Europe's Efteling Reopens With Distancing, But Not Masks

May 20, 2020, 3:45 PM · Dutch theme park Efteling reopened to the public today, becoming the first major theme park in Europe to return following the pandemic shutdown.

The park is requiring visitors to make advance reservations, including specific arrival times, as it looks to limit its capacity to help promote social distancing inside the park. Once inside, the park has extended its queue, marking them with red and white tape to denote where visitors should and should not stand as they wait.

Efteling also is encouraging visitors to use contactless payment in stores and restaurants and is using clear plastic barriers in some shops, food stands, and queues. The park also has installed many hand sanitizing stations, but it is not requiring the use of masks. Here's the park's new safety video.

Crowds in the park seemed to be adhering to social distancing today, with wait time for its most popular attractions, including Symbolica and Baron 1898, ranging around 30 minutes, as capacities are reduced to allow social distancing on many rides. Here's a video report from the park today.

Elsewhere in Europe, Europa Park will reopen to the public on May 29. The Disneyland Paris parks remain closed until further notice.

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For tickets to Efteling, please visit our international travel partner's Efteling tickets page.

Replies (10)

May 20, 2020 at 6:58 PM

Love this! Efteling has long been on my short list of places to visit if I ever make it to continental Europe, and this just reinforces that desire. US parks should take note.

And, yes, I realize that the main difference between this and Disney/Universal’s current plans is the lack of masks. But I much prefer this positive outlook versus the embracing of some sort of dystopian future.

May 20, 2020 at 9:12 PM

@Melanie Howe I completely agree!

May 20, 2020 at 10:17 PM

As good as this is, keep in mind how Europeans might be more inclined to follow such rules than folks in the U.S. Still, nice to see the place back up and running

May 21, 2020 at 1:11 AM

To me, this seems very sensible, as it increases safety during the visit with minimal interference to the enjoyment of a day at the park. I worry that in the litigation-happy society of the US, parks will go overboard and may wind up squeezing the fun out of visiting. I hope that this doesn't end up being the case and parks are very dynamic with regulations, quickly altering them if they're found to not work as intended or be unnecessary.

May 21, 2020 at 4:50 AM

In the Netherlands we where confronted with Covid-19 much earlier than the US. So the spreading has gone down and IC's are back to almost normal. We never were forced to use masks anywhere (unlike for instance Germany). It was calculated that when you not use a good mask or use a mask in a perfect way it will do much more harm than good. It also gives a false sense of security that is also damaging.
Now we are slowly going back to normal but not for people like me with serieus health problems. We are constantly remembered that this is a test and that these steps could be eliminated when there is a significant growth in Covid-19 cases (a small growth is expected).
Kids are going back to school (half classes), care homes will go open as these peoples mental state is more important but there are quite a few rules as are places when mentally challenged people go for schooling or work.
Restaurants are preparing to open in a few week, also for limited guests. Hotels are open as are vacation homes and camping ground are preparing to open.
There are also dumb things like theaters, they can open with max 30 people. That is financially not possible.
Again we are constantly reminded that this all could stop when cases of Covid rise too much for hospitals to handle. That people will die due to these choices if you are not taking this seriously. Lets see if our educational system is as good as they say and people keep using their brains.

May 21, 2020 at 7:27 AM

Agree with Melanie that going to a theme park wearing a mask completely loses any appeal to me as an escape from "real life". Instead it would look and feel dystopic. Whether it is necessary to wear a mask or not, I leave that decision to health authorities that are hopefully not under political and/or media pressure.

May 21, 2020 at 8:36 AM

OT it looks like you have done a great job of getting control of COVID, that is a credit to you and your countrymen. I am sorry to hear about your health, and I hope you stay safe.

I feel that with numbers under control, and decent testing and tracing, it should be possible to slowly reopen the community without a massive breakout. We are in a similar position in Australia. Once a sweet spot is found where there's a balance between maximising the economy and keeping transmission under control you stay there until a vaccine is delivered our the virus has burnt itself out.

Good luck with it.

May 21, 2020 at 10:29 AM

Thank you Grant Crawford but I hardly had a hand in this. I think our government was too slow to react and if it wasn't for the help from Germany our IC wouldn't have been able to take care of all the patients.
For me life hardly changed as due to my bad healthy I'm cooked up inside most of the time anyway.
I'm glad Australia is improving, you guys had it bad.

May 21, 2020 at 1:35 PM

Thanks to OT and Grant Crawford for some international insight. One thing that bugs me is how in the States, folks think this is somehow a U.S. only problem and taking shelter orders as "police state."

One guy who was once rational has gone nuts on "governors are tyrants stealing our rights." When I pointed out how, say Australia is doing this stuff even stronger, he literally replied "I don't care what Australia does, they have no authority over my God-given rights." Yeah, I know, we Americans sadly still have the mentality the world revolves only around us.

Hope both of you are doing okay and a reminder this is one event in human history where we're really all in it together.

May 21, 2020 at 2:59 PM

Efteling like many other parks are not addressing the queues. So measures are rather temporary perhaps believing that after some time all we be back to pre corona times. With the social/physical distancing one can imagine how long the queues are going to get when back at 100% capacity, at least 3 times winding through the parks. As queues have been the no. 1 guest complaint for some 20 years it is about time parks start to listen to their guests. Right now and probably also in the long run families want to feel safe and not get in queues. Solution is www.queuefreethemepark.com

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