like. There’s a freebie back here, a couple of ping pong tables that the kids are sure to like.
Frog Drop $$
Complete hosiery. $5/ride/kid is obscene. The kids liked it but I was in it for $25 for a 60 second ride. Proof:
Frog Drop: Complete hosiery.
Ropes Course $0 to $5
It’s fun, don’t buy the unlimited option, just buy the single trip for $5. If you want to go back again it’s the same price. But the odds of you doing it more than 1 time are slim.
Special note here, that anyone less than 48″ gets to go on the kids course for free. This is awesome for 2-6 Year olds. Just get in the line as if you are going on the big ropes course and tell them about your kid when it’s your turn. They’ll harness the child up and walk them over to the course.
Adults can do the big course, which is more fun than it seems from the ground, but it’ll cost you $5 extra, even if you are just assisting your kid.
The kids will have fun, but it’s not actual bowling. It’s a fancy arcade machine with small balls. It actually takes the arcade card payment which broke down to about $6/person/game.
Arts & Crafts $0
One of the added value activities is the arts and crafts featured in the main lobby throughout the day. There are usually 1-2 per day. They are small crafts that can be completed by most kids in under 20 minutes. This activity is totally free, and the kids get something to take home. Most of the crafts would probably only interest kids 4-10.
Lobby Activities $0
There are a few lobby activities that aren’t really worth attending. They show a movie at night, on a projector that you can barely see, there is a tour of the animatronic animals for the very young kids that’s boring, and something where the animatronics sing that’s mediocre, but worth stopping to watch for a second if you happen to be passing by.
One of the minor highlights is that they play loud music and dance to corny pop music while a bubble machine shoots over the crowd of kids. I’m a sucker for bad pop music, so dancing to that with my kids is good times.
Water Park – The Main Attraction
When planning a trip to Great Wolf, the primary reason to go is the water park. The water park is awesome and filled with activities for all ages and swimming capabilities. If you have non swimming age/capable children, don’t worry, there are plenty of water attractions for them too. You’ll also keep your tweens and teens busy with water slides. If you are staying overnight, the water park is included in your stay for both days. Side note, there are free life preservers for all age kids to use, even 1 year olds.
The water park is broken up into two major areas. One side features a wave pool, and more extreme water slides, the other side is a standard water playground & splash area with a small lazy river. Both sides have water slides, with the wave pool side featuring some height restrictions on two of the rides.
Waves are a little small, your 6-12 year olds will have fun here dodging small waves, the younger ones need help and can play in the shallow end, beware that the waves can knock you over, that might be scary for younger kids. The deepest part of this pool is 5 Feet.
There are two water slides good for just about any age, let’s say 2-5 year olds. You’ll want to wait at the bottom to catch them, but this side is a lot of fun and goes from about 0 – 2 foot depth. If you only have toddlers, this is where most of your time is going to be spent. It was also the busiest part of the water parks.
These are so much fun, there are two major tube rides, the biggest and baddest one is the tornado. You need to be 48″ or taller to ride and the tube can accommodate up to 4 people. This is one wild water ride. It starts out normal but then there is a sudden muscle tensing drop that pops you into a giant plastic 3 dimensional tornado. It’s a site to behold from the inside, the feeling amounts to what I feel professional snowboarders experience on a half pipe. If you are at all capable of doing this, you won’t regret it.
This slide isn’t for anyone with a pacemaker. You enter a tube one at a time. The door closes while your friends or siblings stare at you and laugh, a countdown plays inside the chamber, when the timer hits 1 nothing happens, a heartbeat sound starts and randomly the floor falls out from under you like a trap door in a cartoon. The first drop is near vertical and then races to the bottom 4 stories like a roller coaster ride. The entire slide take about 6-10 seconds, and it’s awesome! This also had a height restriction. I think 48″.
River Canyon Run
This is another 4 person inner tube ride, like Howlin’ Tornado, but this one is more mild, without the heart pounding drop. The height restriction is also less, so most kids 5 and up will be able to get on this one. It’s lots of fun, especially riding together as a family.
There are two tandem water slides, which can be ridden by a single rider or a double, these are family friendly fun rides. The kids each had their favorites, one was pitch black while riding through, the other was lit partially. Both are lots of fun. Parents can ride on the same tube as one kid, or once your exhausted from climbing 7000 stairs, and your knees can’t take anymore, the kids can go by themselves. My legs are tied just thinking about it.
