Pros and Cons of Taking Your Toddler to Great Wolf Lodge

Pros and Cons of Taking Your Toddler to Great Wolf Lodge

Earlier this week, our family visited Great Wolf Lodge (GWL) in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. We had heard such great things about it, we just had to see what it was all about, so we planned an end-of-the-summer trip to visit.

Overall, we had a great time and will most definitely visit again (it reminded us a lot of a Mohegan Sun for kids), but there were a few things that we wished we had known before our vacation, so I wanted to share them on CNC just in case you are debating a trip to GWL with your toddler. Just a heads up: While this post is not sponsored by Great Wolf Lodge, our family received a discounted media rate for our overnight accommodations. And, as always, all opinions are my own.

pros and cons of taking your toddler to great wolf lodge


Great Wolf Lodge makes travel really easy and convenient for families.

I could seriously go on and on about how easy and convenient GWL made things for our family. They really had us covered- everything from 15-minute parking and luggage carts right by the front door to resort bracelets that also acted as room keys and a variety of room options to fit your family’s size and budget.

great wolf lodge room

There was even a Dunkin Donuts INSIDE the resort. (Of course, we loved this amenity.) GWL really thought of everything to make our stay enjoyable.

2016-08-31 06.49.03

The Water Park

We spent the majority of our stay at the water park, and IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. There were plenty of slides and rides for “big kids” (adults included), but there was also a separate “Cub Paw Pool” for smaller children, which was perfect for toddlers. It had plenty of tiny kiddie slides and toys, the water was shallow and only 18? in the “deep” end, so we didn’t have to worry about Quinn hurting himself/falling into the water or bigger kids getting a little too rowdy around him.

Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark

GWL is accommodating to all ages

We knew GWL was geared toward kids both young and old, but we were especially surprised that so many of the attractions and activities were appropriate for a 2-year-old. Our favorites: water park (obviously), arcade, bowling, kiddie rides, and “The Forest Friends Show.” We did a lot, but we could have easily stayed an additional night and not have gotten bored!

Great Wolf Lodge New England


The food

Yikes. The food was not good, both quality- and service-wise. I wasn’t expecting 5-star meals or anything like that, but the food was definitely sub-par. We went to dinner at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill, which was the “nicest” of the dining options. The menu looked decent with a number of tasty-sounding options, but what we were actually served was, well, sort of gross. I ordered the Chopped Barbecue Chicken Salad, which was basically a bunch of greens with a crapton of shredded cheese, tomatoes, and like 5 pieces of plain grilled chicken breast… no green onions, black beans, crisp fried jalapenos, cilantro, barbeque sauce, or crisp onion strings like it was advertised. I almost sent it back, but we waited nearly 45-minutes for our food and, when you have a hungry toddler on your hands, 45 minutes is an eternity. By the time our food was served, we just wanted to eat and go. The restaurant wasn’t even crowded, so I’m not sure what happened. Our waitress disappeared for a good 15 minutes, so we couldn’t even ask for bread or crackers or something for Quinn to snack on. Dinner was kind of a disaster, so we hoped the breakfast buffet the next morning would be better. It was, but not by much. Again, the quality (and, this time, selection) of food just wasn’t great. There weren’t many healthy options and the food overall just wasn’t high-quality. Long story short, if you visit GWL, definitely pack some snacks or bring your own food (most rooms have mini fridges).

Food at Great Wolf Lodge

Silver lining from dinner: We were able to take our glasses of wine to go! #parentwin

Most activities don’t open until 9:00 AM

When you have an early bird toddler, who wakes up at 6:00 AM, waiting until 9:00 AM is kind of a long time. And when Qman woke up, he immediately started asking about the water park, so it made for an interesting morning.

great wolf lodge fitchburg

Thankfully, the arcade never closes, so we killed some time there, went to breakfast at 7:30 AM, and then went back to the arcade until the water park opened. Obviously, this isn’t a huge deal, but just wanted to give the toddler parents a heads up. Bonus: Dunkin Donuts opens at 6:30 AM. I’m pretty sure we were their first customers of the day!

