Great Wolf Lodge Insiders {Tips & Secrets from the ‘Inside’ Management}

During our recent trip to Great Wolf Lodge, I had the opportunity to sit down and and interview Mr. Jack Bateman General Manager of Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. I asked him a few questions to get the ‘inside scoop’ for moms and families looking to visit Great Wolf Lodge. 

Here are some great tips and secrets he shared:

What is the best time of year/least crowded time to plan to visit the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park?

Mr. Bateman recommended the ‘shoulder months’ of: September, October, beginning of November, and then again in January, February, and early March (before Spring Break). He shared that these are also the best months for lower prices.

Another tip is suggested was when booking inquire if there are any large groups (conferences) taking place. Weeks/weekends where there are larger and more conferences typically mean higher occupancy in the rooms and meetings rooms, however the water park and other family activities are typically less crowded during this time!

Can you share more about your most popular seasonal activities Great Wolf Lodge offers? 

Howl-o-Ween (all of October)- Trick or Treating Trail through the hotel, Costume parades in the lobby, children’s crafts and pumpkin painting, and more

Thanksgiving- Large Thanksgiving feast

Christmas- Snow land in the lobby, visits from Santa, Christmas crafts and story telling, and more

Summer- Companies come and told staff/family parties, 4th of July celebration, Memorial Day celebration

Do you offer group discounts? 

They do offer group discounts when the number of rooms exceed ten. However, there are several Wolf Suites at can hold large or multiple families. Click HERE to see more.

What is the recommended length of stay for a family? 

There typical length on stay is 2.1 days. Mr. Bateman shared that 2-3 days allows families enough time to become accustomed to the resort, participate in all the activities, and enjoy all the ammenities without growing restless. However, if you plan to do other activities in the area (outside of the resort), you may feel pressed for time and want to expend your stay. About 95% of visitors drive-in to the resort.

Many of the Great Wolf Lodges are in areas of the country where there are other great family activities in the area. Be sure to check the specific site for the Great Wolf Lodge you are planning on visiting to find suggestions and possible discounts available to those staying at Great Wolf Lodge.

*For example, in Grapevine, those staying at Great Wolf Lodge can get a discounted rate at LEGOLAND Discovery Center and the Sea Life Aquarium. For more Grapevine area attraction click HERE!

What is your best age recommendation for families with children? 

Typically they recommend ages 3-15 years of age are the ages that most activities are geared towards.

How has being featured on a show like Undercover Boss affected your reach/policies? 

Mr. Bateman shared that the show had no affect on any policies, as none were red flagged during the show. He did however mention that it was great for Great Wolf Lodge in that it created a lot of positive awareness as Undercover Boss is aired worldwide and one of the highest rated show in the U.S.. He has meet several visitors from Austrailia who watched the show when it aired, and choose to include a stay at Great Wolf Lodge while visiting the United States.

What a a few features that differentiate Great Wolf Lodge from other kid-friendly vacation options? 

Great Wolf Lodge has everything needed for a vacation under one roof; water park, dining, entertainment, activities, rooms, and more. One great feature is that especially in the hot Texas summers, Great Wolf Lodge offers both indoor and outdoor water park features. This is perfect for days that are too hot to go outside, but also winter’s rainy days that are too cold to go outside. At Great Wolf Lodge, your vacation is NEVER dictated by the weather!

Can you share with us a little about your water safety? 

Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine has the largest facility had has 25 lifeguards on duty at one time. They currently have on staff 120 lifeguards who rotate between three shifts. Mr. Bateman who shared that he was also lifeguard in his teens, shares that the program Great Wolf Lodge trains their lifeguards in the Ellis certification. This differs from the typical Red Cross training in that lifeguards are trained to supervise sections of the water not general areas. He mentioned that while in the water park you can watch the lifeguards constantly scanning their section of the water; that is exactly what my husband I observed. The lifeguards were doing a fantastic job of staying aware of their surroundings and assisting swimmers without becoming distracted.

What months is the outdoor pool/water park open? 

