Friday, June 3, 2011

Magi-Quest at the Great Wolf Lodge

A little more about on our last trip as a three person family. First, we went to Philly to visit my brother and his wife. We all took ER to an aquarium and an archeology museum (she loves "ancient things" like mummies). Then my wife had a blogging conference at a Great Wolf Lodge so I was trusted with keeping ER entertained at the water park for 2 days. Since she is a little young for the bigger slides we generally could spend about 3-4 hours at a time in different pools. This left us with a little extra time to kill after getting clean up between meals but they have an answer already there for us.

A Magiquest franchise. Penny Arcade had a little post about this a few months ago. Essentially this is a magic themed scavenger hunt around the halls of the lodge with RFID wands. Talking pictures, glowing gems, opening chests, and video displays constantly interacting with tons of kids moving back and forth. Each quest would involve finding like 5-10 different objects scattered in 5-6 hallways so a lot of walking around is involved. ER at first was very tentative since the first part of the game she saw was a final challenge in a dark cave against a tv image of a CGI dragon. ER is a bit of a drama princess and is scared of everything so this put her off. After watching other kids doing all the different challenges, she asked if we could follow another girl around who was doing it. I told her no but that meant she was ready to try it herself. She is still a little young for it since the game does involve remembering long lists or reading the quests in a book so I had to help her but after a little while she was able to remember what objects where in which hall and floor and could lead me to them.

Luckily no one at my location was all decked out in outfits but my little princess was still wanting a sparkly wand with a pegasus/unicorn on it so those cost a little extra but if you are better at limiting your kids it might cost like 8 dollars per hour for the 3-4 hours they could play the game if they were a little faster. It took my 4.5 year old about 4 hours to get through the parts she wanted to do (She would not do the fight the dragon quest). The thing that her most excited was when she say her name on the TV as having competed the second most quests that day and collected the 3rd most gold. They show on a special TV channel in the lodge rooms with stats from the top performers for the day, year, and all time. She was so excited she wanted me to call mommy during her meetings. You might wonder how a 4.5 year old can compete with older kids. It was during a week day and most older kids where not there anymore since school is still in session. We also started right at the 9 AM opening time and checked the TV after about an hour so the number of kids playing was lower.

We enjoyed it and I am not sure how I would have kept her entertained and active the whole time by myself without it. The one thing that I did not like was that when one of the quest objectives was broken you would go to the store and tell them and they would just give you credit for the whole completed quest. I understand that things break when hundreds of children use them a day and this would be fine if you were just trying to complete the quests and get the experience and treasure like a MMO but the point is actually to do the quests (keeping the older kids busy so Mom and Dad can have a moment of calm). So if the second of the 7 things you need to do is broken you essential do not do any of the quest. This was a bigger problem for us since the final adventure my daughter went on was to save the fairies and should have a big pay off where she goes into one of the themed rooms with a wall video display to complete it. This quest had a broken part so she did not get save fairies and get thanked for her help. The people in the store really need to be able to grant just the part of the quest that is broken and let you pick up at the next objective. This might not be the default for most people but it should be good as an option.

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