One of the best places to visit when the weather is bad is the Great Wolf Lodge.
It’s an indoor waterpark that features some of the best slides in the country.
However, getting passes or booking a room is usually somewhat pricey.
Considering that Great Wolf Lodge is both a hotel and a waterpark, you may wonder what’s driving up its prices.
Why Is Great Wolf Lodge So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
Staying at the Great Wolf Lodge can cost between $200 to just under $400 a night.
The cost of operations, a variety of add-on activities, and special deals all factor into the high price of staying there.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Regular Deals
One of the reasons going to the Great Wolf Lodge is expensive is that they often have special promotions and deals running.
They often run deals where you get a certain percentage off your total stay.
In return, you usually have to book your stay a certain number of days out from when you arrive.
Some deals get you 30% off your total while others give you 40% or 50% off certain things.
Clearly, the Great Wolf Lodge runs quite a few promotions.
This makes its pricing more expensive because it has to make up for the money it loses when running those deals.
While the Great Wolf Lodge likely still makes money even after running promotions, they don’t make as much.
To ensure they make the amount of money needed to pay employees, cover the costs of the business, and reinvest in themselves, they need to have high prices the rest of the time.
The high prices also allow them to run promotions while still making money despite the discounts.
If their regular prices are expensive, then they can still run deals that cut those expensive prices in half and still make enough to earn a profit.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive because it regularly runs deals that lower its prices.
2. In-Season Pricing
The time that you visit Great Wolf Lodge also can determine how expensive its prices are.
The Great Wolf Lodge is the most expensive when it’s in season.
“In season” largely depends on what Great Wolf Lodge you’re visiting.
Typically, however, summer is a busy time for the Great Wolf Lodge.
Children are off from school and families are looking to take a vacation.
The Great Wolf Lodge tends to be a more affordable option than Disney and other theme parks.
As such, a lot of families end up going there for summer vacation.
The fact that it doubles as both a waterpark and a hotel also means that families can enjoy the park while staying there, too.
Certain Great Wolf Lodges may also have extended seasons.
For example, in states that experience snowy winters, the Great Wolf Lodge becomes an excellent place for a winter family vacation.
Because the waterpark is indoors, it’s still open.
Yet, visiting the Great Wolf Lodge in the winter can be expensive.
The reason that the Great Wolf Lodge is expensive during its busy seasons is that there’s more demand for it.
More people are going there, so there are fewer available rooms.
The lodges also have limits on how many people can be in the waterpark at any one time.
This further limits how many people can access the Great Wolf Lodge.
Since the supply of rooms and space is low at the Great Wolf Lodge during its busy seasons, but demand is high, the price of admission is expensive.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive during its busy seasons.
3. Themed Rooms
When choosing rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge, you have a choice between standard rooms, themed rooms, and premium rooms.
The themed rooms tend to be more expensive than standard rooms despite being roughly the same size.
The main difference between the two is that the themed rooms have, as the name suggests, fun themes.
There are four main themes that you can choose for your room.
The first is a kid cabin suite.
This room has a log cabin theme.
Children can pretend that they’re out in the wilderness.
The second themed room is a wolf den.
This room is similar to the kid cabin suite except that instead of a log cabin, the room is a wolf cave.
The third themed room is camp themed.
The kids sleep in a room that’s styled as a tent.
The last themed room is geared toward adults.
It has a whirlpool bath in it with a fireplace.
It has a sort of cozy theme like a cabin.
Themed rooms are more expensive than standard rooms because you’re essentially paying for the theme.
If you have younger children, then they might enjoy the fun-themed rooms.
If you’re visiting the Great Wolf Lodge with just your partner, then you might enjoy the whirlpool and fireplace room.
You might also find that the themed rooms are not worth the price.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive when you choose to stay in their themed rooms.
4. Premium Rooms
While themed rooms are expensive, the premium rooms tend to be the priciest.
That’s because you get a lot of space in the premium rooms.
Like the themed rooms, you get four choices between the different premium rooms.
One of them is the Deluxe Wolf Den Suite.
This room can sleep between eight and 12 people.
It has a cave theme that runs throughout the room.
Besides having a sleeper sofa and bunk beds, it also comes with three queen-sized beds.
It even has two full baths.
Due to the amount of space and beds that you get, you can expect it to be pretty expensive.
The second room is the Loft Fireplace Suite.
This is a unique room because it comes with a loft space where people can sleep with a bit more privacy.
Children might enjoy the loft space as well.
This room comes with a gas fireplace and a private balcony.
It also has three queen beds and a sleeper sofa.
Those who want a bit more space in bed might enjoy the third premium room.
It’s called the Majestic Bear Suite.
This room has a king-sized bed and two queen-sized beds.
It also comes with a breakfast bar and either a patio or balcony.
The final premium room, the Royal Bear Suite, is for families who don’t mind splurging on their trip to the Great Wolf Lodge.
It has one king-sized bed, one queen-sized bed, and a sleeper sofa.
It also has a living area and a patio area.
Clearly, premium rooms tend to be a cut above standard rooms.
Some of the rooms are also more expensive than the themed rooms.
The reason they’re more expensive primarily has to do with the amount of space in each room.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive if you choose to stay in its premium rooms.
