Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tell-Tale Tourists

Wisconsin Dells has a population of 2,600 people and its neighboring town, Lake Delton, has a population of 2,900. Which totally explains the dozens of restaurants, water parks, attractions and theaters in these towns.  Actually, families like ours explain all of that -- tourists.

Look out! The Floria-Horsman tourists are in town!
Spending a week at Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells is like being transported to another world, one in which money doesn't matter because everything you do you charge to the room. Even buying tickets to other attractions in the area can be done at a discount and charged to your room. Why not do it all, it's all free!! (Ignore that piece of paper under your door on the last morning of your stay, it means nothing.)

Since it was all free, we rode the Ducks, those 7-ton hunks of 70-year-old metal that move from land to water and back again. You may remember them from that beach in France.

Lindsey went zip lining while the less adventurous of us went on a horse-drawn carriage of a canyon. Yes, a canyon, carved by a prehistoric glacial lake smack dab in the middle of Wisconsin.

We explored different restaurants and spent hours in the various pools at the GWL water park, sipping those free margaritas by the outdoor pool while the kids splashed and played in the water.

We posed for a 1930's gangster style photograph and had to keep straight faces through our giggling.

We spent a rainy morning in the arcade, spending that "free" money to buy cheap prizes for entertainment.

We ordered ice cream, muffins and iced coffee on a nearly daily basis from Bear Paws, the cute bakery/coffee shop/ice cream shop in the resort. Why not, it's all free!

Our last evening we went to the Del Bar for dinner, a restaurant that's been run by the same family since 1943.  We were the only ones wearing our typical tourist t-shirts with GWL water park bracelets on our ankles. The hostess took one look at us and said, "Enjoying the Dells?" We were the tell-tale tourists in this place, because everyone else looked like locals.

When we walked in I felt like we had stepped back in time, in a really good way.

The bathroom was vintage, with alternating pink shades of tile on the walls and floor and a lounging area before the swinging doors that led to the toilets and stalls. And while the bathroom was entertaining for the girls, their wine list was extensive and their steaks divine.  That had to be our best meal out of the entire week.

Our best customer service experience was at the arcade at GWL. Lindsey had won a game that dispensed 1,000 tickets. (For context, the previous day her entire evening's activities netted her only 285 tickets.) They put all the ticket points on a card which is then traded in for prizes. She couldn't decide on which prizes to get, so she decided to wait and come back later.

Unfortunately she lost the card in the few hours she had to hold on to it. We tore the room apart, looked up and down the hallways in case she had dropped it, asked various housekeeping and retail staff and eventually declared it lost. We went back to the arcade and explained what had happened. The manager took our word for the number of tickets that were on the card and gave us a new one with exactly that many points on it. What could have been a downer for Lindsey turned out to be a high point.

I keep saying that each vacation we take is the best vacation we've taken. I guess the best vacation we've ever had is always the one we took most recently. Each time, we are making memories we will cherish. I'm pretty sure that's the point.


  1. What lovely time you had, and I love the video. I sure wish we had this kind of technology when you were kids, we had some pretty good memories, many of which no longer cling to my consciousness. I'm glad you had such a good time and the price was sure right.