Thursday, July 19, 2018

Vacation Magic! Gaylord Vs. Greatwolf Lodge

Well we just got back from a sweet little Family Vacation. We took the girls up to the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas. We had been before to go to Great Wolf.. and as much as the girls LOVE Great wolf, its a bit of a grind for Adults.. I mean.. its a LOT of kids.. in ONE place.. A Few of our friends had told us about the Gaylord's Waterpark and how it was amazing, so we thought we would check it out.. (PS, if you are thinking about going to either of these place.. Check Groupon for some special deals, and Priceline.. they were both cheaper than booking directly through the hotels.)

Well I can tell you.. at first glance it looked like Gaylord was going to be Cheaper than Great Wolf.. Depending on when you go to Great Wolf (if you get a groupon, go in the off season, etc) But Great Wolf is pretty expensive.. I'll give you the Pro's and Cons of both in case you decide.. We'll start with Great Wolf..

Great Wolf Pro's:

  • You can pretty much stay there the whole weekend without leaving. They have plenty of Restaurants and things for your kids to do. 
  • You can go all year Long, because they have indoor Pools/Waterslides/Restaurants
  • You can Bring food and drinks with you so you don't have to spend $35 for a juice pack. So this means you can pack lunchables, juice boxes, Yeti's full of wine, etc.. (HINT) and it will save you a TON of money on snacks and drinks.. The Wine might also help you tune out the sound of screaming kids.. 
  • Free Parking with your Room Purchase
  • You Can purchase Family Suites
  • A Million life-guards all over
  • Wolf Family Characters stand outside the Swimming Area in the morning for hugs and pics
  • Goggles, swim shoes, suits, anything you might have forgotten on hand for purchase
  • Your Kids will think its the greatest thing that has ever happened if they are 10 and Under
  • Lots of Water things to do. A bunch of slides, rope course, and indoor/outdoor slides

Gaylord Texan Pro's:
  • Its a lot Prettier than Great Wolf. Beautiful Flowers, rivers.. etc
  • They have fun little theme dinners for your kids (like Breakfast with the smurfs)
  • Giant Cowboy and Character people on hand in the evenings to visit with your kiddos
  • There's more options for Restaurants
  • You press a button at the pool, and a waiter will come over and bring you whatever you want, including drinks
  • Plenty of Seating to sit and keep an eye on your kids
  • Its Spread out with lots of places to sit and relax
  • They have an indoor pool, outdoor pool, hot tub, and Paradise Springs Waterpark 
  • The Lazy River is really big 
  • Plenty of things for the kids to do on their own (go up and down the slides, check in with you, then go again)
  • Really Great Food (but its expensive)
  • Dippin Dots, Snow cones on hand for purchase
  • Zipline into the water (water is 11ft deep)
  • They have specifically designed areas for babies, and smaller kids, so they other bigger kids don't smash over them. 
  • Kids meals are offered on their menu, and the kids liked the food
Great Wolf Cons:
  • Its packed. All the time
  • If you go in the Winter its REALLY Packed because there is no outside pools open
  • If you have smaller kids they are not going to care about the 'Wizard games'
  • There's no place to sit by the slides and watch your kids go down (Because you will get sick of climbing 10 sets of stairs to go up there with them)
  • The Lazy River is not that Lazy. Its usually full of kids squirting you with a water gun, or smashing into your Tube. 
  • It always smells like Chlorine
  • They usually have to clear out the pool at least one time because someone has some sort of bodily function in it.. 
  • They have annoying game centers, build a bears, ice cream and magic crap that your kids try to talk you into going to every time you walk to the Swimming pools.. So your kids will constantly be asking you for it. 
  • The Food is not that great. 

