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“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”
Quote by Susan Sontag, but it pretty much sums up my life! And since I have not been everywhere… yet, I am so excited to have Nancy, from Miles for Family sharing her review of Great Wolf Lodge Southern California with the Momma To Go readers!
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California
Last month, my family spent two nights at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. This was our third visit to Great Wolf Lodge, as we have visited the one near our home in Texas twice before.
The hotel is located just two miles from Disneyland Resort on Harbor Boulevard, so it’s a convenient add-on to a Disney vacation. Find out if Great Wolf Lodge Southern California is a good fit for your family!
photo of Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. Photo courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge
One of the things I love about Great Wolf Lodge is that it offers many room options for larger families. Most rooms fit at least six people, which is great for my family of five that often has fewer options.
For this trip, we booked a Standard Family Suite with two queen beds and a sofa bed.
The room also had a refrigerator and microwave.
Great Wolf Lodge also has themed rooms at a higher cost. In the location near Dallas, we have splurged on the KidCabin Suite in the past. Our kids loved having their own sleeping area with a separate TV!
Tip: If you booked a standard suite, ask about the price of an upgrade to a themed suite at check-in.
Waterpark passes are included in the room rate, and only overnight guests can enter the park. The indoor waterpark is HUGE, and, there is something for every age level. The best part is that no sunscreen is necessary!
There is a large indoor splash area with small slides for the younger crowd. The park also has a larger play structure for older kids that includes taller slides, water squirt areas and a big bucket water dump. My 13-year-old can’t get enough of the wave pool. It’s just like being at the beach!
My youngest loves the lazy river that is the perfect depth for kids. My 9-year-old will go on the big slides over and over again. The Howlin’ Tornado takes you down a large outdoor funnel, and the River Canyon Run is a raft ride that will fit your entire family.
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California also has an outdoor saltwater pool open during daylight hours.
When you stay just one night at Great Wolf Lodge, you can use the waterpark from 1:00 p.m. on your check-in day until the park closes on your check-out day. That’s a lot of time in the water!
Tip: Wear water shoes, as the floor can get slippery in some spots.
If you get waterlogged, don’t worry. There’s so much more to do at the resort! Great Wolf Lodge is really a self-contained theme park.
Some of the entertainment costs extra like bowling, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf, MagiQuest wand adventure, arcade games and the Howly Wood XD Theater. If you plan to splurge on some of these extra, consider purchasing a Paw Pass to save on a bundled package.
However, Great Wolf Lodge also offers plenty of other entertainment that is included in the price of your room. The wolf characters Wiley, Violet and Oliver make appearances throughout the day. While we were there, my daughter attended the nightly pajama party that included a dance, clock tower show and story time with Violet.
For extra themed entertainment, consider staying during October or December to experience Howl-O-Ween and Snowland activities. During a previous stay at the Texas location in December, it snowed in the lobby!
Tip: If you have an upcoming trip, add a Paw Pass to your child’s birthday or holiday wish list for extended family. My kids’ grandparents gave them Paw Passes for Christmas one year, and they were a big hit!
Since the rooms have microwaves and refrigerators, we have always brought some of our own food. However, Great Wolf Lodge has many options on-site.
The Great Wolf Lodge Southern California has a Dunkin’ Donuts downstairs. It’s very convenient for a quick breakfast sandwich or donuts.
There are also two counter service grills inside the waterpark and two quick options just outside of the waterpark. Splitting a large pizza at the Hungry as a Wolf restaurant is an economical way to feed the whole family!
The resort has two full-service restaurants, Lodge Wood Fired Grill and the Loose Moose Family Kitchen. We were so starving one night that we splurged on the dinner buffet at the Loose Moose. It’s a little pricey, but the food was much better than I anticipated! We enjoyed the selection and quality, plus we stuffed ourselves with desserts.
Tip: Consider walking to a nearby restaurant for additional less expensive options. My family walked to Dairy Queen for a quick bite and treat!
What about Disneyland?
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California does provide free transportation to Disneyland. However, I don’t recommend it as a home base for visiting the Disneyland parks. My family is always exhausted after walking around all day, and I couldn’t picture us combining these activities.
On our trip, we stayed close to Disneyland for three nights while we toured the parks. Then, we moved to Great Wolf Lodge for two nights so that we could focus solely on the resort’s activities.
Getting the Best Price at Great Wolf Lodge
Rooms at Great Wolf Lodge are not cheap! Here are some ways to reduce the cost:
- Stay on a weekday while school is in session. I know with kids that isn’t always feasible, but those are the cheapest rates.
- Create an account at Great Wolf Lodge online to qualify for special “member” rates.
- Watch your emails for flash sales. I just booked an overnight at the Great Wolf Lodge near us during a 48-hour sale!
- Always check the “Special Offers” tab to see what promo codes are currently available.
- AAA members can save! Put AAA into the promo code box, and the site will prompt you to enter your AAA number.
- Check Groupon and Living Social for special rates. Our local Great Wolf Lodge has deals on these sites a few times a year.
- Use your credit card reward points to stay for free! Check out the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which allows you to erase travel purchase with points. The current bonus is 40,000 points, worth $400 in free travel!
Have you stayed at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California or another location? What do you think?
Nancy is a contributing writer at Miles For Family, which focuses on family travel using credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards. She lives in a suburb of Dallas with her husband and three kids ages 6, 9 and 13.
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