Efteling to Retheme Its Most Troubling Ride

June 24, 2021, 12:36 PM · Efteling today announced plans to retheme the area around its Vogel Rok indoor roller coaster, expanding upon the ride's Sindbad the Sailor theme.

The changes will transform two attractions in the area. Adventure Maze will become Archipel, "an exciting island where young explorers can brave the (play) elements and discover the surprises hidden". And Monsieur Cannibale will become Sirocco, transforming the spinning cauldrons into merchant boats caught in a whirlwind.

By changing the name and design of Monsieur Cannibale, this retheme will rid Efteling of what was one of the worst examples of racist stereotyping in a major theme park. (Here is the park's official on-ride video if you really want to see a spinner ride themed to a caricature of an indigenous cannibal.)

Pretty much any retheme of that ride would be a plus for the park, but Efteling is taking the extra step toward extending Vogel Rok's story into a more immersive themed area based upon the voyages of Sindbad the Sailor.

"As a designer at Efteling, it is my goal to create a natural and fairy-tale environment providing a well-rounded experience through well-known fairytales and stories," lead designer Sander de Bruijn said. "The sea voyages of Sindbad the Sailor are a perfect stepping stone to create a logical connection within this part of the Efteling theme park and to further expand the theming of the indoor roller coaster Vogel Rok. This way, a more complete World of Sindbad is created and with that an adventurous experience for our guests."

World of Sindbad
The new World of Sindbad land. Image courtesy Efteling

Efteling consulted with Richard van Leeuwen, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Amsterdam, on the changes.

"The used tales of Sindbad and his sea voyages contain a large reservoir of cultural characters. This offers many possibilities, that in combination with Efteling's ambition to tell stories in an inclusive manner, are sure to create a positive image of the rich Arab culture," van Leeuwen said.

Sindbad's voyages are part of the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights stories that Efteling also depicts in its Fata Morgana dark ride across the park. Efteling is planning to make the attraction changes by this winter, with a retheme of the adjacent Panorama Restaurant following. The changes represent the next phase in Efteling's ongoing expansion.

"Recently, we received a positive decision from the Council of State, which clears the way for us to expand our theme park on the east side in the future," Efteling CEO Fons Jurgens said. "Of course we are very happy about that, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have postponed the large expansion plans for the time being. Therefore, we are now focusing on the park area adjacent to the planned area of expansion on the east side. In the coming years, this area will be tackled in its entirety, in terms of theming, walking routes, infrastructure, etc."

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Replies (2)

June 27, 2021 at 1:46 PM

While I'm sure there will be a percentage of people who will use the "I'm offended that others were offended" argument in their reactions to these developments (which has got to be the silliest argument people can make in such situations), I think it's the right move on Efteling's part. This is up there with Disney removing Trader Sam from the Jungle Cruise -- a good move that will be met with resistance from people who are mad that racial stereotypes are being removed.

June 28, 2021 at 11:58 PM

I hate to admit it, but I kinda like the prior ride’s music . I guess it helps that I can’t understand a word of Dutch.

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