I was completely unprepared by how overwhelming (in such a good way) the Great Wolf Lodge would be at first. Can you even imagine 80,000 square feet of fun? When it comes to budget-friendly family travel in the greater Charlotte area, nothing comes close to the local Great Wolf Lodge Concord resort. The staff is committed to ensuring that every single one of their guests enjoys a stay that exceeds their expectations. With tremendous hotel accommodations, an unmatched indoor and outdoor water park, and options for dining that may surprise you, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. The last thing anyone wants when planning a getaway is uncertainty. One of the major perks of the mostly indoor resort is that it provides a guaranteed extraordinary experience regardless of the weather outside. There are Great Wolf Lodge locations throughout the country, thus I am certain you can find one close to you. It is unlike any other amusement park you might be familiar with, because it is intended to be all-inclusive. Drive up, park, and you will never need to leave the lodge during your entire stay.
The Great Wolf Lodge Concord is located in Concord, North Carolina. This is just a short thirty minute drive away from Charlotte. Parking is easy and free in order to make your stay that much sweeter. On a side note: if you get some extra time before, during, or after your trip, right across the street is the Concord Mills Mall, which is an awesome shopping experience.
We chose to stay in a family suite. It features two queen beds and a full size sofa-sleeper. The rooms are clean and simple and come with a little fridge and a very basic coffee machine and microwave. You can choose from different types of rooms. You can upgrade to a themed room, with the major difference being that the kids get a semi-enclosed bunk bed area that has a TV inside. Once my son is older, we definitely intend to return and book a themed room. You can also splurge and get a whirlpool tub and fireplace suite or a loft suite. Included with your stay, are water park passes, kids activities, and unlimited wifi resort-wide. Make sure to visit the Great Wolf Lodge website and sign up for their emails. You will sporadically receive room promotions and discounts that you can take advantage of.
Everyone in your party will be given a bracelet to wear. The bracelets give guests access to the water park and act as your room key and payment system. I loved the bracelets, since I never had to worry about packing a room key or credit card with me. Children are unable to charge anything to their bracelet.
Upon check-in, you will need to buy one of three passes: paw, wolf, or pup. Individually, the extra activities can add up quickly, but the passes bundle activities/souvenirs together at a great discount.
We purchased a Paw Pass, which cost $69.99. It includes:
- Choice of MagiQuest or ShadowQuest game
- Choice of Compass Quest game, classic or color wand, standard topper, or Magi belt
- One Creation Station animal with Clubhouse Crew Adventure (outfit not included)
- One Northern Lights Arcade card (20 points)
- One pair of Great Wolf Lodge goggles
- One serving of select bulk candy
- One leather treaty name bracelet from Buckhorn Exchange Gift Shop
- One round at Howl In One mini-golf
While there was so much to do and see, we were really there for the world renown indoor water park. For my son, there was a huge toddler pool with zero entry, multiple slides, and all kinds of buckets and showers to play with. There was also a wave pool he was able to enjoy.
Guests can gain access to the water park as early as 1PM on the day of check-in and enjoy the water park until closing time on the day of check-out. This feature really allows families to maximize their water park experience. If you do plan on staying late, be sure to be out of your room by 11AM on check-out day and store your luggage with the front desk or in your car. I recommend packing a special bag to take in the water park with a change of clothes and a plastic bag for wet bathing suits. There are lockers for rent available inside the water park. Showers and dryers are also available inside the water park to help you clean up after your water park stay. The Great Wolf Lodge takes water park safety seriously. There are always several lifeguards on duty at each attraction and the lifeguards are rotated frequently to prevent fatigue. This made me feel secure about my son’s safety.
The main draw of the Great Wolf Lodge is their indoor water park, but there are a myriad of other things to do. My son especially loved visiting the arcade in the evenings.
Why It Is Andi’s Pick
Any place that makes my son smile every single second he is there makes it an amazing place for me. If it is your first trip to the Great Wolf Lodge, do not feel pressured to do everything the resort has to offer. That is the best part — the price! It is a fraction of the cost of a trip to Disney or somewhere overseas. If you cannot do everything, you simply have an excuse to return and I promise it will not only be your child or children that are eager to visit again, you will love it just as much.