Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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

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