great wolf lodge

March 14

Thrifty Travels to Niagara Falls

Posted by on March 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Thrifty Travels to Niagara Falls

This past March Break, I took the family to Niagara Falls. Honestly, I would never recommend that to anyone. It was way too crowded for my liking, and I think I’d much rather go during the off-season, when I’d also get better rates. The terms Niagara Falls and thrifty don’t usually go together, as everything there is at an escalated price, plus there is a tourist tax added on top of these high prices. But, I found a way to do in a wallet-friendly way, both through trial and error and through research. I’ve been to the Falls at least 20 times, so I think I’m a little bit of an expert on what to do and what not to do.

Fallsview vs. Cityview or No View

First, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Most people want the entire package – the fallsview room with the jacuzzi and the full-service hotel. If you want to save some money, you might need to cut back on your expectations. I’ve stayed in both fallsview and cityview rooms and really, the fallsview is much nicer, but you get bored of it rather quickly, especially if you are going out and about quite often. If this is a romantic trip and you’ll be spending quite a bit of time in bed or in the jacuzzi, then definitely splurge, otherwise save your money. Another time you might want a fallsview room is when they will be having fireworks over the falls. It is nice to have the option to watch them from your room in case everyone is tired, or you don’t feel like standing out in the street.

Savings: $30+

Off The Beaten Track

When choosing where to stay and if you’ve already decided you don’t need a spectacular view, decide if you can live with being a little farther away from the action. There are quite a few smaller hotels that are behind the big ones that look over the falls and offer much better rates. The difference between staying at the Best Western on Lundy’s Lane compared to the Hilton on Fallsview Blvd. is a matter of about $100. This is the same with other hotels in the bigger chains that do are not on Fallsview. You can still get a really nice hotel a few streets back and you’ll save quite a few dollars. Take a look at Trip Advisor for reviews and ratings on all the hotels.

Savings $100+

Group Deals

I’ve both reserved rooms directly with the hotel and bought group deals for hotels and I would have to say a group deal is the clear winner. Both WagJag and Groupon have all different types of hotel deals, most with meal and activity credits included. I would suggest using Trip Advisor to read reviews of each hotel and reviews of the activities and restaurants included too. You really have to do your research because you could read “$100 meal credit” as  being an amazing deal on an $80 hotel deal, but that restaurant’s cheapest meal might be upwards of $100 on its own. Our WagJag deal included a $70 credit for Ruth Chris and while you can’t find any information about pricing online, I went right into the restaurant, looked at the menu and found that most entrees were $70+ and your side was an additional $12! My family of five would have spent a few hundred dollars there even with the credit. We turned around and found an all you can eat deal at a Brazilian place, where my two younger ones also ate free.  With our WagJag being only $80, and including a few things we did happen to partake in, it was still an amazing deal as the hotel was nice, clean and not too far from the main drag.

Savings: $50+

Eating Out

Like I said, Niagara Falls restaurants have upsized prices, even the chain restaurants you are used to back home add a few dollars to their prices. You really need to pick and choose where you’d like to eat if you want to keep costs down. Even a simple ice cream cone from Dairy Queen was not cheap. Your best bet might be to get off the main strip and head into the city of Niagara Falls, where there are a number of great restaurants frequented by locals that have regular price meals. I would also suggest you bring as much food as you can and find a hotel with a refrigerator, because all those little snacks you’ll buy really add up.

Savings: $50+

Having Some Fun

There is so much to do in Niagara Falls, it is hard to be bored. This past trip we went to one of the wax museums and Ripley’s Believe or Not. I had actually been to both before, but the kids hadn’t and while they mostly enjoyed it, my little one was not too fond of the life-size and life-like wax people. We hadn’t planned on going in there, but the guy out front offered us a deal, with both places included and didn’t make us pay for the kids. If you’d like to go to one of these places, haggling is always an option. If cutting a deal is just not the way you work, you simply have to ask “is this the best price, or can we do better?” and see what you get. If you do get a group buy deal, many of them come with arcade tokens, laser tag, mini golf and other such fun little attractions. I have to say, they all seem better than they are. While I found many of these attractions fun for the kids, I would never put my money towards them if they weren’t included. Don’t expect much is basically what I’m saying. We wasted a good hour in the arcade and the kids loved it, but with $100 worth of credits, the only prize my kids got at the end were three small candies, even with thousands of earned tickets. If you plan ahead, you can get something like the Clifton Hill fun pass or the Wonder Pass. These will save you money over paying for each attraction individually.

