As of writing this, I have been with my husband for well over nine and a half years. This has meant more trips to the Netherlands than I can count. First to see him and then to see the in-laws. I mention this because it has taken him this long to take me here:
Efteling, the largest and most popular theme park in the Netherlands is only about an hour away from his family! I have been hearing about this place from him for AGES. How it was one of the big influences on Disney Parks. How well they do the fairytale settings. How much I would enjoy it. So here we are finally.
As you can see from the pictures, it was a bit of a grey day when we visited. However, the clouds and the eventual rain cannot takeaway from what is a fantastically themed park. Everything in the park is done in the style of a fairy tale, folk tale or legend. The highest concentration of this can be found in the park’s famed Fairy-tale Forest.
Through animatronics, sculpture work and proper re-tellings, the Fairy-tale Forest brings a huge and varied number of fairy tales to life. Some of these pieces, like the character of Long Neck from the Six Servants tale, have become hugely famed across the Netherlands. You could easily spend at least an hour going through and seeing all the different stories being brought to life… but then there’s rides.
Whilst I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an adrenaline junkie – I really enjoyed the roller-coasters in Efteling. The vertical plummet of Baron 1898 roller-coaster really sticks out at the major wow moment for me, but I also really had fun on the duelling Joris en de Draak roller-coaster and the water-coaster themed around the legend of the Flying Dutchman (how apt, right?).
It really was a fun day out. Aside from the coasters there was a great rapids ride called Piraña (the first such ride outside of the US when it was built in 1983) as well as a substantial number of dark rides. Our first and final rides of the day were on two of these rides and really helped to bookend the day.
The first was Carnival Festival, the Dutch take on Disney’s ‘It’s A Small World’ and had music that still gets caught in my husband’s head to this day. The final ride, Droomvlucht (meaning Dream Flight in English), was one that he was really itching to show me. It’s a suspended dark ride through the fairy and troll worlds, which is really cute and quite creepy at times.
Between Efteling and Europa Park I have remembered fully just how much I love amusement parks. The fact that we did not have enough time in Singapore to check out Universal Studios just means that a return visit is not out of the question (as if it ever was). Taking this into account, I feel that this would the perfect opportunity to start yet another list on here. Nothing too serious, but something that could be fun to see fill out over the next few decades.
List Item: Visit 25 Amusement Parks
Technically there should be an additional park on this list (Busch Gardens Tampa Bay), but as I don’t remember going it isn’t being counted.