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When you’re trying to entertain your kids away from screens, it’s nice to have a wingman. In the case of Great Wolf Lodge, it’s more like a wing-resort. Still, it’s an awesome distraction from Minecraft, Roblox, or whatever other online games keep your kid riveted. Part glamping (you sleep in a log cabin room), part water park (hello, giant water slides), the place is like Vegas for kids. But it’s all contained in a single resort. And there’s no gambling. Of course, for all of that, you’ll find Great Wolf Lodge is pricey as heck. Wondering how to save money at Great Wolf Lodge? We’ve got you covered — including a March flash sale and Groupon deal offered now.
Luckily, there are ways to strategize your stay to save a good amount of money. It’s still not going to be ultra cheap, but you can definitely make it less expensive.
Before we get into all the ways how to save money at Great Wolf Lodge, be sure to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app. That way, you’ll be updated on travel deals in real time.
Great Wolf Lodge Deals, Spring 2023:
One of our favorite deals is back at Groupon. Right now you can save 57% when you book a stay for as low as $99 (reg. $229) a night at some Great Wolf Lodge locations. The five participating locations in this Groupon offer include Chicago/Gurnee IL, Kansas City, KS, Traverse City, MI, Sandusky, OH, and Wisconsin Dells, WI.
While not as generous as $99 per night, there are several Groupon deals that’ll get you around 50% off your next stay at Great Wolf Lodge. Here are the six participating locations: Scottsdale, AZ, Dallas TX, San Francisco CA, Anaheim, CA, Williamsburg VA, and Atlanta, GA.
Parent Power Promo: National Single Parents Day Deal on March 21
Many locations are also offering a “National Single Parents Day Deal” where you can save up to 50% off if you book by 3/21/23 when you apply the code PARENT.
A quick summary:
-Great Wolf Lodge, Scottsdale/Salt River, AZ Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, San Francisco/Manteca, CA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Anaheim/Garden Grove, CA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Colorado, Springs, CO Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Atlanta/LaGrange, GA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Chicago / Gurnee, IL Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City, KS Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge Boston/Fitchburg, MA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Baltimore, MD Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 7/15 – 12/31/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City, MI Deal: Save up to 50% off with stay dates from 3/20 – 6/22 with code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Minnesota/Bloomington MN Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Charolette/Concord, NC Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Cincinnati/Mason, OH Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky, OH Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge Poconos, PA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Grapevine, TX Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
–Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg, VA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound, WA Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
-Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells, WI Deal: Save up to 50% when you book a stay between 3/20 – 6/22/23 with the code PARENT. (you must book by 3/21/23).
Note: Rates vary based on location, travel dates, and accommodations selected.
1. Save money at Great Wolf Lodge by staying on a weekday.
Like most hotels, Great Wolf Lodge is cheaper on weekdays — non-holiday weekdays, that is. Expect prices to be a little inflated on days like Memorial Day and Good Friday or whenever folks are settling in for a long weekend vacay.
Not only is it cheaper on a (non-holiday) weekday, but the park is also decidedly less crowded when you opt for a weekday stay.
2. Book during the off-season.
Wherever you’re traveling, be sure to book during the off-season to find the best rates. Depending on location, the cheapest times tend to be from the beginning of the year through March.
There are also some decent rates through the end of the school year. Things start to get less expensive again once school starts, until prices start ramping up for the holiday season. Be sure to monitor our site and social channels for Great Wolf sales — we post them often!
3. Be flexible with location.
Here’s a little insider knowledge: not all locations are priced equally! Let’s say you’re based in Pittsburgh. The Sandusky, Ohio Great Wolf Lodge is just three hours away, and the Baltimore location is just a smidge further in the other direction.
But prices at these two locations are not the same. For example, a weekday, 2-night stay in August, you could get a Family Suite might run you $399 per night in Ohio. However, the same room at the Baltimore location would run you $599.
4. You have to book at least two nights to earn Voyager Points.
The Voyagers Club gives you one point for every $10 you spend at Great Wolf Lodge on:
- Your room
- Nonalcoholic beverages
- Attraction or food packages
- Cabana rentals
- Attraction purchases
The catch (and it’s a big one) is that you only earn points on stays of two nights or more. Other caveats include the fact that you can only earn 300 points per stay, up to 500 points per 7-day period. Plus, group reservations don’t count.
5. Use up to 1,000 Voyager Points per stay.
When you’re booking your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to use your Voyager Points on your room charges. You can only redeem 1,000 points per stay.
TIP: Your points expire 15 months after you earn them. If you leave your account inactive for two years, it may be closed.
6. Stack your points with Bonus Deals.
After you complete your Voyager profile, you’ll be pushed personalized Bonus Deals from time to time. You can totally stack your points on top of these deals, allowing you to save even more money. Cah-ching!
7. Skip the themed room.
I’m not here to shame you if you really think the themed room would be the coolest thing ever. If you have the money to pay for it, knock yourself out. It’s an experience you won’t forget, but if you get this room, definitely plan on having a wand. The wand unlocks an extra level of experience in themed rooms.
