Enjoy Some of Europe's Top Theme Parks from Home

April 7, 2020, 10:05 PM · Okay, if we're taking trains now, does this make our tour a Virtual Railtrip? Whatever you'd like to call it, we are spending our time shut inside our homes to enjoy an online visit to some of our favorite theme parks around the world.

Today, we start with a two-time winner of our Theme Park Insider Award as the world's best theme park, Efteling.

You might need to make a few connections from wherever you start in Europe and finish with a short bus trip from the Den Bosch station, but a visit to Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, The Netherlands is well worth the effort.

At the heart of the park, inside the "Palace of Fantasy," you will find the delightful trackless family dark ride, Symbolica.

Efteling is well-known for its dark rides, including the fairy tale Droomvlucht ("Dreamflight").

Yet not every fairy tale has a happy ending. Enjoy Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights, while you can, on Fata Morgana.

Efteling offers some nice coasters, too. Join us for a ride on the GCI racing coaster, Joris en de Draak ("George and the Dragon").

And the Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster Baron 1898.

Don't miss Sprookjesbos, or the Fairytale Forest, and its walk-through collection of installations devoted to many classic fairy tales. Enjoy the Google Street View of this one.

In the Efteling Theatre, the park presents a separately-ticketed musical, which is now Caro, a production themed to Efteling's 100-year-old Stoomcarrousel. But Efteling has created a YouTube playlist of its previous shows in the Efteling Theatre, with nearly eight hours of musical entertainment for your quarantine viewing. Who needs Tiger King?

As much as I love spending time at Efteling, it's soon time to head back on the trains for a trip south into France, for a visit to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris.

Before we get to the main park, let's make a quick side trip into the resort's second gate, Walt Disney Studios Park for a ride on the original Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remi.

WDSP is getting a slew of new attractions over the next few years (well, at least it was supposed to), so after a quick look around the park on Google Maps, let's head over to the main attraction, the park originally known as EuroDisneyland.

For many Disney fans in the United States, the top must-see at Disneyland Paris is Phantom Manor — the park's installation of the Haunted Mansion but with the addition of show scenes originally intended for the never-built Western River Expedition that was designed for Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Here's a great documentary from Disney about the ride, including some on-ride video.

I also love Paris' castle, which might be the best of the Disney kingdom. Don't overlook the dungeon, where you will find the lair of a dragon.

Disneyland Paris offers three roller coasters. Its Space Mountain (currently "Hyperspace Mountain") is a launched Vekoma with inversions, while Big Thunder Mountain Railroad occupies what is Tom Sawyer Island in the middle of the Rivers of America at other Magic Kingdom parks. Space Mountain isn't much for video, being a coaster mostly in the dark, and Paris' Thunder is pretty much the same ride as in the US parks', with the addition of dark tunnels at the beginning and end of the ride as you go under the river. So for our video tour, I will leave you with the third coaster, Intamin's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.

Next up: We're heading to the Middle East.

Theme Park Insider's Virtual Roadtrip:

Replies (1)

April 8, 2020 at 5:49 PM

These write-ups are fun to read. I really enjoy them. I look forward to visiting these parks sometime in the future. The UAE parks are next so I'm excited to read up on them.

I don't see them on the list but hopefully Hong Kong and Shanghai parks make it on this epic trip!

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