Great Wolf Lodge Arcade

Check-in isn’t until 4:00 PM.

Again, this isn’t a huge deal, but I wish we had planned a little better and arrived earlier in the day, so we could have spent more time at the water park. (Pro tip: Wear your bathing suits to GWL and have the resort hold your luggage until check-in time.) By the time we checked in and got ourselves settled, there wasn’t much time left to play before we needed to eat dinner and get Qman to bed. Live and learn!

great wolf lodge bench

All in all, it was an awesome trip to Great Wolf Lodge and we can’t wait to visit again soon!


  1. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby

    Kelli @ Hungry Hobby

    September 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm
    Reply Looks fun! That swimsuit is adorable! I mean don’t they know how early kids wake up? I don’t even have kids and I wake up at the crack of dawn ha ha!

  2. Alyssa

    September 1, 2016 at 4:12 pm
    Reply I’m SOOO glad you shared your experience. We are considering taking our twin girls (3 YO) to GWL in Charlotte and I’m sure they are all fairly similar in terms of setup and schedule. I will definitely be keeping your points in mind. Thank you so much. So sorry about the bad food. What a bummer! And we have early risers too – 9am is like 12pm in toddler time!

  3. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    September 1, 2016 at 4:22 pm
    Reply Kudos to you for venturing out with Quinn! That’s a lot of work keeping him entertaining I bet. I mean, even I’m an early bird and would have trouble entertaining myself much less a toddler.

  4. Brynn

    September 1, 2016 at 4:24 pm
    Reply Surprising to hear activities do not begin until 9am. I have an early bird as well, by 9am we are thinking about snack time! It looks like Q loved his time in the water!

  5. DianeSeptember 1, 2016 at 6:15 pm
    Reply I have to be totally honest here and say that I am so sad that your blog seems to have taken a new direction. I feel like the majority of your posts these days are sponsored posts (I don’t mind them every once and a while, but when they’re frequent, they become annoying) and filler posts (I guess the real name would be “evergreen content”…how-to’s, workout tips, lists, etc.) I have been reading your blog for years and years and I truly miss your everyday posts about life in general. In particular, the last several months and more recently, the last two to three weeks…I feel like we’ve barely heard from you in the way you used to check in. I miss the old CnC…please consider returning to your roots!

  6. meredith @ cookie chrunicles


    September 2, 2016 at 7:35 am
    Reply Thanks for your comment and feedback, and I’m sorry you’re feeling that way about CNC. Truthfully, it was just a crazy summer for us, so I did/do a lot of sharing from our life on other social media channels. It’s just easier when living in the moment. I’ll definitely keep what you said in mind and include more personal posts in the future. In the meantime, check out carrotsncake over on Instagram (stories) to see what we’re up to! ????

  7. JenniferSeptember 2, 2016 at 12:18 pm
    @Tina: I love your blog too. I miss your more personal posts too! I get it though, i am definitely not “hating” on the blog or you. I just miss the personal aspects of the blog. ???? <3 <3 <4

  8. Friday faves 14 – A Fit Mess

    JessicaSeptember 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm
    I just have to say what a refreshing reply to a constructive criticism comment. I’m an avid blog reader and many time these types of comments are shot back with a very defensive answer. Kudos to you! @Tina:

  9. Victoria @ Minus Thirty Three

    KatelynSeptember 3, 2016 at 9:19 am
    Reply @Diane: I picked up on this recently as well. However, I am glad to hear it is just because you’re having a fun summer with Quinn and I can understand that he is at that adorable age where just as you said, you want to experience things living in the moment. For awhile I was worried that maybe you had something personal going on. Day in the life posts are my favorite! =)

  10. Heather Montgomery

    JenSeptember 1, 2016 at 9:31 pm
    Reply We love GWL, but they really need help with the restaurant. The pizza & salad from the pizza place are better than the restaurant.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *