Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Turns 1

Birthday Party at Great Wolf Lodgeit’s official been one year since Great Wolf Lodge Southern California opened here in Orange County! and last week, baby Dani and i headed over to the lodge to celebrate at a special birthday party. to commemorate this exciting occasion, artist Linda Mihara was commissioned to create the world’s largest origami birthday cake!

Birthday Party at Great Wolf Lodge

the giant paper cake stands 9 feet tall and took more than 2 weeks to create. it featured paper bears and trees, plus it was topped with a candle and a howling wolf!!! an origami cake was chosen, because paper represents the first anniversary. so a paper cake was perfect!

Birthday Party at Great Wolf LodgeGreat Wolf Lodge Birthdaythe General Manager, Phillip Cunningham shared his gratitude for the Southern California community for making the Great Wolf Lodge’s first year such a success!!! then we celebrated with cake! those in attendance, hotel guests and media were treated to delicious cupcakes.  Click Here for Some Great Deals at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California!Birthday Party at Great Wolf LodgeBirthday Party at Great Wolf Lodge

Time for Lunch

we then headed to eat a special lunch the Chef Hany Ali created with his team. it was amazing and showcased the fabulous food that is being offered at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. they have really focused on bringing fresh, less than 5 ingredient dishes to their guests. and their love of food shows. check it out….those colors!

Birthday Party at Great Wolf Lodge

Birthday Party at Great Wolf LodgeFood at Great Wolf LodgeFood at Great Wolf LodgeFood at Great Wolf LodgeFood at Great Wolf LodgeFood at Great Wolf Lodge

and Chef Ali couldn’t resist holding baby Dani for a minute while i enjoyed his fabulous food. he really is the best…and so caring. he’s made sure to make some of my favorite vegetarian dishes the past few time we’ve visited. he has remembered us every time.

Head Chef at Great Wolf Lodge

it was so much fun celebrating this special day with Great Wolf Lodge SoCal, after all, my family and i have created some amazing memories there this past year.

A Year in Review at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal

there have been many firsts in Great Wolf Lodge Socal’s first year, and our family was very excited that we could celebrate each little milestone with them. here are some of our family’s favorite moments this past year.

our family took our first ever visit to an indoor waterpark…

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Review

my boys played Magiquest for the first time…

Magiques at Great Wolf Lodge

i got my first ice cream pedicure at Scooops!

Spa Time at Great Wolf Lodge

my son surfed on the Flowrider for the first time…

Surfing at Great Wolf Lodge

i felt confident enough to walk around in a swimsuit without a towel in public for the first time…

Toddler Time at Great Wolf Lodge

my husband rode the drop out slide Wolf Tail for the first time…

Best Waterslides at Great Wolf Lodge

i’ve met a bunch of my Sandy Toes and Popsicle blog readers just by chance…how cool is that!

Mom Time at Great Wolf Lodge

we celebrated Halloween at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal for the first time…

Halloween at Great Wolf Lodge

our first pajama dance party…

Family Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

we even checked out the Snowland rooms during Great Wolf Lodge SoCal’s first Christmas.

Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge

and finally, Baby Dani’s first visit to celebrate Spring-a-palooza and Great Wolf Lodge’s 1st Birthday!

Spring-A-Palooza at Great Wolf Lodge

our family has definitely had an amazing time celebrating all the fun that Great Wolf Lodge Southern California has had to offer during their first year open. we are so glad it came to Orange County…it’s one of our favorite places ever. we feel like family every time we visit.

Happy 1st Birthday Great Wolf Lodge SoCal!!!

we hope there are many more years of fun in your future. Click Here for Some Great Deals at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California!

Birthday Parties at Great Wolf Lodge

Halloween Fun at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California


the Great Wolf Lodge Southern California is all ready for Halloween! for the entire month of October, guests can participate in all the Halloween activities that are happening around the resort. actually, at Great Wolf Lodge, it’s called Howl-o-ween, and even better…all the howl-o-ween activities are included in your stay for no extra cost. the boys and i went last weekend to check out the festivities, and once again we had a fantastic time. Great Wolf Lodge is one of our most favorite places to spend time as a family, and a weekend of family fun is just what we needed.

click here for special Great Wolf Howl-o-ween Deals.

when you enter the lodge, you are greeted by the biggest spider you have ever seen. but don’t worry, it is made of balloons…as well as all the other creepy crawlies climbing up the walls. there is also a giant spider web, and a spooky haunted house in the lobby. all of which are pretty spectacular.


of course, as soon as you check in, you are going to want to run to the water park, but be sure to come back to the lobby each evening dressed in your costume (if you brought one) to participate in all the fun Halloween activities. when you check in, you will be given a schedule so to not miss one.

