Disney Quality Service in an Unlikely Place

Admit it, why do we all go Disney?  Is it just the rides?  Is it just the food?  No, it is the excellent service!  Yes, the service may not be quite as good as it was before, but it is much better than most vacation destinations.

Customer service has always been my passion.  I guess it all started when I entered my senior year of college at Florida Hospital – Orlando.  To this day, I remember the inservice on customer service that we had to go through during orientation.  I remember how important it is to have the satisfied customer versus the dissatisfied customer and have embraced this in my daily life.  Unfortunately, most places that I have traveled to outside of Disney have not lived up to “the standard”.

I had to travel to Arkansas this week for personal business.  I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to stay, but I knew that I wanted to stay somewhere quiet and inexpensive.  I did some search on the internet and came up with the only lakeside resort in Diamond City, Arkansas that I could find a website for.  The name of it is Diamond City Lakeside Resort.  I grew up in the area and did not have great expectations for the stay, but it was cheap.  I told my husband and kids to “not expect the Hilton” and away we went.

When we arrived on Sunday night (about 3 hours after we said we would be there), we were greeted with nothing but smiles.  When giving us the lay of the land, I was told to leave our used towels outside in the morning and that they would “magically” disappear and be replaced with new ones.  My next words were, “Is this Disney World?”  Katie and Adrian bought this resort in 2006 and have lovingly restored and rebuilt it.  I have to say that their service has been greater than stellar, if that is possible, because they treat their guests just as they would family coming.  Just this evening, my daughter got stung by some wasp, and her finger was swelling.  We came straight back to the resort, and Katie quickly got my daughter some ice to put on her finger.  Every morning, Katie runs a cafe in her office/gift shop.  Her “Katie Cakes” are amazing, rivaling the crepes of France in EPCOT.  The prices are unbelievably inexpensive, and the quality and variety are great!  We were sad when we had to leave the resort and begin the long drive home.  We just didn’t want to go, but we were sent away with handshakes and hugs.  It was just like leaving your family after a visit.  Our children are already planning their next stay and plotting on how to get their grandparents to come, too.

Also, I remember hearing rumors over the years that I lived near Branson, Missouri about Disney buying property in the area.  The rumors persisted for decades.  I never did see a Disney park built there; although, I think that it would have been a great addition to the attractions already in the Branson area.  This trip, though, I saw something different!  In Lead Hill, Arkansas, someone is building a medieval castle.  Can you believe it?!  They are building the Ozark Medieval Fortress with methods from the medieval period.  We decided to take the tour, and

I almost thought that we were in EPCOT for the quality learning environment with a fun twist.  The tour guide was amazing!  He actually has a degree in European history and was willing and able to answer every question that we had.  In fact, he told us that he had worked at the Magic Kingdom at one time.  The quality rivaled Disney in every way.

If you ever want to get away from it all and not pay an arm and a leg for Disney quality service and entertainment, come visit Katie and Adrian at the Diamond City Lakeside Resort on Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas.  While you are there, and not on the lake, visit the Ozark Medieval Fortress.  By the way, stop at Shirley’s Diner for the best homemade Hush Puppies that I have ever eaten.

Just a disclaimer:  I have no connection with any of these businesses other than the fact that I have stayed at and visited them this week.

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