At the same time, know that you really don’t have to get a themed room to have a great time. Even the most basic rooms at Great Wolf Lodge are clean, spacious, and beautiful. And honestly, you’re probably not going to be spending a lot of time in the room, anyways.
Related: Check out these brilliant budget family travel tips & tricks.
8. MagiQuest Wands work for more than one trip.
The themed room isn’t the only reason you want a wand at Great Wolf Lodge. There’s also this really fun interactive game called MagiQuest, where your kids use the wand at different stations throughout the resort to complete a series of interactive adventures.
The whole thing has nine different quests, with play time of four to six hours. The game itself costs $16.99, but wands add to the cost. They can cost anywhere between $19.99 and $24.99.
Here’s the thing, though: you can use the wand on multiple trips. So bring one from a past trip or borrow a wand from a friend that’s been to Great Wolf Lodge before. Each borrowed wand can save you $19.99 – $24.99 per kid. If you bring your wand back to reuse you’ll still need to purchase new adventures.
TIP: You also don’t necessarily have to get a wand for each kid. They can take turns at stops along the way and still get the full experience.
9. How to save money at Great Wolf Lodge: Be prepared to tell your kids no.
It is so easy to lose your life savings at Great Wolf Lodge if you don’t have firm financial boundaries with your kids. The number of extra temptations is akin to Disney World in both volume and price.
For example, those MagiQuest wands? You can also buy a wand topper to further personalize the experience. Which is cool but not necessary. Especially when you realize each wand topper costs $17.99 – $19.99.
Make sure you prepare yourself (and the kids) for limits when it comes to how many “extras” you purchase. Or set a budget for how much you’ll spend total or per day.
Another example? During the nighttime activities, there are light-up bubble wands galore for sale. Your heart is gonna drop when you hear the price. It’s $35 – $45.
I know. It’s ridiculous. Luckily, you can help your kids feel like they’re missing absolutely nothing by purchasing your own bubble wands on Amazon before you go — like many guests do! Be sure to pack a mini screwdriver, extra bubble juice, and plenty of backup batteries —they’ll go through them fast!
10. Run the numbers on the Paw Pass.
Most people are going to tell you the Paw Pass isn’t worth it. There are three different levels ranging from $59.99 – $79.99, depending on how many extra things you want to do.
Now, it does save you money if you were going to purchase everything included in the package anyways. If you were going to do MagiQuest, go bowling, hit up the arcade, build a Build-A-Bear, get souvenir goggles, and purchase ice cream and candy, it will save you money.
But if you don’t need to do all of those things, you might be better off purchasing a la carte.
Now, here’s where things get tricky. Some parents have reported that getting the Paw Pass actually helped them set better boundaries for their kids. They got to do everything that came with the Paw Pass but nothing extra beyond that.
If you’re someone who has a hard time telling your kids no, using this strategy might help you save over going in with zero financial strategy.
The other thing that’s cool about the Paw Passes is that they NEVER expire. Even if you don’t get to do all the activities listed on your pass, you can do them during your next visit. Once an activity or discount is claimed, the Great Wolf associate crosses it off the pass, but you are still able to access the ones left un-crossed on your pass!
TIP: If your children have the Paw Pass, it brings the price of each activity down for everyone. For example, adults usually have to pay $7.99 to play mini golf, but the price goes down to $4 per adult if your child has a Paw Pass.
11. Skip Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and make coffee in your own room.
Great Wolf locations have a Dunkin’ Donuts in their hotel, but why spend $3 – $5 on a cup of java when your room comes with a coffee maker and free coffee grounds (or pods, depending on your location)? It’s a great way to save money, and we stopped at the food store on our way to Great Wolf, getting half and half for my coffee, cereal and milk to make breakfast more budget-friendly during our stay.
12. No reason to travel with shampoo and conditioner — the hotel provides it.
Don’t waste your money on travel sized shampoo and conditioner, or worry about packing your own. Great Wolf provides shampoo, conditioner and body soap for free.
Think twice before thinking you need to buy anything new for this trip: Great Wolf provides free towels (you scan your wristband when getting them, and you do need to return them to avoid being charged) and Great Wolf also provides completely free lifejackets for kids of all sizes, including toddlers and babies. So no need to spend money on toiletries, towels or new lifejackets before your Great Wolf trip!
13. Take advantage of free activities.
There’s a lot that costs money at Great Wolf Lodge, like bowling, the arcade, and even Build-A-Bear Workshops at some locations.
That said, there’s a lot that’s free, too. Be sure to hit up these activities to occupy your kids between trips down the water slide for exactly zero dollars:
- Bedtime story
- Arts & crafts
- Dance parties
- Board game afternoons
- Parent & Me yoga
- Character meet & greets
- Seasonal events
Don’t forget that different locations may be running fun, extra promotions at any given point in time, so keep an eye out! For example, in the early Spring of 2023, the Sandusky Great Wolf Lodge was giving away free swag bags to kids when you booked tickets with a specific promo code (SPRINGFUN). There were goodies inside including free glam wolf ears by Whitney Port, a free candy cup, and a free 25th birthday Build-A-Bear (either Violet or Wiley.)
