Adventures at Great Wolf Lodge, Niagara Falls, Ontario

32aWhen we left Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls, we had to literally peel my son’s fingers off of the door as he kicked and screamed. Needless, to say, he LOVED every minute and never wanted to leave. This was our first visit, and I want to share with you what we learned, what we loved and why we’ll be returning again as soon as possible!

To Paw Pass or Not to Paw Pass?

For first-timers I highly recommend the Paw Pass!  For $64.99 plus tax per kid, you get:

  • One MagiQuest game
  • One MagiQuest classic wand or classic topper
  • One quarter pound of fudge
  • One animal from our Great Wolf Stuffing Station (outfit not included)
  • One 5×7 Paw Prints water park action photo
  • 20 Paw Points and game card for Northern Lights Arcade
  • One gift at Scooops Kid Spa
  • Two games of bowling at Ten Paw Alley or one game at Wacky Wilderness Mini Golf
  • Two Great Wolf Kids activities in Cub Club
  • One pair of wolf ears

We did everything on the list except for the activities at the Cub Club.  The kids loved getting their wolf ears, their stuffed wolf (just like at Build-A-Bear), and their wands for the MagiQuest. I upgraded the Paw Prints photo for about $6 we got a printed picture of our family going over the Falls in a barrel. We have very few family pictures and I appreciate the kitsch of this souvenir.

Meal Plan or Bring Your Own?

34

Dinner Buffet

Our package included the meal plan and I loved the breakfast and dinner buffets. There were lots of choices and my picky eaters were all happy. Niagara Wine samples came to the table (SCORE!) and as it was my daughter’s birthday, she received a special dessert and a birthday song from wait staff ending with a wolf howl! So fun!

Check out the video of the birthday song: Great Wolf Lodge Birthday Surprise

Lunch choices were ‘okay’. We could choose from a pizza slice, chips and pop; or a hot dog or burger w/fries and a pop.  Not as awesome as the buffet, but it was quick enough and let us get back to the more important task of enjoying the water park.

53

Kitchenette

Next time I will consider bringing more food and possibly not getting the meal plan, it is certainly possible to make do without it, but I also really enjoyed the buffets!

The room had a mini-fridge and microwave oven, coffee maker and sink, so we could definitely have made do while in our room. No microwave popcorn is allowed to be popped in the hotel rooms – there are big warning labels on the microwave ovens. I brought snacks, chips, candy, and bottled water for the room.

Standard, Themed, or Premium Room?

48

KidCabin TV bunk bed and single bed

Our room was a themed KidCabin Suite. The kids enjoyed the bunk bed room of their own. My son loved sleeping in the top bunk. My daughter turned 13 on the trip and found the beds very uncomfortable. Next time I would double a mattress for her (they were thinner than a standard mattress) and there were three beds in the suite and only two kids.

We would have been just as happy in a standard “Family Fireplace Suite” as we all really enjoyed the fireplace and would pay a little more for that perk (we visited in January and it was so nice to warm up by the fire and also to dry our towels). My daughter would’ve been more comfortable in a regular bed and would happily share with her brother.

If you have no budget, consider a premium suite. I’d love to try the loft fireplace suite. This would be great to book at Christmas as the room holds up to 8 people and Santa can bring presents to the fireplace! Some of the premium rooms come with dedicated parking right outside your suite so it is easier to load/unload.

The Waterpark!

43

Massive Water Park – so much to do!

We have been to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark in Niagara Falls twice thanks to Autism Ontario attending in the Winter and were rather disappointed both times. My kids are not thrill seekers and they only enjoyed the wave pool there and unfortunately as the day progresses the water park gets colder and colder as patrons go outside to the heated outdoor space letting cold air continually blast into the water park.

We were pleasantly surprised with Great Wolf Lodge as the temperature was nice and warm and stayed warm the whole time we were there. The water park had smaller water slides for young kids or ‘chickens’ like my two. They loved the lazy river (I think half of our day was spent in the lazy river)! The wave pool was a hit and they also loved the smaller swimming pool with basketball nets around the sides. It was easy to access self serve life vests. Heated towels were available and there were lockers for rent. On our second day, we remained at the water park after checking out from our hotel room, so we rented a locker. The locker was about $20 and when we returned our key we had the option to receive the key back or pick a wolf stuffed animal (my daughter chose the wolf).

14

Bonus – they have a Swimsuit “Dryer” – spin cycle that gets most of the wet out!

One night or more?

