Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg, VA: Destroying My Parenting Abilities One Water Slide At A Time

by Alex Iwashyna, blogger at LateEnough, who writes for us in Real Richmond Parents, too.

I can’t be a good parent in a water park like Great Wolf Lodge. I don’t like people, other people’s children, and I’m terrified of my kids drowning. The best I can hope for is to be the quiet jerk who likes splashing down slides.

Our Arrival

Our first afternoon at Great Wolf Lodge induced broken ears, also known as getting my son to LISTEN and STOP RUNNING became me running after him yelling: E! STOP! RUNNING!

Until he stopped.

Right here:

Great Wolf Lodge Water House
Note the giant bucket of water at the top

While the bells are ringing:

The Wrath Of Mama
My son noting the giant bucket of water pouring on his head

And like any good mama, I walked over to my wet shocked son and admonished him for not listening to me.

Clearly implying that not listening to your mama causes a giant bucket of water to land on your head.

•Our Departure

Our last morning, we are getting ready to check out then head to the water park (yay for being able to hit up the water park before your room is ready and after you check out) when MORE BELLS!

But louder and insisting that you COULD DIE.

So I gathered my laptop, iPhone, camera, husband and kids and stepped into the hallway with everything that matters in life.

As we merge with humanity on the stairwell, my son turns to me.

My son: Mama, what’s the alarm mean?
Me: There’s a fire.

Suddenly the stairwell fills with terrified cries.

Child behind me whose parents instantly hate me can only WAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! over and over again as her parents insist: It’s just a fire ALARM. IT’S PRACTICE. Like school!


My kids view fire and alarms as small intrusions into their plans of sliding down ginormous slides. Whereas these children? Are a bit more sensitive to being incinerated.

In between we went to story time, trick-or-treating, the arcade, became Magis and went on every single water adventure available to kids less than 48 inches tall (which is all but one slide in October).

If you live or plan to visit Williamsburg, VA, Pocono Mountains, PA, Kansas City, KS, Charlotte-Concord, NC, Mason or Sandusky, Ohio, Traverse City, MI, Grapevine, TX, Grand Mound, WA, Sheboygan or Wisconsin Dells, WI or Niagara Falls, Canada and you have kids, I would stay at Great Wolf Lodge (just maybe not with me, eh?).

If your youngest is walking (pre-walking isn’t worth it unless they are VERY young and your other kids are strong swimmers, i.e., if the youngest is the OOPS, THOUGHT I WAS IN MENOPAUSE kid. Otherwise, you have to try to carry a child around areas that the youngest won’t have fun while you spend the rest of your energy redirecting the slightly older child back to the kiddy section.)

Things I ADORED about Great Wolf Lodge:

1) The staff. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WAS NICE. Peter the maintenance guy (his title) made my children animal balloons. Seriously.
2) I never felt like my kids were TOO LOUD or TOO FLAILING BUNDLES OF EXCITEMENT. Because the place is FULL OF CHILDREN. And set up for children to ENJOY HAVING FUN!
3) I’m paranoid of my children drowning. I won’t go into details because it will make you paranoid, too. But I felt VERY comfortable at the water park. Even when my son spun on the slide and I couldn’t get too him as fast as I would have liked (also known as the teleporter has yet to be invented), I knew a lifeguard was there paying attention. And that he would be okay. And in fact, he was so okay that by the time I got there he had run off. AGAIN. Also, life vests are provided. YAY!

Things I’d CHANGE about Great Wolf Lodge Williamsburg:

1) The hours of their restaurants. I was told that we were there at a “low-census” time, but no food availability between 11 a.m. & 12 p.m. (that isn’t directly inside the water park area) is not family-friendly. Also, dinner didn’t start until 6 p.m. at the restaurant. Um, we’re old people. We eat by 5:30.
2) The food is meh. I’m not a foodie, but I wish that it was higher quality.
3) The Magi Quest should be marked as an activity for kids over five or six years old. And for all of your GIFTED children, of course. My son just wasn’t into the quests. Maybe because it took ME awhile to understand. And then I had to explain it to him. And by then my son was more interested in using his wand as a weapon of mass destruction.

So there you have it. My honest take on Great Wolf Lodge. Here are 55 pictures I took, proving that I can’t work a camera.

Editor's note: If you'd like to check out Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Resort in Williamsburg for 20% off, VA just request a FREE Savvy Saver card.

Full disclosure:
We were already planning to visit Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Virginia. Since I freelance for, who has Great Wolf Lodge as a client, I offered to write the review. But no one told me what to write. And if they did, do you really think I’d listen? Seriously, I do NOT do well with being told what to do. Also, I’m as honest as the day is long, which is REALLY long when you have two kids under the age of five who take turns not sleeping for an entire week. Also, we were going to ask for a room upgrade anyway (because our oldest sleeps like this in a hotel), but we were given it for free. Otherwise, we were not treated any differently. In fact, my attempts to be important were mostly met with confusion.

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Alex Iwashyna blogs at Late Enough mostly about life, parenting, marriage, politics, zombies, culture, religion, and her inability to wake up in the morning and not hate everyone. She also facilitates a parenting class called Nobody Told Me! (because OBVIOUSLY) and runs the web content for the Blogger Body Calendar. Feel free to find LateEnough on Facebook or the Twitter @L8enough. But don’t call. She’s NOT a phone person.