5. Expensive Restaurants
The Great Wolf Lodge also has several places to eat.
One is a snack bar where you can get American staples like burgers, hot dogs, and other food that children tend to enjoy.
The prices on these items tend to be expensive because they are available right at the waterpark.
You don’t have to leave the first floor just to get food.
This makes it a convenient place to ensure everyone gets fed before rejoining the fun.
That’s also one of the reasons why it’s expensive.
The Great Wolf Lodge counts on its guests preferring to stay nearby to get food instead of leaving.
Leaving requires them to dry off, get dressed, then figure out a place to eat.
By eating in the lodge instead, they’re able to keep their bathing suits on and just get the food they want.
For families who want more of a dining experience, there’s a restaurant in the resort, too.
You can expect a few more options with larger portions.
Finally, there’s a restaurant devoted entirely to desserts.
Children and adults are sure to enjoy the delicious treats found in the dessert shop.
It has high prices as well since they make everything in-house.
The food quality in the Great Wolf Lodge is excellent, but you also pay for that quality of food.
The portions are also decent, but that also adds to food costs for the resort.
Finally, demand for its food is also high.
Although the Great Wolf Lodge tries to have enough food on hand to serve everyone, that comes at a high cost.
To cover those costs, they sell their food at high prices.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive if you eat at its in-resort restaurants.
6. Gift Shop
Another reason the Great Wolf Lodge is expensive is because of its gift shop.
Like any other theme park, you can expect expensive prices at the gift store.
The gift shops cater to everyone in the family, offering items like t-shirts and stuffed animals.
Many families like to get some sort of souvenir to remember their vacation.
The Great Wolf Lodge, like every other place that has a gift shop, is counting on that.
They price gift shop items high because they know that people are willing to spend more money on vacations.
Vacationers are willing to pay for sentimental value, and some people don’t mind spending a lot of money when they are on a special trip.
Another reason the Great Wolf Lodge’s gift shop is expensive is that it’s the only place where you can get certain branded items.
You’re not going to find certain coffee mugs, stuffed animals, or t-shirts in other stores.
The Great Wolf Lodge only sells them in their own gift shops.
As such, if you want the item, then you’re going to need to pay a high price for it.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive because of its expensive gift shop.
7. MagiQuest Expenses
A new feature that’s offered in some Great Wolf Lodges is MagiQuest.
It’s a game where children use a wand to interact with certain virtual triggers.
There’s a story behind it as well.
The realm is under attack, and it’s up to children and teens to use their magic to fight against the forces of evil.
The Great Wolf Lodge also has a simplified version of the story for children five years and younger.
This is an expensive activity that you have to pay for.
For one, the price of the wand ranges from $15.99 to $22.99.
Then you need to pay for the actual game time which is $14.99.
The good thing about the game is that it lasts as long as your stay.
The quests each last between 15 minutes and 30 minutes, too.
The bad thing is that you have to keep paying for the game each time you visit the Great Wolf Lodge.
If your children grow out of that phase and no longer have an interest in pursuing the quests the next time you visit the Lodge, then it could be a waste of money.
Otherwise, if your family is looking to take part in the game, then you’ll have to pay for it on top of what you’re paying to stay in the resort.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive because of additional activity costs like MagiQuest.
8. Locker Rentals
A common thing that people do when visiting a waterpark is use a locker.
The locker helps keep important items that you want nearby safe.
Since some items, like phones, can’t go in the water, a lot of people will store them in a locker.
The Great Wolf Lodge has an area devoted to lockers.
You can rent a locker that’s the appropriate size that you need.
The problem with lockers at the Great Wolf Lodge is that you have to rent them.
They’re not part of your suite pricing.
They’re an additional expense.
Depending on how many lockers you need to rent and how often, it could become expensive.
It’s another fee that you need to pay to the Great Wolf Lodge that can make your stay there more expensive.
9. Water Costs
One of the reasons the Great Wolf Lodge is expensive is that it has high water costs.
As a waterpark, the Great Wolf Lodge spends a lot of money providing, recycling, and cleaning its water.
You can’t have a waterpark without water, after all.
In some Great Wolf Lodge locations, water might be becoming scarcer.
That means it’s more expensive for them to buy or transport water to their park.
They also need to provide clean drinking water for their guests who stay in their suites.
With high water costs, the Great Wolf Lodge has to offset those costs with expensive prices.
10. Sanitation Costs
A final reason the Great Wolf Lodge is expensive is that they spend a lot of money on sanitation.
Water carries diseases.
There’s also a good chance that some children are urinating in the water instead of telling their parents they need to use the bathroom.
To ensure the water stays healthy, the Great Wolf Lodge has to spend a lot of money keeping it sanitary.
They also added more sanitary options to battle the pandemic.
You’ll find plenty of hand sanitizer stations around the resort.
Sanitation is expensive.
Not only does it require them to buy expensive chemicals, but they also need to employ sanitation technicians to keep everything clean.
Material costs and labor costs add to the cost of operating the business.
To offset the cost and earn a profit, the Great Wolf Lodge has to have expensive prices for its suites, food, and activities.
The Great Wolf Lodge is expensive because of sanitation costs.
The Great Wolf Lodge is a fun place to vacation with your family.
However, paying for extra activities, food, and special rooms can quickly make it an expensive place to vacation.