Its hard to capture in a blog that special something that sets Efteling aside from the other theme parks in Europe. After lots of questions and answers with the little people in our life, they came to the conclusion that its “THE MAGIC”! We have been to most of the theme parks in the UK and Euro Disney…. Efteling is our favourite. This may be in part due to the age of our kids 8 and 6, but as parents the 10 hours we spent there was a joy, and not an endurance test! I couldn’t say the same for Alton Towers. Short queue’s plenty of rides, reasonable food and beautiful clean surroundings, with surprises around every corner…..
From stumbling across a child sized maze:
To trying To Steal Giant Sized Treasure!
The adventure seemed endless and we will be sure to visit again!
How to get There:
Efteling is in Holland about 20 minutes away from Eindhoven by car, and 45km from Rotterdam. Lots of people we spoke to used the Ferry option ferry option, but for us flying is always the cheapest and easiest option. Booking 6 months in advance and using Skyskanner we flew Manchester to Eindhoven for £40pp. We hired a car using a comparison website costing £70 for 4 days. The roads were quiet and driving really easy.
Where to Stay:
We stayed at the nearby Eurocamp Beekse Bergen which was great for us at its was cheap £240 for 3 nights, and gave us access to the onsite safari park and swimming pools ( you can read more about that here).
However Efteling have some great accommodation on offer, most a 10minute walk away. We have found some great last minute deals, which include entry to the park for 3 days.
If we visited again we would use this option, as its hard to find discounted park e
Booking tickets online saves time on arrival, as you go straight to the turnstiles. Under 3’s are free and there is a standard fee of 40 euros for adults and kids. (year round ticket is just one entry, it refers to the time of year, not an annual admission)
The prices do add up when paying for a family, but are cheaper than Disney Land Paris £60 per person and Alton Towers £56. During our day in Efteling the kids went on a lot of rides! Some of the bigger ones 4-5 times… just walking straight on or a 5 minute wait. This made the cost per ride really quite reasonable, normally I feel like we spend half the day in theme parks queueing up or walking between rides and not really getting to go on many. 8 and 6 year old don’t really do waiting… so this was a huge bonus! Also the walk between rides was magical, and an experience in itself with lots of exciting things to find along the way!
Even the bins talk to you..
It seems difficult to find discounted tickets online, but we did find some for 30 euro per person on the German groupon site. These won’t ways be available but worth a try before you travel! Also if you stay in Efteling accommodation the tickets are included!
Download the app before you visit the park, to help you make the most of your day. The app will help you navigate the park (you appear on the map, so you can make sure you are heading the right way), and also has waiting times for rides, and show start times. the app will even send you a reminder 15 minutes before a show starts, and tell you how far you are away from specific rides. The bigger rides let you pre book a ride time using the app, to stop all the waiting around ( you can also book a time slot at the rides themselves).
As mentioned previously we went on a lot of rides, and watched a couple of shows all in one day. I think in part this was due to the app helping us move logically around the park, taking in shows, food and toilet stops as we went!
PS.. Even the toilets are nice, and if you’re anything like us, the kids use the toilets more than seems humanly possible so thats a good thing!
Top Tip: Hire a Kinder-cart
Efteling is made up of 5 different areas, and even with the app, we covered 18km of walking during our visit! Kinder-carts are available to hire for 4 euros per day. As you enter the park head left and pick up your kart:
Top tip, take a scarf or ribbon to tie to your cart, something that make its recognisable (we had two for the whole day, and it was only at the very end that one was taken by somebody else, if this does happen you can go and claim another for free, just keep your ticket). The karts are easy to pull, the kids loved the ride, and it saved on tired legs and moaning kids!
The rides offer a good mix of adrenalin and magic, although the site is large, you’re not talking miles between rides. This mix was perfect for our bunch, 2 of whom are all for the big rides, whilst one isn’t.. the set up means one adult can go on the big rides, whilst the other can go off nearby if needed:
The Park Map and Rides:
You can see detailed information about each ride here kids can use this link to plan their day. Before arriving you can check online to view the minimum heights for rides. Our smallest had just hit the 120cm mark (she was given a bracelet so she didn’t have to be repeatedly measured), this meant that we could go on all rides apart from The Baron, a thrilling ride that sees you dangling vertically before being dropped into oblivion.
Here we found our favourite ride Symbolica! So good we went back 3 times: Now I have sat through quite a few things I would have rather missed for the sake of the kids, but I was genuinely excited to go on this ride.. all 3 times! The effects were spectacular, and very realistic, it also lasts a long time.. I felt like I had stepped into Hogwarts. (apologies for the shakey photos, there was a fair amount of spinning around)
Possibly my favourite area in Efteling, from here you can take a ride on a real steam train, meet fairytale characters, explore lots of magical carousels, and step into the magical world of Droomvlucht :
Not to mention the engaging and exciting free shows of Raveleijn. The special effects of the show fooled our skeptical 8 year old, it was fast paced and featured dragons, horses and fire! What is not to love! The show is in Dutch, but you can pick up headphones from the friendly staff as you go in which translate to a number of different areas ( the seating area is under cover, s a good option if its raining). We chose the 1pm show… rest all the legs and re-charge before the afternoon fun….
Marerijk is also the area you will find the magical fairytale forest, our children 8 and 6 really enjoyed walking through the forest and finding all the magical sites.. plus a top few hidden attractions. As I had visited as a child I was also a bit too excited… especially to find the pooing donkey was still going strong! Be sure to pop 50c in the slot and enjoy the golden coin ejected from his bum! Obviously this was a huge hit with the little people!
We enjoyed playing “spot the fairytale” walking through the forest…….
There are spots to stop for drinks and snack, it wasn’t great weather when we visited, but this would have been the perfect and magical spot for a picnic in the sun. The fairytale forest is very interactive, and it was lovely to see the kids so engaged in the wholesome magic of imagination!
Be sure not to miss the water fountain show, also in Fantasierijk. We headed here at the very end of the day, the fountain and light show were amazing, choreographed to classical music it was a great end to the day!
Be Sure not to Miss:
We accidentally visited Pandadroom 3D cinema, in so much that we were passing as some rain started! It was such a pleasant surprise, and absolutely not to be missed! The show which looks at the impact humans are having on the earth is great, and you exit into the Octopus restaurant… There is a play area here, and it was a huge hit, plus the adults can pick up a coffee when the kids enjoy being penguins and exploring the rain forest for 1 /2 an hour!
There is a wide and varied amount of food options in Efteling, unlike many theme parks the food options are a mix of healthy foods along with treats! This blog covers them in depth and was a really useful read before we went.
As always we took packed lunches, but I wouldn’t if we went again, now I know about the food variety and prices. The prices are really quite reasonable, and there are also ample water fountains around the park to fill up your bottles:
Our day in Efteling was fun filled and unforgettable, we will definitely be back, but hopefully to stay over and for an extra day or two! Enjoy!