Build a bear at Great Wolf Lodge.jpg - Insider Tips for planning a stay at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

Insider Tips for planning a stay at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

We had an absolute blast at Great Wolf Lodge over spring break! From the moment we pulled up and saw the giant howling wolves flanking the entrance, we felt like we were transported to another world! 

And yes…I would definitely say we had a howlin’ good time!!

This is a guest post based on a recent stay by Plano Mom, Gwendolyn and her family. Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine provided a VIP experience at no cost to her. Our opinions and information shared are our own.

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The Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX is renowned in North Texas as being a go-to indoor water park resort for young families around DFW.

Great Wolf Lodge provides an easy and unforgettable escape for families.

One big tip that we’ve seen shared is that once you’ve searched once for a set of dates, you could return to that search a day or two later and the same room has increased in price. This is because Great Wolf Lodge tracks the searches and increases prices for popular dates. So, if you want to return to your search again, use an Incognito Web Browser or a different device.

Winter is the perfect time to visit at a discount, as pricing is more budget-friendly during the Winter season.

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Book a weeknight if possible. Weekends and holidays are always crazy busy and more expensive. Sunday night is the best option if you can’t stay midweek only.

You can still get two full days at the Water Park if you arrive early on Day 1, book one night, and use the changing rooms before your room is ready.

This also applies once you’ve checked out. You can still use the Water Park.

Bring your own fruit, juice, milk, cereal, and snacks, and use your in-room fridge and microwave to save money in the restaurants on site (especially for breakfast). You could do lunch in your room too if you bring some basic supplies.

Every evening, there are some daily activities, like storytime (at 8.30, to allow time to leave the Water Park and after dinner) and the glow party, be sure to bring with you glow sticks and a bubble wand or bubble guns (get them from Target for $5). It’s something we’ve seen people recommend at other locations.

Buy yourself and any other adults going a waterproof phone case from Amazon, the ones there cost $40 and looked like the same thing we paid 2/$10 for on Amazon.

If you want to do the ropes course make sure you bring socks and tennis shoes for it. 

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Our Tips for your arrival at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine, TX

  • There are free luggage carts near the front door! Pull up and unload your luggage and then go park your car. 
  • There is a “check-in online” option, with a kiosk by the entry – this could be a great time saver for sure!! 

We walked in and were immediately greeted, and each given a pair of (free!) wolf ears (parents too!)! It’s the perfect way to get you into the Great Wolf Lodge mood!

The lobby had huge glass windows overlooking the water park – it was absolutely mesmerizing to watch while waiting in line to check-in and got us so pumped up for the park! Lists of daily activities are posted everywhere, and the majority of them meet in the main part of the lobby. 

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Our kiddos got to pop into an arts & crafts time while we checked in!

Our room keys were our wristbands – how cool is that? You can opt to allow (older) kiddos to get wristbands that allow them to make room charges, but since ours were so little we declined.

The hallways alone are so fun and decorated!

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The Lodge has Standard Rooms, Suites, and our choice: Themed Rooms

We opted for a KidCamp room and it was absolutely adorable. The best part of a themed room is that it has a separate little bunk room for the kids – they LOVED it. 

The room even has a little window looking out into the main room.

The rooms are definitely set up for families and had a great little living room sitting area, as well as a little table with two chairs, and both areas were perfect for the games we brought with us!

Tips for your Room at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

  • Bring snacks! We loaded up on snacks to minimize spending in between meals. My kids seem to want snacks ALL THE TIME, so we made sure we had plenty on hand!
  • Bring games! We were super happy that we brought a few board games and card games with us! It kept the family time going even when we were in our room resting.
  • Bring a sound machine or even an electric fan! This is something we bring to all hotels, but especially with kiddos. Hotels just have a lot of unfamiliar sounds, and a good white noise machine cuts out all extra noise. 
  • Your room has a fridge and microwave – so bring items from home to fill in for meals or in-between. 
  • If you want more time in your room, you can add a $59.99 package to extend your check-out to 2pm, beyond the 11am check out time. 
  • 1. Bring snacks! We loaded up on snacks to minimize spending in between meals. My kids seem to want snacks ALL THE TIME, so we made sure we had plenty on hand!
  • Bring games! We were super happy that we brought a few board games and card games with us! It kept the family time going even when we were in our room resting.
  • Bring a sound machine or even an electric fan! This is something we bring to all hotels, but especially with kiddos. Hotels just have a lot of unfamiliar sounds, and a good white noise machine cuts out all extra noise. 
  • Your room has a fridge and microwave – so bring items from home to fill in for meals or in-between. 
  • If you want more time in your room, you can add a $59.99 package to extend your check-out to 2pm, beyond the 11am check out time. 
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Should I Purchase Passes?

You have the option to purchase passes for your time at GWL. There are three levels, differentiated by age. 

We opted for the Paw Pass and the Pup Pass

While it’s an extra expense, I definitely would recommend a pass – it gave our kiddos a whole list of things we could go do but kept us from spending any money outside the passes. 

The passes included things like making a Build-A-Bear, scoops of ice cream, arcade points, GWL goggles, custom bracelets, and a magic wand & the MagiQuest game. 