Trick-or-treating is one of the favorites. just follow the treat map to get your trick-or-treat bag, and then to one of the seven trick-or-treat stations located on the first two floors of the Great Wolf Lodge Southern California.

great_wolf_lodge_halloween_trick_or_treat_mapmy boys chose to dress up as a cat and a shadow (aka black morphsuit). very interesting choices, but whatever makes them happy. right!img_5714_retthere’s no age limit on the trick-or-treating and you can get a fun treat or candy at each of the stations. just follow the signs all around the lodge.great_wolf_lodge_trick_or_treat_trailhalloween_fun_great_wolf_southern_californiapeep_hunting_great_wolf_lodgegreat_wolf_lodge_halloween_treatsspooky_fun_witch_at_great_wolf_lodgetrick_or_treat_station_great_wolf

there’s even a teal pumpkin station that has an allergy-friendly treat. it is really important to the GWL that everyone gets to enjoy the fun.


another thing!….while you are out trick-or-treating or out exploring the lodge during the day, keep you eyes peeled for PEEPS! yes, PEEPS. there are 12 of them hidden around the lodge. if you can spot them all and write them down on the contest card, you can have a chance to win a special Howl-o-ween prize at story time each evening. so don’t forget to get your card and fill it out.


other Howl-o-ween activities at the Great Wolf Lodge include a costume parade and Halloween story time with Wiley.


there is also a Monster Mash Dance Party each evening which the kids just love! so much fun.

halloween_dance_party_great_wolf_lodgeat dinnertime, if you eat in one of the Great Wolf Lodge restaurants such as the Loose Moose Kitchen…one of our faves, look for some of the Halloween desserts. there’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin treats, and yummy cupcakes of course.


besides all the Halloween activities, there are still all the standard fun things to do at the Great Wolf Lodge. from the water park to playing Magiquest to fun afternoon activities and crafts in the lobby. let me share some of the photos from our stay.great_wolf_lodge_baby_water_slideflowrider_wakeboarding_great_wolf_lodgegreat_wolf_lodge_flowrider_freebest_family_water_parks_californiagreat_wolf_lodge_wave_poolgreat_wolf_lodge_kid_areacraft_time_great_wolf_lodge_socalcraft_time_great_wolf_lodgeplaying_bingo_great_wolf_lodge

did i mention everyone gets orange Howl-o-ween ears when you check in for your stay during October. aren’t they cute! even my teenager loved them.popsicleblog_at_great_wolf_lodge_socalMagiquest! magiquest_great_wolf_lodge_southern_californiahalloween_fun_in_orange_countyteen_fun_great_wolf_lodgemagiquest_great_wolf

and where else can you play video games in your pajamas at 9:00 at night!playing_games_in_pjs_great_wolf_lodge

and as you probably know, i am expecting a baby girl in just a couple months. so this time my stay was a bit different. i couldn’t do the waterslides like last time, so i had sometime to myself when all the boys were off playing. but i must say…i still had a great time.pregnant_mommy_great_wolf_lodgei went to Scooops Spa and got an ice cream pedicure! yes, it really did come with ice cream.scooops_pedicure_great_wolf_lodgeice_cream_pedicurei played in the kiddie area with my youngest, Vann.


and went in the wave pool and lazy river. there is still so much to do. i i highly suggest that any mom take some time to herself and get one of those ice cream pedicures.lazy_river_great_wolf_lodgei also want to mention how much i love the Paw Passes. the Paw Passes can be purchase at check-in, and include a bunch of activities offered at the resort (at a discounted rate) and include things like a Magiquest game, arcade credits, a treat, and more. there are different ones to choose from, so you can decide the best one to meet your needs. i love them because the kids can pick the things they want to get throughout their stay. this time we had custom bracelets on our Paw Passes, which was something we hadn’t tried yet. the boys really liked designing and picking out their bracelets. it was a fun souvenir to come home with as well!


wow! what a great weekend our family had!


each night little Vann ended up like this. all tuckered out from all the fun we had.great_wolf_lodge_beds

Howl-o-ween at the Great Wolf Lodge was the perfect was to get into the holiday spirit. i can see us coming for a stay every year during October because it was so much fun. and if you are interested in a stay, click here for special Great Wolf Howl-o-ween Deals.


