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Great Wolf Lodge vs Disneyland

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  • [Review] Great Wolf Lodge vs Disneyland

    So, my family and I decided to try something different for our Christmas vacation. We had already done multiple stays at DL, and had some friends recommend the Great Wolf Lodge as a fun place to go.


    Now, before I go on, I want to reiterate how much I love DL, so just because I may say something negative about DL, doesn’t mean I’m excited or wishing for its demise. I’m just saddened at the experience now.

    So, we stayed at GWL and we did in fact have an incredible time. Not only did my kids ages 9,6, and 4 say it was the best trip ever, the amount of customer service you might say was above and beyond anything DL has today. I wouldn’t even be surprised if some of the workers there had once worked at DL. Just some of the tiny things they did that felt like what DL used to be 30 years ago. Now, this is not a knock on current CMs as a whole because I have met many similar CMs who go the extra mile at DL, but the whole experience just felt like everyone was putting their best foot forward at all times unlike the previous trips to DL the past 10 years. Almost as though Disney doesn’t feel like they need to try because they’re Disney and are unaware of other options that are catching up to them or have surpassed them experience wise,

    And of course these are just my experiences and are not indicative of everyone’s.


  • #2
    If only GWL could put some pirate AA along the lazy river. Then it would be perfect! We stayed at GWL in August and enjoyed it very much. I thought the food was so much better tasting and better priced than anything at DL. And I'm specifically referring to the walk up food stand in the pool area.

    Comment


    • #3
      I will be honest I have yet to take my family yo GWL but of all the co-workers and friends that have done it they have also said the same as the OP and they all had an amazing time. Granted they all had kids 9 or under and I hear for those 10+ it's not as exciting and they get bored fast. But they said the staff was awesome and the food was good. We almost went a year or so back but the thought of spending 2 days indoors felt a little odd. When we go out, we like to go out.

      I often wonder when or if Disney will at least try and return to their once Leader in Customer Service status?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Starcade View Post
        ...I often wonder when or if Disney will at least try and return to their once Leader in Customer Service status?
        Sadly, as long as millions of customers crowd DLR, paying ever-higher prices for ever-declining service, giving Disney ginormous profits and its top executives ginormous bonuses, the answer is "no."
        "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
        it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
        together with every variety of recreation and fun,
        designed to appeal to everyone."

        - Walt Disney

        "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
        - Michael Eisner

        "It's very symbiotic."
        - Bob Chapek

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Starcade View Post

          I often wonder when or if Disney will at least try and return to their once Leader in Customer Service status?
          What would be the incentive?

          Comment


          • #6
            I hearing good concept about......
            Great Wolf Lodge


            *experience is more enjoyable
            *the price is bit better
            *customer service is Great

            Than any hotels that Disney have to offer!
            It place I going have to check out........I got my information
            what have read and word of month .
            Soaring like an EAGLE !

            Comment


            • #7
              I worked there for about a year. While the pricing is better, it really is a hotel designed for families with small children (ages 5-8). Stayed a couple times with family in the rooms. Having stayed at both the Grand and Greatwolf, I'd say the customer service is about equal, but the overall experience at the Grand was better.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Right Down Broadway View Post
                What would be the incentive?
                I think the only way that would happen is if the economy takes a dive and attendance doesn't bounce back afterwards. Disney would be forced to put out an above and beyond product again. Otherwise I completely agree with you. Customer service at the park is nothing like it was in the 80s but that's not to say there are some cast members today who still do a fantastic job, but its not across the board the way it use to be. In the 80s it was the standard. They treated you like gold then and it was packed in the summer time so its not like they can't provide superior service when they have big massive crowds. They did it in the past so they can do it again. But they paid more then and clearly treated their employees much better. Once again, it all goes back to Disney's leadership, or lack of I should say.
                Last edited by tarheelalum; 01-04-2020, 04:48 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tarheelalum View Post
                  I think the only way that would happen is if the economy takes a dive and attendance doesn't bounce back afterwards. Disney would be forced to put out a above and beyond product again. Otherwise I completely agree with you. Customer service at the park is nothing like it was in the 80s but that's not to say there are some cast members today who still do a fantastic job, but its not across the board the way it use to be. In the 80s it was the standard. They treated you like gold then and it was packed in the summer time so its not like they can't provide superior service when they have big massive crowds. They did it in the past so they can do it again. But they paid more then and clearly treated their employees much better. Once again, it all goes back to Disney's leadership, or lack of I should say.
                  Not to nitpick words (your post is spot on), but DL's decline in customer service is not due to a lack of management leadership; it's the result of deliberately planned and aggressively applied leadership that reduces customer service to increase profits. The CM hiring standards, training standards, pay, longevity, and CM-to-customer staffing levels are pathetic shadows of what they were in the pre-Eisner years. Michael's minions started the customer service ball rolling downhill to help deliver the double-digit profits that he demanded. Through the years, each generation of top executives has given it an additional kick -- down to the present and most cheaptastic management regime of all, that of Bob Chapek.