For the budget conscious, you can get a lot of fun out of a one night stay.  If your room is not ready at your 1pm check in time, you can access the water park already!  And you have water park privileges for your check out day as well, so you can stay as long as the water park is open! My hope next time is that we book at least 2 nights as there is so much fun to be had and it would have been a more relaxed pace for squeezing in all of the fun activities.

The Happiest Place in Canada?

30We used to save up for Disney, the happiest place on earth for me and so many others – but now, in less than 2 hours with no border crossing, our family has found our new ‘happiest place’ and it’s IN CANADA. To celebrate #Canada150 a lot of bloggers are urging Canadians to make Canadian destinations a priority this year, so we will definitely be spending our vacation dollars in Canada and as often as possible, at Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Check out all of my Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls videos on YouTube here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8kbJAZWbYm80uhs7pibCfBAW1eXnuG_w

Ready to book?

NEW!!  Enter to WIN here, ends May 24 2017: 
http://blog.parentlifenetwork.com/great-wolf-lodge-for-the-kid-in-all-of-us/

Discounts here:

Great Wolf Lodge Official Website Deals: https://www.greatwolf.com/niagara/deals

Entertain Kids on a Dime posts monthly deals, here are the APRIL 2017 ones:
http://entertainkidsonadime.com/2017/04/05/great-wolf-lodge-april-deals/  

cropped-access-2-logo-2014-eng-tageline-e1402684890727Special Needs Families! Did you know your Easter Seals Access 2 Entertainment card gets you a discount to Great Wolf Lodge? Scroll to the very bottom: http://www.access2card.ca/onattractions/

This Review is not an #Ad. It is my own opinion based on a stay my partner WON from CHYM-FM in Kitchener (Thank you for making me the #BestMomEver ).  

MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS: FRIENDSHIP GAMES Review & Giveaway (CAN, no QC 10/29)

We’re pretty excited here about the release of My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games!  I took my daughter and her Brony friend to see the 2nd installment in theatres, and they loved every minute. My daughter thinks this is the BEST of the three movies and really ties together the series. In this story, fans get to learn more about the magic of the Equestria Girls and how they ‘pony up’ (transform with pony ears and tails when they tap into their magic).

friendshipgames 2

My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games is available NOW on DVD, Blu-ray combo pack and on iTunes for immediate digital download!

Check it out, it’s awesome!

My followers have the chance to WIN the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo pack!  To enter, please follow the Shout! Factory Facebook and Twitter pages and complete the entry form below:

<<ENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE Blu-ray/DVD/Digital COMBO PACK>>

Good Luck!!  Tweet every day for bonus entries!

❤ Jennpup ❤

THE SEVENTH DWARF – DVD REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

New from the Director of Disney’s Enchanted and TarzanThe Seventh Dwarf!  This fun tale brings together Snow White, The Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty. The littlest dwarf “Bobo” makes a big mistake and has to save the kingdom along with the help of the other dwarves.

THE SEVENTH DWARF

My daughter was happy to see Peyton List from Disney’s Jessie and I was happy to see Norm MacDonald (SNL) listed among the voice cast.  Besides a great cast of characters, the movie offers excitement and adventure – dragon battles, an evil witch – so much fun!

Shout! Factory is releasing The Seventh Dwarf on August 18th!  The film will be available digitally on iTunes or for purchase at major retailers.

THE SEVENTH DWARF Two-Disc Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack contains the feature presentation on Blu-ray 3D and 2D, DVD and a Digital Copy of the film, as well as the following special features:

  • Character Profiles
  • Sing-Alongs
  • Downloadable Royal Birthday Invitation

THE SEVENTH DWARF DVD contains the following bonus features:

  • Character Profiles
  • Sing-Alongs
  • Downloadable Royal Birthday Invitation

Movie Runtime is 88 minutes. MPAA Rating: PG. For more information on The Seventh Dwarf, please visit www.seventhdwarfmovie.com

<<Enter to WIN the DVD here, CANADA, NO QC, ENDS 09/07!>>

Please be sure to follow Shout! Factory on  Facebook and Twitter!  And if you haven’t already done so, please give my Facebook page a like (it’s much appreciated)!

❤ Jennpup ❤

Afternoon Tea at the Royal York – Review

We recently enjoyed a wonderful stay at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. One of the highlights for me was Afternoon Tea at the Library Bar with my 11 year old daughter, Delphine.

What shall we order?

I prepped Delphine ahead of time, showing her the traditional menu (she is a very picky eater, but I encouraged her to try the traditional tea).  We talked about manners and the tradition of High Tea.  Originally, I had made a reservation for four, later I called to change it, since I decided against bringing my son. He is only 5 and not quite ready for fine china.

