Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival Procedures

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Overview

Photograph Credit: Great Wolf Lodge

Continuing this series on our stay at the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC, I hope those who are looking for information on this location will find this series helpful.

I would have loved to have read someone else’s experience before this trip.

After covering my overview of our fantastic stay, I shared our reservation process.

This post continues from the reservation confirmation and arrival procedures to getting to our room.

Part Two: Arrival Procedures

Receiving a Warm Welcome

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival ProceduresIn talking to a friend who had visited this location, I learned that the Great Wolf Lodge was visible from the interstate. So, we were looking.

Thankfully, our directions led us right to the front door as there were so many large brown buildings. I was not sure we were at the correct one until we saw the sign with the two big wolves. ;-)

As we pulled into the complex, we were met by a parking attendant, who welcomed us and gave us instructions as to parking and checking-in. The personal welcome was a nice touch.

Waiting in Line to Check-in

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival ProceduresAfter parking, changing our shoes, and getting our needed bags with our swimwear, we headed inside around 2:00 p.m. There, we found a beautifully decorated lobby.

The check-in desk was located to the right with signs indicating online check-in verses walk-in check-in. Imagine that, the online check-in line was empty, so we had to wait.

Anyway, we waited in the 20-minute line to check-in. When our turn came, we were greeted cheerfully. Upon giving our attendant our names and the voucher, we were asked for a driver’s license and the credit card used to make our reservation.

Well, I made the reservation, but I had left my purse and identification hidden in our van. Thankfully, Paul had his available which was acceptable. Whew!

Our voucher was accepted, and we were charged $41.51 ($14.99 resort fee, $14.28 room sales tax, and $12.24 occupancy tax). In addition to this payment, $300 was authorized on our credit card and was released within a week after we left.

Our credit card number was linked to our account and accessed via our wristbands, so we could purchase what we needed without carrying our credit card with us.

Had we made any purchases by scanning our wristband, our credit card would have been charged.

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival Procedures

The attendant proceeded to give us 3 child wristbands which were a nice, sturdy vinyl and then 2 adult paper wristbands. She indicated that when our rooms were ready, we would get new wristbands that would also be the key to our door. Cool!

I asked for program information along with our $25 resort credit. The attendant gave me a sheet of paper with the information for the programs and indicated that more information on the credit would be with our new wristbands.

She also gave us a phone number to call after 4:00 p.m. to see if our room was ready. At that time, we would go to the desk located outside of the waterpark entrance to get that information. We were then given instructions to proceed downstairs to the waterpark where there were changing rooms, lockers for a charge ($10 per day), and towels.

Getting to the Water

We followed her instructions and found the waterpark. We had to wait to have our children measured as they each needed another wristband to indicate which slides they could ride.

Both Mr. 8 and Miss 6 received green bands meaning they could ride all the slides. Miss 4 received a red band indicating she needed to be with an adult at all times and limited to the Cub Paw Pool and Totem Towers.

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival Procedures

Once we were banded up, the girls went to our changing area while Paul and Mr. 8 went to their changing room. Once in our swimwear, we got our towels which are provided. We then searched for an empty seat to put our stuff.

It was a madhouse that day with people everywhere. As we did not want to leave our stuff unattended, Paul took our clothes out to the van.

The kids wanted to go play, but we were not sure where everything was. I had the kids wait until Paul returned, so one of us could stay with Miss 4 while the other walked around with the older ones to set boundaries.

It was not optimal as they had waited so long to come and just had to wait. However, once we got in the water, then everyone settled down.

Around 3:45 p.m., I went to the desk outside the waterpark entrance to see when our room would be ready. It was ready early, so the attendant handed me a small folder that included our wristbands and our room nuGreat Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival Proceduresmber.

Locating our Room

Ready to get into our room, we dried off and put on our covers. The children and I headed to our room while Paul went to bring up our stuff.

