Advice for Efteling

January 27, 2016, 11:56 PM

I'll be going on a short European cruise this May from Southampton, England, to Rotterdam, Netherlands. One of the excursions Royal Caribbean is offering is a day trip to Efteling (for almost $100), which includes park admission and transportation between the port and the park. I'm considering booking this, so I've got a few questions about what to expect.
1. What are crowds usually like on a Tuesday in late May?
2. The excursion listing says that guests will have about five hours to explore the park. With whatever the crowd level should be, should I expect to see most of the park with that much time? If not, what attractions do you recommend?
3. If there's a more cost-effective way to travel between the Rotterdam cruise port and Efteling, should I take it, or should I book the official excursion?
Thanks for your answers!

Replies (5)

January 28, 2016, 1:26 PM

My advice relates more to the excursion planning. I've been on a couple of cruises, and their prearranged excursions tend to be quite expensive and they allow extra time for transfers vwith the transfer being the only real thing they offer - you can easily buy a ticket at the gate to the park). The only possible advantage they offer is that they may allow you off the ship earlier.

I would investigate the cost of taxi/uber transport as this would probably be quicker and cheaper, and would allow you more time in the park.

January 28, 2016, 2:06 PM

I looked the route up on Uber, and each way costs as much as, if not more than, the official excursion. If there's any other way to get to/from the park, please feel free to let me know.

January 29, 2016, 10:44 AM

Five hours isn't enough time to see everything at this Great park; however a week day in May shouldn't be real crowded. I rate this park up there with Europa Park and Cedar Point.

January 29, 2016, 2:57 PM

Five hours is a reasonable amount of time to check out the highlights. You're going to have to focus on working through a plan rather than a gentle stroll, but if you're a regular theme park visitor then I'm sure you're used to that! My list of must-do attractions, based on what's particularly good or unique, would be:

Baron 1898
Fata Morgana
De Vliegende Hollander
Joris en de Draak
And the stadium show Raveleijn is worth a watch if you can fit it into your schedule.

After that, I'd take time to wander around the fairytale forest. It's an easy thing to pass over, but it's a real heritage piece for the park and an important part of theme park history.

If you've time after that, pick whatever sounds interesting to you from the next tier of attractions:

Vogel Rok
Bobsleigh run Bobbaan
Or Carnaval Festival, to see perhaps the one occasion where Efteling have somewhat taken a misstep. (Even Tony Baxter agrees - about halfway down the article.)

(I'd add Villa Volta, but it looks like it'll be closed when you visit.)

If you happen to be there for park close, their fountain show Aquanura is pleasant, but not a big deal. So don't fret about that.

FWIW - fast food is the park's real let-down. Taking a packed lunch and eating in a queue or show to save yourself the time is your best option. Or just grab something convenient when you get hungry and eat on the go. (Chips and traditional Dutch peanut sauce isn't a bad shout!)

In any case, Efteling is a joy primarily for its ambience. It's such a beautiful place to walk around - so detailed and full of whimsy. Five hours is enough to get a sense of the place and at least check out the world-famous dark rides, so I would absolutely recommend a visit!

January 30, 2016, 6:10 PM

You should definitely spend the $100 on the excursion as getting around Europe on public transit can be a bit time consuming for those not accustomed to it. The park is HUGE, and you should have a plan mapped out to hit your essential ride list. It is a wonderful place and I am sure you will enjoy your time. I went in June last year on a weekday and the crowds were not bad at all.

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