After a couple of attempts to get some of my extended family to come to the Dells with us, they finally caved and agreed to enjoy a weekend adventure with us at Chula Vista. In order to get them on the hook, I played the ‘Family Christmas Vaca / Madison’s Birthday’ combo card and sold them on the idea. On the attendee roster besides us three (Nellie, Madison and myself), would be my brother Justin and his girlfriend Liz; my sister Janeen and her husband Joel along with their two little girls Chloe and Scarlet; lastly my dad agreed after some serious pleading. Throughout the remainder of this autoblography post, I will do my darndest to paint a vivid picture of our family getaway and provide insights into the pros and cons of the Chula Vista Resort.
Chula Vista – 2013
Given the sheer number of family members attending this year’s Dells trip there were two potential ways we could handle it: 1) split up and get several rooms or 2) get a big suite to fit everyone. We chose to get a three bedroom family condo suite to adequately fit all 10 of us without feeling too cramped. This would be roughly the same cost to us and would allow us more amenities such as the hot tub and a full kitchen to make meals and family social time much more cohesive. It ended up working out great.
Driving to the resort was a coordinated effort in which all of us would be arriving roughly at the same time and checking in. The stars must have aligned because we didn’t have terrible weather and we were all able to get there relatively close to our check-in time, my dad being the exception (arriving much later that evening). Once Nellie, Madison and I arrived we quickly rendezvoused with my sister’s crew and made our way to the room. Bursting at the seams, the girls full of excitement rushed through the condo door and got a lay of the land. The room was awesome and provided ample space for everyone! We quickly designated rooms for everyone and because I did majority of the heavy lifting with the booking and planning of the trip, I felt entitled to the master room; it was lovely!
Before I knew it, Justin Liz and my Dad had arrived and everyone was urging the group to hop into their swimsuits and make our way over to the water park. We hit the water park hard and made the most of our introductory three hours to the park. After exhausting ourselves on the rides, we decided as a group to make our way back to our room. The whole facility was connected so we were able to stay pretty warm to and from the park, which is always nice!
When we got back, I whipped out my Jambox and started playing some music as we opened a few spirits and began prepping dinner as the girls were running around. I had brought some amazing ham that I had cooked and cured with a nice honey / brown sugar glaze and everyone was snacking on it until it was quickly devoured. Equally appetizing was the low-fat spinach dip that I had bought from Costco, super tasty! As we were enjoying some good tunes and snacks the girls quickly made use of the hot tub and especially liked the water jets and the LED lights that illuminated the water.
After we settled down for a while, the kids were excited to sing Madison a happy birthday and to devour some cake and ice-cream. Eagerly everyone surrounded my daughter, I took the honors of lighting the candles and starting the song once the room lights were turned off. I could tell that she felt very loved and special at that moment! After blowing out her candles and making a wish, my beautiful daughter was officially 8 years old!
Thankfully my Dad was content on continuing the celebrating and spending time with the girls that evening which allowed adults us the ability to take advantage of the resort’s bar (Howler’s) and to have a couple more hours to socialize. I think that the excitement and the pre-partying in the room had taken their toll on me, but I was having a good time and let my self enjoy the moment (perhaps a little too much). After a few too many spirits with my siblings and their partners, we all limped back to the room to have one last night-cap and to take ourselves to bed.
The next morning, life was rough for me and it took me a good part of my day to just get moving, note to self, do not repeat! After getting up and motivated the family once again hit the water park and enjoyed the water rides. I found the most enjoyment in racing both Nellie and Madison down a water slide ride called the Matador Mat Racers. We loved how we could be independent in the water park but also be around family and enjoy talking and joking as we waited in the lines or relaxing in their hot tubs.
The remainder of the trip was spent laughing in the condo suite and splashing in the water park. Totally worth the work that I put in to orchestrate everyone and ensuring we had all the supplies needed. I would strongly recommend this as an extended family vacation destination; there is no substitute for quality family time. After checking out we all hit the water park one last time
Below is my detailed review of the water park, I hope this assessment is helpful to any viewers looking to plan a future stay at the Dells!