Thank you Great Wolf Lodge for hosting our family for Howloween! #SoCalHowloween #GWLSoCal

Our Family’s Visit to the Great Wolf Lodge in Southern California

Family Guide to Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove

from the moment i found out about the Great Wolf Lodge, i knew that i wanted to take my family on a vacation there. it was about four years ago when i read a post on another blog about the Great Wolf Lodge in Texas. it looked AMAZING…like a rustic lodge with amazing experiences for kids and a giant indoor water park. at that time, there were only seven Great Wolf Lodges in the United States, but the ones in Texas and  Seattle were the closest to us here in California. unfortunately, our family was never able to travel anywhere close to any Great Wolf Lodges. so imagine my excitement to find out that one would be opening in Southern California!!!!! Garden Grove in Orange County to be exact.

we anxiously watched the construction and even went on a hard hat tour while the work was in progress. atlas, it was finished and recently just opened this past February. my family finally got to take that vacation, or should i say “staycation”, to the Great Wolf Lodge in Southern California last month!

we had an absolutely fabulous time. all of us….parents and kids. it was more than i had thought it would be. and so that you can see what to expect when you stay at the Great Wolf Lodge Southern California…i’m going to share some….okay A LOT of photos from our visit.  click here for discounts and deals to stay at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California.

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California review

the Great Wolf Lodge is unlike any other hotel or resort in Southern California. its 100% geared towards families – everything you need is right there in the resort, from food, to entertainment to the hotel rooms. you can eat, sleep and play and not have to worry about leaving the resort until your stay is over. kids are allowed to do what they do best, just be kids. it’s okay to be loud, run and have FUN. and be prepared for lots of it.

when we walked in the lobby, we were greeted into a grand lodge…with vaulting ceilings, a gigantic stone fireplace that is used as a gathering place for bedtime story time and dance parties, and wilderness murals flanking the walls.

The Entrance to the Great Wolf LodgeGreat Wolf Lodge StaircaseGreat Wolf Lodge Staircase DetailGreat Wolf Lodge BenchGreat Wolf Lodge Fire PlaceGreat Wolf Lodge ChandalierGreat Wolf Lodge Lobby

i immediately felt my kids excitement as we entered. they wanted to start exploring right away! so we quickly checked in and headed up to our room to put away our luggage. everyone who is staying in the room is given a wristband that acts as your room key. it allows you access to the water park, and the coolest thing is not ever having to worry about losing a room key. this saved me so much time…you don’t even know!

the rooms are fun…decorated in rustic cabin style. there are many types to choose – from standard to deluxe. we happened to stay in a “Kid Cabin” which has a separate area for the kids with themed wallpaper and creatures on the wall that have special effects when you wave a MagiQuest wand at them.
Great Wolf Lodge Towel WolfPlaying in the Kids CabinGreat Wolf Lodge Bunk BedsKid Cabin at the Great Wolf Lodge

the rooms were cool…but not where we wanted to spend the day, as there were so many more things to explore at the GWL. we changed into our swim suits and headed out…..straight to the water park! because that’s the main reason why you stay at GWL. when you enter the water park, the kids get measured and given a color coded band that lets you and the lifeguards know which rides you are safe to ride on. you can also get pool towels.

Height Check for Slides at the Great Wolf LodgeTowels at the Great Wolf Lodge

check it out! how fun is this water park. there are slides for every age, Fort Mackenzie with lots of water features and a giant bucket that pours water every few minutes, a full-sized wave pool, places to splash, swim and climb…and sooooooo much more!!!! the water is heated to 84º and the air is also a nice 84º. you don’t ever have to worry about rain, or putting on sunscreen.

Lily Pad JumpingFort MackenzieKid Waterslide at the Great Wolf LodgeWave Pool at the Great Wolf LodgeSouthern California Water ParkSlide Tubes at the Great Wolf LodgeRainbow Slides at the Great Wolf LodgeSwimming in the wave poolLazy River at the Great Wolf LodgeWater Snake at the Great Wolf LodgeFamily Raft at the Great Wolf Lodge Southern CaliforniaRaft Slides at the Great Wolf LodgeFun Water Parks in Southern California

my boys’ favorite ride was the FlowRider. a wave simulator that you can surf on. and no, there is no extra cost to ride it.

Wave Machine at the Great Wolf Lodge

my hubby loved the Wolf Tail slide that basically drops the floor out from under you in a 20 foot drop into a water slide. yikes…i didn’t try it, but he sure loved it.

