When you go anywhere that's a tourist destination they expect you to spend money at every turn. Souvenirs, food, fun things that always cost extra and your screaming kid won't stop screaming until you pay for them to do whatever they thing is they want to do.
We had the opportunity to go for a few days and I was determined not to spend any extra money. Here's how I did it!
1. Bring your own breakfast and lunch! Each room is equipped with a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. I brought my toaster to make waffles and toast in the mornings. We even had oatmeal and fruit other mornings. There are countless options. Plan every meal out in advance, it's worth the extra savings.
2. Don't go buy your coffee from the fake Starbucks in the lobby. (Unless you're desperate, and have no other option) Because I'm a coffee snob I also brought my own coffee, coffee cups, and cream. Also, don't be fooled by the Starbucks logo; those baristas are Great Wolf Lodge employees, so their coffee prices are jacked up even higher and they aren't trained as well as actual Starbucks baristas. I don't trust them with my lattes. 😂
3. Follow the activities sheet they give you at check in. There's plenty of things to do for free on there with your kiddos.
4. Don't buy a locker at the water park. Each room has this awesome safe, use it. They already have towels down in the water park, and the key to your room is your wrist band (which also serves as your ticket into the waterpark). I didn't bring anything down with me except ourselves, and a bag with a few dollar bills (just in case we need something) and water bottles. Nothing of crazy value, so if a crazy villain kid decides to steal my bag... they're getting away with a free grocery bag filled with water. Jokes on them. Claim a table to be your family meeting spot and you're done. (You won't have any pictures of your kids coming down the water slide because you won't have your phone but it was the best to just watch their faces light up and have the best time. Living in the moment is really lovely.. we should all try it more often).
5. Don't eat at the resort. The food is stupid expensive and not worth it in my opinion. Every tourist attraction is located near great restaurants and other fun things to do. So, do some research and eat dinner somewhere fun outside of the resort. It'll save you tons!
6. Bring your leftovers from dinner back to the hotel room with you and eat them for lunch the next day! Money saved. Done and done.
7. When you're all wrinkly and tired of swimming go explore the city you're in. Go for a walk, go to the local park, or just go watch a movie in your room.
8. Skip the souvenir shop! Each kid gets these super cute wolf ears at check in.
9. Before booking your room, always check Groupon or search online for offers and deals! If you have a room, you go to the waterpark for free, so find that deal and then book away!
Great Wolf Lodge is not a place to go if you want to relax but it is a place to go to see your kids have a really great time.