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Dollywood Discussion Thread

P. 791: Big Bear Mountain family coaster announced for 2023!

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We went to Dollywood in July, mainly to ride LR since we were there in 2015 too. Not surprisingly LR was closed so we went to customer service and asked if we could have like discount tickets or something. We were fully expecting them to say no but it was a last ditch effort. The ladies at customer service were more than happy of give us free tickets for anytime this season, which we used over Labor day weekend and got 4 rides on LR.

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^You just compared a natural disaster event to a roller coaster not being opened....

No I compared it to Dollywoods raincheck policy, someone made a comment about the Dollywood raincheck tickets if they are closed for an hr and a half or longer so I compared the two. Disney's Hurricane policy actually states they do not give refunds. But they did no questions asked.. My point is Dollywood sticks to the book unless you get a manager involved.. Disney did not, it was a one call resolution

 

Again, I was just calling Disney to move my reservation (I hadn't used the tickets yet so no need for raincheck tickets or anything) and they offered the refund so I could book whenever I wanted on my own time

 

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Edited by dstephe9
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Like I said you compared a hurricane policy to what Dollywood did because a real roller coaster wasn't open. Also Dollywood isn't a world-wide destiny like Disney so of course their policy is different.

 

People are trying to compliment a really cool policy that Dollywood didn't have to do, yet you find a way to turn into one of your numerous complaints about a park you claim is your favorite.

Edited by ernierocker
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But my point on Customer Service is still valid.. a positive experience from Disney vs a negative experience that took manager intervention from Dollywood just to print a new season pass with a current date. Again, Disney didn't have to refund according to their policy.

 

Who in my mind should receive "the better customer service award".

 

And that's because personally I have never received that level of CS from dollywood. Maybe it's because I have a season pass and it's like "Oh Well, you will be back" vs potential customers that will not be back if they leave upset

 

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Yeah, dude, you're comparing LR not running to a hurricane. And yes, Disney did basically have to refund you. Whether it's their policy or not, if they sold you a ticket for a day that they weren't open, you would have the ability to dispute the credit card charge. And whether they win or lose, chargebacks hurt any company, so they'll definitely try to avoid it.

 

Conversely, no company is obligated to do anything for someone who's butthurt that they didn't get to do everything they wanted.

 

Sent from my understanding of the way business works via a mic drop.

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dsteph isnt comparing the roller coaster to the hurricane. He just said that Disney customer service refunded his tickets (which could've been used on any day of the season, when the park was open) without asking questions (and without him asking for a refund) even though they didn't have to. He also said that Dollywood wouldn't do that unless they got manager approval because they do what their book says.

 

Now, I'm not saying Disney has better customer service than Dollywood; I don't have experience with either.

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dsteph isnt comparing the roller coaster to the hurricane. He just said that Disney customer service refunded his tickets (which could've been used on any day of the season, when the park was open) without asking questions (and without him asking for a refund) even though they didn't have to. He also said that Dollywood wouldn't do that unless they got manager approval because they do what their book says.

 

Now, I'm not saying Disney has better customer service than Dollywood; I don't have experience with either.

Exactly. And with Dollywood I was just trying to get them to waive the $15 or $20 fee (whatever it was for the replacement season pass). It's not like it was a huge loss to them vs 5 days of tickets and 6 nights at Disney (when they only closed 1 day) I had asked just to move it to later in the year

 

Now I'm just going to get a new card every year when I renew so I don't have to deal with the hassle again. It's free then.

 

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Companies often will invoke flex policies during natural disasters. I work in the travel industry, so this is an area I know pretty well. If your stay/ticket/event falls within a certain date range when a natural disaster occurred, you get your money back, no questions asked. It's really common and is not at all indicative of the type of service you would get if you had booked different dates. Literally the only thing that the two experiences you've cited have in common is that they both happened to you.

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Fine I'll give and say it was OK for the lady at the Cinnamon Bread place to question and say my Gold Pass was no good.. Which snowballed to guest services who sent me to the season ticket office who tried to make me "pay" for a new season pass because mine wasn't damaged until a manager came which took 30 minutes of waiting.

 

No matter how you look at it, that is not customer service.. Simply put.

 

Even if Disney had a flex policy in place, it was a positive experience vs Dollywoods negative and that's what it comes down to.

 

You have one opportunity to provide good customer service before folks form an opinion. And their opportunity to me wasn't a good experience. It might be better if I ever need their CS again, who knows and Disney might be worse..

 

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Okay, dude. After years of having a season pass, this was their one opportunity for customer service. This right here. Your mind was just a blank slate through everything else they have done, and just as you're getting ready to finally form an opinion about that place you've been going for years, they messed up at that crucial time. I get it; that makes perfect sense.

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The park itself is great, it just made up my mind about their customer service and that it is lacking. Hopefully I'll never need their Guest Services again but who knows.

 

Yeah the park itself has bad days but majority of their days are good.. yeah they have policies I don't like (mainly their no rerides even if the park is dead. I feel telling guest to run back to the entrance is more dangerous than allowing rerides) but the park itself I have positive experiences with.. Customer Service is what I feel is lacking at Dollywood

 

Now I don't mean customer service between myself and ride ops or sales associates at the park (Overall that's very positive).. I mean guest services.