The Great Wolf Lodge has carts for your use, but they were all being used when we were moving into our room. :-(

Paul made 2 or 3 trips to get all our stuff. What a guy! The longest part was waiting for one of two elevators.

While we waited in our Kid Kamp suite, the girls enjoyed exploring their bunk beds while Mr. 8 checked out the balcony. Once the camera arrived, I took lots of pictures.

The room was great with a good amount of space. I was able to get our cold items into the refrigerator and setup areas for each child’s luggage.

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Arrival Procedures

Though the start to our stay at the Great Wolf Lodge was a bit chaotic as we were in unfamiliar territory, we got accustomed to our surroundings and found shortcuts to the parking lot. Once we got into our room with all of our stuff, we felt settled.

Surviving the arrival procedures, our stay improved once we had a good meal. More on scheduling activities is headed your way in the next post of this Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC, series. Happy Howling time!

Question: At what point in your vacation do you feel settled?

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Reservation

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Overview

Photograph Credit: Great Wolf Lodge

When Paul and I told our children we were going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC, we showed them through the virtual tour.

I love that the Great Wolf Lodge has included the tour on their website as Miss 6 loves to choose the slides “to ride” and relive the experience.

Having already explained in a nutshell our first experience at the Great Wolf Lodge in the overview post, I will delve deeper into our visit with this second of seven posts.

Today’s focus is on our reservation from placing it online up to checking-in at the lodge.

Part One: Reservation

Scheduling our Reservation

Date

With purchasing our package through Amazon Local, I received instructions via e-mail for reserving our stay through a dedicated link for this deal. I clicked through the link, and chose the dates of our stay.

To minimize the number of vacation days Paul needed to take, we chose to check-in on Sunday, March 9, and checkout on Monday, March 10.

Room

The next choice was the type of room. Our package came with a theme room of either a Wolf Den Suite or a Kid Kamp Suite.

Both options include bunk beds and sleep a maximum of 6. The Wolf Den Suite has a cave theme around the bunk beds while the Kid Kamp Suite has a separate room with a window and bunk beds. I chose the Kid Kamp Suite as it was larger for the same price.

Nice Touch: Each room includes a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and hair dryer.

Extras

The reservation process then took me through extra activities that could be added at a discount. With this being our first visit, we did not choose any extra options though we looked at the MagiQuest. We ended up not purchasing any extra activities as the waterpark met all our needs.

Communicating our Reservation

Immediate Confirmation

Using our voucher number at checkout, our total included the deal along with $41.51 in taxes. (The amount was later adjusted at check-in when I presented the voucher.)

After completing checkout, I received an immediate confirmation e-mail with additional information regarding waterpark hours (9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), check-in (4:00 p.m.), and checkout time (11:00 a.m.).

Though check-in is at 4:00 p.m., guests are welcome to use the waterpark beginning at 1:00 p.m. with changing rooms, towels, and lockers available on arrival.

Prior Week Follow-up

One week prior to our visit, we received an e-mail with all our confirmation details, the cancellation policy, and information on additional amenities. I appreciated the communication knowing that the Great Wolf Lodge had our reservation and had reserved a room for us.

Online Check-in

About 4 days prior to our visit, I received a welcome e-mail letting me know we could avoid the lines when we arrive by check-in online. A link was provided, but I kept getting a message that my reservation was not yet ready.

I even called customer service, who suggested waiting until Sunday morning to check-in. I tried each day including Sunday morning without success. So, we ended up waiting in line which I will cover in the next post on Arrival Procedures.

The registration process was seamless, and we felt welcome from the start of the process. Though we did have issues with the online check-in which was frustrating, we still had reservations and enjoyed our visit.

I would love to see the online system improved, but the Great Wolf Lodge nailed the reservation process as it was easy and accurate. Happy Howling time!

Question: Do you prefer on-line check-in or in-person check-in when lodging away from home?

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Overview

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: Overview

Photograph Credit: Great Wolf Lodge

From the moment we mentioned our visit to weeks afterward, the words Great Wolf Lodge elicit excitement in our household.

