Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Who's Brave Enough to Walk Through the Fairytale Forest?

November 13, 2020, 1:39 PM · It's Friday the 13th — so what better day to take a walk through a fairy tale forest?

Many people might associate fairy tales with princesses dancing their way to a "happily ever after," but many fans also know that most fairy tales start quite a bit more ominously — and not all of them had happy endings. (Well, at least they didn't before Disney got hold of them.)

So let's face this Friday the 13th like a hero or heroine and take a virtual walk through a fairy tale forest today, courtesy this video just uploaded by Efteling, home to the very best Fairytale Forest in the world of theme parks.

The Dutch theme park is closed until Thursday in compliance with The Netherlands' most recent Covid lockdown. When the park returns, it will be decorated for its Winter Efteling event.

"Our staff have worked very hard to ensure that the attractions, paths and squares are neat and tidy, along with the extra safety precautions, which have been adapted for the winter. For those that can’t visit the park straight away, we have also recorded exclusive footage to bring the magic of Efteling into their homes with beautiful images from the Fairytale Forest," Efteling's Director of Commerce, Creation & Development Koen Sanders said.

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Replies (16)

November 14, 2020 at 12:35 AM

Efteling has long been at the top of our wish list parks. The character and detail here is just insane! Hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer to visit.

November 14, 2020 at 7:27 AM

Tim, i was fortunate to get to visit in 2018. The word best used to describe Efteling is delightful. It is a large, gorgeous park with some very interesting rides and known for its knock offs of some famous Disney rides. Also, excellent food and drink locations all throughout. We only got to spend about 7 hours so missed the evening show. I could have easily spent another full day there. So far, it's my one and only European park experience but definite whet my appetite for more.

November 15, 2020 at 9:27 AM

Hi Mark, it is a great park isn't it. I feel lucky to be able to visit it as an annual pass-holder many times a year, I never grow tired of the many details in the park.

My question to you though is ; what knock off's do you feel Efteling has made? I wouldn't know of any, all Efteling rides are quite original. The European parks that used to produce Disney knock off's are Phantasialand and Europapark. Though they now too have turned to more original expansions. Efteling as far as I know has never copied anything from Disney .. They had some rides that you might call inspired by, but they always produced a complete original version of the rides that in my opinion always steered away from Disney's versions and/or storylines. Like 'Carnaval Festival' and 'Its a small world', they are both about traveling around the world but from a very different perspective. 'Fata Morgana' is a boat ride but that's where any comparison to Disney's pirate ride stops. What ride to you felt like a knock off?

November 16, 2020 at 2:49 AM

Actually it is quite the opposite. There was the legend that Walt Disney visited Efteling and got his inspiration from there. This got debunked by Efteling themselves. Piecks was an absolute visionary on par with Walt Disney. Just read a b it about the history of the park and all the fandom that it sparked, the only difference is that Disney became an international corporation and Efteling still is a family business.

November 16, 2020 at 8:15 AM

Dominique, maybe "knock off" not the right term, and i certainly didn't mean any disrespect. but yes, i was referring to the two rides you mentioned and i would also say Vliegende Hollander was very pirates of the caribbean-ish, at least prior to the coaster part (boarding station, boat ride part). my main regret, and i thought i had done my homework well, was we skipped villa volta as i mistook it as a walk through "leaning house" type attraction i've seen years ago at six flags over texas and silver dollar city. i'm still regretting missing out on that as well as some of the many other quaint train and boat rides. as i said, i could have easily spent another full day exploring all of the details and the food and bars. we were on a rides mission so meals took a backseat, although the lunch we had at the pancake restaurant was fantastic. again, no disrespect at all, as i came away with efteling near the top of my favorites list.

November 16, 2020 at 6:46 PM

Hi Mark, no need to apologize really, I'm just genuinely interested in your opinion.
First and foremost ; great to read you had such a great time!

Villa volta is one of the best madhouses due to the gorgeous setting and epic music. The first two rooms where the story is explained might be a bit boring if you can't understand Dutch though.

The flying Dutchman is to me one of the most original rides out there, and certainly one of the most popular rides in the park. It does indeed have a Pirates feel to it, but there to me every comparison ends, there's not one animatronic in it and it's more an atmospheric ride with effects that work on your senses. What I love about the ride itself is it's totally playing your mind and senses, very successfully creating the feeling you just sailed out to an open sea straight into a heavy fog bank, with the ghost ship appearing after a gust of wind blows away the mist. No animatronic in there either, but instead a ghostly atmosphere that really plays tricks on the mind. Love it!

The pancake house 'Polle's kitchen' is indeed an awesome place for lunch, they have the best pancakes and the setting is gorgeous. When you're back here, try the restaurant 'Het wapen van Raveleijn' and be sprepared to be asked to come and help 'catch' the chicken. It's great food and fun.

Let's hope you soon have the opportunity to return to The Netherlands and the Efteling. I'm curious what rides you missed, the park has become to big to do in one day, it's barely possible and by the way, sleeping over at the Efteling is also worth it, 'Bosrijk' is such a beautiful place to stay!!

November 16, 2020 at 6:45 PM

On that note, we were wondering what accommodations at Efteling to choose for our visit (someday). Bosrijk sounds nice! Any other thoughts on the Efteling resorts?