When we arrived to check in for our reservation, we were still listed as a party of four. One of the things I LOVED about our experience at The Royal York is the high quality customer service focus of all of the staff. They welcomed the opportunity to be gracious about the error and remarked at how much more comfortable we would be in our table for four as a twosome.

We received the traditional menu, but to my surprise our attendant told my daughter there were kid-friendly options available such as ‘bubblegum tea’, ‘hot chocolate’ and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or grilled cheese sandwiches. Delphine wanted to try the traditional tea first, knowing she could order something else if necessary.

Delphine picked the apple tea and I ordered the jasmine. The apple tea was delicious and definitely child friendly.  We enjoyed waiting for the tea to steep and pouring it into the beautiful china.

For Mother’s Day, Delphine asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted a handmade card and that I would enter it into the Rogers Daytime Channel 20 Instagram Mother’s Day contest.  Her card won and we received a one night’s stay for a family of four at the Royal York, passes to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Afternoon Tea! Talk about a wonderful Mother’s Day gift!

The Fairmont Royal York had noted us as contest winners for our Afternoon Tea reservation. Our attendant surprised us with sparkling wine for me and ginger ale for Delphine and congratulated us on our win. I toasted Delphine and thanked her for the beautiful Mother’s Day gift she won for us!

I had visited the Royal York Afternoon Tea many years ago with my mother and grandmother and I was really looking forward to the scones and clotted cream!  It wasn’t long before this beautiful spread arrived!  Everything was exquisite, of course!

For fun, I tried the scones two different ways!  Cream on top (Cornish style), and cream on the bottom (Devonshire method).  The verdict? Delicious either way!

Ultimately, Delphine was not won over by the traditional fare, so it was the Royal York’s children’s menu to the rescue. She ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and it even arrived with the most adorable bottle of ketchup you’ve ever seen!

Check out more photos on the Adventures With Jennpup Facebook page (and please give us a ‘like’ while you’re at it).

If you will be visiting in the summer, be sure and check out the rooftop tour:

During Summer months, tea time includes a chance to explore the hotel’s famous rooftop herb garden 14 stories above ground. Starting Saturday June 20 until Labour Day weekend, rooftop tours will depart from the foyer outside Library Bar at 2pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. – The Fairmont Royal York

The Royal York currently offers the “F-Scape to Toronto Package” which includes:

  • One Night Accommodation in a newly renovated Fairmont Luxury Room
  • Afternoon Tea For Two at Library Bar
  • In-Room “Rooftop” Amenity – Honey Jars for Two
  • Rooftop Tour for Two

Unfortunately, our weekend in Toronto was quite rainy, so we did not take the rooftop tour. But, we enjoyed the proximity of the Royal York to the “Skywalk” and were able to stay dry while walking to Ripley’s Aquarium.

If you get the chance, take a Mother/Daughter trip to Toronto! Catch a show (we enjoyed Kinky Boots) and don’t miss the Afternoon Tea!

Thank you Rogers Daytime and the Fairmont Royal York!  We hope to return again.

❤ Jennpup ❤

Mermaid of the Lake: Fin Fun Mermaid Tail Review

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail

This is a Guest Blog by my 11 year old, Delphine. Delphine is a very strong swimmer and has always dreamed of being a mermaid. For Christmas last year, she asked Santa for a Fin-Fun Mermaid Tail (sleeve) and we bought her the ‘monofin’. She has been patiently waiting for Summer and a trip to the Aunties’ Cottage to give it a go!
————-

Fin Fun Mermaid Tail Review by Delphine

I have a Fin Fun Mermaid Tail and recently I have been using it in the lake at my Great Aunties’ cottage and I’ve been having so much fun!

What I love about the Fin Fun tail is obviously it makes me into a real life mermaid! But, it’s also comfortable and relatively easy to get in and out of. This tail is great for us awesome swimmers, just make sure you or your child are strong enough at swimming to handle it. It definitely makes swimming in summer (or any other season) so much more fun!

I mean, if I could be a real mermaid I totally would and this tail basically does that! (But once you take it off you can still be a normal person!) This tail in my opinion would make the greatest birthday or Christmas present for your child if they love to swim as much as I do!

❤ Delphine ❤
————–
Delphine will be attending a “Mermaid Camp” with Waterloo Synchro soon! We are looking forward to seeing her learn some more mermaid tricks and they have promised some underwater photos! Fantastic!

