Everything that You Need to Know About Visiting Great Wolf Lodge During the COVID-19 Pandemic ~ Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Everything that You Need to Know About Visiting Great Wolf Lodge During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disclosure: Thank you to Great Wolf Lodge for hosting our stay so that we could share our experience. All opinions are honest and our own. 

We recently visited Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX to experience the resort with the new Paw Pledge that is tailored to the COVID-19 pandemic environment. I am sure that many of you are daydreaming about a vacation after spending many months at home.  In today's post, I'll tell you about our visit to Great Wolf Lodge and how this trendy resort has put extensive effort into the guest experience with their Paw Pledge and Howl-O-Ween festivities. I was nervous before our visit, but the Paw Pledge eased my worries and we had a wonderful visit that provided a much needed vacation. I'm certain that my children will always treasure the whimsical childhood memories that we created this weekend!

Let's start with the Paw Pledge. Great Wolf Lodge collaborated with medical professionals, sanitation specialists and industrial engineers to develop customized health and safety procedures for the 401-room resort. The reopening plan focuses on disinfection and sanitization, physical distancing, personal protection, and minimizing surface interactions in all guest areas across the resort. This includes the nearly 80,000 square-foot indoor water park, attractions, various eateries, grand lobby area and all guest rooms. Some of the measures include:

  • Great Wolf Lodge partnered with disinfectant experts to determine the best virus eliminating agents for use in its resorts and the most effective sanitization methods. Resort staff will sanitize all frequently touched surfaces in the waterpark, attraction areas, restaurants and all other public spaces continually using hospital-grade disinfectants.
  • All guest rooms are disinfected and sanitized prior to check-in, with room attendants paying special attention to high touchpoint areas such as door handles, light switches, in-room phone, thermostats and television remotes.
  • Great Wolf Lodge will initially reduce occupancy levels at its resorts to 50% or less to provide an abundance of space so families can easily navigate the resort and waterpark with a minimum of six-feet of separation from those outside of their traveling party.
  • Markers will be placed in queues for waterslides, attractions, retail shops, food outlets and front desk measuring six-feet of distance between guests, and the resort will remove, reposition or place out-of-service, chairs and tables throughout the water park and resort to ensure family groups can properly social distance themselves from other guests.
  • The number of hand-sanitizer stations throughout the resort will increase significantly and Great Wolf Lodge is providing personal protection amenities for its guests such as disinfectant wipes, sanitizer and face coverings. Guests can request a complimentary mask at the front desk.
  • In locations where a slightly longer interaction between pack members and guests is expected, and where social distancing may be a challenge, Great Wolf Lodge is installing plexiglass barriers to provide adequate separation.
  • Great Wolf Lodge will implement additional contactless payment options at the resort. Guests can use credit card, debit card or their resort wristband for purchases to minimize touchpoints associated with cash transactions.
  • Food outlets will offer remote ordering with pick-up options so guests can enjoy their meals in the comfort of their rooms.
  • All pack members will undergo a wellness and temperature check before reporting to work. Anyone presenting a fever, having recent ailments or indicating a possible exposure to COVID-19 will be sent home. Pack members will also be required to wear masks in situations where always maintaining social distancing may be difficult.
In our experience, we started by completing an online health screening prior to our visit.  The survey is quick and easy. I appreciate that they screen guests before arrival. Upon arrival, we checked in and found that all of their energetic employees wore masks and were as helpful and friendly as always. There was plexiglass in most areas where staff interacts with guests. They also generously supplied free masks throughout the resort. For instance, the photo below shows a location at the front desk where they provide free masks. I love that they do this because it is a family destination and I could imagine a child accidentally dropping their mask on the floor and a parent needing a backup mask. Kudos to the resort for generously placing the boxes of free masks around the resort!

I often saw staff members actively cleaning railings and other areas around the resort. There was even an employee who wiped down railings inside of the waterpark!  They did an awesome job.   We also noticed plenty of hand sanitizer stations throughout the resort. The photo below shows my little Spiderman at one of the stations.

Our room was very clean. They have a lengthy list of cleaning protocols, including focusing on high touchpoint areas. We felt comfortable in the room. Just in case though, they provided sanitizing wipes in the room.

We stayed in a Wolf Den Suite.  This magical room adds to the experience. My boys have happy childhood memories from this cave-themed room and bunk beds! The Wolf Den Suite features an in-suite cave-themed sleeping area for the kids with a bunk bed and their own TV. In the main portion of the suite the adults have a queen bed, a full size sofa-sleeper, TV, and a large picture window. The suite comes with mini fridge, coffee maker, and hair dryer. It's a hotel room that we will always remember! Check out my little Spiderman with wolf ears below.

Here is another view through the cave window.

Our room also had a lovely view of the outdoor pool and waterpark.

We enjoyed watching the sunrise at 7:41am. (If you Google "Grapevine sunrise time" before your trip, you'll be able to plan the perfect time for breakfast with a lovely view of the sunrise!)

As I mentioned earlier, we visited during the Howl-O-Ween festivities. If you want to do something special for Halloween, a visit to The Great Wolf Lodge is perfect! Let me share a quick overview of the Howl-O-Ween activities.

