Shoppers’ Critique International Announces  2012 Theme Park Super Six Winners

Congratulations Winners!

(Orlando, FL November 20, 2012) Shoppers’ Critique International,one of America’s largest and oldest customer intelligence companies, and the leading provider of consumer data to the theme park and attractions industry, has announced the 2012 Super Six winners as follows:

Northeast Region: Canada’s Wonderland Cedar Fair Entertainment

Mid-Atlantic Region: Dutch Wonderland Palace Entertainment

Southeast Region: Legoland Florida Merlin Entertainments Group

Midwest Region: Silver Dollar City Herschend Family Entertainment

Southwest Region: Sea World San Diego Sea World Parks & Entertainment

Northwest Region: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

The 2012 field features all first time winners, and the debut of winning parks for Palace Entertainment, Merlin Entertainments Group and Herschend Family Entertainment. Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the only company to have claimed at least one finalist prize in each of the three annual assessments, with prior wins for The Great Escape (NE 2010), Six Flags New England (NE 2011) and Six Flags St. Louis (MW 2011).

The Super Six recognition was created in 2010 as an output of Shoppers’ Critique International’s annual self-commissioned study of the top 65 theme and amusement park attractions (by turnstile volume) in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The study takes place between May and September and involves multiple on-site observations of each park, including evaluations of the parking lots, front end ticket purchase and gates, attractions, shows, food and beverage, and other facilities. Using a set of objective criteria, the evaluations include measurements of cleanliness, friendliness, efficiency and accuracy, among other variables. The total evaluations are scored and compared within each of six defined geographical territories.

“Cleanliness and out of this world customer service are still what drives halos in this industry,” explained Shoppers’ Critique International COO Rich Bradley. “Guests are still value conscious, particularly in recent years, but they’re willing to pay reasonable prices for being demonstratively appreciated in a well-kept park environment.”

“I love that the park is always very clean and there are always employees visible to me. This tells me the park wants to please their customers by keeping everything clean and in great shape,” explained one evaluator of Cedar Fair’s Canada’s Wonderland.

One of the evaluators of Palace Entertainment’s Dutch Wonderland commented, “I would strongly recommend Dutch Wonderland to any family, especially with smaller children up to age 12…I can’t say enough for the friendliness, and kindness of all employees that we came in contact with today in the park. It truly is a kingdom for kids.”

“I would recommend this park to my friends and family because it’s easy to navigate, the attractions are exciting and food concessions are much better than other amusement parks,” said an evaluator of Merlin Entertainment Group’s Legoland Florida. “The size of the park lets us do all of the activities in one visit. The employees working there really go out of their way to be friendly and helpful.”

“I appreciate the dress code for park visitors and the fun old style atmosphere the park provides. The rides are fun and the park is clean and well kept. There are plenty of shows for all ages and the park is well shaded to provide relief from the summer heat,” explained an evaluator of Herschend Family Entertainment’s Silver Dollar City.

An SCI evaluator of SW Winner, Sea World San Diego, said, “I was extremely impressed by the professional yet very personal service all staff provided. The shows were exceptional and entertained the adults as well as the children. The children in our party loved the kids play area of Sesame Street Bay of Play and it was great to have an area to just let them run around in between sitting down to watch shows.”

“The shows were entertaining and staggered nicely throughout the day,” commented an evaluator of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. “The food that I ate was tasty and was served in large portions. The wait time for rides was reasonable and there were many choices available.”

The study also incorporates SCI’s Neuro-Economic Evaluations which measure subjective reactions to the evaluators’ experiences. These measurements capture present impressions as an indicator of the likelihood of a guest spinning a positive halo of their experience in the park to their sphere of influence and through social media, or as a “net promoter”. This data also highlights the factors which impact the depth of guest loyalty to the brand and the scaled likelihood of generating future revenue for the company directly and indirectly through that particular guest’s recent experience at the park.

“Overall across the nation, scores continue to remain at high marks,” continued Bradley. “When you look at the aggregate numbers from all evaluations of all parks reviewed, the areas ranking the lowest are the front end experience (parking lot/gate) and food and beverage; and most of the complaints relative to these areas involve inadequate or indifferent/unfriendly staffing that’s why our work is so valuable to help our clients uncover, train and correct those deficiencies.”

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About Shoppers’ Critique International

Shoppers’ Critique International is one of America’s largest and oldest customer intelligence companies. Based in suburban Orlando, Florida since 1972, the customer service capital of the world, SCI has developed a legacy of providing the nation’s top corporations with reliable and insightful measurement metrics, analysis and assessment and re-directional training across dozens of industries. A charter member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association, Shoppers’ Critique captures the customer experience for its clients, delivering the highest quality, most credible information in a timely manner, as well as actionable solutions to maximize customer retention and revenue growth, providing an unparalleled return on investment.