Peace in,

❤ Jennpup ❤

Warning: Mermaid Tails are not for every child! Please ensure your child is a very strong swimmer, has a good ‘dolphin kick’ and does not attempt flips or more advanced moves without an adult directly supervising. Safety first!

Celebrating 60 Years of Santa’s Village – Review and Giveaway 07/20

Santa's Village

Santa’s Village is 60 this year and we recently attended to visit our old favourites and to check out what’s new. Read below for a $5.00 discount per person at Santa’s Village–exclusively for AdventuresWithJennpup.com readers, and for my Santa’s Village contest!

I love Santa’s Village. I love spending a day at this family friendly amusement park nestled among tall pine trees. I love watching my kids with their elf ear hats on, gleefully hopping from ride to ride with virtually no delay.  It is the perfect place for the under 10 set and grandparents can keep up with the youngsters as the distances between attractions are small (and many of the grandparents will remember visiting as children and bringing their own kids there). Ah, memory lane!

First stop – Mrs. Claus Bake Shop – help yourself to a FREE coffee. Ah, now you’re ready to go!

Santa’s Village is located smack dab on the 45th Parallel – halfway from the Equator to the North Pole – this photo opp is a must!

Greetings from the 45th Parallel!

 

Village Stage

 

For 2015, Santa’s Village brings back old favourites and new entertainers as well. Kitchener-Waterloo residents will be happy to see beloved entertainer Erick Traplin performing. The full entertainment schedule is available here. For our recent visit, “Johnny Toronto” was performing. Much laughter was to be heard from this fun performance!  Last year, we were lucky to see Dan the Music Man in July and Erick Traplin in August.

These shows are so much fun!  Plan your visit to be sure and see your favourites!

Feeding the Reindeer

Of course Santa keeps his reindeer at the village – they get to enjoy a nice Summer vacation!   Feeding the reindeer and also visiting the animals at the Petting Zoo bring a lot of smiles to everyone’s faces.

One thing I really enjoyed are all of the little touches that are just waiting to be noticed.  While waiting to meet Santa so the kids could make their early Christmas list requests (of course my daughter asked for a DOG) and receive their elf hats, clocks told the time from around the world as a miniature train circled the ceiling. Santa’s To Do List, a lovely lamp post with ‘snow’ swirling inside and books that you’d expect to find in Santa’s library provided entertainment and smiles.

 

Did Santa get your wish list item? A helmet for me – perfect!

Our first stop (after coffee) was to ride Rudolph’s Rollercoaster. I rode with my 5 year old son. My 11 year old daughter was too scared to try it, but as the day went on she became braver and we eventually rode it together 5 times!  With little to no line-ups on a Thursday, we were off and on rides as much as we wanted!

After visiting Santa, the kids made a bee-line for the Airplane, Jumping Star and Merry Go Round. Both kids enjoyed all three rides, going from one to the next as much as they liked! Benches and shady pine trees make it a lovely spot for parents to wait and watch, but of course, you can join in as well!  The rides are long and full of fun. There’s a big Christmas ornament ferris wheel nearby (and a perfect little ice cream stand for those afraid of heights). My son and I enjoyed the ferris wheel and I enjoyed taking pictures of Santa’s Summer Sleigh and the Splash Pad.

Pizza Pizza Time!

We enjoyed all of our favourites from last year! When we were ready for lunch, Pizza Pizza was ready for us with the ooey-gooiest cheese pizza ever – the kids were in cheese heaven!  We purchased a full sized pizza family combo with 2 pops and 2 juice boxes. The pizza was ready very quickly and it was delicious!

We took a ride on the train through the park (a great way to see all the park has to offer and plan your visit).

Santa’s Village is on a beautiful waterway and you’ll definitely want to take a ride on Santa’s Summer Sleigh. Enjoy kitschy music and see the beauty of Muskoka! Young and old enjoy this boat ride.

My daughter loves the ‘games of chance’ where every player is guaranteed a pretty decent prize.  This year my son picked an inflatable “Boots” monkey from Dora the Explorer. My daughter won a ‘donut bear’ and later won an inflatable elephant.

Winners!

New this year to Santa’s Village is a Zip Line that takes you over the lake where Swan paddle boats paddle along. We watched a little girl get harnessed up, climb a tall ladder up a pine tree and then whiz over the lake to the other side. It looked like so much fun!  The Zip Line had a cost of $10.