Expect to see other similar promotions throughout 2023 as Great Wolf Lodge celebrates its 25th anniversary.
14. Make sure your kids don’t spend money with their wristbands.
When you go to Great Wolf Lodge, everyone gets a wristband. This wristband doesn’t just get you into the park, it also acts as the key to your hotel room. You can even load money onto it so you don’t have to carry your wallet around all day.
This little convenience is nice, but be careful when setting up your wristbands. You do not want to give your kids access to the room account, otherwise you might not even get a chance to say no to a purchase. Your 5-year-old could theoretically drain your account on their own.
TIP: If you do want to give each child a set daily allowance, you can use the wristbands to do it. Just don’t give their wristbands permission to access the larger room account.
15. Plan to arrive before check-in and stay after checkout.
To get the most out of your trip, you’ll want to visit the park early and leave late. Room check-in doesn’t start until 4 p.m., but you can visit the water park starting at 1 p.m. On check out date, you need to be out of your room at 11 a.m. (unless you pay around $60 for late check-out of 2 p.m.), but you can stay in the water park until close at 8 p.m. The front desk does not hold your bags, so once you check out, bring your bags to your car, and then head back in for more water park fun until close.
Bear in mind that this is a well-known “hack.” Great Wolf Lodge even advertises it on their website. So 1 p.m – 5 p.m. tends to be the busiest time of day at the water park.
Related: Here’s the cheapest family vacation destinations for this summer
16. Save money with the Great Wolf Lodge Day Pass, but factor in the cost of food.
If you do live close enough to a Great Wolf Lodge that it’s drivable, know you have the option of booking a day pass without staying at the hotel. Not paying for a room reduces costs significantly. But the knock on effect is going to vary depending on how many people you’re visiting the park with.
For example, a full day pass can cost up to over $100 per person. Remember that the Family Suite in Baltimore cost $599. If you were visiting with just yourself and one kid, the Day Pass would save you money, $200 per person. Downside, you don’t get to stay the night.
That said, $200 per person is still significant savings, especially if you live in town and don’t need a hotel.
You should also assume that you’re more likely to purchase food at the resort with a day pass, as you’re not allowed to bring a cooler with you.
TIP: Half-day passes are available for $30+ and let you stay from 4 p.m. to park close. Day passes tend to be less available during the summer months and other peak booking times.
17. Sign up for the Great Wolf Lodge email list.
Joining the Voyagers Club will give you access to personalized Bonus Deals. However, signing up for the Great Wolf Lodge email list will give you access to all the general sales they run for everybody.
The email sign-up should pop up the first time you visit Great Wolf Lodge’s website. If you miss it, there’s usually a sign-up link at the bottom of each page.
18. Subscribe to online promo codes.
Sometimes, Great Wolf Lodge coupon codes will be available outside of the email newsletter. You can find them by subscribing to our online deals, which is where they’ll be listed each time they pop up.
19. The souvenir cups can’t always make return trips for free.
One option to save on your drinks is to buy a reusable cup for $12.99. When you get the cup, you’ll get a sticker that gives you free refills during your visit.
However, at different locations, you can’t reuse the cup for more than one trip. You’ll have to pay $10.60 for a new sticker each time. And eventually, the cup designs are rotated out. Even if you bought a cup on a past trip, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to reuse it on a future trip. Before you purchase one, go over the terms so you know if you can use on a return trip at the specific location you are staying at.
Note that regular-sized drinks DO come with free refills, but only during an allotted time, such as one free refill per hour. The cups are all scanned and you must scan your cup to see if you are due for a free refill. If you’re not, the drink won’t dispense out.
20. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
Food at Great Wolf Lodge is EXPENSIVE! You’ll want to bring along snacks and drinks for your stay to save mad cash. You’re allowed to bring a cooler with you to keep the drinks, but personal food is not allowed at the water park. So, you’ll either need to eat your own food in the hotel room, or your car, if you checked out already and no longer have a room. An example of food cost? One pizza pie at the Poconos location cost $20.
Each room, even the most basic of basic, has a mini fridge. With the notable exception of the Poconos location, almost all locations also have in-room microwaves (which can be used for everything except popcorn). So if you can stomach microwave meals, that’s another way to save money at Great Wolf Lodge.
21. Eat meals at nearby restaurants.
But if you can’t stomach those microwave meals, go off resort. There are no reentry fees, so you’re good to leave the theme park and come back with no issue.
You’re going to get much more (and much better) food if you dine at nearby restaurants instead of on-property. Be sure to research which restaurants are in the area so you don’t spend too much time wandering around the surrounding town.
TIP: Parking availability varies by location. For example, right now at the Poconos location there’s a lot of construction, so it’s harder to leave because you don’t know if there will be a spot available when you come back. As you’re planning your budget, it might be worth calling up your location to see what the current parking situation looks like.