Monday, June 18, 2012

Vacation Review and Wrap-up

I was away on vacation last week (sorry no notice, ever since I stopped blogging anonymously, I've stopped giving advance notice on absences).

We went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA and to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge on the recommendation of one of my best friends, whose daughter is one of Muffin Man's best friends, and it. was. AWESOME. The water park alone was terrific, but there was also a game that MM could play that was kind of a scavenger hunt throughout the hotel. MM completed the whole thing and now wants to go back to play the next level (I know, I know). His favorite thing at the water park proper was the Howlin' Tornado, which is basically a heart-attack on a raft. Fortunately, he found some kids his age who were happy to go on it again and again and again...

The rooms and food at Great Wolf Lodge were very good. We stayed in a very basic room, but there are rooms with log cabins in them, which I think would be fun if you've got more than one kid with you. The food was way better (and less expensive) than anything at Disney World. They had a buffet that was not just your standard kid fare.

Our original plan had been to stay at GWL one night, and to go camping the next (ready to go to Colonial Williamsburg the day after that), but GWL gave us a half-price coupon if we extended our stay...and so we did. We'll go camping one weekend in July instead, and we'll visit Colonial Williamsburg then as well. Great Wolf Lodge was just so much fun we didn't want to leave.

So after two full days at GWL, we drove up to Hershey Park to stay at the Hershey Lodge. Hershey Park itself was lots of fun, and the Hershey Gardens are beautiful, especially the butterfly house. If you're going to visit Chocolate World, be aware that only the virtual factory tour is free, everything else costs extra. Hershey doesn't let you visit the actual factory anymore, alas. The Hershey museum is lovely, and takes less than an hour to visit. They have chocolate tastings in the cafe there ($10.00 for six glasses of different kinds of chocolate.) MM's favorite things at HP were the Coal Crusher and the Trailblazer. We started out on the SkyRush, and let me tell you that it was really unpleasant. It goes very very very fast and is kind of painful. We did not go on anything that turns you upside down. The smokehouse has very tasty food.

We were all pretty impressed with how nice a guy Mr. Hershey seemed to have been. If you know for a fact that he was a huge anti-semite, or racist, or whatever, please don't tell me. I'd really rather not know.

On the whole, our family agreed that we would have been happier staying at GWL and maybe visiting Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg while we were there. Next time, that's probably how we'll do it. Hershey was fine, but I think it might make a better day trip from Loudoun than an overnight stay (only a two-hour drive each way), just about the same as to King's Dominion.

Also, I read a ridiculous number of mystery books, most of which I've read before, and Muffin Man and I are reading Little House in the Big Woods, because I won a bet. He's enjoying it very much, I'm pleased to say.

This post has not been sponsored in any way. Our family received no compensation from either Great Wolf Lodge or Hershey, and aside from taking GWL up on their special deal to extend our stay, we paid full freight for our whole holiday.


Anonymous said...

You are way too kind to that other park, so let me take the gloves off: Disney can kiss my rumpled butt.

The food on both of our visits was insulting, both in price and quality. GWL's food, otoh, was not out-of-line for a theme park, quite good, and (being a buffet) was offered on the all-you-can-eat plan.

Hersheypark was also quite nice, though its main appeal is in its roller coasters, and I think we can now be sure we are not really a roller-coaster outfit. I did feel a pleasant wave of nostalgia, when our son asked to ride The Trailblazer with me a second and third time, as that is the only roller coaster I have ever enjoyed riding, and the only other time I have ridden it was with my own dad, 37 years ago.

No, I think Hersheypark will have to wait until our boy takes his child there. (And I agree that the gilded image they presented us of Milton Hershey need not be subjected to any further scrutiny. He built a fun park and made a good candy. That's all I need to know about any man.)

GWL, however, is open-ended fun. That will be one to return to.

Disney? Pucker up, boys. You can just pucker up.


jo(e) said...

That sounds like a fun vacation!

Teagan said...

Glad to read this about GWL. Am taking my two kids to Williamsburg for a few days over the 4th of July and are staying there. I have my $20-off Busch Gardens tickets and a multi-day pass to the historical area.

We'll be there for 5 nights, so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.