The kids had a winter break from school so we decided to take a little road trip. I planned this back in December and I guess in my head it seemed far off. As I was packing Asa’s stuff, I wondered if I was crazy taking a 3 month old to a water park. Luckily, he was a dream! Except for the afternoon that Tim walked all the way back to the room with a screaming baby only to find that he forgot his room key.
Sadly, I was unimpressed with Wilderness at the Smokies. I will break this review up because some parts were good but some were just bad!
Room – B
The room was nice. We got the bunk room at the River Lodge that connects to the indoor Water Dome. The kids enjoyed the bunk bed. There was a little wall between their bunk and our bed so we each had a TV.
Water Dome – C
We have been to Great Wolf Lodge so I am comparing the two parks. There were not as many slides as Great Wolf. It also wasn’t as clean. There was no one checking wrist bands or swim diapers as you walk in and they ran out of towels. I will say that the lifeguards are on it. I saw a life guard jump in the wave pool after a little girl whose life vest came up over her head. My husband enjoyed the Storm Chaser. The kids enjoyed the other two slides and the wave pool. No one would try the Surf Rider!
Food – F
They advertise “Kids Eat Free” for the two onsite buffets. We went to the Thirsty Miner on the first night. It was after the water park so it was later than we usually eat. The hostess was not very friendly. The kids and I walked over to the buffet and it was horrible. Everything looked like it had been sitting out for hours and many of the items were empty or very close to it. I walked back to the table to have Tim take a look. At $20 per adult, I would expect more even if kids do eat free. He agreed that there was not much that looked appetizing. We went to the front desk to see what our other options were. She told us about their “fast food” option (sounded good since it was after 7pm by this time). We walked down there and paid $40 for fast food and waited 30 minutes for it to come out.
Activities – B
They have some fun stuff onsite that you pay extra for. They offer a one day pass or a whole stay pass. Since we were only there for one whole day, we just did the one day pass. It included a little ride, the rock climbing wall, a ropes course, miniature golf, a laser maze, and bowling. It didn’t include laser tag but we didn’t spend the extra for that.
Hospitality – C
The staff wasn’t very friendly. We got a call from the “concierge” our first night and he asked how the room was. When I said the room was good but we were not happy with the food, he said that he could help with that. We were invited to a catered lunch by Wyndham the next day for $10 per person and “it’s not hotel food.” No thanks!
If you are looking for an indoor water park, I recommend Great Wolf Lodge over Wilderness at the Smokies.
We didn’t eat at the hotel for the rest of the trip. We made a trip into Pigeon Forge one day and had lunch at Paula Dean’s. Wow! It’s family style dining and it was wonderful! The kids thought it was super fancy.
The good news is that we survived our first vacation as a family of 5!