Savings: $25+

Getting Around

Driving is fine to get around in Niagara Falls, but know that parking is very steep. Most hotels cost $25 to park there, but they usually also offer off-site parking for less. Get one person to drop everyone and the luggage off and then park farther away. It is worth it. The same goes for when going to attractions. To park at the Falls, it is at least $15 (seems to change with the season), but if you can park farther away, you can get away with as low as $5. Sometimes the group deals and passes come with WeGo passes, which is the transit system just for the tourists around Niagara Falls. The only downside is that the buses don’t seem to run that often and the waits can be really annoying. You can also buy WeGo passes, and if you aren’t willing to pay for parking, they can  be worth it. Another option is to walk everywhere, but the Falls area is pretty hilly, so wear good shoes!

Savings: $10 – $25

Waterparks

Niagara Falls has a few waterparks and I’m proud to say I’ve been to all of them. Each has their own uniqueness, but I have to say my favourite and the best value is Great Wolf Lodge. Because only hotel guests can use the waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge is really never that crowded and I’ve been there when the hotel was sold out over Christmas break. There are also quite a few other things to do at the hotel, although there is also an additional cost, so be aware that you might spend more money, even if you don’t leave the hotel. The restaurant there offers a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner and while I found it pricey, it is cheaper than going out to the Falls to eat (as I found out the hard way). As I said above, bring any food that you can from home and save some money. We also been to Waves, which is a much smaller waterpark, and while fun, I think it is best for parents with babies and not older children. They also let in people from other hotels, including daycares and school groups, and the cost of a hotel room with an included waterpark pass is not that much cheaper than Great Wolf Lodge. The Fallsview waterpark is what I would call, the worst deal. It gets insanely crowded because anyone can attend and it is $50 a person to get in, aged three and up. You can get passes from Costco, which are only $28 a person, and so much better of a deal, but don’t plan on getting them anywhere near Niagara, because they won’t have them in the store. You can order online and print at home though. You can also get hotel deals for the Fallsview, but the deals I found were still quite expensive and not worth it in my opinion.

Savings $50+

Bargainmoosers, what do you like to do in Niagara Falls and how do you save money when visiting there?

Photo credit: Adrian MB

Moose Rating (1 votes)
February 4

Great Wolf Lodge Promo Code: Up To 38% Off

Posted by on February 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Great Wolf Lodge Promo Code: Up To 38% Off

Get up to 38% off a stay at Great Wolf Lodge with family rooms as low as $159 with promo code.

Click here to book your waterpark stay @ Greatwolflodge.com now

  • Coupon Code: EXCLUSIVE
  • Discount: up to 38% off
  • Expiry: 10th February 2014

This is a really great deal for Great Wolf Lodge where normally you’d pay about $200 minimum per night for a room and your waterpark passes. I am seriously considering taking a little February break and running off to their humid indoor temperatures. This deal is only valid for weekdays, which I think is the best time to go as it is way less busy as the only people there are people who let their kids skip out of school (like us).

If you have never been to Great Wolf Lodge, you are completely missing out. I usually don’t have only nice things to say about a place, but I do about Great Wolf Lodge. Besides the expense, and in this case, it is way discounted, just being there makes you feel happy. The lobby, the restaurant, the rooms, the waterpark, all of the above are just a fantastic experience. My middle son went there when he was 2 and for the next year after that he’d ask everyone if they had ever been there because he loved it so much. He has already told us he wants to go there for his birthday this year.