Chula Vista Resort Review: Rating B+
Best Features: great customer service, fun resort theme, luxury condos, connected resort and water park, good on site bar
Worst Features: water park size, indoor activities (beyond the water park), resort towels
Resort Style & Theme: The Chula Vista Resort provides a fun atmosphere that blends the ancient Mayan time period with modern touches which delivers a positive experience to the guests, however, I think that they could have been a bit more ‘grand’ about the theme and incorporated it more into the resort rooms and common spaces. I think that overall it does feel like a unique vacation destination, but I think that they could accent it a bit more.
Rooms and Amenities: You get what you pay for on this one. This year we traveled and split costs which allowed us to have a sweet condo. The condos are pretty decked out and came fully stocked with cooking utensils and majority of the amenities that a house would have. The beds were okay, but still not quite top end hotel grade, but it did the job. Our condo included a nice living space, a couple flat screen TVs, a pullout couch, a really slick Jacuzzi hot tub, and sectioned off rooms. My least favorite were the condo’s bathrooms, which left something to be desired, nothing fancy in regards to nice shower heads or elaborate tiles which would have made us feel more like royalty. Overall the condo room earns an B+.
Indoor Water Park: The water park was only about 80,000sqft but they did make great use of the space and really offered as much as one could expect with the space. The nice think about this resort is that the water park offered a good variety of family rides and slides that didn’t require a super long wait. However, as this place begins catching more tourist’s attention, we may find that the wait time increases. By far the most family fun came from the Matador Mat Racers a ride which allows up to 3 racers compete for title of the fastest racer. On this ride, you lay on a mat and zip down on your stomaches and see who beats who. Additionally, they have a water coaster called the Flyan Mayan which is quite powerful and jettisons its riders around a quick loop of the indoor park, though because of the short track we felt like it should have sent the riders around twice! . It’s definitely got a lot of fun perks but I would recommend that visitors limit their stay to only a couple of days as any more time spent would potentially leave a family feeling bored.
- Tikes (1-3) are provided an area available that includes a wadding pool and mini water geysers with ample seating for parents to keep a keen eye on their little ones as the play.
- kiddos (4-9) are provided many different options of water rides and slides. Please note, There are restrictions based on height requirements. You must be at least 42 inches tall to be allowed on most of the intermediate rides. Some will also require a parent to come along for the fun. For this group there are several indoor activities offered, one that my daughter enjoyed was the Croc Walk. My personal favorite for this category was the a water slide that Madison called the “Weggie Maker” which was a steep water slide leaving you feel abused as you get to the bottom, lol.
- Tweens (10-17) will still have a blast darting around the water park and hitting some of the most thrilling rides. Being 48 inches tall earns you the ability to ride even the scariest rides without your parents. In this category the Flyan Mayan reigns supreme.
- Adults (18, 21+) The resort was geared towards more family time and less customized for adults within the water park, but this might be a good thing to keep you involved with your kids. There is also a shorter lazy river called Rio Rapids that will allow you to catch some chill downtime too. This is a family favorite and great for grandparents or anyone that’s looking for a slower pace.
Food Options: There are several food options made available at each of the indoor water park areas and sufficient seating too, however, the prices are out of this world and it makes sense to pack a lunch or head back to your room for a meal. I strongly recommend stopping in town at the nearby Walmart and pick up a few things to hold the kids over between meals.
Other Indoor Activities: I found nothing in this space to really be memorable, in fact I think that this could be an area for investment for the resort. Not a wow factor here.
I hope this resort assessment was helpful, and after having been to a few indoor parks at the Dells, I would say that this resort is a great choice for a quick family weekend and offers a fun theme. Overall, I would think about returning to this water park again in the future.
So what are you waiting for, if you’re looking to have a blast this winter check out the Wisconsin Dells!