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}

Sneak Peek at The Ranch in Laguna Beach

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Viewthis coming year, i will be partnering with The Ranch at Laguna Beach to share the latest news and all about what’s happening at OC’s newest hidden gem. just two weeks ago, the hubby and i got to check it out and enjoy a weekend stay so that i could share a sneak peek of what’s to come. everything that we experienced is already available to anyone who wants to book a stay at The Ranch. it’s still under construction, but it’s scheduled to open with all of it’s amenities by summer 2016. currently, there are a number of rooms available at a special preview rate. and there’s the restaurant, golf course, pool, and in-room spa services also available.

now to show you a sneak peek of The Ranch at Laguna Beach….The Ranch at Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Beach is tucked away in a beautiful canyon right off of Pacific Coast Highway across from Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach. before now, it was a golf club with some old-school condos built in the 60’s, a local golfing spot situated in one of the most serene and natural settings in Orange County. the 9-hole course was designed by Gary Roger Baird, and is carved into the naturally dramatic and lush walls of Aliso and Wood Canyons, creating an ultra-private playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on every fairway.

starting with this great golf course, The Ranch at Laguna Beach has transformed the old condos into beautifully decorated, Laguna Beach inspired retreats that are nestled right next to the lush golf course.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach GolfingRooms at The Ranch in Laguna what excites me most about The Ranch, is that it’s unlike any other luxury hotel in Orange County. The Ranch at Laguna Beach gives you the luxury of a four star hotel, with experience of being surrounded by nature – secluded within a peaceful blend of canyon and sea. it’s an authentic sanctuary that invites guests to get caught up in the world of a Laguna local that’s off the beaten path in every sense. a stay at The Ranch is a microcosm of the best of Laguna in one organic, refined place. the staff offers an insider’s take on hidden surf spots, shops and specialty galleries. laid-back luxury speaks to the Laguna mindset, and non-stop programs, such as the barefoot Friday golf with three clubs, and monthly art gallery tours, all capturing the vibe of our unique locale.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Hotel Check-inthe rooms are beautifully decorated with a Laguna Beach vibe. probably one of my most favorite resort looks ever. tranquil and beachy with a vintage flair, i love the pops of orange. we arrived to The Ranch later in the evening, so we enjoyed some room service and just chilled out in the room. a nice evening just the two of us….it was the best.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Caricutrie PlatterThe Ranch at Laguna Beach King BedThe Ranch at Laguna Beach BathroomThe Ranch at Laguna Beach DetailsDecorated Room at the Ranchthe next morning, we woke up bright and early. we were treated to homemade energy bars made by the chef of The Ranch, and then got transportation to the “Top of the World”, a favorite local hiking spot. we made it just in time for the sunrise. a morning hike with views of the ocean and of Orange County’s hills was just the recharge i’ve been needing.

Homemade Energy Bars at the RanchSunrise in Aliso ViejoFuji Water HikingHiking in Aliso ViejoAnimal Print Aliso ViejoHiking in Newport BeachOcean View in Aliso Viejo

we worked up an appetite after all that hiking, so we headed back to clean up an enjoy breakfast at Harvest, the only restaurant currently open at The Ranch so far. it’s last seating is at 3pm, and it serves breakfast and lunch. lets just say that the food we had was amazing, so fresh…and the view quite nice as well.

The Harvest Menu at the RanchThe Ranch at Laguna Beach Golf CourseBrunch Places in Orange County Breakfast at the Ranch in LagunaBest Breakfast in Orange County

after breakfast, the hubby and i explored the rest of The Ranch. it was amazing for a nature lover like myself. someone who loves the idea of camping in the great outdoors…but also craves a little luxury on my vacations. there are trails to walk, and explore….plus there is so much more to come. the Sycamore Spa will be opening spring 2016 and by this summer, the Ranch House, the Canyon Camp activity center, featuring a multitude of activities, and the Ranger’s Station, providing nature and adventure-driven kid’s programming will also be open. it’s going to be an awesome place for families to stay. there are even family suites available.

on this day we rode through the golf course, checked out the outdoor event space area, saw where they were working on the chefs garden and the pool. you will notice a lot of the architecture and fences are made with reclaimed wood from the previous construction. a lot of attention is being taken to make sure that The Ranch is made with high standards regarding sustainability and with high environmentally friendly standards. this is very important to the resort.

The Pool at the Ranch in Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Beach riverThe Ranch at Laguna Beach Reclaimed WoodThe Garden at the Ranch in Laguna BeachThe Ranch at Laguna Water Tower

there is also special suite that is under construction called “The Tree House”. i got a glimpse of the inside, and it is going to be a very special place for guests to stay. 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Tree House
this is soon to be the home of the main lobby, a restaurant and event space that will host weddings and special events. a large deck will be overlooking the gorgeous golf course and canyon. yes, currently there is a lot construction happening in and around The Ranch, but it still is very enjoyable. The Clubhouse at the Ranch at LagunaThe Golf Course at the Ranch
if you need a snack or a coffee break while you are at The Ranch, stop by Ben’s Pantry. it’s rustic, organic feel is reminiscent of a treasured country bakery and cafe. it is the place for a local outdoor café experience – featuring natural wood display cases and a local legendary vintage espresso machine. it is stocked with California flavors and seasonal ingredients. Ben’s Pantry is changing the way Laguna does local. it’s your new coffee stop in the canyon, and it’s as perfect for enjoying outdoor eats as it is for sipping your favorite California coastal wines. even if you aren’t staying at The Ranch, you can still stop by and enjoy the delicious food of Ben’s Pantry or the Harvest restaurant.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach Coffee Shop