Misc Water Slides
There’s a couple other slides that have names but are just generic slides. All of them are fun.
Crooked Creek Lazy River
I’ve seen plenty of lazy rivers, this is the smallest I’ve ever seen. If lazy rivers are your thang, maybe consider Coco Key in Danvers, much better Lazy River. This is more like the design team was lazy.
That’s about all there is to say about major attractions, but it’s not the end of the fun at Great Wolf, what about the main reason why as adults we travel? Food.
My major gripe about Great Wolf is the lack of sit down restaurants and the service provided. The food service here feels very disjointed. They should take a page out of Disney’s playbook and introduce multiple mid to high end family restaurants, focused around some theme.
Let me save you some hassle and let’s go over what offerings to take advantage of.
Lodge Wood Fired Grill
This is the only real restaurant on premise, it’s grossly undersized. This is both a buffet and full menu. Surprisingly the breakfast buffet and dinner buffet are pretty good. In my opinion the dinner buffet is high quality, not quite Disney level buffet, but better than Shoneys or Golden Coral. For the Breakfast Buffet, expect all the usual suspects, nothing here stood out except for the cream cheese crepes that looked like little burritos.
For Dinner, the buffet really shone, steak tips, Tetris shaped tater tots, corn on the cob as well as a number of other good dishes. One of the real standout items is the Mac and Cheese. That and the tots make the $21.99/person price worth it. The buffet desert wasn’t bad either, although beware towards the end of the night they just run the food out and don’t restock, this was a bit frustrating to us. When we first sat down for dinner, there was plenty of deserts, but after dinner and close to closing, their weren’t many options besides cookies left.
Special note: Since this is the only restaurant, as soon as you arrive make reservations, there were 2 hour and longer waits without a res.
So yeah, one restaurant, and lots of people, that’s not that fun. There are a couple other food options.
Prepare to wait in line in the morning, and surprisingly enough, Dunkin’s is normal priced. So no inflated prices here, which is good. I might have more bagel’s next time.
The Lodge Bar
This is an extension of the restaurant, but has a full bar, and some high tops. They do serve food here as well. When we couldn’t get into the restaurant for dinner, we decided to grab desert here. They sold us shooter deserts, these are absurdly small sized deserts that my 2 year old couldn’t even get any satisfaction out of. They were literally in a shot glass. Don’t order them, ever.
Bear Paw Eats & Sweets
I’m not trying to beat up on Great Wolf, because it is worth going to. Just, come on GWL, one ice cream shop… in the back of an arcade??? For 8 gazillion kids. UGH. There’s hour long lines here after dinner, so don’t get to excited about the desert case.
Also, the kids wouldn’t care, but the deserts look like they were made by hand, by the teenagers working the counter. I’m not saying that they are bad, (because I never got through the line to try them), I’m just saying they aren’t made by someone who cared about their work. Haha – reminds me of the “Nailed It” photo of the lady that tried making Cookie Monster Cupcakes. That cracks me up every time.
Hungry As A Wolf
After getting shut down at the only restaurant (They told us multi hour wait at 8 PM). I decided to just grab something here. I had the meatball sub, first of all, it’s pretty good. It’s also like $15. Subway be doomed, this sucker is like a foot and a half long and 5 inches wide. The service was lacking, multiple trips to the counter to get forks/knives and whatnot’s. I’m not sure why they don’t have a self service cart with those things on them.
I’d go back to this counter service place, to try the pizza or wings next time.
Buckets Incredible Cravables
This is the only place to eat actually inside the water park. It’s a counter service, we didn’t eat here, so I won’t comment, but it’s on my list for next time.
- Customer Service here is Bad
- Food is Mediocre
- Don’t buy the meal plan, how mad would you be realizing you paid for the food and can’t get into the restaurant because of the wait
- A LA Cart EVERYTHING, Don’t Purchase ANY of the Packages
- Don’t Book a Suite
- Make Reservations For Dinner & Breakfast (Can you tell I’m still sore about this)
- Budget $30/kid for Arcade
- Late Checkout is a tough one. You don’t necessarily need it. Because you can checkout at 11 AM but stay in the water park until like 4 PM for no extra charge.
- Show up at Check-In An Hour Before The email Says
- Visit September or October
- Go Tuesday Through Thursday
- Don’t Check In on A Saturday
- After 7 PM you pretty well have free reign of the water park
- It’s a 4 hour drive from Bangor