Here is a sampling of the prices:

  • Family suite – $159/was $219
  • Wolf Den or KidKamp suite – $189/was $259
  • KidKabin suite – $219/was $299
  • Loft fireplace suite – $249/was $329

It looks many of the other types of rooms have already sold out, so if you want to go, I suggest you book soon.

You must travel between now and March 26th to get these prices. You’ll also get a $50 resort credit, which you can use in the restaurant, gift shop or something else at the resort, although can’t be used towards gift cards or your room, etc. This is also a really great feature of this deal considering the buffet at the restaurant is $20 a person, including the kids, so at least you’ll be paying for more than half your dinner. Bring bagels or toast for breakfast and save money that way too.

The bad news: you can’t use this deal on March Break of Family Day.

Check for Great Wolf Lodge coupons before booking any waterpark adventure.

(Expiry: 10th February 2014 at 9pm)

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 3

Great Wolf Lodge Canada Promo Code: 20% Off Your Stay

Posted by on January 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Great Wolf Lodge Canada Promo Code: 20% Off Your Stay

If you are planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in the next few months, book by January 17th to get 20% off your stay with promo code.

Click here to book your waterpark vacation @ Greatwolf.com now

  • Coupon Code: EARLY
  • Discount: 20% off
  • Expiry: 17th January 2013

This coupon code is only valid for Niagara Falls, and for travel between January 5th to March 27th. You can use it for multiple night stays, but there are limited rooms available for each date and it is not valid for blackout periods. I checked and it is not valid for March Break or Family Day weekend. Personally, I don’t mind taking the kids out of school for a few days to avoid the busy times like March Break. It is a much more enjoyable stay somewhere when it is not crowded with people and I don’t have to wait in unbearable lines. That said, I went to Great Wolf Lodge last year over the Christmas holiday; it was sold out of rooms but I didn’t find it too crazy (besides the check-in line and at the restaurant).

This deal includes your stay plus four park passes. They have entertainment all the time in the lobby, plus other activities you can pay for. Great Wolf Lodge is probably one of my most favourite places to go, and we plan to make a trip there sometime early this year.

Sample pricing:

  • Family fireplace suite – $175.99
  • KidKabin suite – $239.99

Check out the coupon forum for any Great Wolf Lodge coupons before you book.

Moose Rating (2 votes)
January 10

Great Wolf Lodge: Save 20% On Best Available Rates

Posted by on January 10, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Great Wolf Lodge: Save 20% On Best Available Rates

Great Wolf Lodge is having a sale on right now with 20% off the best available rates with this coupon code. Your room rate includes four water park passes for your entire stay, including the day you leave and day you arrive. This code only applies to a two-night or more stay.

Click here to book your vacation @ Great Wolf Lodge

  • Coupon Code: EARLY
  • Discount: 20% off
  • Expiry: 11th January 2013 (18th for American destinations)

Great Wolf Lodge is a fantasy vacation spot for my kids. My middle son talks about it non-stop for months to everyone, even strangers. I am never able to wipe the smiles off of their faces there. Not just a water park, this place is a destination. I think I could even hold off the begging for Disney just by offering a Great Wolf Lodge trip.

From the time you pull in the parking lot, the scene is magical. The lobby is filled with moving, realistic animals that talk and tell stories. There is an arcade and a kid’s spa. They recently came out with a new MagiQuest game that is all over the hotel and impossible not to partake in. The rooms are furnished like lodges and even the smallest rooms are spacious and inviting.

There are activities in summer and winter, although my favourite time to go is near Christmas when they have a realistic life-sized gingerbread house in the lobby that you can actually get to eat in. At night there is story time and our favourite thing – the dance party.

Here is a sampling of the rates I got today at Great Wolf Lodge Niagara Falls. Note that these rates can change with different dates and with availability. Weekends are more expensive.

Family Suite: $159.99 per night
KidKamp Suite: $191.99 per night
Loft fireplace Suite: $255.99 per night

Check out the Bargainmoose coupon forum for more Great Wolf Lodge coupon codes.

Moose Rating (4 votes)