 

 

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I'm a longtime Dollywood fan who has visited several times per year for the past 18 years. I've witnessed the customer service levels decrease annually and spiraled down under the Craig Ross regime. They no longer respond to Facebook complaints (or compliments) and their TripAdvisor responses are typically canned reponses. I assume this is largely due to growing pains and their lack of staffing dedicated strictly to customer interactions on social media. I've said it before here, the Dollywood of today does not provide the same level of customer service that the park was once known for (and likely never will under the current leadership). I love Dollywood, it is a special place for my family. My daughter has rode every ride there all the way back to when she was 3 years old and began riding the Convoy trucks, the old kids cars that went around in a circle, the old log flume, even timber tower, and now she rides Lightning Rod (when it operates). Yes, we can recite all the lines from Blazing Fury. Part of what has brought us back year after year was some of those early customer service interactions (Tinker the talking Christmas Tree). These are all "memories worth repeating." Sadly, the new Dollywood just doesn't compare to the old one. Our "memories worth repeating" are becoming fewer and fewer. It is less about the overall experience and more about luring folks in with a new ride. Look at Craig Ross' previous parks and you'll see what Dollywood is turning in to. We are diehard fans and love the park but I agree with everything that dstephen has said.

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I mean, I love Dollywood and always will.. just because I feel their Guest Services is lacking doesn't mean I hate the park.. it means I don't like dealing with their Customer Service and hopefully I won't have to often. I love their food which is a big draw for me.. Shows are decent. I have tons of memories at the park.. Create new memories every year.. I do remember old memories that don't seem as great now as they did though, mainly Christmas.. I noticed this year, not nearly as many traditional Christmas songs or Christmas songs from Dolly. Now it's more mainstream stuff which loses some of the charm. I remember the old Mayor in the black top hat as a kid! He always made me smile when I was younger

 

But yeah I can see Dollywood turning into the old "Paramount Parks"..I believe those are most of his older parks that he has had management in. When it comes to the old Paramount Parks, I only have experience with Kings Island though

 

I mean, the big thrilling rides to bring people in aren't bad (I am actually a fan of these) but they don't have the charm of the Dollywood rides I grew up with. But again I am very excited seeing Dollywood grow! And big rides allow this.

 

But there is a new level of "corporate" feeling in Dollywood that has been getting worse and worse over the years. At times worse than Six Flags.

 

For example, policies like the no rerides.. Six Flags builds excitement by saying "you know you wanna ride again" when rides are dead.. Dollywood just reminds you that you must walk around (or run) and get back in line.. Honestly though, I have noticed the younger ride ops don't follow this rule as much as the older ones do anymore and it depends on the crew. Last year I hated when they said "it's against copyright laws to have your cameras on rides" (I haven't heard that once this season though).. All the fine print on their Bring a Friend passes.. Again just corporate feel

 

BUT a lot of this is needed to allow growth, however, Customer Service is something that can allow growth without changing for the worse

 

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Edited by dstephe9
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^^So, their social media presence is lacking? You didn't give any examples other than that. Not sure you are effectively making your point when you aren't even citing actual park experiences.

 

Just got back from the park today and customer service was as good as it always has been. I've also been going to the park for years and I can count the number of negative experiences at the park on one hand and that was mainly due to other guests not park employees. If you look through the history of the thread, the only consistent negative posts are from members like you and dtephe9 who have also been going to the park for years. Perhaps, both of you have set the bar too high based on past memories and every little thing that goes wrong on your visit is magnified more than it should be.

 

Look, I am not saying the park is the best customer service on the planet, I agree that Disney is better. The situation with Lightning Rod could of been handled better for sure. I think the majority of people on here have agreed with that, but also understand that a prototype ride was likely to have issues and that there was a risk with basing a vacation solely on one ride. Other than that, the complaints I have read from these "long-time" park visitors is nothing but nit-picky complaints that most people wouldn't break a sweat over.

 

dsteph isnt comparing the roller coaster to the hurricane.

 

No one is saying he was literally comparing a roller coaster to a hurricane. He was comparing Dollywood's raincheck policy with Disney's hurricane policy which is beyond ridiculous. Dollywood didn't have to do anything because of Lightning Rod's issue but they offered a free ticket which I call great customer service. He brought up Disney for whatever reason other than other posters were speaking positively of this policy.

 

 

Now I'm just going to get a new card every year when I renew so I don't have to deal with the hassle again. It's free then.

 

 

If you had done this to begin with (like you are actually suppose to do when renewing passes online) than you wouldn't have had to wait 30 minutes for a manager to stop whatever he was doing to make an exception for you. Maybe they waited 12 days, because they were busy responding to legitimate complaints.

