De Efteling

De Efteling, in the Netherlands, claims to be one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Hard to resist a visit, when it’s a public holiday, the weather’s fine, and you have three children to entertain.

The entrance hall is suitable spooky and impressive.

Untitled

Equally impressive is the interior of the construction.
Untitled

This “flying” Pagoda was a good place to start, giving us a view of the whole park, and what strikes you immediately is how green the whole place is.

Untitled

The attractions are integrated into a huge area of woodland, which not only creates an appropriate fairytale atmosphere, but also provides some much needed shade on hot days. Disneyland in Anaheim, good as it is, lacks this aspect and can at times feel like wandering around a large car park.

Untitled

Many areas of the park feature strange little baroque buildings through whose windows you can peer to look at, for example, a class of schoolchildren supervised by a frankly terrifying teacher.

Untitled

No wonder one of the kids has chosen to calm his nerves by surreptitiously taking hits from a bong.

Untitled

Here’s one of the more distinctive characters, “Long Neck”. Can you guess how he got his name?

Untitled

There is an interesting section on De Efteling’s wikipedia page about the extent to which Disneyland, which opened three years after the Dutch park, was inspired by it, and confirmation that the designers of Disneyland Paris paid a visit in search of cultural tips. But the influences run both ways: Carnival Festival is clearly a rip-off of homage to “It’s a small world”. Look, the peoples of the world greet you! The wine-drinking, can-can dancing French:

Untitled

The beer-guzzling Germans:

Untitled

The Japanese, who all wear glasses and have buck teeth.

Untitled

And who take part in bizarre, Society-style body-melding sumo.

Untitled

One of the rides, “Dreamflight”, featured some impressively imaginative and detailed models. Sadly I had neither the time nor the inclination to play with my camera’s manual shutter settings to get some non-motion blurred photos. On the other hand, I got some rather nice impressionistic effects.

Untitled

Untitled

The most recent and most spectacular addition is the half-hour show Ravelijn. I’d read about this on another blog last year, and was glad we could make time for it during our visit. Moustachioed, black-hatted villain captures a lovely maiden.

Untitled

A brief video explains how (as expanded upon in the accompanying TV series) a group of children stumble upon the entrance to the town in an enchanted wood. Once through the portal they are magically transformed into five knights. Here they come!

Untitled

Oh no, the villain has a secret dragon!

Untitled

With several heads!

Untitled

And wings!

Untitled

And he’s turned one of the peasants into an evil Mini-Me Dragon!

Untitled

Only by working together as one can the five knights defeat the dragon. Behold its death throes!

Untitled

Victory!

Untitled

And the damsel is reunited with her owl.

Untitled

These are just a fraction of the attractions on offer. Give it a try if you’re in the area, even if you don’t have munchkins in tow.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “De Efteling

  1. andreashesse May 29, 2012 / 12:18 pm

    what a lovely place. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Like

  2. Di May 29, 2012 / 1:19 pm

    Seems like we might have to take Sahara, as she watches Dr Who shows that I still prefer not to watch … Interesting post, thanks for the info

    Like

    • simonlitton May 29, 2012 / 1:24 pm

      We thought the same, actually. Maybe we could even go back together some day?

      Like

    • simonlitton May 29, 2012 / 3:32 pm

      I think parts of Disneyland are scary too. I think the aesthetic is the difference here. The Dutch don’t try to make it too pretty.

      Like

      • Inland Empirical July 1, 2012 / 6:58 pm

        Disneyland Paris, definitely more sinister than Anaheim and that’s what I loved about it. They push toward grotesque while we Americans prefer a cuter villain and don’t want to be scared. Ever.

        Also, curious what kind of camera you are using. Some of your recent food pics are amazing.

        Like

  3. aitcheldee May 30, 2012 / 11:35 am

    Looks great, and Jim says lots of it was there when he was young! Hope we get a chance to visit sometime.

    Like

    • simonlitton May 30, 2012 / 12:29 pm

      Next time you’re over? Plenty to occupy Daniel and Hannah.
      Or did Jim want to go on his own?

      Like

  4. Alan Hope May 31, 2012 / 12:25 am

    The enchanted wood section (sprookjesbos) isn’t too scary for little ones, at least not any more scary than your average fairy story. What I liked about the Efteling is that they have a huge picnic area, so you’re not obliged to pay extortionate prices (this is Holland, after all) for restaurant food or junk snacks, and you don’t have to worry about the kids sitting still long enough for you to be served. Bring your own food and let them get up and run around when they feel like it. Very family-friendly.

    Like

  5. aysegul June 5, 2012 / 4:51 pm

    I liked your post! I always think should I go there or not? But after reading your post, I’ll definitely go. Thanks

    Like

Your opinion is important to us

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s