Today we went to the Efteling. We’ve been talking about it for a couple of years, but I’m glad we waited until the boys were a little older (7 and 4). It’s a fairy tale theme park with a little something for everyone.
The fairy tale forest – also known as a living picture book – has representations of 29 stories! Some of them, I had never heard of! And there is a synopsis of each story in 4 languages. We saved that for the end, though, so we didn’t see everything. It was time to get to the car to try to beat the traffic home!
The first thing we had to do was walk through the Adventure Maze. You know, the kind made out of tall shrubs? There wasn’t a beginning and an end – just go in, wander around, and try to find your way back out again. But watch out for the shooting jets of water! (It says it’s only for children under 1.5m, but plenty of adults went in, too.)
The highlight of the day turned out to be the one roller coaster that both boys could ride. Well, technically, it’s a bobsled ride, but it works – and looks – just like a roller coaster. Now I myself and not a rides kind of person. So I sent my little ones on through the entrance with their dad and AP2. And wandered around for 40 minutes hoping I wouldn’t have a terrified, traumatized 4-year-old on my hands when they finally came out! Froggy has been on small roller coasters and was okay with them. But Hippo had never been on anything like it. Here’s the description from the website:
Be prepared for terrifying descents! Want to fly at 60 km/h? Slam through corners and feel the wind in your face. No snow, but you still shake in the bobsleigh run. The Bob is a 524 m long bobsleigh run and suitable for all daredevils. In principle, everyone may ride this attraction. However, children under 1.20 m must be accompanied by an adult and the attraction is not accessible for pregnant women.
Yup. That’s what they did. Turns out, I was the only one whose stomach was turning! Both boys came off all smiles and were disappointed to hear they couldn’t ride any of the other roller coasters! Froggy could have gone on one or two others, but Hippo wasn’t tall enough yet, so we all agreed they’d go again another time when they could ride together 🙂
The other rides we went on seemed quite tame after that. There was a pirate ship carousel, pedal trains, and a steam train. We did not go up in the Thai Temple Pagoda with its super high panoramic views (no, Mama does not like heights!).
We did, however, enjoy a couple of Dutch treats! Oliebollen are similar to doughnuts – fried balls of dough dusted with a healthy portion of powdered sugar. Usually, you can only get them around New Year’s, so I was excited to have one on a warm summer day! Then we had to choose between poffertjes or pannenkoeken for lunch. The boys won. I wanted poffertjes, since they are harder to find. Whereas you can find a pannenkoekenhuis on every corner – or at least in every town, it seems!
One thing I really appreciated about this theme park was the amount of shade! There were trees everywhere!! Don’t get me wrong, we still needed our sunscreen. But even on this day that was not supposed to be too hot – about 75 degrees – we were still looking for refuge in the shady spots!
Is it good for kids?
Absolutely! I’m not sure I would take a child younger than 4. Although I saw plenty of people with strollers. I just prefer to wait until the kids can walk the whole time and get the most out of the rides!
What about the cost?
Well, compared to Disney World, not bad. But it’s still not a cheap day out. Tickets cost about $40 per person, and parking is $10. Only children under 3 get a discount. Although you can save a bit if you order tickets in advance online (which also saves you time to avoid lines at the park entrance!). Once you’re in, all the rides are included. Of course, if you play any of those games to try to win a giant teddy bear, you have to pay for those.
Where is it?
The Efteling is in the south of the country in a town called Kaatsheuvel (please don’t ask me to pronounce it!):