                  The following post from 2012 bears repeating. Sadly, the standards have continued to decline since then.

                  Originally posted by Westsider
                  People still seem to think that CM's are actually trained on how to be "nice" to people, or given basic expectations of politeness, or taught tactics and nuances of providing good customer service. No such training exists in any meaningful way.

                  (There is a four hour class for new hires on how to pick up heavy boxes or push large objects around, however. It's called Safety In Motion and it is mandatory, with mandatory annual refresher courses assigned to every Resort CM. No such course in Courtesy exists, and so there would be no such annual refresher course since the initial course isn't there to begin with.)

                  The training materials and techniques belched out by the bloated and pathetic "Disney University" training department in 2012 are worthless, and do absolutely nothing to set forth any sort of customer service standard CM's should live up to, let alone actually teach 18 year old Joe from Monrovia, CA how to handle any specific customer service situation.

                  The first day of Traditions, and the second day of Welcome To Park Operations touches briefly on customer service. But it does so in such a bland, corporate-speak, TDA-cubicle created way that it is practically meaningless. And God forbid you actually lay out the concept of actual standards that someone would live up to! That is too advanced for TDA's Disney University group, and they are busy sitting in TDA far removed from the actual operation of the park to even consider such a silly thing.

                  I find it humorous that people are confronted by poor customer service and then expect that there is still some sort of training program that would have prevented it had the CM in question only been paying attention. There is no such training. The times you receive good customer service by a front line host or hostess is due more in part to the upbringing that CM received from their parents, and/or perhaps a particularly good Lead who is supervising that location and leading great performances.

                  But nothing the Disney University has done in the last 10 years will have had any impact on the good customer service you receive in the parks. The times you get bad customer service is more the fault of Disney University, but only because they don't really do anything to try and correct it from the starting point of OJT [On the Job Training].
                  Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 01-04-2020, 01:12 PM.
                  "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                  it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                  together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                  designed to appeal to everyone."

                  - Walt Disney

                  "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                  - Michael Eisner

                  "It's very symbiotic."
                  - Bob Chapek

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    But it wasn't always like this, correct?

                    Wasn't there an employee manual called "The Disney Way" years ago, with the first sentence, "Your job is to create happiness?"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
                      But it wasn't always like this, correct?

                      Wasn't there an employee manual called "The Disney Way" years ago, with the first sentence, "Your job is to create happiness?"
                      Correct. In the pre-Eisner days, the Disneyland University was world-famous for its standards of employee training. Disneyland was often cited by business publications as a world class model of employee training and customer service. Management viewed its frontline employees as Disney's representatives to the public, and invested in their training accordingly.
                      "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                      it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                      together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                      designed to appeal to everyone."

