Has anyone ever been to Efteling in Holland?

July 27, 2016, 3:57 AM

I've read that it's absolutely incredible, but wondered if any of you have been there recently?

I'm looking for a European theme park that's suitable for kids (age 3 and 8), has on site accommodation and offers something a bit different to Disney.

Efteling looks perfect and I love the enchanting aspect to it, I think my kids will absolutely love it.

What are your experiences here?

Replies (8)

July 27, 2016, 4:22 PM

I went last summer and a few weeks ago. One of the best parks in the world. Take your family they will love it. They have an on site hotel.

July 28, 2016, 2:27 AM

Efteling is the perfect fit for what you're after. Most of the park is a lush environment you can lose yourself in, and great for that age group. Your 8 year old will enjoy most of the rides, and you can easily spend half a day walking through the fairytale forest - tableaux of animated scenes - with younger children. There's also some great little puppet shows and the like dotted around.

I've not stayed in the hotel, but heard good things. The only downside to the park is that food options aren't brilliant - particularly the fast food. If you can budget for at least one meal in one of the hotel's proper restaurants, it's probably worth it. There isn't a multitude of nearby options - the park is next to a small town, but otherwise pretty out-of-the-way.

Your other option could be the original Legoland in Denmark, which has a hotel and is perfect for that age. But yes, Efteling sounds like a great choice if you can make it work.

July 28, 2016, 2:14 PM

Number one on the theme park bucket list at this point.

Edited: July 29, 2016, 1:17 PM

Efteling is my number one park in Europe, and, without meaning to be boastful, that's from someone with a park count over 500.

Actually, there are several other excellent kid parks in the Netherlands (let me know if you want more info), but the Efteling is the largest and the most impressive.

Another highlight not mentioned above is the dark ride "Droomvlucht" (Dreamflight), which is not be missed and which can be ridden by smaller children with an adult.

There are at least two more major dark rides which can be ridden by all (Carnaval Festival and Fata Morgana), a monorail-type ride, a 100-year-old steam carousel, antique cars ride, teacups-like ride, a flying island, an outdoor boat ride, a real train, a kiddie train, a maze, kid play areas, and more.

Personally, I like Dutch fast food, my favorite being kroket and bitterballen. The pancake restaurant is relatively new and has amazing theme-ing.

Also notable is that Efteling is open all year, and the Winter Efteling is really special.

Anyway, feel free to reach out. I lived in Holland for a few years and I've been to the park at least half a dozen times.

July 30, 2016, 6:58 AM

I was able to stop by Efteling this past spring as I studied in Europe and it definitely will appeal to your children. There are plenty of rides that are both unique and common. Like Martin said, Canaval Festival, Droomvlucht, and Fata Morgana are all great dark rides, though Fata Morgana has a potentially scary scene. Your 8 year old could also likely ride De Vliegende Hollander, a water coaster with some slightly scary dark ride scenes. I'd actually put Hollander up there with Baron 1898 as the best couple rides in the park.

As Ben said, the Fairytale Forest (Sprookjesbos) can and should consume much of your 8 year old's time. I spent a solid hour and a half in there watching the animated scenes. In fact I wish could have spent much more time there. The Diorama (a large train display) and the Leaf People Village also warrant time to explore. The village even has animatronics similar to the Fairytale Forest.

I also disagree on the food. I found it to be decent quality and reasonably priced. It's definitely better than Disneyland Paris' food options, but not quite to the level of Europa Park.

Have a great trip!

Edited: August 2, 2016, 7:10 PM

Thumbs up for the Food you get out of Automats in Efteling!

August 4, 2016, 8:37 AM

I was sold at the Fairytale Forest, how lovely that the kids can just run around and learn about the traditional stories and play inside little houses - I've just had a look on YouTube, some lovely videos. It's like a real enchanted forest. My kids love pancakes also, so no problem with the food there.

I think the rides seem to be just the right mix as well - a little bit of scary and a little bit of fairy magic!

Thanks so much for your all your comments. It seems a world away from Disney (just what I'm after!).

I'll be sure to give you my (and my kids!) feedback when we've been.

August 9, 2016, 6:43 AM

I went to Efteling back in February this year and it was magical. Even for the taste of a thrill-park-seeker like me, the vibe in the park is completely different compared to Phantasialand, Disneyland Paris, PortAventura and other European Parks.

The theming in this park is purely incredible. Baron 1898, for example, is very elaborately-themed and the storytelling aspect within the park is top-notch.

Other than that, the park's rides are simply classic. Droomvlucht (Dreamflight) is my favorite for sure.

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