Thursday, Oct 9, 2014 – Shopping & a movie

I went over to the Tanger Outlets and hit a few stores.  This outlet mall is different from any other I have seen.  It is an outdoor mall with a roof over it, so you still feel the outside weather temperature as you move from store to store but you are under a roof.

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I had some lunch and went to a movie – “Gone Girl”.  It was good but not exactly a happy movie.

So I wanted to come to the Wisconsin Dells because I had always heard it compared to Branson, MO.  I have visited Branson probably 35 times in my life.  So here are my observations.

The Dells is very much a family destination.  There are numerous indoor and outdoor waterparks here.  The two major ones are Noah’s Ark and Mt. Olympus.  Noah’s Ark has 44 waterslides plus much more.  Mt. Olympus has 51 waterslides plus more.

There is every motel brand represented here along with numerous independent motels and then the Mt. Olympus has 1500 rooms.  Mt. Olympus has obviously over the years purchased small independent motels across the area.  All over town are one and two story motel units painted the signature Mt. Olympus colors with signs stating which building number of Mt. Olympus they are.  According to the website, Mt Olympus has many options for families to stay such as rooms with 3 queen beds and bunk beds as well.  I will say all of the independent motel units around town look very well kept from the street anyway.  There are 17 campgrounds as well.

There is every fast food and casual dining option available here along with many independent restaurants.  There are a lot of entertainment options for children….mini-golf, arcades, go-karts, zip-lines and on and on.  What is missing is the entertainment options outside of waterparks for adults.  There are two options I would have seen if I had come during the summer when they are option…a famous water-ski show and a lumberjack show.  Also a huge difference from Branson is the shopping options.  In the Dells area, you have the Tanger Outlets (mostly high-end brands), a Wal-Mart and a Kohl’s along with the normal tourist t-shirt shops and that is it.

Another big difference is the entire Dells tourist area is four lane versus the two lane option for a big part of Branson.

An interesting difference is also the lack of public hotel and dining prices.  In Branson, almost every motel and restaurant you pass has a sign of some variety advertising, 2 night stay for $99, 2 people for 1 night $60, $9.99 buffet, all you can eat pizza $6.99 and so on and so on.  Here you see absolutely none of that.  I read that the tourist council or chamber does not allow it.  You see things like…2 night Fall Special, World’s Best Chicken, Pizza Buffet….any thing they can advertise to entice you without an actual price.  Even McDonald’s does not advertise prices.

I have found customer service here in the Dells to be much better than it was in Door County.  In Door County, you felt like they were just meeting your needs and that was it.  It was the exception if someone actually greeted you, smiled at you or went beyond just completing your transaction.

So, after all that, my observation would be that if you have children that love waterparks then this is definitely the place to come.  If you are visiting someplace without children and don’t want to visit waterparks then you would be happier choosing Branson, where you can attend shows and have considerably more shopping options.

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