                      - Walt Disney

                      "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                      - Michael Eisner

                      "It's very symbiotic."
                      - Bob Chapek

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You know, I've never had a bad interaction with a Disney CM in my nearly 40 years of being on this planet. When you consider how over worked and under-appreciated the average CM is, they're handling themselves pretty well. Here's a small example though: awhile back I was in the park for my early magic hour and waiting for the submarines. The hour was almost up, and I said good morning to the CM working the queue. She lit up and said "That was my first "good morning" of the day!" So this girl has been working a park that has been open for around and hour, and not a single guest even said "good morning" to her. Its not the CMs that are a problem.
                        "Have I gone mad?"
                        "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are. "

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I can see your point here. However, there is a level of showmanship missing from CMs that I remember being present in the early 90s.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                            You know, I've never had a bad interaction with a Disney CM in my nearly 40 years of being on this planet. When you consider how over worked and under-appreciated the average CM is, they're handling themselves pretty well. Here's a small example though: awhile back I was in the park for my early magic hour and waiting for the submarines. The hour was almost up, and I said good morning to the CM working the queue. She lit up and said "That was my first "good morning" of the day!" So this girl has been working a park that has been open for around and hour, and not a single guest even said "good morning" to her. Its not the CMs that are a problem.
                            THANK YOU! I wish more people could see that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                              You know, I've never had a bad interaction with a Disney CM in my nearly 40 years of being on this planet. When you consider how over worked and under-appreciated the average CM is, they're handling themselves pretty well. Here's a small example though: awhile back I was in the park for my early magic hour and waiting for the submarines. The hour was almost up, and I said good morning to the CM working the queue. She lit up and said "That was my first "good morning" of the day!" So this girl has been working a park that has been open for around and hour, and not a single guest even said "good morning" to her. Its not the CMs that are a problem.
                              In my experience, it's usually up to the CM to initiate this. When you work that type of a job, you can't expect people to come up to you randomly and say nice things. It's up to you to pro-actively engage the guests in a way that brings out the best in them.

                              Some people are naturally outgoing and cheery, so they're instinctively good at this. But most people aren't. For most of us, we have to make a conscious choice to engage with people in a completely different manner than what we do in our regular lives. For many of us, we go through our regular lives more or less ignoring the people around us. It feels awkward and weird to try and strike up conversations with the stone-faced people around us that have their faces buried in their phones or whatever.

                              For me personally, I've really had to learn how to pro-actively engage with random people for my job, and it's something I still have to consciously work at. It's so tempting to just walk right past people, or let them walk right past me, and never interact with them. But when I make the effort to engage with people it's almost always totally worth it. It makes me happy, and it usually makes the other people happy. It also often strangely ends up being less awkward than ignoring them.

                              Here's what I would say is important for all people who work jobs like Disneyland Cast Members: Pro-actively engage with people, be genuine, be friendly/cheery, be relatable/human/understanding, and generally try to make people smile. In theatre acting terms, you have to "overact" a bit. Much like a comedy, you really have to sell it, or else the audience will just stare at you like "Um, were we supposed to laugh?".

                              Instead of just saying "How many are in your party?", try following up on their answer with a cheery response like "Awesome, you folks are going to love this ride!" If the line stalls, rather than ignoring everybody, maybe call out "Who's excited to ride _____!?!" Ask guests how their day is going. Ask them what their favorite ride has been, or what they're most looking forward to. Tell them you love the hand-made Mickey ears that they clearly spent hours working on.

                              As a Cast Member, you are the one responsible for breaking the ice. You are responsible for setting the tone for their experience on the ride. You are the one responsible for helping the guests feel alive and valued. Your interactions (or lack of them) with the guests can make their experience either really boring and lifeless, or really alive and funny and exciting. You have to dig deep and find that "summer camp counselor" part of yourself. The people around you will feed off whatever vibe you put out there. So make sure that you put out life and energy and positivity and humor and understanding and kindness and appreciation/affirmation. Build up those around you and bring out the best in them.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Steven Fonzi Brown View Post

                                In my experience, it's usually up to the CM to initiate this. When you work that type of a job, you can't expect people to come up to you randomly and say nice things. It's up to you to pro-actively engage the guests in a way that brings out the best in them.

                                Some people are naturally outgoing and cheery, so they're instinctively good at this. But most people aren't. For most of us, we have to make a conscious choice to engage with people in a completely different manner than what we do in our regular lives. For many of us, we go through our regular lives more or less ignoring the people around us. It feels awkward and weird to try and strike up conversations with the stone-faced people around us that have their faces buried in their phones or whatever.

