Last weekend, our family had a light schedule – one track meet and two volunteer hours over two days. For us, that means a free weekend. We decided to take a mini vacation and head up to The Dells for the weekend. (That’s Wisconsin Dells for you out-of-towners.) The Dells are known for their waterparks and over the years, we have visited most of them. This time we decided to try something new. We chose Mt. Olympus because they have both indoor and outdoor waterparks, roller coasters and go karts. Fun for all ages!

I called to confirm that everything was included in the cost of the room and I asked about one room in particular. I wanted to make sure it was attached to the waterpark. I was assured it was. The room had three beds and a separate bedroom – perfect for our family of five. The cost of entertainment for 2 days and 1 night was $320.00.

We were allowed to check in as early as 10:30, although our room would not be ready until 4:00. In the mean time they would give us park passes. When we arrived at noon to check in, the line was to the door. We waited an hour before we got to the front desk. (There were 20 minute parking signs for check-in parking!) To occupy our bored kids, we sent them to the adjacent arcade where they spent $25.00. When it was finally our turn, we were told that our room would not be attached to the waterpark, but was instead “offsite”.

“Are there shuttles?” I asked.


“Could we get another room in the hotel?”

“No,” the emotionless employee said. “We are full. I could give you a condo for $599.00.”

No thanks. Offsite will have to do.

With our passes in hand, we headed out to the park. We had to move our car and because the place was so big, we stopped to ask an attendant how to get to the other parking lot.

“Well, you used to go up that way,” he said while pointing at a barricaded road, “but I guess you can’t now.” He offered no other suggestions, but instead just stared at us.

I wanted to say, “Thanks for your help. Don’t strain yourself. We will find it ourselves.” Instead, we just said “Thank you” and drove on.

Finally, we got into the park, but found ourselves on the waterpark side anyway. We would have to walk to the roller coasters. We walked a 1/3 of the way through the park when my husband suggested we get a drink and snack. One drink and one snack for each – $50.00.

My daughter got something in her eye and we went to look for the first aid station that was marked on the map.  When we got there, nothing was marked on the door other than “Employees Only”. I noticed first aid supplies through the window on the door so I assumed it was the right place. However, no one was there. I went next door to one of the booths and asked for them to call someone. When a first responder came to assist us a few minutes later, I told him that my daughter got something in her eye. He opened a cabinet and handed me a bottle of eye wash. I asked him if he could flush her eye. My daughter put her head back and he poured no more than 5 drops in her eye. Annoyed with yet another Mt. Olympus employee, I told him I would take her to the bathroom and flush it myself.

It was now 2:00. We found a small roller coaster and waited in a crazy long line – about 30 minutes. My son wanted to go on the Go Karts next. One hour in line. Another roller coaster – 30 more minutes. It was now 4:00. In four hours we had checked in, gone on three rides and had a snack. They promised us a text that would give us our room number by 4:00. Never came. At 4:30, my husband called the front desk and got the number.

We had to walk all the way back across the 200 acre park to our car. We got the map and drove a mile or so up the road to our hotel. And here it was:

It was a converted Mom and Pop motel from the 50’s. This was not on the website! It was last updated around 1980. Look at the TV and the microwave.  The room had a fire alarm on the wall, but no sprinkler system. How safe!

To say it was a dump is being too kind. The patio floor was gross. (The cup on the table was full of the wine which  I needed to calm my anger.) Look at our view from the patio.

There was a hole in the wall. (Look at the age of that phone!)

There were mystery stains on carpet, holes in screens and condensation trapped between the window panes.

Here is the pool and playground. There was no front desk on site. We were on our own. In a dump. For $320.00.

Our kids changed into their bathing suits and we headed back to use the waterpark. My husband dropped us off and went in to check us out of the motel from Psycho. He brought in my camera, but never had to use it. He simply told the manager where we were staying and that it was a dump. He told them that we were checking out and he wanted our money back. The manager did not argue very much. At first he wanted to give us a discount, but my husband told him that we weren’t staying even if it was free. By some miracle, a room opened up in the hotel onsite and we could have it for the same price. Wow!

My husband went to see the room before agreeing to it and found that although it was nothing special, it was clean, modern and big enough for our family. He then headed back to the Psycho Motel to gather the rest of our things.

When my husband arrived, he found the door to the motel was held open by a rock. Two men in their 20’s had set up shop in the hallway with a truck parked in front of the door. They had their cell phones charging in the wall. Apparently, they planned to be there awhile. I wonder what they were selling. Glad we were out of there!

The icing on the cake was when my husband went back up to the new room with the second round of stuff from the car. His key didn’t work. His phone was locked in the room so he couldn’t call for a new one. He had to trudge down to the front desk again with stuff in tow. After a visit from Maintenance to change the battery in the door, we were back in business.

Mt. Olympus is the only waterpark that allows non-hotel guests to use their facilities, which I did not know before we booked it. The non-hotel guests wear different color wristbands and you could see that the majority of the waterpark/amusement park guests did not stay at the hotel. Mt. Olympus doesn’t seem to observe any occupancy restrictions, which is scary when you are three stories up on a platform with a hundred other people. The lines are long and the employees make it worse by moving in slow motion.

The next day, we headed to the park when they opened at 10:00. It was a much smaller crowd  as we were all hotel guests and everyone got on the rides a lot faster. We enjoyed the waterpark and many of the rides for a couple hours. By 12:00 it was starting to fill up and by 1:30 it was getting ugly. Although we were able to stay until 9:00 pm when it closed, we decided to call it a day and head south.

The weekend proved something that I have always known. It is nice to get away, but even nicer to come home.