If you’re headed to Great Wolf Lodge with your family, check out my tips for saving money while you’re there! Great Wolf Lodge on a budget is possible, I promise.
We have enjoyed many big family moments at Great Wolf Lodge. It’s about 30 minutes from our house, so it’s an amazing staycation and we’re always so sad to leave! We’ve celbrated Christmas there, my children have lost teeth there, I threw myself a family birthday party there, and I even took my daughter and her Girl Scout Troop one year after the girls sold cookies and earned the money to go. It’s our happy place!
I wanted to share some money-saving tips for parents or grandparents thinking about taking a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It’s definitely an investment, but you can save quite a bit using these tips.
Before You Book
Sign up for Great Wolf Lodge Emails
Before you even think about booking your stay at Great Wolf Lodge, be sure to sign up for their email list. Subscriber rates are often better than the special offers that they advertise directly on their website, and I’ve noticed that I get notification of deals a little bit sooner through email versus the website. I’ve saved a lot of money by using my email-exclusive savings because they run specials throughout the year that are limited-time deals and a huge percentage off the regular price.
Look for Deals Online
Did you accidentally delete the latest email, but you want to book today? Great Wolf Lodge always has a deal going on right on their website. Just click over to Great Wolf Lodge, choose which location you’re at, and go to Special Offers.
Groupon (affiliate link) also has Great Wolf Lodge deals occasionally. Many times these are about the same as the deals on their website, but some include special extras like dining credit.
Visit During the Week
It’s no surprise that booking on a Friday or Saturday will cost you a premium price. You can save a LOT of money booking Sunday-Thursday. It will be far less crowded then, too, which means you will have an easier time enjoying the games, water park, and resort attractions.
Visit During the School Year
Just like weekend booking, summer and school vacation times cost quite a bit more. If you have the flexibility, book your stay during the school year. It’ll be less crowded, and you can still enjoy their holiday-themed special events during October and December. Here in Grapevine, Texas, they even keep the outdoor pool open about a week past when all of the school kids head back to class. That’s when we usually book! It’s the ultimate “Not Back to School” party for this homeschooling family. 🙂
Consider Staying in a Standard Suite
Okay, there are such cool themed and premium suite options available. They’re tempting, but hear me out! You likely won’t be in the room much at ALL except to sleep and shower, and maybe eat. If there’s a pretty big price difference between the room types, I’m here to tell you that you will still have an awesome vacation if you pick their most basic room. You still get all of the amenities, such as the mini fridge, microwave, and pull out couch, not to mention the wristbands for water park access. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your Great Wolf Lodge vacation, especially if you will be staying multiple nights!
Once You’re There
Bring Your Own Snacks and Drinks
We almost always bring a case of water with us, as well as many quick food options. A few things we bring regularly are: microwave popcorn, sandwich stuff (bread, peanut butter, jelly, lunch meat), precooked bacon (for breakfast), muffins, chips and dips, burrito fixins (tortillas, refried beans, cheese), cereal bars, fruits and veggies, and microwavable dinners like mac and cheese or Chef Boyardee pastas. This has saved us so much money over the years.
The restaurants at the resort are great and all, but they can be pricey for what you get and my kids always get annoyed when we have to stop having fun to go eat! They’re much happier when we can just grab something quickly from our room and get back to the pool or MagiQuest.
Share MagiQuest wands and Compass Quest compasses
-If you have more than 2 kids, sharing will save time AND money because the games can run slowly and the challenges can be time consuming. I let my kids take turns, and will put 2 kids to one wand.
Buy a Paw Pass
They have several levels of this now, but be sure to check out what is included with each one to get the best deal for your family. If you were going to want to do most of the things included anyway, you can save quite a bit by getting it as a packaged deal. If you didn’t buy this when you were making your reservation, don’t worry, you can add it on when you get to the Resort!
One thing I wasn’t sure of our first time was whether you could share the different items between kids. The answer is YES! You absolutely can! You could give the Northern Lights Arcade tokens to one kid, have another child color their own souvenir pillow case, enjoy the scoop of ice cream for yourself, and so on. They give you a large plastic paw card on a lanyard and they will hole punch each item as it is used. It is not tied to a specific person.
If You’re a Returning Guest
Bring BACK Your Wands and Compasses
-They can restart your game for you on your previously purchased gear to save quite a bit of money
Bring Back Your Northern Lights Arcade Cards
Save money by having them load game credits on to your old card. This will save you a few dollars per card, so it makes sense to hang onto them if you plan on heading back to Great Wolf Lodge!
What is your favorite way to save money on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge?
Maybe I’ll add it to the list!