Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What to Do! Entertainment Tips for Great Wolf Lodge: Part 3 of 3 posts

I'm totally kicking myself, somehow I deleted ALL of the content I wrote for this in November (but never published it as I was waiting to add the photos).  I don't have time for it right now, but I am going to upload all of the pricing menus I took for the activities, so you can plan ahead and know how much you want to spend.

Several of my friends SWEAR by the 'Paw Pass', but I looked and decided we didn't need that, so we just could pick and choose from what we felt was important.


playing magiquest, you log in at the trees for your next 'mission'!

Magiquest accessories, costume, gift shop, etc.

Lazer Tag / Arcade / Creative Center Room /Movies:
cute creative center on bottom level

photo options for getting pics from the waterslides

Arcade pricing

"Creation Station" (Build a Bear type activity):

Gift Shop: Budget Friendly wolves and other mini animals are only $6-10.  MUCH cheaper than the build-your-own variety, and more cuddly too!

Beauty Salon was VERY expensive!!!

Hallway photo booth was less than $5 for an old-school black and white strip.  Coloring posters are FREE in the upstairs hallways; I suggest you bring markers or crayons from home to color in the rooms:

Thrifty Tips & What to Eat for a family night at Great Wolf Lodge (part 2 of 3)

Okay, Okay, I know 'thrifty' and 'Great Wolf Lodge' shouldn't necessarily be used in the same sentence, but I'm happy to report that our family made a great 2-day (one-night) stay full of fun, with only about $68 total spent at the hotel over the cost of the room.  Here is how.

(Disclaimer: We are a pretty simple family, we do not do 'fancy' things as we live on a pretty strict budget.  My kids delight in the little things, so ANY treat to them is a blessing.  We told them we would spend a family day together, and asked them what they wanted to do for fun, and they told us they wanted to 'have a family night with board games and hot cocoa in our jammies'.  Needless to say when we surprised them (at the hotel upon arrival) with the trip they were in shock, and very exuberant about it.   The hotel and waterpark itself was the treat, so they knew not to demand to do everysinglethingtheysaw.  We just don't raise them like that.  If you have 'I want that!!! Giveittome' (VerucaSaltTypeChildren) I don't suggest you go there unless you want to spend a minimum of $200 per each kid during your one-night stay.  If you have 'JustHappyToBeHere' (Charlie Bucket type kids) then this guide will help you.)  

Thrifty Tips for Great Wolf Lodge (Grapevine, Texas)

First, watch for sales on room rates.  I hear off-season (Fall to Winter) is generally cheaper, as well as mid-week; and sites like Living Social occasionally offer deals.  The lowest deal I saw was $169 for the hotel charge per night (plus hotel taxes and resort fees).

Here's the big way to save (and this is an easy one): Bring your own food and treats! (duh).
Before the trip, we hit the store for some special meals and snacks that we don't normally buy; this was how we ate for both days, without splurging at the restaurants, and everyone still felt like it was special.  You have a microwave and decent sized mini fridge in room, which was great.  Here are some things we took:
-Salads (pre-packaged at the deli)
-Individual gourmet, heat and serve soups (nuke it and done)
-Fried Rice, Eggrolls, and Chinese food entrees (frozen), as well as steam-in-bag Edamame.  Sushi would have been a great idea too!
-TV dinners.  My kids think these are a treat, and everyone eats what they want! :)
-Snacks: Trail mix, Pringles, Gourmet Gummi Bears, Yogurt Pretzels, etc.
-Fruit!  Fresh fruit, as well as mini containers of mandarin oranges
-Breakfast: Yogurts, fresh fruit, Juice, and Mini Muffins (or donuts)
-Hot Cocoa treats!  Add marshmallows, caramels, peppermint, etc. to make it special.  We let our kids take their hot chocolate down to listen to stories in the lobby at 8.
-A meat/cheese/veggie tray would have been a great choice too, with crackers.
-Drinks: Bring water, plenty of juices, etc.
-Make sure to pack plates, napkins, flatware, etc.!  I should have brought salt and pepper too.
-Something fun like frozen cream puffs would be a good idea for next time.

We did eat lunch before our 1pm arrival the first day, and on the second day we got a 2-topping family pizza from the Take-out restaurant in the Sweet Shop for $11.99!  It was BIG, plenty for the 4 of us.  It was good pizza too for the price.  The only other treats we bought were Dippin' Dots ($4 each cup) since my kids had never had them.  Oh, and Mommy needed good coffee to have enough steam for all the stairs in the waterpark, so she got a Starbucks brew.... refills are only .76 when you bring back your cup!