Typically the outdoor water parks at all locations are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, because of Texas’ warm weather, Grapevine is often able to open their outdoor area on the weekends from Spring Break- through Memorial Day, then all week long from Memorial Day to Labor Day. *Check with each location for specifics.

What is one insider that most people are not yet aware of that is a ‘best kept secret’? 

Great Wolf Lodge is a fantastic location for companies to plan trainings and conferences! Conferences at Great Wolf Lodge are fantastic for both companies and the families of employees. For example, while the spouse is attending meetings/trainings during the day, their family can come along for the week and stay with them at no extra cost! Each room has a set price and a typically family suite includes 4 wristbands for access to the water park. It is a win-win situation for companies: the employee is happy and so is their family!

Mr. Bateman shared that there are even options that companies can include into their training such as: using the arcade for points to win prizes from the company in place of the tickets. They can also challenge their employees to a fun round of interactive Magiquest adventures, which require teamwork and problem solving.

What is Magiquest; a very popular activity at Great Wolf Lodge-Grapevine? 

Magiquest is an interactive journey in which you use a magic wand in which you personalize in the Magiquest store and set to record your journey. The objective behind the journey is to save the princess and slay the dragon. Magiquest is an adventure that takes you on all eight floors of the resort to discover treasure boxes, talking picture frames, and more all that come to life with the swish of your magic wand. It is an adventure for the entire family. Mr. Bateman joked that his first journey took him about six hours to complete, which most tech-savey kids are completing in about three hours. The journey is recorded on the wand and can be completed on your own time frame; it can even be continued on your next visit to Great Wolf Lodge if not completed!

Can you please share Great Wolf Lodge’s different locations around the country and Canada: 

  • Charlotte/Concord, NC
  • Grand Mound, WA
  • Grapevine, TX
  • Kansas City, KS
  • Mason, OH
  • Niagara Falls, ON, CANADA
  • Pocono Mountains, PA
  • Sandusky, OH
  • Traverse City, MI
  • Williamsburg, VA
  • Wisconsin Dells, WI

A special thank you to Mr. Bateman for his time and willingness to share these great tips with Cheerios and Lattes readers!

Make Your Reservation Today! 

Contact Great Wolf Lodge at:

DISCLOSURE – My family received a special room rate in return for this review.  My reviews and recommendations are always true and honest. Read Cheerios and Lattes’s full disclosure here.


  1. Thank you Mackenzie! We LOVE Great Wolf Lodge and are planning a trip there this winter. We have some flexibility with dates, so as we book our trip, I’ll make sure to use your tips.

  2. Thanks for sharing Mackenzie! We’ve never been there before but it sounds like a great place to take the family. Do you have any advice on how it would be to take a 1 year old? Our kids are ages 4 1/2, 2 1/2 & 1. I would just want to make sure we could all enjoy our time there. Are you able to push a stroller around?

    • Michelle, I thought about that while I was there…how ‘infant/young toddler friendly’ GWL would be for families. The more I watched around the more I was certain that it wouldn’t be as easy as with older children, but definitely doable! For example, families have strollers and push them all over the resort- into the water park area, the restaurants, the arcade. It would be very easy for one parent to take the baby back to the hotel room for a nap, or even allow them to nap in the stroller, while everyone else was playing. In the waterpark area, there are even little cabins you can rent for the day, allowing everyone to retreat to these large tented areas for a nap, lunch, a snack. I loved the idea that mom or dad could lay the little one down in there and not have to retreat to the hotel room if they wanted to stay with the rest of the family. Most importantly, the whole resort is so kid-friendly that everyone is geared toward making your experience as easy as possible. It’s a comfortable place for families where you feel like your little ones can be silly, have fun, without worrying about them bothering others. (As a mom of two silly boys who love to run, laugh, and just be boys (within reason of course :), it was the perfect place for us!) Let me know if you have any other questions! :) I know your family will love it!

  3. Michelle….it depends on your 1year old. We went last year and brought our grandson, who was 13months. He is a bit of a daredevil and loved it-he did not want to leave at the end of the stay. They have a great kiddie section.

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