Finding a great deal through Amazon Local (a daily deal site) for a one-night stay at $199 which included lodging for 6, waterpark wristbands for 6, and a $25 resort credit, I checked our calendar.

Locating a time in our schedule, I ran the option by Paul, and then purchased the deal.

Upon purchasing our voucher, I asked friends who had visited this location about their visit. All the comments I received were general in their evaluation.

Not getting any specifics, I went searching for tips for this location and came up short. So, I am writing this series on our visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC, to assist those looking for information.

In this series I will share our experiences in the following categories which will each be separate posts:

  • Part 1: Reservation

  • Part 2: Arrival Procedures

  • Part 3: Scheduling Activities

  • Part 4: Waterpark Amenities

  • Part 5: Additional Amenities

  • Part 6: Review

Scheduling our Stay

We chose to use our voucher at the beginning of our spring break on Sunday, March 9. As most of the South Carolina schools have spring break the week of Easter (April 14-18, 2014) , we thought a Sunday/Monday option would have a low turnout. We were wrong! The resort was packed.

In fact, one of the Pack Members shared that it was the busiest weekend he had seen in the 7 months he has worked there. Yikes! Though it was busy on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, we found the lines easier to navigate on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon.

It seems that North Carolina schools operate on a year-round schedule. The day we chose to visit was the first week of a 3-week break for one of the districts.

With the year-round schooling, there is always one district that is on break while the other districts are in session. I mention this as there might not be an optimum time to visit because the Great Wolf Lodge stays busy at this location year round.

The Amazon deal allowed more families to enjoy the amenities during their break as most local families do not care to pay for lodging as they live close. However, the waterpark is only available to overnight guests, so to play, one must pay to stay.

The Waterpark

Water EVERYWHERE! Come ready to get wet because there are only a limited number of places to stay dry in the water areas. If you want to come and sit, then any of the table and chair areas are out of the water’s reach.

Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC: OverviewLittle Ones (ages 0-5)

Since our 4-year-old does not like water in her face, we found a couple spots in the Club Paw Pool, which we found cooler than the other pools.

So, we would go to the wave pool to warm up when she needed a change or when others began to splash in her calm area.

For my 4-year-old, we found one slide that she could ride without getting sprayed or dumped with water. This dark blue slide was in the Club Paw Pool area where Paul or I hung out with her. She was tall enough to ride three other slides, but all of them were for individual riders.

There were no options for an adult to ride with her, and she was too scared to try on her own. This was a bit disappointing as our local waterpark encourages parents to ride with their children.

At this Great Wolf Lodge location, only the inner tube rides seat two or more, but a 4-year-old is not tall enough to ride those slides. Some Great Wolf Lodge locations have a lazy river/crooked river where one can just float in an inner tube, but this location in North Carolina does not have that option.

Older Ones (ages 6 and up)

My older two could ride everything by themselves. They loved going from ride to ride. Paul and I camped out with Miss 4 while Mr. 8 and Miss 6 stayed together or rode with one of us on of the larger slides.

Some of the lines were long, but they moved pretty well. My children had a great time getting soaked, choosing their next adventure, and enjoying their spring break.

This Great Wolf Lodge location seemed to attract families with children ages 0-12. I did not see many teenagers, and most of the slides were available for elementary-aged students. Only two slides were “big” ones where a younger elementary-age student might forego riding, especially at night in the dark.

These are my overall impressions of the Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte/Concord, NC. I will continue this series where I will share what we did, how it worked, and what we will change on our next visit. Happy Howling time!

Question: Have you visited a Great Wolf Lodge location?

2014: Happy Palm Sunday!

2014: Palm Sunday

Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images

My children planned to sing in this morning’s church service with their choir.

Though my daughter will still sing, my son had a rough night. With allergy season kicking in full force, he stayed home to rest.