finally, the best treat of our stay was an in-room couples massage. it was amazingly awesome and the best massage i’ve ever had. it left me feeling so relaxed, i spent the rest of the day in bed. please do not disturb….i’m having the best day ever! Couple's Massages at the Ranch in Laguna The Ranch at Laguna RoomsRelaxing Sign at the Ranch before we headed home, we stopped by the beach to enjoy the salty air and ocean breeze. it’s within walking distant from The Ranch, and starting soon, a shuttle service will also be available to take guest to and from the beach.Aliso Beach ParkAliso Creek Beach as you can see, The Ranch at Laguna Beach is going to be a magnificent getaway for couples, families, and those who love the beautify of the Laguna Beach beaches and wilderness canyons. it has a great vibe and offers something that is unique from any other hotels in the area. i just can’t wait to take the entire family this summer to check out all that there will be to offer families. i also hope to make it a favorite staycation getaway for years to come!The Ranch at Laguna Beach Vintage Car

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…

A Day on the Beach in a Pacific Edge Hotel Bungalow

Best Family Hotel in Laguna Beach

imagine spending the day enjoying this breathtaking view. turquoise water, crashing waves, sunshine and warm sand. that was my day a few weeks ago. it was heavenly. growing up in the OC, i am definitely a beach girl. we re so lucky to have many beaches to enjoy. Laguna beaches are among some of my favorite…the beauty of the rocky cliffs paired with clear blue waters make them really special. on this particular day, i was treated to a day at the Pacific Edge Hotel Bungalows, which are located on the Laguna Beach sands overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Bungalows are part of the Pacific Edge Hotel where i have stayed before…you can check out my stay here.


the Pacific Edge Hotel Bungalows are stylized oceanfront indoor/outdoor daytime spaces that offer a unique beach experience. they are perfect for any social gathering, from corporate meetings, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, or a “daycation” with friends and family. anyone can rent them daily from the Pacific Edge Hotel.

Laguna Beach Hotellaguna_beach_bungalow_rental

each Pacific Edge Bungalow includes a comfortable living room that overlooks the ocean, a VIP Bungalow Host, Air conditioning, flat screen televisions, direct access to the hotel’s private beach, a private bathroom with shower, bar area, valet parking, catered food and beverages, and a private deck area. they are fully private with keyed access from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. a beach attendant will be available to set up lounge chairs, day beds, umbrellas, and beach towels you can work, play, or just get away at The Bungalows at Pacific Edge Hotel.

it would be so fun to rent one for the day with a couple families or girlfriends. Bungalow day rates start at $250 for weekdays and $450 on weekends, not including food & beverage minimums, and are subject to availability. (rates also vary by season)

Laguna Beach Rental

and all The Bungalows are uniquely decorated and sponsored by a local OC company. each featuring a signature design and atmosphere courtesy of one unique brand: Billabong, Fox, Gorjana Griffin, Sailor Jerry and the all-new XS Bungalow. details on each can be found here. rent one Bungalow for up to ten guests, or reserve all five for a very special oceanfront event.

Pacific Edge Laguna Party Room

Pacific Edge Laguna Bridal Shower Room

Pacific Edge, a Joie de Vivre property, is a prime oceanfront retreat — You literally cannot get any closer to the water’s edge. so while you enjoy your stay, you can lounge on 280 feet of private beach property in the heart of downtown Laguna Beach.the kids frolicked on the sand and dipped their sandy toes in the waves. it doesn’t get much better than that.

Pacific Edge Laguna Beach Family Hotel

if you love the Bungalows as much as i do, you might want to join the Bungalow Beach Club. this way you can live like a local, and beach like a VIP! Member Benefits include: VIP discounted access to Bungalows20% discount off guest room bookings, complimentary valet on each visit (up to 10 vehicles), and a welcome amenity each visit, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, free Wi-Fi and more!

while you are staying in the Bungalows, you have access to The Deck, the only open-air, beachside restaurant in Laguna Beach. you can order food from from The Deck from you personal Beach Attendant (food is an additional charge). let me tell you, the food is amazing. The Deck on Laguna Beach brings together coastal culinary creations featuring the freshest seafood and cocktails including California wine and beer. just check out just some of great menu items we enjoyed…

a fresh caprese salad… Best Salad Deck On Laguna

this burger! drool.Best Orange County BurgerBest Burger Deck On Lagunaand homemade cheesecake with fresh berries!Best Cheesecake Deck On Lagunahe doesn’t like it at all!!!! LOLFamily Hotel in Laguna Beach

the boys an i thoroughly enjoyed our “Daycation” at the Pacific Edge Bungalows. sometimes all you need is some fresh ocean air, sunshine and a little pampering to help you destress and relax. i love where we live.Pacific Edge Beach RentalsPacific Edge Beach Bungalows

{disclosure: I was an invited guest of the Pacific Edge Hotel. All thoughts and opinions are 100% mine. I loved staying in the Pacific Edge Hotel Bungalows.}

Pacific Edge Beach Bungalows View