                                For me personally, I've really had to learn how to pro-actively engage with random people for my job, and it's something I still have to consciously work at. It's so tempting to just walk right past people, or let them walk right past me, and never interact with them. But when I make the effort to engage with people it's almost always totally worth it. It makes me happy, and it usually makes the other people happy. It also often strangely ends up being less awkward than ignoring them.

                                Here's what I would say is important for all people who work jobs like Disneyland Cast Members: Pro-actively engage with people, be genuine, be friendly/cheery, be relatable/human/understanding, and generally try to make people smile. In theatre acting terms, you have to "overact" a bit. Much like a comedy, you really have to sell it, or else the audience will just stare at you like "Um, were we supposed to laugh?".

                                Instead of just saying "How many are in your party?", try following up on their answer with a cheery response like "Awesome, you folks are going to love this ride!" If the line stalls, rather than ignoring everybody, maybe call out "Who's excited to ride _____!?!" Ask guests how their day is going. Ask them what their favorite ride has been, or what they're most looking forward to. Tell them you love the hand-made Mickey ears that they clearly spent hours working on.

                                As a Cast Member, you are the one responsible for breaking the ice. You are responsible for setting the tone for their experience on the ride. You are the one responsible for helping the guests feel alive and valued. Your interactions (or lack of them) with the guests can make their experience either really boring and lifeless, or really alive and funny and exciting. You have to dig deep and find that "summer camp counselor" part of yourself. The people around you will feed off whatever vibe you put out there. So make sure that you put out life and energy and positivity and humor and understanding and kindness and appreciation/affirmation. Build up those around you and bring out the best in them.
                                Love this! It’s these little things that make all the difference.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by DisneySpaceAce View Post
                                  So this girl has been working a park that has been open for around and hour, and not a single guest even said "good morning" to her. Its not the CMs that are a problem.
                                  It's amazing to me that in your nearly 40 years on this planet, you still fail to grasp the problem with this scenario. You are a GUEST. The CM is your HOST. It's HER RESPONSIBILITY to make sure YOU feel at home, by welcoming YOU with a "good morning." It is not your place, as a guest, to make sure she's feeling OK.

                                  There's certainly nothing wrong with you offering a salutation. But the CM certainly wasn't playing her part to the best of her ability. And that is the issue we're having here.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Steven Fonzi Brown View Post

                                    As a Cast Member, you are the one responsible for breaking the ice. You are responsible for setting the tone for their experience on the ride. You are the one responsible for helping the guests feel alive and valued. Your interactions (or lack of them) with the guests can make their experience either really boring and lifeless, or really alive and funny and exciting. You have to dig deep and find that "summer camp counselor" part of yourself. The people around you will feed off whatever vibe you put out there. So make sure that you put out life and energy and positivity and humor and understanding and kindness and appreciation/affirmation. Build up those around you and bring out the best in them.
                                    It also made the day less boring. I liked interacting a lot with Guests at Disneyland because you could be a little silly because it was Disneyland.

                                    I used to jokingly "interrupt" my CMs (when I was a lead) that were obviously having a rollicking good time with Guests (at the expense of efficiency) by yelling "HEY - Get back to work! This is DISNEYLAND - this is a SERIOUS BUSINESS! You can't have FUN at WORK!" The Guests would get a kick out of it...

                                    Too many people working there take things too seriously. It's Disneyland, it's an easy job - enjoy it!

                                    -signed, proud ex-button-pusher.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Theme_Park_Insider View Post

                                      It also made the day less boring. I liked interacting a lot with Guests at Disneyland because you could be a little silly because it was Disneyland.

                                      I used to jokingly "interrupt" my CMs (when I was a lead) that were obviously having a rollicking good time with Guests (at the expense of efficiency) by yelling "HEY - Get back to work! This is DISNEYLAND - this is a SERIOUS BUSINESS! You can't have FUN at WORK!" The Guests would get a kick out of it...

                                      Too many people working there take things too seriously. It's Disneyland, it's an easy job - enjoy it!

                                      -signed, proud ex-button-pusher.
                                      Lolol, that's awesome! You clearly had the right mindset for the job. Thanks for sharing that story!

                                      Comment

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