Elves Island was quite transformed this year! Santa’s Village has two bouncy castles, one for kids 5+ and one for kids 4 and younger. Last year, the younger kids bouncy castle was on Elves Island, but now there is a mini aerial park set up  called “Elf Sky Challenge” where kids can test out their skills before heading to Sportsland for a bigger challenge.  Parents and children were seen climbing around together. We witnessed lots of encouragement and help from staff and it looked like a lot of fun, too! 🙂

New for 2015 – Elf Sky Challenge – a new children’s aerial adventure park on Elves Island!

Santa’s Village has a campground in case you need a place to stay. Whispering Pines Campground, includes twenty roofed rustic cabins, full serviced sites, pool, rec hall, and nightly programmed family activities. After an extensive renovation in 2010, Whispering Pines has been voted Muskoka’s best campground four years in a row!

 

There are many locations picture perfect for an annual family photo!  We decided to go ‘silly’ for the 2015 version!

Funny faces!

And we all took lots of #Elfies of course!

I highly recommend a visit to Santa’s Village this Summer!  It has something for everyone!  My kids both enjoyed decorating gingerbread cookies and this year we gave the splash pad and beach a try.

Splish Splash!

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter loved the splash pad the best and my son was all about the beach!  Everything about Santa’s Village just warms my heart. There is more to do and see there than ever before!  Be sure and pick up their 60th Anniversary Commemorative Book and if you’re headed up soon, drop in for SantaFest: “To commemorate the park’s anniversary, Santa’s Village—in partnership with the local community— will host the inaugural SantaFest, a street fair held in downtown Bracebridge on Saturday July 25 (10am to 5pm). There will be children’s entertainers such as Ronno and Johnny Toronto, gingerbread decorating, face painting, and a host of other activities ideal for the young and young-at-heart. The highlight of the day will be a special 60th anniversary parade, beginning at noon. Fuel up on the eggnog beforehand, because it promises to be a full day of fun.”

Muskoka perfection!

The best part of the day for me was when my daughter decided to face her fear and ride Rudolph’s Roller Coaster Sleigh Ride. She rocked it and left feeling completely proud of herself! It was the perfect end to a perfect day!

So proud of herself! 5 times!!

Santa’s Village will be announcing various promotions and deals throughout the season to commemorate the park’s magical 60th anniversary. To keep abreast of them, people should opt-in to the Nice List on the Santa’s Village via my exclusive link below or like their Facebook page.

>>Adventures With Jennpup readers can access an exclusive $5 discount on tickets here!<<

Enter to win a Family Pass for 4 – one day’s admission this 2015 Season – click on the link below!

—GIVEAWAY—GIVEAWAY—GIVEAWAY—GIVEAWAY—

Adventures With Jennpup Santa’s Village Giveaway 07/20

———————————————————-

Be sure and check out my Facebook page and give a LIKE – there’s a huge photo album with all of our pictures from Santa’s Village!

*Our family received a family pass to check out what’s new at Santa’s Village for 2015. All opinions belong to @Jennpup!

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests – Review & Giveaway

My daughter is My Little Pony obsessed.  She loved them when she was little (me, too!) and now she loves them as a tween. Now that she is a little older, her love for My Little Pony involves Cosplay, watching YouTube videos of the voice actors at ComicCon and enjoying her favourite twentysomething YouTubers who also love My Little Pony.  One of her good friends at school is a secret Brony (a boy or adult male who loves My Little Pony). When she dressed up as Applejack for Halloween last year, her Brony friend congratulated her on pulling off her first MLP Cosplay – she unlocked an achievement!

Applejack Cosplay

Applejack Cosplay

She was thrilled when we were asked to Review the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Cutie Mark Quests” compilation DVD. She loves that the DVD is not just a season of episodes in order, but instead the episodes on this disc focus on the Cutie Marks each of the My Little Pony’s have.

My Little Pony helps children learn how to resolve conflicts and be better friends to one another. Every pony and every child brings a unique gift or talent to the world – it is their cutie mark. Learning about what makes one special is an important part of a child’s world – so this is a perfect collection to own and enjoy.  We will be taking this one on the road to the Cottage as it is sure to keep both of my kids entertained.  My 5 year old little guy is definitely a Brony in training and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The DVD is approximately 110 minutes long and features a bonus Sing-Along!  Visit ShoutFactory.com for more details.

Shout Factory is releasing this DVD on June 30th!

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Cutie Mark Quests

Would you like to win your very own copy of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Cutie Mark Quests”?

Enter below! Tweet daily for bonus entries. Be sure and follow Shout Factory on Twitter and Facebook. Contest is open to residents of Canada, 18+, Sorry No Quebec. Contest closes on July 2nd. Thanks and Good Luck!

Love,
Jennpup