As an educator, I’m enthusiastic about taking advantage of the ample vacation time we’re afforded. Winter break can always be unpredictable due to the weather, but my wife and I decided to brave the relatively short drive north to Wisconsin Dells in order to enjoy the incredible indoor water parks we’ve heard so much about.
We weren’t sure if we wanted to stay at Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari, or Wilderness Resort. Ultimately, after getting advice from friends and doing a little online research, we settled on Wilderness Resort. More specifically, we opted for Glacier Canyon Lodge, which is a component of the Wilderness Resort campus. The two bedroom deluxe suites appealed to me, thus we booked it online.
If you’re also interested in this destination, my recommendation to you is to call them directly in order to book your room. I’ll explain why momentarily.
Let me begin by saying that nearly everyone we encountered at the Glacier Canyon Lodge were perfectly friendly and helpful. Our check-in process was fine and trouble-free. Our check-out also proved uneventful. In fact, we forgot to download new movies from Netflix for our youngest daughter before we checked out, but didn’t realize this fact until eating lunch at a nearby restaurant. Because Glacier Canyon Lodge was literally across the street, we drove back to see if we could still use their free Wi-Fi from the parking lot. We couldn’t, so we went inside. I explained the situation to a young man at the front desk, and he promptly signed us in on my daughter’s iPad. He explained to me that he had a two-year-old and a four-year-old, so he realized the importance of movies on road trips.
The rooms were very nice. My children loved the bunk beds. We found it quite homey and comfortable. I liked that the kids had their own space as well as their own bathroom, yet we still shared family space in the kitchen, dining area, and living room area. We were placed on the ground floor near the entrance. At first I thought this was an advantage, but I soon realized that everyone who used that entrance essentially walked by our window, which frankly unsettled me.
These are not traditional hotel rooms, meaning that, yes, housekeeping will switch out your towels and take your garbage, but they will not make your beds, vacuum, clean the toilets, or anything else like that. Keep in mind that you also have a fully stocked kitchen, though, which includes coffee mugs, plates, cups, bowls, silverware, pots, pans, and cooking utensils. You are expected to load the dishwasher before you leave. House keeping will actually run it for you and restock the cupboards.
Furthermore, as it turned out, we were literally as far away from the skywalk as one could possibly be. The skywalk is an enclosed walkway from the Glacier Canyon Lodge rooms to the Wilderness indoor water parks. We were told it would be a ten minute walk from our room, but it actually took us closer to twenty. This is not a big deal, but with a six-year-old in tow, it got old fast. After our first day, I actually started driving my family around the campus to the indoor area we wanted to visit.
We had a floor above us which initially did not concern us at all. However, on our first night there, we encountered a serious problem. The suite we reserved could sleep up to seven people. The room above us had at least that many people, and they apparently belonged to a gymnastics team or a dance troupe or maybe even a jump rope brigade. They started bouncing around at 10:30 at night and kept it up solid until 2:00 a.m. Okay, whatever. I thought maybe it was their last night and they were living it up.
Unfortunately, on the second night, at the same time, it started anew. Once it got close to midnight, I called security. This seemed to only exacerbate the problem. At that point, I felt sure they would pay my room a visit, or perhaps even the aforementioned bedroom sliding glass door right next to the complex’s entrance. Needless to say, my family did not sleep well that night, and I couldn’t go to sleep for fear of reprisal.
The next day, I visited the front desk and explained the situation. I told them that if the guests above us were not checking out that day, I’d need another room. To their credit, the staff at Glacier Canyon Lodge moved us immediately. They gave us a top floor suite, just like the one we had. Sure, it took us a while to repack our things, but it wasn’t that daunting. However, when we entered our new room, it wreaked of bacon. I mean, this room was pungent. We called the front desk and told them this room wasn’t going to work either. The stench gave me an immediate headache and my wife’s stomach turned sour which forced her to sit in the hall. The manager got on the line with us, and, honestly, I didn’t care for his disposition. He tried to be polite, but I could tell we were annoying him and I didn’t find him too eager to guarantee our satisfaction. Nonetheless, we were placed in yet another new room. The good news is that it was far closer to the skywalk; the bad news is that it was quite a walk with our luggage rack to the new location. Luckily, the new room did not have any exterior entrances nearby, did not stink, and did not have loud neighbors above us.
If you’re excited to visit an indoor water park in Wisconsin Dells, I would not hesitate to recommend Glacier Canyon Lodge. However, remember that the floors between rooms are very thin. We could hear our above neighbors walking around even in our new room, but they had a more sensible bedtime and did not disturb us at all. Just to play it safe, be sure to call in person and request a top floor. Also, talk to someone personally and tell them that you’d like to be as close to the skywalk as possible. These simple steps will ensure an even better experience.
I’ll soon discuss the indoor attractions as well as the local restaurants we tried.
(Did you enjoy this review? Check out Scott William Foley’s short stories HERE!)