Thursday, September 6, 2007

Quality, Quality of Life and the Family Vacation

As previously stated in this blog, Quality can be defined as User Defined or Fitness for Use. A well planned vacation that is executed as planned would be a Quality vacation. That said, I have to admit that our summer vacation was a Quality vacation.

My family and I recently returned from a 10 day vacation which included stops in San Diego, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Grand Canyon, AZ, Hoover Dam, Sedona, AZ and Phoenix, AZ. This was a Quality of Life trip as well as a stroll down memory lane for me.

In 1975 my parents packed 3 suitcases (one for the adults, one for the kids and a third garment carrier which contained 'special' clothing for our more formal nights) and jetted us off to Denver, CO for a world-wind tour of the western part of the US. We stopped in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada (north), California (traveling from Yosemite to LA), back to Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas (pan handle) and back to Colorado to fly home. There were 3 individual day trips into Mexico boarder towns, too. We traveled about 10,000 miles in 30 days visiting national parks, various cities and sites galore. We saw family throughout the country, some that I've not seen since. My sister even visited a pen-pal in San Francisio. It was a great trip that we still discuss.

So this summer I packed up my wife and kids (more bags, less formal wear) and headed west for our own adventure. Some of the stops were the same, some were new to me. I tried to repeat some of the adventures my dearly departed dad presented like stopping at the first service stop in Nevada to see that there was a Slot Machine available...this still tickles my funnybone as there was a Slots room at that first gas station. New adventured included eating at a road-side rest on Route it was not Flo's from the movie Cars as well as the Wild Animal Safari Park (part of the San Diego Zoo) and LEGOLAND® Californiatheme park. We also visited with family in Arizona which was a great life experience for all of us.

What I want to talk about with regard to this vacation and Quality of Life are two experiences at LEGOLAND® California.
1. LEGOLAND® California is a full amusement / theme park with rides for kids of all ages. From our perspective, though, it is truly geared toward young minds, I'd say from 4 - 12. Luckily, my kids (12 & 10) fit right in the optimal age range. We had lunch at the Sports Cafe in the park. What attracted us to the cafe was their 'Kids Buffet'. My daughter is a picky eater. She saw lots of food on this buffet that would please her. My son, on the other hand, is what we call a 'foodie'...he likes to eat, has a decerning palate and does not like 'kid food'. So to maximize our adventure (and minimize our costs) we agreed to allow my son to choose from the parents menu but order a kids buffet. My wife ordered his meal and they swapped. The Quality of Life moment was when my daughter (remember she is the picky eater that is never satisfied when we eat out, unless its at a pizzeria or hot dog stand) announced 'This is the best meal I've ever had!'. To us this was the ultimate Customer Satisfaction moment...LEGOLAND® California should be proud of themselves.

2. Within the park they have a mock-up of a Lego factory so that visitors can see how these magic blocks are made. For the record, I've been building with Lego blocks for over 40 years and I have never seen a single defective block...that is quite a record of manufacturing performance as far as I am concerned. the Quality of Life moment came when I was finishing the walk-through. The family was ahead of me and into the store adjoining the factory. I stopped at the last mock-up which was packaging and began speaking with the Guest Service representative, Renate. I mentioned to her that my Uncle Eddie had glued together Lego assemblies in the window of his toy store in Queens, NY back in the 1960's and 1970's. I also mentioned that the remainder of those structures (part of a house, a man and a clock face) are in my son's Lego collection and played with regularly. Renate was impressed by this announcement and asked where my family was. I told her and she asked me to bring them back into the 'factory'. I did as instructed and Renate gave us a private tour of the inner workings of this factory regaling my kids with some priceless gifts and memories.

Danielle & Alex (Sharon is in the background)

Alex, Renate & Danielle

Danielle & I found the Quality Department
I was so impressed with the personalized customer service that upon my return to New York I visited LegoLand's web site to provide positive customer feedback. The LEGOLAND® California organization continued to impress me by responding to my feedback...see below.

September 12, 2007

David B. Levy

Dear Mr. Levy,
Thank you for taking the time to e-mail us here at LEGOLAND® California and share your experience at The Factory Tour with us. We appreciate feedback from all of our Guests and are pleased to hear that you had such a nice encounter with Renate.

It is wonderful to know that your time with Renate provided you and your kids with such happy memories. We thank you for your photo, as well, and have shared it and your comments with Renate, so that she will know how much you appreciated her efforts. Please be assured that your comments were also passed onto our Director of Operations and our Director of Food & Beverage for their review.

We value your patronage and thank you again for taking the time to give us this valuable feedback. We look forward to having you visit with us again someday soon.


Jolene Sanchez
Guest Service Liaison
LEGOLAND® California

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