Howl-O-Ween at Great Wolf Lodge offers the perfect fall getaway to get families into the spooky spirit, while also providing non-stop, water-filled fun at its expansive indoor water park. For the Howl-O-Ween celebration, the Grand Lobby at Great Wolf Lodge transforms into a spooktacular fall landscape with pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves and other festive decor. One of the most beloved Howl-O-Ween events is the Trick-Or-Treat Trail, where kids collect candy at stops throughout the Lodge and meet Great Wolf Lodge characters, also dressed in their Halloween garb. The trail features a Teal Pumpkin stop, offering Great Wolf Lodge-branded non-food treats for guests with food allergies, or parents looking to avoid too many sweets. This year, guests will need to pre-select a time window to begin the Trick-Or-Treat Trail, so Great Wolf Lodge can manage capacity levels and allow for adequate physical distancing. Additionally, distance markers will be displayed at each trick-or-treat location and pack members distributing candy will wear ghoulish attire that incorporates proper personal protection equipment such as a mask and gloves. 

My children dressed up as Spiderman and Harry Potter for the Trick-or-Treat Trail. They loved it! You will notice the markers on the floor that are helpful for social distancing.

Several rooms had spooky themes. I don't want to spoil the surprises, but I'll share one photo to give you an idea of what to expect. They definitely put a lot of thought into this spooky trail!

My children loved the Howl-O-Ween treats.

We also enjoyed the UnBOOlievable Story Time and the Monster Bash Dance Party. They had squares on the floors for families to sit on so that it was easy to maintain social distancing. Miniature ghosts and ghouls will have fun with the spooky story and then dancing to Howl-O-Ween themed music!  Again, to emphasize the Paw Pledge, all events require advanced reservations to attend, with the dance party and story time using physically distanced marked viewing/participation areas for attendees. 

Other highlights of Howl-O-Ween include:
  • Howl-O-Ween Arts & Crafts: To help kids get into the Halloween spirit, Great Wolf Lodge is offering a collection of pre-packaged arts and craft projects that families can complete on their own either in the comfort of their room or at one of the physically distanced tables in the lodge. Fun projects include a bat hat, spider headband, ghoulish bracelets, not-so-spooky buttons and Halloween masks.
  • Candy Corn Count: There is a ghastly number of Candy Corn filled to the brim in a jar at the front desk. The mysterious mission is to guess how many of the devilish treats are inside. Guesses will be collected throughout Howl-O-Ween. The guess closest to the correct number (without going over) will win a Great Wolf Gift Card. Howl-O-Ween Mini-Events: Boo Bingo where five in a row is a bingo and yelling “boo” is the winning lingo.
  • Take a Wiley Guess: families will use their knowledge of Halloween myths, legends, lore and traditions. Wiley Says, like Simon Says, but with some hauntingly delightful moves that will won’t raise the dead, but definitely raise your spirits.
While we highly recommend visiting for Howl-O-Ween, if you are not able to fit it into your schedule, you'll still have fun at Great Wolf Lodge at any time of year. For instance, my children had a whirlwind experience with their Paw Passes. When you book your stay, you should consider buying Paw Passes for your children. They have a few different options that will provide entertainment during your stay. They offer deals on the Paw Passes so that it's cheaper than paying for each activity individually.

There are different Paw Passes at different price points. My little ones enjoyed Paw Passes that include:
  • One MagiQuest game game
  • Choice of classic wand, standard topper or Magi belt
  • One stuffed furry friend from Build a Bear (Outfit not included)
  • One Great Wolf Lodge Candy Shop candy cup
  • One Paw Points game card for Northern Lights Arcade ($5)
  • One pair of Great Wolf swim goggles
  • One temporary tattoo from Glitz Glitter
  • One leather treaty bracelet

As you can imagine, these Paw Passes kept them busy and active! My children have a large age gap, but they both loved their Paw Passes and all of the activities. As a mom, one of my top priorities is to keep my children physically fit. The Great Wolf Lodge made it fun and natural to keep them moving. Obviously, the waterpark kept them active. The MagiQuest game also kept them active and was their favorite activity.  

Again, to emphasize the Paw Pledge, I took a photo to show that the wands, toppers, and employees are behind plexiglass.  The children are able to choose their special wand and/or topper. The employee then activates their wand for their MagiQuest game. I noted that the employee used a sanitizing wipe on the wands before handing them to my children.

I don't want to spoil too many surprises for you, but I want you to have an idea of what to expect.  For instance, the photo below shows that my son opened a treasure chest with a wave of his MagiQuest wand!

It was fun to see his curiosity and excitement as he experienced the different quests!

Another highlight of the Paw Passes is that they include a cup of candy. Again, to highlight the Paw Pledge, they set this up with respect to social distancing. Your children stand back from the candy and tell the employee the numbers of the four different candies that they want in their cup.  The cup includes a lid. We loved that they found a way to allow the children to choose candy while maintaining social distancing.

The Paw Passes include a furry friend from Build a Bear. You may optionally purchase themed outfits and accessories too.  To emphasize the Paw Pledge again, the employees were behind plexiglass to stuff and sew the animals. The children used a foot pedal that was on their side of the plexiglass to send the stuffing into their special stuffed animal. They also included a special heart for your child to make a wish before it was added to the inside of the stuff animal. As you have probably noticed by now, the Paw Pledge is woven throughout the resort and our experience was fabulous!

The arcade was decorated for Howl-O-Ween. Of course, my boys both loved that there were games that fit their different ages. In regard to the Paw Pledge, I noticed that employees were energetically cleaning in the area and that there was plenty of free hand sanitizer and extra boxes of masks for guests.

Throughout our experience, we had a wonderful time and created happy childhood memories for our boys. I felt that the Paw Pledge was thoroughly incorporated into the resort experience for our hotel stay with activities.  We are several months into the pandemic and have spent a lot of time at home. I'm grateful that the Great Wolf team thought about the guest experience from beginning to end with their meticulous attention to detail and the Paw Pledge

If you would like to learn more about Great Wolf Lodge, visit their website here. We visited the location in Grapevine, TX. They have many other locations across the country.

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