Great Wolf Lodge is one of our favorite family places. It’s become a tradition that we go during the kid’s mid-winter break. We’ve even snuck in a couple of extra trips. This year’s trip was to be our 7th experience at a Great Wolf Lodge. So, we decided to try something new and stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. Here is our review.
Great Wolf Lodge Is Our Jam
For some reason, Great Wolf Lodge has always worked for us. Our kids love to swim. The parks are fun and family friendly. We make the experience affordable. We usually stay at the Sandusky location, which is great for proximity, but it’s one of the older resorts and the number of attractions is on the smaller end.
Last year, we mixed it up and stayed at a Kalahari resort. We had fun, but it wasn’t ‘home’ for us. It was so big, we felt lost at times. We wanted to try to get back into the Great Wolf Lodge swing of things. We decided to stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. This was a further drive than to Sandusky, which has seen the majority of our visits.
Booking to stay at any Great Wolf Lodge is easy. We have an account and I get e-mails regularly with promo codes. We did everything online to book our room using a promo code. Later, when a better promo code was available, a quick phone call saved us an extra $40 on our stay. Bonus.
Our check-in was pretty easy. They have an app now where you can pre-check-in the day before your arrival. I did this. When we got there, we still had to stay in the same lines and go through everything else. I inquired what benefit the pre-check-in served, and was told that it prioritized our room readiness. Works for me!
The physical check-in process is pretty simple. You verify your information, and get all of your wristbands, which is your ticket to everything in the resort. The wristbands are now equipped with chips, so you can use it for everything from opening your door to paying for things anywhere around the resort.
We got a standard room. It was on the top floor, so we ended up having a cathedral ceiling. I’m not sure if it was any bigger than the standard room at other locations, but it felt very roomy. It was also very clean and well equipped. The only thing ‘wrong’ was that the sink stopper was broken and I had to pull it out, otherwise the sink would fill with water. That honestly wasn’t that big of a deal.
We loved the water park. It was awesome. The water park is about 50% bigger (my estimate) than the Sandusky location. It’s big enough to have a lot of extra attractions, but still small enough to not feel lost.
Some of the attractions:
- Wave pool
- Small kiddie pool
- Two different places to play water basketball
- Jungle gym with a big pouring bucket of water
- Four different tube rides where you carry a tube up and ride it down
- Two advanced tube rides where the heavy-duty tubes are sent up via a conveyor belt
- Lazy river
All of the rides were really fun. Our favorite was the ‘water coaster’ ride, where the tube was launched at several points of the ride for a very thrilling experience.
Most rides have height requirements. Anybody taller than 48″ is fully able to ride all rides without restrictions. Our daughter is 49″ so she got used to standing against the measuring stick to verify. It was nice that they always checked.
I’m not sure if the hotel was full to capacity or not. But, the crowd levels in the park or around the resort were never excessive. Lines for the slides were anywhere from 5-20 minutes, mostly in the 10 minute range. It wasn’t too bad of a wait. It does seem that by limiting the water park to hotel guests, they keep the crowd levels quite manageable.
In the past, towels were placed around the water park so that you just grabbed what you needed and threw them into bins when you were done. Now, they make you check them out. This takes a little extra time, but it is actually well worth it. In the past, people would leave towels around after they left, so you never knew if a chair was actually taken or not. Now, since you have to return towels, this makes occupancy a lot more clear. Plus, it encourages people to take the towels that they actually need, leaving towels for everyone. In the past, we always had at least one time or another where no towels were available for up to 20 minutes. We had no such issues with the new policy. We’re big fans!
Dining and Snack Options
We enjoyed one meal at the resort restaurant. This is pretty standard for us. I was surprised as the restaurant seemed a little small for the size of the resort. We didn’t have to wait, as we’d made reservations through Yelp earlier in the day. If you didn’t make a reservation, expect a wait.
As far as the food, what we had was pretty good. Our only complaint was that the menu seemed a little lacking. There was no option for an entree salad. You’d think they’d have something like a basic pasta dish or tacos, but there wasn’t anything like that.
There is a buffet restaurant in the resort as well. We didn’t visit, but I’m wondering if they are trying to make the buffet the standard for some of the more basic offerings.
We also enjoyed some of the other refreshment options. Our kids had to have ice cream, which we gladly provided. Within the water park, there is both a snack stand and a bar. We discovered that between 3-5pm is Happy Hour, so we enjoyed some margarita’s for just $5. Nice!
There’s also a Dunkin Donuts located within the resort for morning needs. There are pretty long lines as they don’t seem to move very quickly. My advice is to just wait a little while if the lines look too long. Also, once the water park opens, the lines drop dramatically. So, if you can wait an extra few minutes for your coffee, this is the way to go.
One staple at all Great Wolf Lodge resorts is the MagiQuest game. Kids buy a wand and activate it with a game that allows them to go around, finding different treasures and quests. Our kids have played this in the past, so we were able to take the wands they had purchased on a previous visit.
It is somewhat pricey (about $15 per game), but the kids really enjoy it. Our kids are at the ages (9 and 7) where they prefer to go off by themselves, but not advanced enough to where they don’t run into some frustrations along the way.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this location is right next door to the Kings Island amusement park. The amusement park is closed for the season, but when it’s open, you can walk directly to it.
I had visited Kings Island once as a kid. So, while I knew they were in the same general part of Ohio, I had no idea it was literally within walking distance (there’s a path). It turns out that the Great Wolf Lodge property used to be a campground for Kings Island visitors! Now that would have probably been fun as well!
Overall Impression of Great Wolf Lodge Mason
We loved Great Wolf Lodge in Mason. It met all of our needs, and helped give our family some great memories and lots of fun. We have some great pictures of our kids smiling and having fun. In the end, that’s what it’s all about!
Readers, have you gone to a Great Wolf Lodge or water park lately? What do you think?