This is the pizza deal (menu and the size of it):

This is your ginormous posting of the cell phone shots I snapped of all the menus I could find, as I could not find these online.  I heard that if you book your breakfast in advance with the room it is a better deal.

Waterpark food stand

waterpark food stand

downstairs hallway vending machine

downstairs hall vending machine

Sweet Shop menu

sweet shop

sweet shop - some of the pastries, most probably 3-5$ each

sweet shop menu part 2

sweet shop candy bar

restaurant on main floor (I think)

restaurant on main floor

restaurant on main floor menu pic 2

ENTERTAINMENT / Games / NEXT BLOG - Click here!

Things to Bring for a stay at Great Wolf Lodge (part 1 of 3)

I like to think of myself as a thorough packer, and I plan ahead for stuff (Girl Scout Style). :)  I was very happy with a few things I brought, but was left wishing I had a few key things more.  Here are my tips.

Definitely Bring:
-Snacks!  Drinks!  Other Food Stuffs (see my thrifty tips post for more ideas)
-Multiple Swimsuits for each person (in case they've grown out of one, or want a dry one to change into for another round at the water park).
-Swimsuit coverups (I like to wear a sarong, but quick-dry shorts, tanks, etc. are good).  Seriously, do not be THOSE people who let their kid walk all over the hotel barefoot in a bikini.
-Flip Flops for everyone, or, even better, Aqua Socks/Water shoes!  Let's face it, aqua socks are not really cute, but if it means you don't have to share toe germs with every other person on the stairs or in the walkways or bathrooms of the water park, sacrifice fashion and get you some.  We only had flip flops, and I regretted that we had left the watershoes at home.
-Bag of swim suits to change into if you check in before your room is open, to hit the water park.  Leave your valuables in the car, or a locker is $10.
-Nice PJs for your kids if they would like to go to storytime in the lobby at night.  Slippers too!
-Conditioner for your hair (none of this in the sample bottles in the room). Also, pack those Trial sized toiletries in your pool bag to use when you shower to go home (if using the locker room).   Also combs, deodorant, q-tips, etc. that you will need if you shower in the locker room before leaving.
-Plastic bags to bring the wet swimsuits home
-A little cooler to keep drinks and foods on ice if you are packing them

Recommend Other Stuffs to bring:
-Waterproof camera.  Fun for the water park! And you don't have to stress it getting stolen if you leave it in your stuff.  You can even use it in the big blue slide. :)
-Cash to tip at restaurants/Starbucks when you pay with your bracelet.
-Comfy shoes if you are doing Magiquest.  You will be up and down the stairs, and flip flops are LOUD on the concrete stairwell.
- Goggles for your kids for the waterpark if they are fish.  There is a LOT of chlorine in the air there.
-Fuzzy socks.  Okay, we just love fuzzy socks, but don't forget to pack socks for the fam, as that is one thing they do NOT sell at the gift shop.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Upcycled jewelry stand!

I'm a little excited about this project.... Here is your sneak peek.

Here's the thing.  I picked up 4 table legs (solid wood, heavy ones!) about 3 years ago (I know, I know) off the curb, and have been waiting for the right project to use them.  I'm VERY blessed to have a hubby who puts up with my collection of found objects until inspiration strikes!  Paired with a broken wire lampshade, I finally concocted the perfect idea, to make a jewelry display rack!  I started with this:

A solid wooden table leg, with 3" large screw sticking out of the top.  I fixed the broken wire parts of the lamp with electrical tape, and started wrapping to secure it.  At this point I was going to use ribbon, but I liked the way the tape looked, so I wrapped the whole thing.  (I'm glad I did, as the ribbon probably would have been too thick or bulky to hang earrings from.) Then I found a few wooden beads to put on the top for a little 'finial' effect, to cover the top of the leg screw thingymajig.  Next.... what color to paint?

A quick text to my master crafter gal pal Cindy and we decided on black. I was thinking maybe Tiffany blue, but I didn't want the holder to compete with the jewelry.  2 coats of matte black spray paint later... and it's taking shape!  I used a stinky heavy duty crafty glue to seal it all together.

Ta-daaaa!  On the table top.  Yes, I know, I  have LOTS of jewelry. NO, it is not too much.  Do you know how I know?  Because this is less than 1/2 of my necklaces.  So, judge me, see if I care. lol.  90% of this is handmade by me or another artisan (usually I trade paintings for jewelry when I do art shows) or gifts, the rest is vintage from thifting.
My finial turned out cute!  It's 3 wooden beads stacked on top of each other. :)

On the dresser in it's home-sweet-home.  Yay!  

If you don't happen to have a random solid wood table leg lying around needing a new life, you could totally just do this with an old lamp that doesn't work.  $3-5 at the thrift store will do just fine. :)