For ages, I've been a roller coaster and theme park fan but haven't visited De Efteling. It's a cultural blunder of mine, because De Efteling is pretty much considered part of dutch culture. One of the lead designers even got royal recognition for his contributions.
However, I now find myself lucky enough to be the owner of a season pass. And I personally think it is about time that this park gets some recognition over here, because in my not-so-humble opinion, this is the best theme park outside of the Disney ones, and it offers an experience no park can duplicate.
I donít have any pictures myself, so Iíll follow those on the following website:
Letís get started, shall we?
The obvious place to start is Ė of course Ė the entrance. Visible from the parking lot in the first picture, it is one of the most beautiful entrance buildings ever, I think. De Efteling is a dutch park that has grown in a full-size theme park, even though it used to be a fairy tale forest. The forest is still an important and enchanting part of the park though. In general, there is a lot of natural beauty in flowers, and most of the park is hidden inside a forest.
The 3rd picture shows Pegasus, a small family wooden coaster. Unfortunately, the main coasters are not themed. But they are nice rides anyway. Below the pictures of Pegasus is Python. Itís considered Hollandís top coaster by the general public, even though itís an ancient 1980s double-loop-corkscrew model. It is a classic, but still not very special other than for nostalgia.
The 3rd coaster is a lot better: Vogal Rok. The entrance can be seen, itís a huge bird. The coaster is indoor and in the dark (hence no pictures), there are a couple of laser effects and so on, and there is a synchronized score that is totally amazing. Itís everything youíd expect from Space Mountain, but with a different story.
Then thereís the Bobsled coaster, pictured below it. An Intamin Bob, quitwe nice and going through the forest.
This year they will open their 5th coaster, a water coaster called De Vliegende Hollander (Flying Dutchman), it has a darkride part that is alleged to tell the myth of Captain Willem van der Decke and his doomed ship. Itíll probably open in 2 months time.
Enough for the coasters, because they are not what makes De Efteling special. Hop onto page 2 of the picture site. First there are some picture taken from the Pagode viewing tower/thingy, which shows the natural beauty of the park. Itís quite a large park, too, so take walking shoes with you if you ever visit.
The Piranha is the parkís Intamin rapids ride. Itís quite nicely Mexican themed and can get you quite wet. Not good in typical dutch weather, but hey, even we get some sun every now and then, ha!
Scrolling down the photo-page, youíll come across a white building called Villa Volta. This is an Vekoma mad-house, which tells the old dutch legend of ďDe bokkenrijdersĒ, a group of thieves plundering and roaming the dutch and belgian countryside. Their leader, Hugo van der Loonsche Duynen, gets a bit too enthusiastic and steals from a chapel in Belgium. He therefore gets cursed and will never ifnd piece and rest in the world, nor in his own home, untill a person with a clear conciounce enters his villa. Obviously, the guests are welcomed inside. I think I wonít have to explain the concept of a mad-house, which leaves me to say that this is my favorite one. The animatronic preshows, the musical score and the storytelling are all world-class!
Next to this attraction (and on the photo below it), is Droomvlucht (Dreamflight). It has a Peter Pan-ish inverted transportation system, so itís a darkride. There is no story per se, but there are a number of amazing scenes of what you would expect to see in a dream, all together with another amazing musical sonudtrack! Thereís a scene with castles in space, a lush and green room with elfs and fairies. The ifnal scenes is a slow fall down the rainforest filled with more fantasy creatures. The sights, sounds and smells are fantastic. Unfortunately, the pictures only show the entrance to the ride, but you can find a few pictures of the inside here:
Trust me, the real life views are much better!
Then there are a number of classic attractions, steam-powered carousels etc. Carnaval Festival is De Eftelingís answer to Itís a Small World, with a soundtrack that is even more annoying than Disneyís and with litterally hundreds of animatronics.
The Last picture on the site shows De Eftelingís theater, which is used for big productions outside of the regular park-season.
Unfortunately, there are a number of attracitons not pictures on the site. There Sppokslot (Haunted Castle), which is the parkís oldest big attractions with the famous soundtrack of Danse Macabre. Pictures: http://www.wonderlijkewcweb.org/inde...spookslot4.htm
And last but not least: Fata Morgana. This is the parkís boatride, much like Pirates at the Disney park, but with an arabian theme. Pictures can be found here:
Unlike the Disney rides, this one has a story without a happy ending. Itís about the dual world in Arabia: Poverty on the streets and richness at the Sultanís palace. This destroys the city at the end of the ride. Once again, a completely unique and arabian-styled soundtrack complements the many animatronics and special effects. A much smaller budget than Disney is what makes this ride only a bit more simple htan Pirates. Animatronics are still pretty good though, and in general I hold this ride at the same level as Pirates. Which is pretty high indeed.
There are more things to be discovered in the park. Thereís a 4D show called Pandadroom (Panda Dream), built in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund. Thereíthe Volk van Laaf (People of Laaf), which is an imaginary town of people who used to live underground but have come to the surface at De Efteling. Thereís a school, bakery, brewery etc. And of course, the Fairy Tale Forest alone is worth hours of entertainment.
All in all, I really love this park and will be visiting a lot during the summer. I really believe it deserves more attention from abroad, as itís quite unknown outside of Europe, I think. If by any chance, you find yourself in France, Belgium, Germany or Holland, you owe it to yourself to find the magic of this park. You can always contact me for more information. And good for you that you managed to finih this read