Enough of the forum's old boys reminiscing, back to the trip report!
has already mentioned, there was a lot of messing about on the final day of this trip. What he didn’t mention was that the fun started a long time before we got to the park, with The Race…
Having stayed in Bruhl on Saturday night, we had an early start on Sunday to drive over 2 hours to get to Efteling for opening time. I joined Mark, Dave and Andy in the Mushmobile, while Liz and Emma jumped into the Yellow Peril with Emily and Sue. So it was all the girls in one car, presumably talking about hair, shoes and how all men are bastards, while the boys were in the other one talking about manly things like beer, football and boobs*
*Note: none of these were actually discussed, it was mostly coasters.
Our car got off to a slow start as we needed petrol, but somewhere along the way we passed Emily’s distinctive vehicle and the race was on. Further along the route we had a short rest stop so we weren’t sure who was in front after that. The rest of the tale is best told via our Messenger chat from that morning.
Despite the despicable gamesmanship from the ladies car, it looked like us boys were going to come out on top, but as we queued to get into the car park, we saw our opponents make a late push for glory by overtaking us in the other entry lane. Disaster!
They did park up first but we made it to the entrance plaza before them so the final result of The Race remains controversial.
On to the park itself then and this was my second visit to Efteling. Dave has already talked about the park being one that you either get or don’t. Personally, I get it, but I’m not sure I’m particularly a fan of it. I totally appreciate how much effort they put into theming even the most mundane of attractions, the huge variety of experiences, the attention to detail and the fabulous food, but I’m really not enthralled by the whole whimsical, magical fairy tale vibe that permeates the park. There are loads of really good, immersive rides here but there’s nothing for me that has that wow factor that makes me want to go straight back on after I’ve ridden it. In other words, they don’t have a Taron.
It was telling that we didn’t even ride any of the major thrill coasters until mid-afternoon, and nobody minded about that. For me the best coaster(s) in the park was unfortunately closed, though as Dave said, we did see Joris testing and were faintly hoping to be the first goons to ride GCI titan track in Europe.
Some of that makes it sound like I didn’t enjoy this visit, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a much more relaxed day than the previous one, with the group’s newbies comfortably embedded and a park that was lively but with reasonable queue times. That left plenty of time for the nonsense that has already been described, as well as a chilled-out hour in the pancake house and random stops to buy cakes or mystery snacks. This was, all in all, a great day to just hang out as a group and not worry too much about what rides we got on.
Having said that, we got on plenty, and there were quite a few new rides for me this time. Max and Moritz was a lot of fun with the on-ride audio, dark European fairy tale theme and some great theming, including the opportunity to play tunes on whoopie cushions in the queue line. The only criticism I’d have is that the two coasters don’t interact very much.
Vogel Rok was new for me too, having been closed last time I visited, and is another brilliantly themed family coaster with a brilliant on-ride soundtrack. Speaking of great music, Villa Volta stood out for that reason and that reason only. The pre-show was long, boring and unintelligible due to being in Dutch but worse was that the usual big surprise hiding underneath the ride vehicle when the room rotates was… a rug? Also new to me was Fata Morgana, a good old school boat ride with reassuringly cheesy animatronics.
One thing I really wanted to do was see the Raveleijn show, which had been amazing on my last visit, and surprisingly even some of the more dedicated Efteling fans amongst us hadn’t seen it before, so this became essential. This time around the view wasn’t quite as good and some of the effects had been toned down, but it was still a fantastic show and arguably the best thing the park does. The simple fact that people would still come and visit and yet they still spend the huge amount of time, money and effort producing this spectacular show speaks volumes.
As the afternoon wore on, we finally got around to riding all of the big coasters, which are handily located in the same area. It was great to re-ride The Flying Dutchman and see the reactions of the first-time visitors to not only the ride but it’s fantastic queue and station. Python stands out simply because it is the most bare-bones attraction at the park, but there’s something very satisfying about sitting towards the back of this this simple ride and being flung through those two vertical loops, seeing the front of the train negotiating them before you. The vertical loop seems to be much-maligned these days, but personally I love them. Final cred of the day was Baron 1898, which we rode in the dark. I’m not a huge fan of dive coasters but to be fair this is one of the best, with excellent theming.
To round off the night we watched Aquanura and then wandered around the fairytale forest, which I’d not had time to experience last time around. As I’ve said, I genuinely couldn’t care less about all that fairy tale nonsense, but this was still a pleasant way to end a brilliant day.
The fun wasn’t quite over though, as once we left the park we drove to our hotel in Antwerp, meaning we’d been in three countries in one day, which I think is a record for me. We managed to buy some beer and snacks from a local shop and finished off the night in the hotel reception, drinking, chatting and laughing. Eventually I headed to bed since those of us flying home had to be up at 6am the next day, so to finish this report off, check out the rather hair-raising window in our 4th floor room.
That’s all from me except to say thanks to everyone that went on the trip and helped make it a brilliantly memorable occasion for all manner of reasons. If you ever get a chance to visit a park with any of these lovely people then don’t pass it up because you’ll have a blast. I can’t wait for the next one!
Special props to @Mushroom
and @Rollercoaster David
for driving us around, @Howie
for being a great roomie (until he fell asleep
for not smacking me in the neck this time, and Emma (who isn’t on here) for being a fab travel buddy and driving us to and from the airport.