Great Wolf Lodge So Cal – Great Fun and Food Close to Disneyland

In 2016, the Great Wolf Lodge So Cal indoor waterpark resort opened down the road from Disneyland in Garden Grove, California. Less than three miles from the world-famous amusement park, Great Wolf Lodge So Cal is a fantastic option for families looking to add a little water-park fun to their visit to the Mouse.  Plus, with Disneyland ticket and transportation packages to/from the theme parks, Great Wolf Lodge So Cal makes that trip to the “Happiest Place on Earth” a little more affordable. I recently visited Great Wolf Lodge So Cal during the opening of the Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure’s Pixar Pier, and you can read more of my impressions below.

Great Wolf Lodge So Cal

For those not familiar, Great Wolf Lodge So Cal is one of 17 Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resorts stretching across the country (and one in Niagara Falls, Canada).  Great Wolf Lodge So Cal is one of their largest resorts with over 600 all-suite rooms plus the indoor and outdoor waterpark with over 4,000 feet of water slides and indoor Flowrider surfing. Best of all, waterpark admission is included with your room rate for all guests staying in your suite, and waterpark admission is only for guests of the resort – so the pools never get over crowded. Second, your family can enjoy the waterpark as soon as you check in on through park closing the day you check out – so you get two days of waterpark fun for one night’s stay.

Great Wolf Lodge So CalGreat Wolf Lodge So Cal

Sarah Woloski reviewed Great Wolf Lodge So Cal extensively when it opened in March 2016, but this was my first visit to the resort. After visiting many Great Wolf Lodge properties as part of their “Ask-A-Mom” panel, I felt at home when I walked into Great Wolf Lodge So Cal. As one of the newer resorts, it doesn’t have quite the same Northwoods Cabin feel, but more of a contemporary styling to the lobby. However, entering the waterpark, I found signature Great Wolf Lodge attractions I already knew and loved like the six-story Howlin’ Tornado (one of my favorite slides) along with a Wolf Tail trap door drop slide that was new for me. Lots of kids were having fun giving surfing a try on the Wolf Rider Wipeout Flowrider surf simulator.

Great Wolf Lodge So CalGreat Wolf Lodge So Cal

In addition to the water park attractions, there are plenty of other family fun activities such as MagiQuest, Ten Paw Bowling, mini golf, and more, but one thing that really surprised me was the food at Great Wolf Lodge So Cal. I dined at Lodge: Wood Fired Grill, and this was so much more than burgers and chicken fingers. My server recommended the brussel sprouts? Seriously? Brussel sprouts as a signature item at a family resort? Ummm, OK, I gave it a try. Brussel sprouts and kale were deep fried, sprinkled with goat cheese and balsamic dressing – it was delicious!

Great Wolf Lodge So Cal

I followed the brussel sprouts with one of their signature wood-fired steaks that came with even more veggies (broccolini and carrots), and washed it down with a craft beer from Karl Strauss Brewing Company.  The Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale seemed appropriate after my visit to Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure.

Great Wolf Lodge So Cal

I finished my meal with a piping hot lava cake topped with ice cream and a side of fresh berries.

Great Wolf Lodge So Cal

With my belly sufficiently full from the meal at Lodge: Wood-Fired Grill, and my legs most relaxed after a soak in the pool, I had no trouble falling asleep in my Northwoods-themed room at Great Wolf Lodge So Cal, and rest up for another full day of fun at the waterpark or on to Disneyland Resort.

Great Wolf Lodge So Cal

If you’re planning a Disneyland vacation to visit the new Pixar Pier or Pixar Fest, Great Wolf Lodge So Cal is a unique and affordable alternative to the three official Disneyland hotels especially for those families with kids who cannot get enough pool time.

DISCLOSURE: Dave Parfitt was hosted by Great Wolf Lodge So Cal and received complimentary accommodations at the hotel for one night plus dinner at Lodge: Wood-Fired Grill.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on InstagramTwitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.