Weekend Escape with the Kids: Efteling Theme Park, The Netherlands
Stepping into Efteling, the Netherlands’ largest theme park, is like entering into a fairytale. The so-called World of Wonders is located near Eindhoven and surrounded by breathtaking nature, easily making it one of Europe’s most beautiful playgrounds.
Inspired by beloved bedtime stories, kids of all sizes (and I’m counting myself amongst this crowd) can enjoy exciting attractions, heart-racing roller coasters and spectacular park shows.
With so much to see, it’s easy to miss some amazing memory-making opportunities so here’s our family’s best-tips-list from our Efteling adventure.
As with most theme parks, buying online tickets to avoid initial lines, wearing comfortable shoes and making sure you stay hydrated to maintain energy levels for a whole day are a must but make sure you also don’t forget to…
Budget Your Time and Go Mobile
Efteling is a big place and to do it all takes time. Like any good operation, a plan is needed. Grab a free map at the entrance – or better yet, download the Efteling app onto your smart phone.
Want to know how long you have to queue for your next ride? Or how to reach the quickest bathroom? With the app you can plan your whole day. The app also allows you to book time slots for the Python (one of Efteling’s most in-demand roller coasters).
Save Time for the Shows
Although the bigger rides clearly take a starring role, Efteling also offers many entertaining and breathtaking shows. From concerts to dancing water, it’s worth planning your day to catch one or two or all the extras the park has to offer.
Check Out the Coolest Restaurants Ever
Restaurants are not just places to eat at Efteling. They’re attractions in themselves. From giant bouncy castles, to slides to indoor playgrounds, most restaurants are designed with a particular theme in mind and are perfect places for a rest and a bite to eat.
One of the standouts was the Octopus, an incredible underwater themed restaurant serving simple pasta and panini snacks. The kids could have spent the whole day at the indoor playground but we eventually dragged them out to have more fun in the park.
Use the School Holidays to Your Advantage
Efteling is open every day of the year so if you want to avoid long weekend lines, take advantage of those school holidays that fall during the week. *Clearly this doesn’t work for school holidays in Holland. Equally a good plan, play hookie…Rainy school days are your best friend and if you plan right, you might find yourself with a whole theme park all to yourself.
Immerse Yourself Day and Night
The Efteling provides several options for accommodations, from castle-like hotels to log cabins in the woods ensuring that you can keep the magic going until the little ones fall asleep. We stayed at the Efteling Loonsche Land, ideal for larger families as they offer spacious bedrooms and a full kitchen to prepare extra meals if necessary.
All accommodation is located within walking distance of the park and as with other major theme parks, staying on premise allows guests to receive early entrance ensuring them front line access to some of the park’s most popular rides.
Ride One of the Star Attractions
We loved the attractions on offer at Efteling. If we had to choose just one each, the following would be our stand-out favourites from the trip…
Eric’s Choice: The Python. It’s all smiles on this steel roller coaster with its double loop and corkscrew.
Marlon’s Choice: Joris and the Dragon. Battle it out on this double-track wooden racer rollercoaster. Marlon was convinced that the Red team always won…that was, until Blue team did.
Louie’s Choice: Symbolica, Eftling’s newest family attraction and the most costly ride ever constructed worldwide. Let yourself be led along the secret corridors into magical rooms and be amazed time after time with three different journeys to take.
Karyn’s Choice: Fairy Tale Forest. Known as the largest living picture book. Walk between giants and trolls. Watch the fairies fly and red shoes dance. All your childhood fairytales are represented and are yours to discover.
Olav’s Choice: Baron 1898. This roller coaster plunges you down a 37.5 m free fall into a mineshaft at a speed of 90 km/h. This one can’t be beat! Hands down the best roller coaster EVER!