Though I am thankful that Paul is videotaping the children’s choir this morning, I really miss celebrating Palm Sunday with my church family. Hopefully, all will be well this week because next Sunday is Easter!

In celebration of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, those who were in attendance put down clothes and palm branches to make a path for Christ’s donkey ride. This entrance was just the beginning of Christ’s week as he fulfilled His Father’s will and perfect plan.

With multiple activities and celebrations planned for this week leading up to Easter, I wish you a blessed Palm Sunday. Tabitha over on Meet Penny has posted instructions for three Palm Sunday crafts. I love the third one – creating palm branches with your child’s handprints.

Basking in the blessing of God’s gift to us, our family is off to a great week of celebration, remembrance, and rejoicing.

Happy Palm Sunday!

RoboForm: FREE Password Manager through April 13, 2014

RoboForm: FREE Password Manager through April 13, 2014

Photograph Credit: RoboForm

If you routinely register for freebies, enter in the same information on a routine basis, and/or you have many online account usernames and passwords to remember, then you would benefit from this FREE year-subscription to RoboForm.

RoboForm Everywhere is one of my favorite time-saving tools. I used the FREE version for a number of years.

Last fall, I found a deal to get a FREE lifetime subscription to RoboForm Everywhere which I snagged. I saw the deal with only an hour remaining, so I did not post it. Sorry!

Though this deal from SharewareOnSale.com is not for the lifetime subscription, it is for 1 year. You can try it out and see if it works for you. I have enjoyed the full-version after using the FREE version for so long.

With the FREE version, I only got 10 usernames and passwords. With the lifetime version and this FREE 1-year version, one gets unlimited logins.

RoboForm Explained

This software is a password manager. When you download the software to your computer or the app on your device, you will establish a master password. Think carefully, and do not lose this password as you cannot change it once you create it.

Once RoboForm is installed, just operate as usual on your computer or device. When you come to a login screen and enter your information, a pop-up window will ask if you want to save this information in Roboform.

You can then title that login. When you hit enter, you will need to type in your master password (the one you cannot change). Then that information is stored in your RoboForm directory.

I also save my standard information – name, address, phone number, junk e-mail, etc. – for filling in freebie forms. When I come to a registration or entry page, I just click on my name on the toolbar. I have saved my identity information in RoboForm to make requesting freebies only one click to completion.

RoboForm Accessed

To access RoboForm, you can click on the icon which may be in your top menu bar or on your desktop or use an extension in your browser. Before extensions, I used the icon on my task bar.

Task Bar Icon

If I remember correctly, I went to settings and selected “show lower RoboForm toolbar.” The RoboForm toolbar stays at the bottom of my screen when I am on the Internet. This way, I can easily access sites I need.

For example, when I want to search, I open a new tab, select “logins” on my RoboForm toolbar, choose SwagBucks (which is what I named my SwagBucks login information), and watch RoboForm log me into SwagBucks.

Extension Icon

Currently, I use the Google extension for RoboForm. Here, I also use the lower RoboForm toolbar. To select that option:

      1. Add the RoboForm for Google Chrome extension (see these instructions for adding extensions to Chrome)
      2. Once installed on your menu bar, right click the icon
      3. Select “options”
      4. Choose “Show lower RoboForm toolbar” and “Show lower RoboForm toolbar for popup windows”

The toolbar will now show at the bottom of your screen when you are on the Internet.

In using time wisely, I find RoboForm a valuable tool to save all my login information (usernames and passwords) in one place. To snag your FREE year subscription, go to SharewareOnSale and click on the turquoise-colored “Download it now” button. This FREE software is only available through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Once your yearly subscriptions ends, you can still keep the FREE version. Just pare down your logins to 10. I know that will be tough, but 10 is better than none. I will also keep an eye out for more RoboForm deals.

You won’t regret getting this software as you will save yourself so much time online with all your usernames and passwords at your fingertips. Go! Get it now!

Question: Do you keep the same password for all your accounts, or do you select different passwords for each account?