Gaylord Texan Cons:
  • Its a Metropolis.. almost too big to navigate through. 
  • Takes a long time to park and walk to your room daily
  • The charge you parking PER day... even if you park yourself, and even if you stay there as a guest. Its about $24 to park there each day, tacked onto your already expensive bill. 
  • Food and Drinks are delicious.. but expensive.. Chips & Salsa is $18. (But its a delight)
  • A Mixed Drink is $14
  • A bucket of Beers is $35 for 5.. 
  • The last few days we were there they started a thing called "Premium Seating".. Meaning if you want a seat on the front row by any pool, it would cost you an additional $25.. That was crap
  • Your kids can see Great Wolf Lodge from the Drive-way.. so they will be like "Why aren't we at Great wolf Lodge mommy?" (blargh.. fail)
  • You cannot bring in ANY outside food to the Waterpark. They will make you throw it in the trash. So anything you want you will have to buy from them.
  • You have to take a Trolley to get to Paradise Springs (Waterpark) it runs every 15 min or so, so its not terrible, but its not really a 'walking distance' thing.. 
I mean all in all.. you can't go wrong with either place.. But.. My thought for my kids. .is if you go to Great Wolf Once, you will probably have to go back there the rest of your life.. even though, for Adults, the Gaylord is a way better option. I mean its a 3 hour trip from the City, so its quick.. and there's So many cute things to do in Grapevine.. We went to the farmers market.. walked downtown.. I got to visit the Orange Theory in Southlake, that is about 8 miles away. Oh, and Have I mentioned how much I love that Texas lets me buy WINE in the Walgreens and the HEB/Tom Thumb? Yes.. Yes I do.. 

So we ended up having a great trip. We also went to the Grapevine Aquarium (Buy your tickets on line because its way cheaper, and you can just scan your ticket and go in) Oh.. but.. on the Aquarium.. they do not open till 10am. Not a SECOND earlier.. so be prepared to wait in a LONG line just to get in. They do have a lot of cool things to look at though.. Sharks.. Sea Turtles.. Star Fish.. Seahorses.. and you get to walk through a cool see-through tunnel where all the sea life swims under, over and around you. Its worth going to.. just be prepared to wait a bit.. 

We also SAW Lego-land.. but it looked like a nightmare, so we didn't try to go to that one.. But I've had some say they loved it, and some people say they didn't think it was worth it. They did have a little lego splashpad outside that came with the entry purchase.. Both the Aquarium and Legoland are in the Grapevine Mall. Its got EVERYTHING you could ever want or need.. ITs a great mall.. They even have a Carousel inside.. 

Another HUGE highlight for the girls was the Princess Day Spa. OMGosh you guys.. this was so freakin cute. The girls came in and they walked them down a flower path to put on little silk Robes.. then they got into their pedicure chairs and they brought them "Drinks".. They got to pick which Princess Drink they wanted.. Elsa was Blue.. Ariel was Pink.. Etc.. They got their Elsa & Ariel drinks in little Champagne Glasses.. So cute. Then they got their toes painted with glitter, their nails painted too.. and then they put them in these little hair-chairs and give them a super cute do'.. Londyn got a little bun.. and Cross got an Elsa braid.. they sprinkle Glitter in their hair.. Then they put Elsa makeup and Aurora makeup on them (Which I didn't love, but they did) And then let them sit in a big Princess Chair, and pose on the runway.. I mean its super cute. If you have girls, they need this in their life! The people were so sweet (and wearing Tutu's) and the girls just loved every thing about it.. And if you book on a weekday, all services are half price! 

We also had some really great food! First.. I LOVE Einstein Bagels! So we had a really good breakfast and schmear there one morning.. The other Two mornings we went to this awesome Cafe called "The Old West Cafe".. that served pancakes the size of plates.. Plenty of options for kiddos too.. Cross loves Eggs so she had Eggs and Pancakes.. Londyn had toast and Jelly.. and Jordan and I had some amazing tex-mex breakfast dishes and Omelets! Super great service (Londyn hugged the Waiter) and really good food.. We went to the Rain forest Cafe.. its ok. I mean I feel like the animals need an update.. but the girls like it because you get to have an Ice Cream Sandwich (Priorities right?) We had a Great Hamburger at Jakes Hamburgers.. They had great milk shakes too.. Of course I picked the blue cheese.. b/c who wouldn't? But.. overall good hamburger place!

So we had a great trip.. Hopefully if you are planning to visit either of these places this will give you a heads up!