Expert Waterslides at Great Wolf Lodge

Vann and i spent a good part of the time in the kiddie area which had slides, pools and fun toys to play with that were just his size.  you didn’t have to worry about the big kids being too rough in this area.

baby water park area at Great Wolf Lodgebaby Slides at the Great Wolf LodgeSplashing at the Great Wolf LodgePool Decorations at the Great Wolf LodgeKiddie area at the Great Wolf Lodge

finally, not all of the water park is indoors. if you need some fresh air, head outside and enjoy the outdoor splash pool.

Outdoor Water Park area at the Great Wolf Lodge

Read More…

Win a Stay at OC’s Great Wolf Lodge!!!!!

Great Wolf Lodge Touri don’t know who is more excited for the opening of the Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove, me or the kids!!!! but i can tell you that the boys and i are counting down the days till our stay in early March. we are super excited.  i took a hard hat tour of the property last September, and wow! the Great Wolf Lodge is going to be AMAZING. you can read all about the tour and construction on the post i wrote.

Great Wolf Lodge Orange County

first off….besides the AWESOME GIVEAWAY i will be sharing at the end of this post, i wanted to share a few pictures of what has been going on at the Great Wolf Lodge. construction is moving along, and in just a few months, Southern California is going to have its very first indoor water park along with an amazing family resort hotel. check out the latest progress on the water park…

Great Wolf outside Great Wold Lodge Slide Construction Multiple slides at Great Wolf wind in and out of the building A look inside the 105,000 square foot water park at Great Wolf LodgeWhooping Hollow - Exclusively for guests under 48%22

and besides the 105,000-square-foot waterpark that is coming to GWL with all those awesome slides and attractions, the GWL Grand Lobby is continuing to take shape, including the fireplace where daily Story Time takes place with Great Wolf Kids characters; check out the antler chandeliers ready to be hung!

Grand Lobby

from the guest suites to the hallways, the family-friendly accommodations are looking more and more like Great Wolf Lodge every day…
Great Wolf Lodge Kids RoomGreat Wolf Lodge Towel Wolfand don’t forget about the Scooops spa, the Northern Lights Arcade, Ten Paw Alley, the restaurants and more.
Great Wolf Lodge Scoops Great Wolf Lodge Northern Lights ArcadeGreat Wolf Lodge Family Suite.jpgTen Paw AlleyGreat Wolf Lodge Loose Moose Family Kitchen

i hope you can just imagine how fun the Great Wolf Lodge is going to be for families. it’s all very exciting!

Palm Trees

PLUS…. good news!!!! you can already book your stay. the grand opening discount offer has been extended! Families now have until February 7, 2016 to book their stay and receive up to 20% off. click here for this special offer.

now, for what you’ve been waiting for….


Great Wold Lodge Contest

one lucky winner will win a two-night stay in a family suite at Great Wolf Lodge SoCal! a $500 value which includes water park passes for 3 days for the entire family and a family suite that can sleep up to 6 people. how cool is that! i am very excited for one of you to win.

HOW TO ENTER there are 4 ways to enter…and you can enter them all!!!! The more entries, the more chances to win!!!!!!!

1) enter via Rafflecopter below

2) enter by posting a photo on Instagram holding a sign that says “what you are most excited about doing at GWL” AND hashtag #GWLSoCal. must tag @popsicleblog & @greatwolflodge

3) enter by posting a photo on Twitter holding a sign that says “what you are most excited about doing at GWL” AND hashtag #GWLSoCal, must tag @popsicleblog & @greatwolflodge

4) enter by posting a photo in the comments of this Facebook post holding a sign that says “what you are most excited about doing at GWL” AND hashtag #GWLSoCal.

Giveaway Ended

Rules & Regulations: Winner will receive two one-night stay certificates valid only at Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. Each is valid for a single night stay in a Family Suite. Must mention the gift certificates upon making the reservation. Reservation stay is based on discount availability and not available on holidays. Some additional blackout dates may apply. Certificate expires August 31, 2016 and does not carry cash value. Recipient must be at least 21 years old.