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MagiQuest is described as a video game, coming to life, and you are the main player.

The kids (and adults if you’re into that sort of thing) choose a wand, activate it, choose a magical name, then run around completing quests by virtually capturing crystals and other paraphernalia with the power of the wand – a little like Pokemon Go. 

They need to explore areas on three different floors, so expect kids to be running up and downstairs and down themed hallways trying to find their treasure. It’s worth getting the pass to include this, as it can cost around $30 once you buy the wand and the access to the games. 

However, if you are a frequent visitor, you can bring your wand back the next time to use it.

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Expect the Magiquest to use up a minimum of 45 minutes all the way up to 3-4 hours.

If you want some kid-free time, it’s a great way for you to relax in the restaurant on the main floor, relaxing, and watching the craziness unfold. 

Some activities, like arts and crafts, are related to the storytime in the evening. Storytime happens at 6.45 and 8.30. 

Is a Day Pass at Great Wolf Lodge Worth it?

It’s not cheap – a full day pass is $50 per person from open to close (9am to 8pm) and a half day pass is $40 per person (from 3pm to close.

Kids aged 2 and under are free

Things to Do for Free at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

You can absolutely still have a blast without the passes.

Great Wolf Lodge has lists of free activities posted all over the lodge that include things like: crafts, storytimes, character appearances, yoga, bingo, and even dance parties!

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Our Tips for the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

  • Great Wolf Lodge does provides towels – you must swipe your room band to check them out and again to return them. Be sure to bring a robe, hooded towel, or warm clothing to put on as you return to your room. It could be a 10-minute walk to get to your room. 
  • You can bring in a pool bag – we packed goggles, water bottles, and a few snacks
  • Pack cover-ups and/or a dry shirt to put on when you’re ready to head back to your room. It’s chilly in the hotel and you’ll have to turn your towels in before you leave the water park. Robes work well too (or hooded towels)
  • Chairs fill up quickly, but you really don’t need one per person because the majority of the time you’ll be in the water doing all the fun things in the water park!
  • Pack a puddle jumper for kiddos who need it! There are lifejackets available, but we liked knowing that we had one that fit our younger kiddo perfectly. 
  • For small kiddos, bring reusable water bottles – there is a place you can refill them!
  • Be sure to know your bag may be checked when you arrive at the Waterpark, so be mindful if you want to bring food and drink items. 
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Is it Worthwhile to Rent a Cabana?

To get some space away from the crowds, if you have kids who need some quiet downtime without going back to your room, a cabana is perfect.

You can access your cabana from 10 am with your own personal waiter. It includes two lounge chairs, a couch and a table/chair set up with curtains for privacy. A TV, Fresh towels, and a fan are also provided, along with water and sodas, brought to you by your waiter. You can also get them to bring you lunch and other snacks. 

The pricing is not openly available online, but we can tell you that they cost anything from $149 to $199 depending on the day of the week and the season.

There’s a Ton of Things to Do Inside the Water Park

  1. 1. Toddler area – even our 6 year old enjoyed this area. Think smaller sized playground in the water with smaller slides

2. Large play structure area (aka Fort Mackenzie) – this is the one that has the giant bucket of water dumping at intervals. Two great slides here that kiddos can do solo with short lines.

3. Wave pool – so fun! Feels almost like you’re at the beach!

4. Lazy River

5. Water Slides! 

6. A basketball area & plastic logs and lily pads to climb on in the water! 

One of the best parts of the water park is that you can go for two days even if you only stay one night! 

Places to eat during your stay at Great Wolf Lodge Grapevine

Dining Onsite

Dining within the Water Park – mouthwatering premium burgers, hearty sandwiches, and fresh salads and vegetables

The Loose Moose Cottage is a great place for breakfast and dinner with a big menu. It opens for lunch seasonally also. 

Hungry As A Wolf is the best place for huge family-sized pizzas and salads.

Breakfast buffet is $20/$25 per person, so if your kids are not great eaters it may be a good fit for you.

Bear Paw Sweets & Eats – for desserts and sweet cupcakes and baked goods

Starbucks – while the in-room coffee may not be the best, there is a Starbucks on site! 

Places to eat and Restaurants Nearby

Cafe Italia is close and amazing! Authentic Italian food at great portions and prices. Hot soft bread with butter is served at every table. Everyone at our party was amazed at the food. A +

Big Fish Seafood Grill & Bar – your typical seafood fare, but we do want to shout out their clam chowder and the various Shrimp dishes! 

Main Street Bistro & Bakery – in addition to your normal sandwiches, soups, and light options, this is also a great place to go to for Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Options

Are the Dining Deals worth it?

It likely saves you about $10 per day, so it is worth it! 

Starts at $42.99 per person

Tax not included. Price is per person, per day. Dining deals are only available to purchase before your stay; they are not available at the lodge.

What is the best age for kids to enjoy Great Wolf Lodge?

The widest and best age group is age 5-13.  Toddlers would also love Great Wolf Lodge – there are plenty of fun activities in the Water Park for them and they’ll enjoy the atmosphere.

All in all, our family had an absolute blast! The kids were exhausted by the time we left!

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