Edited by ernierocker
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They give you the option to keep your previous year passes and skip the line. One year they did require a new card, but they never say you have to get a new card every year

 

I wish they would just go to a membership system in general and just pay monthly like I do for Six Flags.. no renewal, just a fingerprint and my old card with a barcode and a picture you can barley make out haha

 

Also, we might be in the minority here that has issues with Dollywood but look at TripAdvisor or even the BBB.. Dollywood has 13 lifetime complaints on the BBB.. 80% of them are this year.. They are having growing pains, it's apparent if you look around.. even their Facebook is full of complaints (I actually defend Dollywood on Facebook some)

 

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For examples of Dollywood's lack of social media presence just go to their Facebook page and read the reviews where people give a star rating. How many do you see where the park responds?

 

Dollywood encourages you to reuse season passes year after year. You are not required to get a new one every year. I finally had to get a new one last year because mine was so old it didn't even have a bar code to scan with their new system.

 

Dollywood is indeed a great park but for folks who have been going there for 10-15+ years will notice the difference. This is why the bar is so high for the old-timers because we have experienced the difference. They have some hosts who still try to deliver those special guest experiences but not like the old days. They even used to have survey folks walking the park and would ask you key questions about your experiences. Nope not any longer. Not even an email survey in recent years.

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Again with the social media. People use social media more and more just to bitch about something and Trip Advisor has always been a forum for bitching. I do understand the sharp increase in BBB complaints as we already agreed that the park's handling of Lightning Rod wasn't the best. Can you imagine the complaints if they just kept it closed the majority of the year whether than trying to get it running? They have been in a lose-lose situation; at least the majority of us got multiple rides in, right?

 

For examples of Dollywood's lack of social media presence just go to their Facebook page and read the reviews where people give a star rating. How many do you see where the park responds?

 

Dollywood encourages you to reuse season passes year after year. You are not required to get a new one every year. I finally had to get a new one last year because mine was so old it didn't even have a bar code to scan with their new system.

 

Dollywood is indeed a great park but for folks who have been going there for 10-15+ years will notice the difference. This is why the bar is so high for the old-timers because we have experienced the difference. They have some hosts who still try to deliver those special guest experiences but not like the old days. They even used to have survey folks walking the park and would ask you key questions about your experiences. Nope not any longer. Not even an email survey in recent years.

 

I didn't realize that about the season passes. It has never been an issue for me to get it updated at some point on my first visit of the year so I don't have to worry about it. I didn't get a new driver's license when I turned 21 so I got hassled all the time when I got carded since it said "Under 18". I didn't file a complaint with the restaurant, I eventually just got a new one.

 

You guys are indeed in the minority. They don't do surveys anymore?!? Yup, the park is going downhill. They don't sing as many traditional Christmas songs anymore?!? Yeah, Craig Ross is ruining everything. Seriously guys, you can complain about these little details, but don't try and convince us that the park is becoming Six Flags or old-school Paramount because things you loved in the past are taking away.

Edited by ernierocker
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I visited the park for the first time this year on two separate occasions, once in March and once in November. Man, had I know the exemplary and compensating customer service I received both times was actually in fact pure s**t as a result of not being near Disney's "please, take our bath mats, too" level of service, I would be pissed. Then I could join in on the relentless bitching and whining on internet forums, too.

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I visited the park for the first time this year on two separate occasions, once in March and once in November. Man, had I know the exemplary and compensating customer service I received both times was actually in fact pure s**t as a result of not being near Disney's "please, take our bath mats, too" level of service, I would be pissed. Then I could join in on the relentless bitching and whining on internet forums, too.

 

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Dollywood didn't have to do anything because of Lightning Rod's issue but they offered a free ticket which I call great customer service. He brought up Disney for whatever reason other than other posters were speaking positively of this policy.

 

He wasn't comparing anything about Lightning Rod to Disney's hurricane policy. He was saying that it was much easier for him to get his tickets refunded at Disney (without asking for a refund), than it was for him to get a new season pass to replace his older one that was causing issues at Dollywood. Nothing about Lightning Rod.

 

Also, I have no experience with Dollywood, but if they didn't want you to keep the old passes, it wouldn't be an option.

 

So, about this new drop tower and mat slide in 2017

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^Reading comprehension is your friend. You should try it.

 

As for the raincheck tickets, I have never needed one but I do like that Dollywood does offer them.. BUT Disney gave me a full refund on tickets in October due to the hurricane.. No raincheck ticket offer or anything, just a refund.. Raincheck tickets are good but not helpful for people who traveled long distances. Disney even refunded the hotel and deposit.

 

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^Reading comprehension is your friend. You should try it.

 

As for the raincheck tickets, I have never needed one but I do like that Dollywood does offer them.. BUT Disney gave me a full refund on tickets in October due to the hurricane.. No raincheck ticket offer or anything, just a refund.. Raincheck tickets are good but not helpful for people who traveled long distances. Disney even refunded the hotel and deposit.

 

 

Ok, it had been a few pages since I read the original post and other posts about it made me think I was right. But either way, he wasn't comparing Lightning Rod to the Disneys policy. He was comparing Disneys hurricane policy to Dollywoods rain policy.

 

But anyway, I feel like this argument is a waste of several pages of discussion, and it also shows that the offseason is approaching

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