Great Wolf Lodge : It's more than a waterpark/hotel Autism Friendly
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
I believe we have all heard of Great Wolf lodge. Though I'm not sure, we all have been there. It was our first time that we stayed overnight. We planned for two night to experience Great Wolf Lodge, in hindsight I wish we would have planned more nights.
Some may think it's just a water park! But it's not!
It is so much more than that. Being our first time we had no idea what adventure we were going to embark on.
With two autism boys in hand, I will share our experience and what we will do differently next time — our do's and don'ts and what worked for us and what didn't.
When we arrived, there were two check-in areas. One was if you checked in on your mobile app and the other was if you didn't.
I guess if I read through my emails thoroughly, I would have known to download the app and check-in that way. We don't get out much, so it didn't cross my mind we could that. Next time it will.
The check-in mobile line, well actually there was no line for that, but the registration check-in line there was a line. The wait was not that long, but any line with two autism boys seems like a forever wait (though it did move fast).
We got our room, and we really should have paid attention to the sign in the lobby saying you can upgrade.
Never being at Great Wolf Lodge, we didn't know about all the different rooms they offered. Yes granted it says it all the website. I have no idea what this mama thought when she booked a "standard room." We never book a standard room.
A standard room does not work for our family. When we travel, we have to have at least one room separated. (This way when one of the boys needs quiet time or a break they can be separated and have their downtime/breakdown.) It just makes life so much easier and the "quiet time" over faster.
We ended upgrading, and I am so thankful we did. Somehow we got ourselves a two-bedroom deluxe suite. And I never looked back.
It was best for our family. The boys were able to be separated and have their time when needed. I will always book that room for us. It was a piece of heaven in our fantastic visit at Great Wolf.
We were non stop the entire visit. Not only is there a waterpark, but there are also things that Great Wolf plans for the kids: yoga in the morning, storytime, crafts, and more.
We ended up having what is called the Wolf Pass for our visit.
(A big thank you to Great Wolf Lodge for that).
There are three options for the Passes
The Pup Pass, The Paw Pass, and the Wolf Pass
That Wolf Pass alone kept us on the move and so busy. The kids had a blast and enjoyed every moment of marking off all the activities.
Between all the activities, we did have to take several breaks back to our room. The busyness of it all caused sensory overload, especially with my youngest. We gave the boys frequent breaks and they were able to enjoy Great Wolf Lodge to it's fullest.
My youngest enjoyed being outside in the pool he loves the sunshine, and it was much quieter. My older boy enjoyed the inside; he is more of a daredevil and wanted to keep running around and doing the water slides.
Even being at the waterpark, we would take a break to eat and then head up back to the room for some downtime.
(No Calories on vacation, Right?)
My youngest did wear his headphones the entire time we were at the lodge, even right up to before we got in the water.
Having patience is essential and knowing that you are on the kids time and watch for signs for a much-needed break helped us.
We planned each activity accordingly, even breakfast.
We made sure we were down early to avoid any crowds or wait time.
My youngest loved the characters that came around to the tables, he got so excited and to let that excitement out he took off running. I'm sure it was a sight to see this mama try and catch him.
We planned to do the activities on the Wolf Pass early afternoon, while we felt others were at the waterpark. For the most part, our planning went well, we didn't have lines and most things were quiet.
As far as going into the waterpark we found early morning and late afternoon were the best times.
We did stay Sunday thru Tuesday, which I guarantee the weekend would be busier. Next time we are thinking of staying Monday thru Wednesday or maybe even to Friday, two nights didn't seem like enough. I am sure during the week is probably the best to stay at Great Wolf Lodge for my autistic boys.
The experience and the memories we created are all positive for my boys; of course, we will be going back hopefully sooner than later.
My youngest who never will wear a wrist band for any place is still wearing his wristband from Great Wolf Lodge. Which tells me he had a great time and holding onto those memories.