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Great Wolf Lodge Mason

2501 Great Wolf Drive, Mason, Ohio

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Visited: 2012-10-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-16 02:23:15.0 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

Leaves toddler howling

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We have a toddler - so traveling anywhere is challenging. We took our first big "car trip" on a seven hour drive to the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. The resort's annual Howl-O-Ween was taking place and as a HUGE Halloween fan myself, I looked really forward to having my little guy dress up in his costume and take part in the special events. But - first - we checked in and got ready for a day of waterplay! We were thrilled to find lots of activities for our "water baby" to enjoy. The "bubblers" are always a hit, and he had fun on a couple of slides. I'd stand at the top, while my husband was at the bottom, and our son giggled the whole slide down. The huge wave pool was a big favorite, too. And while the waves were really strong - no tears were shed - until it was time to leave! The Howl-O-Ween events included trick or treating around the resort, and while Aiden didn't fully understand it yet, the resort's employees were in costume and handed out candy and little gifts at each stop. You could tell they were having fun. Each night the "Monster Bash" dance party took place in the lobby after Story Time and the family-friendly event was lots of fun. Even Aiden danced the night away... well - until 9. We stayed in a Wolf Den suite. While Aiden was too little for the bunk beds, we liked having the semi-separate area for him to sleep in. We rolled the Pack n Play into the Wolf Den and then enjoyed some private time together. We liked we could leave the TV and the lights on and not disturb our exhausted child. In an ordinary room, we would have had to go to bed early, too - or just sit in the dark. We stayed for two nights - the perfect amount of time to balance lots of waterpark time with the other resort activities and still keep our nap schedule and "toddler down time". While Aiden was too young to do many of the signature activities at the resort (such as MagiQuest), he LOVED the characters and the waterpark and the nightly Story Time. We look forward to our next trip back!

Tips for Families

Bring your little one's food, drinks, snacks - maybe even something for you! Every room at Great Wolf Lodge comes with a refrigerator and a microwave, free of charge. This makes it easy to store our little guy's food and milk. Don’t overpack. The water park provides towels and life jackets free of charge. In case you forget to pack them, swim diapers (and other amenities) are available for purchase in the Bear Essentials Swim Shop. Take a break - with the water park down the hall from your room, you can keep your family’s naptime schedule. Pack ‘n Play beds can be borrowed on a first come, first serve basis from the front desk. Bring your child’s favorite blanket and put it in the Pack ‘n Play so it feels like home. Bring pajamas! This may seem obvious, but I have two reasons. Each night Great Wolf Lodge invites all children to the lobby for Story Time. The resort’s youngest guests all arrive in their pajamas and nightgowns for the Clock Tower show and that night’s bedtime story. Who doesn’t love to see little ones in pj’s? Need a second reason? On your last day, as you change from swimsuits before heading to the car, dress your children in their pajamas. This way, when they all asleep on the drive home, it’s easier to transition them to bed once you get home.

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Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista

1901 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

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Visited: 2013-02-01 | Submitted: 2013-03-16 02:01:06.0 | I traveled with tots (0-2)

Big Doggies and Big Fun

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After taking a wonderful trip on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship, we had an extra day before going home. We weren't completely "done" with our Disney experience yet, but we also did not have the time (or budget) to stay at one of the higher-end Disney properties. Enter - Disney's All-Star Movies. Check-in was smooth, efficient and so friendly. They met my request of giving us a room in the Dalmatian area of the resort, as my son is a huge fan of animals. We also wanted to NOT have a view of the pool, as we knew he would spend every second possible trying to get in it! Mission accomplished! The rooms at the resort are small, but as a family of three, it was perfect for what we needed. I did hate the fact that the small bathroom had a very loud fan that turned on when you flipped on the light - I find that annoying and dated. But that truly was our only complaint. The hotel delivered a Pack and Play, complete with a Disney-themed crib sheet for our son - it was in the room before we even made it there! Along with a little "duck" made out of a washcloth that sat in the window awaiting our arrival. Our son had a ball running around the "Big Doggies" and on the playground. It was unseasonable chilly while we were there, so while we were disappointed we could not take him swimming, the playground did keep him occupied. (One thing to note - the pools were heated to 80 degrees, so technically - we could have gone swimming with him, but with 50 degree air - we opted not to.) We had dinner plans at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, so we just ate a late afternoon snack. The employees in the food court engaged with our son - and the other children - with hula hoops and Mickey "bendy straws". It was a nice treat - we did not expect them to go overboard in the food court! And as it was chilly outside, the regular pool activities - Disney Trivia contests, hula hoops contests, etc. - we moved into the dining room. It was fun for the family and I think even drew in more families. My favorite thing at night was the channel on the TV that read (and re-read) the bedtime story about Mickey's stuffed bear, Duffy. My son was in awe and watched it twice. (We made a point to buy the book the next day and now read it each night here at home.) We checked out early the next day, but did not have to visit the front desk, due to the ease of automatic check out, had our receipt hanging on the door. For $89 (plus tax) we had a true taste of the Disney magic without ever having to enter a theme park.

Tips for Families

Request a Pack and Play when you make your reservation. I think because it was in our reservation when we checked in, it helped have it delivered to our room pretty quickly. Do tell them if you are celebrating something - Minnie Mouse "called" me in the room to wish me Happy Birthday. Be honest about your requests, and don't be afraid to state why you are asking - such as ours to not be by the pool. Technically, our request to be in the Dalmatian area made it a premium room because it is close to the main building and the pool, but by just plainly stating our desire to be away from the pool and still in an area our son would identify with - our check in agent did waive that fee. Use Disney's website when booking. We did see that a few travel websites would offer what looked like lower rates - but they were not on weekends. Plus, by booking directly with Disney, all of our requests were easily met.

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