November 16, 2020 at 7:23 PM

Hi Tim! The Efteling has three major options ; The Efteling hotel, if you can splurge on the thematic suites in there.. then boy you are in for a treat! They have themed suites to almost every major ride or theme you'll find in the park. Like the Raveleijn suite, that comes complete with a secret bookcase/door that gives acces to a hidden room (with a bunk bed).

Bosrijk is a beautiful retreat hidden away in a forest, it has a very Dutch feel to it due to the building style that features old style Dutch houses , some subtle fairytale touches can be found like the Sandman's castle in the middle of the lake.

And then finally they have the 'Loonsche land', a budget version of Bosrijk, also very pretty and a great atmosphere.

You really can't go wrong choosing either resort to stay in.
If it's just the two of you, the hotel is probably going to be your best option.
When with three or more then the resorts are more suitable I think and so much fun!
And with a big group or family they have amazing houses in the forest for groups up to 24 people!

but check it out : https://www.efteling.com/en/overnight-stays
Anything else I can help you with, feel free to ask!

November 16, 2020 at 9:42 PM

Thank you for the resort info! Whenever possible we like to be inside "the bubble" of a park.

We would likely be coming to the park from Amsterdam. What are the transportation options from the city to Efteling?

November 17, 2020 at 8:43 AM

Tim and Dominique, myself and 2 nieces were "dog sitting" for some friends. Our deal was use of a 4 bedroom home and 2 cars free to look after 3 of the most laid back pups i've ever met (feed once a day and walk twice a day, clean up poop, etc). we were in Leimuiden, half an hour south of Amsterdam i was there 2 full weeks.

being a theme park junkie, i decided to visit the Efteling and my nieces were also eager to join. one of them is a disney cast member. it was a little over a one hour drive from Leimuiden and i managed to pick up a few speeding tickets on the way (which i learned about later as the dutch have stealth police) so it was an expensive day! lol but we had a wonderful time at the park and did manage to ride all of the major attractions minus villa volta. as i mentioned, we did not ride any of the cool little rail or boat rides due to time constraints getting back to tend to the pups. i also sat out the python as i'm no fan of arrow style loopers and have ridden way too many but my nieces wanted to ride so i took the opportunity to relax at a fantastic beer garden with a nice brew. (they reported back that python was actually smooth and very fun). and the Efteling has a great collection of flat rides that are uniquely themed and although we didn't ride those, we did take note of the great themeing.

this post was about the fairy tale forest and we did spend a good amount of time in there, although could have spent even more. the park is home to some amazing dark rides and as you mentioned, the flying dutchman is unlike any ride experience anywhere i've been. as i mentioned before, the Efteling is in my top 3 favorites of all, possibly even # 1. it's a delightful place and i hope i can return someday. maybe once coronavirus is over i can come dog sit again :)

November 17, 2020 at 11:44 AM

Hi Tim, from Amsterdam you can take the train to ‘s Hertogenbosch (60 minutes) and then a bus to the Efteling (30 minutes) or if you have a car rental just drive there, public transport is well organised and very frequent. But traveling by car is a bit more convenient, especially if you need to travel back to A’dam the same day. Since our country is so small, everything a a short drive away! ??

November 17, 2020 at 11:48 AM

Hey Mark. That sure sounds like a great deal! Let’s hope the world opens up again soon! Next time also try Toverland park by the way, smaller but also a very pretty fairytalepark! But of course the Efteling is our pride and joy, you’ll have a hard time finding a Dutch person who does not have fond memories of this park. I’m so lucky to go there so often!

November 19, 2020 at 7:52 AM

Tim, i would recommend driving as well...the roads in Holland are really good and the drive through the Dutch countryside was lovely, but just watch your speed!! when i returned home, the friend i was dog sitting for had sent me receipts of the speeding tickets i earned during my visit. it's all done on camera so you never know since you don't get pulled over. in 2 weeks, i racked up $160.00 USD in speeding tickets, most of that amount was the day we drove to Efteling. Dominique, Toverland sounds great as well as Walibi. i really love your country. everyone was so nice and friendly and it's so clean!!

November 19, 2020 at 8:14 AM

Oh wow.. yeah watch your speed guys, speeding is no joke in our country. Toverland indeed is very pretty and strong in theming, though no very big but still really worth a visit in my opinion., Walibi tries theming like Six flags (it used to be Six flags Holland), but the real reason will always be the coasters in Walibi's parks, just like Six flags, And Walibi Holland's coasters are amazing indeed!
I'm happy you liked it here, native English speakers tend to feel very welcome here since literally everyone speaks very well English and the Dutch love talking English too. As for being clean.. haha well.. that's depnds on where you look, we also have our ugly and filthy areas like any other country. But since we are a small country it's generally all well maintained. The efteling does an awesome job in keeping the park clean due to the 'Holle Bolle Gijs' family, that shout out to the people to feed them paper and other stuff you can throw away. I remember being a kid and franticly running around trying to find every peace of rubbish I could find to give to Holle Bolle Gijs so he'd say "Dank u wel".. people tend to find this family one of the weirdest things about the park, but it does work and keeps the park clean! :))

November 19, 2020 at 10:33 AM

Great story Dominique! Efteling has some wonderful characters.

November 19, 2020 at 4:16 PM

Thank you Mark, nice to meet a fellow themepark fan here!

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