{this is not a sponsored post}

Hard Hat Tour of Great Wolf Lodge Southern California

reat Wolf Lodge Southern Californiatoday was an exciting day! i have been anxiously awaiting the time when a Great Wolf Lodge would be built here in Orange County, and it looks like my dreams are going to come true in February of 2016. today i got to take a hard hat tour of the construction site and see for myself what has been happening at the new Great Wolf Lodge Southern California. let me tell you, this is going to be very exciting! Great Wolf Lodge Orange Countyif you haven’t heard of Great Wolf Lodge before, i highly suggest getting to know all about it. there are many of these lodges located around the United States, but until now, the closest two are in Washington and Texas. i have been wanting to take the family to one since i discovered them about 4 years ago. i have been trying to convince my husband to take the trek to Texas so my wish could come true, but we haven’t been able to make the time. but now, the Great Wolf Lodge has come to me!

construction is in full swing at the new Great Wolf Lodge. it is located on Harbor Boulevard in Garden Grove just north of the 22 freeway and South of Disneyland. i guarantee that this is going to be a very popular attraction in Southern California, and you are going to want to take the family. this place is AWESOME!!!!! let me take you along on a hard hat tour….Great Wolf Lodge TourGreat Wolf Lodge is a 12 acre indoor water park resort with 603 rooms. it feels like you are walking into an upscale wilderness lodge. besides hosting one of the largest indoor waterparks in North America, it also has entertainment, restaurants and shops to complete a family-friendly resort feel. the main character at the lodge is Riley the Wolf, and kids can get to know and play with him and his woodland pals during your stay.
Great Wolf Lodge Outside Constructionas you walk in the main entrance you will enter the main lobby area. it will be big and open with a grand staircase in the center. of course it will be decorated with all the lodge decor you can imagine…and those white chairs will be gone.

Great Wolf Lodge Lobby
to the left, there will be a grand fireplace that rises to the ceiling. this is where guests will gather each evening in their pajamas to listen to campfire stories, songs and even a show. this is what Great Wolf Lodge is all about.Great Wolf Lodge Fireplace

i was able to walk down the hallways to where the rooms are going to be and check out a few that have been completed. can i just say these hotel rooms have a different kind of feel than most hotel rooms you will find in California. most hotel rooms in Southern California have a beachy, California feel, but these feel like you are in a wilderness lodge. they have rustic charm, fit large families and have special features in select rooms for the children to enjoy.

Great Wolf Lodge Hard HatTourhere is an example of family suite. it has multiple rooms and two bathrooms. it has standard decor and can sleeps up to 8 people.Great Wolf Lodge Grizzly Bear SuiteGreat Wolf Lodge Flowerthis is a double queen suite. i would consider it your standard room. nice and comfy, decorated with rustic charm.Great Wolf Lodge Family Suiteif you are looking to add a little magic to your stay, there are also deluxe rooms available that cater to the children with special bedroom cabins and bunks. the Wolf Den Suite has a special wolf den that the children can sleep in that also has special lighting and music effects for a themed stay.Great Wolf Lodge Kids RoomGreat Wolf Lodge Kids RoomsGreat Wolf Lodge Orange County Hotelthere are also kid cabin suites that have cabins within the room for the kids to sleep in. they also have themed walls. Great Wolf Lodge Room Decoration Great Wolf Lodge Room Decorall the rooms come with fun surprises and all are really nice. you may even come back to a special towel wolf sitting on your bed.Great Wolf Lodge Towel Wolfthen there’s the waterpark!!!!! this is the main attraction and the coolest part of the Great Wolf Lodge!!!! it will be EXCLUSIVE TO RESORT GUESTS, so you don’t have to worry about over crowding. the main attraction will be Fort Mackenzie, and multi-level treehouse with water features and a giant bucket that fills up with water and dumps over the crowd every few minutes.
Great Wolf Lodge Waterparkthere will be slides for all ages, a lazy river and the Mountain Edge Raceway where you can ride on mats down a slippery slide.Great Wolf Lodge Howlin' TornadoGreat Wolf Lodge Family Funhere is where the wave pool will be located. it is gigantic! and don’t worry about their not being enough lifeguards. Great Wolf Lodge will be hiring almost 300 guards. there will be around 50 on duty at all times during waterpark hours.Great Wolf Lodge Wave Pool Construction
this is the view from the outside of the lodge. this just gets me excited! its going to be such a fun place to visit and stay at.
Great Wolf Lodge Orange County Resortinside the waterpark area, there will also be swimming pools that lead outside, and the Wolf Rider Wipeout, and indoor surf simulator.Great Wolf Lodge Flowrider Slidethis is just small peek of whats coming to the Great Wolf Water Park. it is going to be spectacular. and don’t worry about water being wasted. all the water in this water park is recycled with in house filtration systems. Great Wolf lodge has gone to great lengths to make sure that the resort is being fit with the latest water saving fixtures and technology.Read More…