Thank you to Cartoon Network Hotel for sponsoring this post so I can share these must-know tips for visiting Cartoon Network Hotel. All opinions are 100% my own.
We have been long Dutch Wonderland visitors, and when Cartoon Network Hotel opened next door two years ago, we were very keen to visit. Last weekend we got our chance to touch down with all of the toon fun and had such a great experience! Read on for a description of the property and must-know tips for visiting this super-unique destination.
The Cartoon Network Hotel Property
Before visiting Cartoon Network Hotel, I was curious to see how the property was laid out. See the map below for specifics! There are three main buildings: the L-shaped lodging building with all of the rooms, the outdoor pool, and the main lobby/dining/play area. On the first floor of the main building, you’ll find registration, the Cartoon Kitchen, the Bearista cafe, the Omnicade, VR play area, the Toon Room, and the gift shop. You are welcome to visit and dine in this area even if you aren’t staying at the hotel. On the second floor, there are four specially-themed character suites you can book (best done well-ahead of time as they are quickly snatched up!).
The Cartoon Kitchen is a full-service restaurant with neat Cartoon Network-themed entrees for kids and adults (click HERE for menus), while the Bearista Cafe offers sweet treats, grab-and-go items, coffee drinks and alcoholic beverages for the adults! Across the lobby, you’ll find the other attractions. The VR play area is built into the front of the Ben 10 Omincade (an arcade) and opens into the Toon Room, where all the arts and crafts are done. There is also an interactive tile floor game, a virtual tag wall and Powerpuff Yourself stations in the Toon Room.
In summer weather, the large outdoor pool/recreation area behind the guest rooms is open as well. Since we visited in the winter, we didn’t get to enjoy these attractions, but our room directly overlooked the area and it seemed like it would be a super-fun spot for kiddos! The pool includes a slide, cabanas and a hot tub. In warmer months, you’ll also find the outdoor concession stand beside the pool and the splash pad (PowerPuff Girls Splashville) open, a firepit area, and an outdoor movie screen.
Must-Know Tips for Visiting Cartoon Network Hotel
Now that you have the lay of the land, let me share some tips on how best to enjoy your visit to this cool place.
- Have a game plan for check-in. Park in front of the main building entrance and leave your luggage in the car, as you may be able to find parking far closer to your room. As soon as you walk in, there is a lobby scavenger hunt table set up to the right, which is a super way to entertain the kiddos while the adults check-in. If you’d like to meet the characters, check activities schedule first and plan around those times so you don’t miss them. When we visited, Character Meet and Greets were on the weekends generally around check-in and check-out times.
- Also check the schedule for dining times. At least during the season we visited, neither the Cartoon Kitchen nor the Bearista Cafe was open for lunch, and some nights during the week, they are also closed at night. There are loads of other family-friendly restaurants right around the hotel, so you can take your crew out, or choose to bring food in/with you. There is a small refridgerator in each room.
- Consider how you want to spend your visit before you leave. The other activities (pool, Omnicade, Toon Room, VR Play, and arts and crafts) are open from morning to night, so you will have more freedom to enjoy these amenities whenever suits you. After enjoying all of the Cartoon Network Hotel highlights, you will likely have time to enjoy some other area attractions. There are two different shopping outlets across the street and Dutch Wonderland is directly beside the hotel. The property is also perfectly centered in the heart of Lancaster County, which makes for easy driving distance to Hershey and Amish attractions. After VR play and some time in the Toon Room, we enjoyed pool swimming, a little shopping, and playing some games we brought in the room.
- Budget for activities during your stay. You do have to pay for the Omnicade, VR play and some of the arts and crafts (note: we bought the $15 VR 3-play option and my husband and kids were well entertained for over a half hour so it was well worth the money!). Any parents know how quickly money can fly at an arcade, so best to set a limit and discuss with your kids ahead of time.
- Speaking of budgeting, the gift shop is a really cool spot for any Cartoon Network fan, so you may want to plan ahead for this. My daughter is a huge We Bare Bears fan, so she purchased a keychain for her backpack with souvenier money she brought. We also treated the kids to the signature We Bare Bears macaroons served in the Bearista Cafe–a huge hit!
- If you plan to eat at the Cartoon Kitchen, reserve one of the three Dream Cubes ahead of time–this is a themed booth area with your own TV for cartoons. We didn’t reserve one, but arrived early and were able to snag one that hadn’t been claimed. It was a fun way to enjoy the meal!
- Bring appropriate outerwear and a pool bag. In the summer, this is less of an issue, but if you plan to enjoy the indoor pool, it is on the far side of the outdoor play field. Your rooms also have outside entrances and you need to walk to the main building. We had a very cold, windy February weekend, so I was thankful for our coats and the tote bag we could stash changes of clothes in so the kids could get out of their wet suits before heading back to the room (there are locker rooms). If it was rainy weather, raincoats or umbrellas would also be handy.
- If you want to chill at the indoor pool for a while, consider bringing toys/games/books/etc. Unlike the outdoor pool, there is no splash pad or slide. It is a great spot to relax with a book or game beside the pool and for kids to enjoy pool toys. There is a hot tub and separate small shallow pool for little ones. There is also a ping pong table in the back.
- Set aside time for cartoon-watching in the room! In the rooms with bunk beds, each bunk has it’s own individual TV, which the kids thought was amazing! There is also a main TV along with a comfy bean bag chair that makes for the perfect set-up to cozy in an catch up with all of your favorite Cartoon Network Characters.
Have you visited Cartoon Network Hotel? What other tips do you have? If you haven’t visited, let me know if you have other questions, and I hope you’re able to plan a toon-tastic getaway soon!
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