Planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge Southern California? Here are 10 tips for Great Wolf Lodge SoCal to save money and enjoy your stay. Everything from which extras to buy and skip as well what kind of room to book at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal.
Our family recently spent the weekend at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California with a toddler and a 7 year old. You can see more about our trip and plenty of water park photos in this post.
Napping child? Book a Wolf Den Suite or Kid Cabin.
The Wolf Den Suite is great for napping children still in a crib because it’s dark enough during the day for them to nap without you having to sit in the dark while they do. Because nothing says vacation like sitting in a dark hotel room. Alone. I also like the separated space for naps in general regardless of age.
The Wolf Den Suite has a bunk bed (so 1 set of 2 beds) and then extra space to fit a portable crib.The Kid Cabin is a bit bigger and has one set of bunk beds and then a single bed. If you have three children all out of cribs this would work well for you. They’re equally cute and festive.
Bring a lantern or night light if you book a themed suite.
The Wolf Dens and Kid Cabins are pretty dark which as I mentioned is perfect for naps and actual sleeping. Bring a night light or camping lantern for wind down time and to light a path if you have a child who wakes up in the middle of the night. I picked up this AA battery operated lantern before our trip and it was perfect.
Forgot something? There is a Target just down the street.
Bullseye! I see this as an opportunity to get outside a bit and take a stroll. I’m famous for packing everything for my kids and then forgetting something major for myself. Like a bathing suit.
Obviously you can grab basics like a toothbrush in the gift shop. There is a Target 2-3 blocks down Harbor Blvd. Whether you actually need something or you just need a minute ALONE, no judgement here 🙂
No matter which room you book, you’ll have a mini fridge, microwave and coffee maker so you have some space to store fresh food, snacks and meals for the pickiest of eaters.
Skip the Creation Station for younger children and get a pre-made plush character
If your child isn’t old enough to truly enjoy the Creation Station experience (similar to Build A Bear) and the interactive kiosks that go with it there are smaller pre-made characters available in the kids store at a significantly lower price. Their smaller size is also more appropriate for little hands.
These would have been perfect for our 18 month old while our 7 year old had so much fun at the Creation Station and choosing an outfit for her new furry friend who went everywhere with us.
Siblings can share a MagiQuest wand.
MagiQuest is one of Great Wolf Lodge’s signature activities. Basically you child gets a wand and goes on an adventure around the resort finding certain things and completing an interactive game. If you have a grade school aged child I do think the MagiQuest wand is worth it, but you don’t need one per child unless you feel compelled to get them their own and are considering it their main souvenir.
If you have more than one child odds are they will run around and do the MagiQuest adventure together. While roaming the halls with Kayla I ran into packs of siblings traveling together and looking like they were having the time of their lives!
If your budget is tight but you want them to have the experience, let them share one. It’s a nice exercise in sharing and teamwork, right?
There is a “secret” MagiQuest feature in themed suites.
If you have a Wolf Den Suite or Kid Cabin there is a “secret” MagiQuest feature that your kids can activate with their wands. This is exclusive to the Southern California Great Wolf Lodge location. They are different depending on which kind of suite you book. Here’s a little peek into our Wolf Den Suite.
There are “Quiet Hours” for everyone’s sanity.
Amen. Between 11pm and 7am MagiQuest and the ClubHouse Crew games go into hibernation mode and your child’s stuffed animal or wand won’t be able to activate any of the features. So if you’re up at 6:30 and can’t figure out why the wands won’t work that’s why.
If you’re up early and desperate for something to do the arcade is open 24 hours a day and Dunkin Donuts opens at 6am. Personally I find the arcade to be expensive. We’re used to Chuck E Cheese where every game is one token and those are $.25 or less. Most games cost at least $1 to play and many were more. Ten Paw Alley which is a scaled down bowling alley felt way more worth the money and we had a lot of fun there as a family.
If Dunkin Donuts is in your plans, try to go early. By about 7am there is usually a line on the weekends for donuts and it gets longer as you head towards 8am. I found the pricing to be pretty reasonable compared to any normal hotel coffee shop.
The best food is at the outdoor pool.
Okay opinion not fact, BUT take a look at the Grizzly Jacks menu when you get there and you’ll probably agree.
Grizzly Jacks at the outdoor pool sports lighter fare and more SoCal inspired food. You could totally miss this spot if you weren’t looking for it! Head past the wave pool and out the back doors of the water park. You’ll find another shallow splashing area and some really great food and adult beverages like shrimp tacos, watermelon and feta salads and margaritas.
Tired kids? Call in a pizza order and pick it up.
After a long day with tired kids pizza in the room might be your best option versus sitting in a restaurant.
Hungry As A Wolf is the Pizza restaurant located on L1. They have pizza, salads, subs and pastas. They also have wine by the bottle and beer on tap. You can call in your order and pick it up rather than wait in the dinner time line. Pricing is similar to most pizza places we frequent at home in San Diego.
Rumor has it that they’ll start room delivery soon too!
Your birthday child will get special treatment even if you don’t book a birthday package.
I know. Birthdays can be expensive. There are birthday packages you can book and I actually think there is good value in both of them. However, if you don’t book a package or it’s not in your budget your child will still get special treatment.
The Birthday Bash package is $99.99 and includes some birthday decor, a cake and a $40 credit each in paw points (arcade, mini golf, bowling, XD ride) and a $40 credit to the Lodge Wood Fire Grill. The Birthday Fun package is $69.99 and has most of the same as the Birthday Bash package except for the restaurant credit.
If you skip the packages, let the staff know you’re having a birthday at check in and your child will receive wolf ears, a coupon for a free ice cream and a special wristband that lets the staff know they’re a birthday child so they’ll get some extra happy birthday wishes as they make their way around the resort.
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