“Can’t we just go for the day?” many a Great Wolf-hungry child has asked. Welp kids, after more than a decade, day passes are now available at Great Wolf Lodge.
However, you may be wondering in a Great Wolf Day Pass vs. Great Wolf Lodge Room battle, who wins?
How Much do Great Wolf Lodge Passes Cost?
I performed a bit of super-nonscientific research with the Great Wolf Day Pass Page and found that prices vary, but there are good deals to be had, for some families. For example:
If you book two weeks away on a midweek winter day, you’ll pay only $30/person for a full day, and $25/person for a half day (4 p.m. to close).
If you book the same day (Sunday), it’s $100/person for a half-day, and $125 to close.
I kept playing with the online tool, and found that day passes are priced much like airplane tickets. Prices go up with demand, and are dependent upon how full the Great Wolf Lodge is on a given day.
You can play with the booking engine to see what sorts of prices can be found, if you have a flexible family schedule.
Great Wolf Lodge Day Pass vs Hotel Room: Which Is a Better Deal?
Day passes are deals depending on your family size and timing. Parent-child midweek day trips could cost as little as $50+ gas. It’s not bad, especially in winter.
For larger families, day passes aren’t a great deal, because $25*6 people = $150, which is almost as much as a Grand Mound KidKamp Suite (a lodge-themed hotel room, which isn’t even the cheapest option). The suite for up to six people for $209.99, bought directly from GWL. Water park passes for guests are included in the purchase.
Obviously, this is a better deal for larger families. You still have to watch out for the resort fees though, and I would never, ever recommend that anyone purchase a night’s stay using financing or credit.
You can enter the Great Wolf Lodge water park at 1 p.m. on check-in day and stay until closing on check-out day. If you bring a backpack, swimming suits, and snacks, you’ll be all set for a two-day waterventure, which would cost $300 + tax if you bought two days’ worth.
Who Needs a Day Pass and What’s Included?
All children who are 3 years and older need a Day Pass. The Day Pass offers access to the 84-degree year-round indoor waterpark (and outdoor in summer) including the Howlin’ Tornado, River Canyon Run, and the dumping buckets of Fort Mackenzie, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., although some hours may change based on the date.
You can also participate in all on-site activities that are free (such as Story Time) and spendy (Grand Mound’s video game room is a straight-up dopamine fix that can turn bad in a hurry). Your kids can bring the MagicQuest wands from home, which is nice.
What Time Does Great Wolf Lodge Open and Close?
For day pass users, the Grand Mound lodge’s water park opens at 10 a.m., and I suggest getting there early to score a waterside chair. Of course, you can always arrive earlier to stroll around the property. Your Day Pass stops working when the water park closes, at 8 p.m. Always call first to ensure you’re arriving at the right time.
Once again, if you’re checking in to a hotel room, you can’t start using the water park until 1 p.m.
How Can I Save Money on My Day Pass?
You don’t need to buy a water park pass for children under the age of two. You can also use the Day Pass search tool to find a day that offers a good deal.
Is There a Great Wolf Lodge Groupon?
There are Groupons for staying overnight during lower seasons, and I’ve seen prices as low as $130. But I haven’t seen any Day Pass Groupons, although it doesn’t mean they don’t or won’t exist.
What Should I Pack for a Great Wolf Lodge Day Trip?
- Bring a swimsuit, aqua socks, and flip flops. The Water Park is very warm and humid. Even if you don’t plan on going into the water, dress for the beach.
- A change of clothing. The lodge exterior is super-casual but you can’t walk around in your bikini or speedo without catching looks or a cold. The lodge isn’t hot like the Water Park. You could also perhaps bring a warm cover-up, particularly if you plan to eat in the lodge area.
- Bring your own towels, because you cant rent or check them out, as if you were a guest. You can buy towels on-site, or run out to a nearby store to pick up towels. You will need a lot of towels, more than you think.
- A cooler for snacks. NOTE: You can’t bring your own coolers or outside food into the water park itself, but you can eat in the lodge. Or your car. But that sounds unpleasant, especially in winter.
- Water bottle, because it is hot and humid inside the park.
- Valid ID, such as a driver’s license or other official photo ID.
- The credit card you used to buy the passes online.
- Bring your books/Kindle/things to do, especially if arriving early enough to score a lounge chair. And once again, lots of towels.
- A life jacket from home, but Great Wolf provides them as well. Keep in mind that kids under 48 inches tall are required to wear lifejackets, and weak swimmers who want to go into the wave pool should wear one as well.
- Do not bring: Inflatable toys/floaties. Sorry, but they’re not allowed.
Are Lockers Available?
There are park-area lockers available to store your things, but they’re not cheap—$15 for small lockers, $20 for medium and $25 for large.
Can I Get a Refund on My Water Park Pass?
Nope. The passes are nonrefundable. Don’t get sick, kids!
Can I Buy a Great Wolf Lodge Pass On-Site?
No, you can only purchase passes on the Great Wolf Lodge website or by calling Customer Service at 800-905-9653. You buy the day pass, then pick it up at the front desk.