When I was growing up, we would make an annual or biennial road trip to visit my Grandma in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was a full day or sometimes even two day car ride and it was BOOORRRIINNG. I don’t mean the car ride itself was boring, of course that was, but also the destination portion as well. To add insult to injury, the route to and fro always passed by Lake Delton, home to Wisconsin Dells and some of the largest waterparks in the world. I always remember looking out the window as we crept along the interstate and wished that we would stop there instead. It would have been a lot more fun than the regularly scheduled program.
Alas, we never did stop at the waterparks on our way to Grandma’s. As an adult, I understand my parents reasoning. Firstly, it is expensive, especially when you have a station wagon full of kids. Secondly the purpose of the road trip was to visit home bound family members.
30 years later and kid me got his wish fulfilled! Shae’s work puts together discount trips throughout the year. We decided to take advantage of one such trip that was a two night stay at America’s largest indoor waterpark, the Wilderness Resort in Lake Delton, WI.
The room cost was $386.27 for both nights, and the bus ticket cost was $25 per person. We also spent $85 on dinners, and another $14 on breakfasts and lunches. The total trip cost was $560.27 including all transportation, lodging, food, tickets, taxes, fees, and gratuities. Per person, that comes out to $186.76 or $93.38 per day. We could have included a 4th person for just the bus fare of $25 plus food. One could easily argue that this was not a frugal trip.
We did save gas money by riding on the charter bus, so that was probably $40 saved. We also saved quite a bit of money by bringing breakfast and lunch staples from home and only eating out for dinner. Finally, the room rate was a special group rate. We saved $15 with the Group Rate for lodging.
There are three separate indoor waterparks at this mega resort, and we tried them all out over the course of two days. All of them had a mix of little kid/teen/adult attractions. Shae couldn’t partake in any of the slides because she is sporting a wonderfully cute baby bump.
Frugal Boy at a stout 37″ was able to go with me on probably 50% of the slides. The two of us had a great time riding tubes and rafts down dark passageways. At the end of the trip, he said it was his favorite part. Ahhhh.
Some areas were included in the lodging price, such as this three story play area.
It was a lot of fun climbing around the structures and using the air cannons to shoot nerf balls at other people.
We skipped other areas that were pay-to-play, such as the Arcade and High Ropes course.
We had packed breakfasts and lunches from home to save money on eating. I was pleasantly surprised with the cost, quality, and service of the dinner choices. I was expecting concession stand quality food at huge markups in cost all paired with crappy service. Instead for dinner we had decent food with quick friendly service at only a modest ‘tourist trap’ markup in price.
When we travel, we try to stick to our normal bed times. For Frugal Boy that is 7pm, so like it or not, we tend to have a lot of downtime during the evening. One of the tech items that I really enjoy is Plex. Plex lets you serve up your media collection at home to anywhere in the world. Now when we travel, we can bring along an old laptop, or our Apple TV and we can watch all of the same movies and tv shows that we can watch at our home theater. When Mom and Dad just need a moment, Paw Patrol is still one of the best distractions.
It will be nice when the kids get a bit older and do activities later into the day. For now though, we’ll just enjoy the cuddles.
The company does the same, or very similar, bus trips each year. Next year, we’d probably skip this trip because there is not a lot that a one year old can do at the park.
While it was an expensive weekend getaway, it was a lot of fun and our last 3-person trip before our family dynamic changes. Shae and I both wanted to enjoy and savor the last bit of time that we have with Frugal Boy as an only child.