Efteling, the Dutch Fairy Tale Theme Park
I’d never heard of Efteling before a Dutch friend mentioned it.
Apparently my English friends were unaware of this amazing Dutch Theme Park as well (though Belgian ones knew it well).
But when my Dutch friend suggested we visit a Theme Park in her country I was immediately on board. It was explained to me as the “Dutch version of Disneyland”, and I was already intrigued. It was that and so much more.
Efteling is a proper Theme Park featuring a selection of rides (both adult and kid friendly). But also with the shows (water fountains, jousting) and Fairy Tales.
Don’t be mistaken – these are not your Disney Fairy Tales with their happy endings where everyone lives happily ever after and forest animals sing a jaunty tune.
No, these were the proper original Fairy Tales – gruesome and dark.
The Fairy Tale forest gives a brilliant rendering of some of the Fairy Tale classics – Snow White, Cinderella, Pinocchio, etc. Though several of the Fairy Tales had to be translated to English by my friends so that I could fully understand the scene before me. They were much darker and closer to the origins than Disney’s version. And they were in a fabulous display with some neat animatronics and good storytelling.
The various rides were absolutely brilliant.
We tried a vast majority of the roller-coasters and loved each one. I’m particularly fond of the “Wooden Roller-coaster” (a modern rollercoaster done in the old wooden style) called “JORIS EN DE DRAAK”. And a fun “splash down” style roller coaster called the “Flying Dutchman”.