After watching the Travel Channel’s “America’s best ten water parks”, we chose to visit the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells; a small town an hour out of Madison Wisconsin or a four-hour drive from Minneapolis. From the descriptions of the show, this resort had the most thrill rides and slides which my son with autism loves.
The resort is family friendly, catering to guests of all ages and offers a few lodging options and several restaurants on the property. We chose the cheaper package deal in their ‘Desert’ room with indoor and outdoor water park tickets. They also have ‘Hut’ and ‘Nomad’ rooms as well as suites with multiple configurations.
I called the hotel before our arrival and asked for a feather free room due to allergies, as well as a quiet one for my son with autism. We were put in the main building at the end of the corridor on the fourth floor where it was pretty quiet, and we found out that the property doesn’t offer any feather bedding, so that was not an issue.
The main lobby area is decorated with metal statues of safari animals and the reception staff members who check you in and supply the room key, and the park entrance bracelet are very professional and efficient. The bracelet made of thin plastic was reasonably comfortable to wear for several hours but proved a bit much for our son to have continuously on his wrist, so we had to remove it every night.
Our room boasting two queen beds and a full-size sleeper sofa was decorated in dark browns and had a definite 1980’s vibe to it. Sporting a microwave, coffee maker, cooler and 40 inch TV, it also featured a dining table which served as a makeshift desk.
The hotel’s free WiFi is somewhat reliable but powering the electronic devices in the room might be a challenge if the entire family wishes to charge their devices at the same time since there weren’t enough outlets.
The closet located right at the entrance is a bit of a small space for the luggage of a family of four, but it is somewhat alleviated by the three drawers in the TV chest in the center of the room where clothing items could be stored.
The Kalahari Resort doesn’t offer free bottled water in the rooms, so guests have an option of purchasing bottles at $3-$5 dollars per bottle or asking to re-fill room glasses with tap water from the restaurant bars.
What we liked in the room was the fact that they had special locks that allowed the windows to open only partially, thus blocking kids from pushing against the screens and injuring themselves.
The bathroom layout was a bit unusual with the single sink in the room located outside the actual washroom.The actual restroom, decorated in light safari hues, had the commode and the curtained tub.
The resort supplies eco-friendly toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soaps but no shower caps or other additional bath accouterments like robes and slippers.Also,the resort does not provide any handheld showerhead or safety mat, so if you feel your child needs them, you should consider bringing your own.
There is no executive lounge, but there is an extensive breakfast buffet adjacent to the indoor park and an à la carte breakfast menu with scrumptious customized three-egg omelets we enjoyed on the last day of our stay.
The Wisconsin Dell property does have a relatively modest gym, which is wonderfully empty to work out in, as well as a spa for parents to spend a few hours relaxing in away from the kids.
Autism Travel Tips
- The air-conditioning in the room didn’t work well when we first checked in, and it shorted a few hours into our stay. It took maintenance quite a couple of tries to get it fixed and once they did it was way too loud to keep on an entire night so sleeping through the evening was difficult for our son with autism since it was unpleasantly hot in the room.
- Make sure you bring an anti-slip mat for the bathroom, as there is none supplied as well as a nightlight as the room can get quite dark at night without it.
- If your child is noise sensitive, ask for a room away from the both water parks.