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FreBelGerAnd - Efteling

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BaronC.

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Only taken me 3 and a half months to finish this TR...

 

We spent 2 and a half days at Efteling this year, and there was bucketloads of stuff going on during that time.  We stayed at the newly opened Loonsche Land Hotel, experienced Symbolica on it's opening day (along with all the pomp and faff to accompany it), and had a 14 hour day on park thanks to their summer festival event starting.  So I could probably pad this part of the trip into 2 or 3 blogs itself (and I kind of have already with my Symbolica review, but heyho...), but I'll just do photos and quick explanations so I can get it done...

 

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Symbolica's opening day (which was also the park's first Summer Festival day of the year) wasn't as busy as we expected.  The park opened at 9am, Symbolica opened at 10am.  During that time void, the park's mascot Pardoes was out and about, press were interviewing staff and guests - one Dutch news company tried to interview us, but funnily enough they wanted Dutch speakers.  There was a fun countdown when the ride opened, and we a mad rush occurred, put fortunately we were in first group of the day in.  Good thing too as I wouldn't have wanted to queue this...

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The park's summer festival they ran was incredible.  For no extra cost, the park opened till late (11pm), and held tonnes of extra side-shows, events, extra food stalls, and general fun stuff.  This was all from 6pm, which started off with a parade of all the acts:

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OJ Punctuel from Symbolica

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A living statue from Flying Dutchman

 

In the 5 hours from when the parade started, we did a few rides (I can't remember what exactly off the top of my head, but fairly certain we did Joris a couple of times, Baron, Bob and maybe Flying Dutchman?), we saw a ton of the acts, including...

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Random singers

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Raveijlin fayre - the whole area was transformed into a mini Warwick Castle.  They had sword fights, random actors spinning yarn and goodness knows what else to create an atmosphere.

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Random singers / marching band.  They were a massive laugh - a lot of their sets can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDSnv09tVMQ

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South American dancers

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Comedians

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1001 Nights area, include magic performances, 'snake charmers', sword swallowers, a guy giving away free ice cream if you can get it from him, and someone trying to sell rugs...

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3 different versions of Aquanura

 

And much much more, including live music performances from plenty of other acts, randoms pianists, some kids radio station, loads more dancers and plenty of other things I've probably forgotten now and didn't get a chance to take a photo of it.  It was truly a fantastic atmosphere, and it was a wonderful day.  14 hours on park flew by, and though it felt long enough, a couple more hours would no doubt have helped us see even more the acts, and sneak in a couple more night rides.  Speaking of which, some Efteling at night photos...

 

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Dragon wasn't blowing fire during our trip unfortunately :(

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I got a photo with the wonderful OJ Punctuel.  I think I insulted him with my commonness and unshaven face.  Though serious note - I love how copious the costume characters are in numbers and appearances - always created such a good, fun atmosphere.

 

 

In terms of rides...

 

Baron 1898 left me disappointed this visit.  After riding it 2015, I truly adored it - it was fun, floaty and just really enjoyable from start to finish.  Unfortunately, it has aged liked B&Ms seem to do, becoming slightly more forceful and punchy.  This is normally a good thing, but in Baron's case, it means it loses the floatiness which made me love it so much, making it less enjoyable.  It really slid down my Top 10 as a result - if it wasn't for the amazing theme and surrounding, it certainly would have fallen out.  

 

Joris en de Draak stood the test of time however, and I still really love it.  I still prefer Fire slightly over Water, but it definitely cemented itself as my favourite Efteling coaster.  Flying Dutchman remained fantastic, Python remained slightly painful and generally disappointing, whilst I enjoyed Bob significantly more this time!  My opinions on many of the park's other rides remained the same - I still don't quite get Dreamflight, I enjoy the park's other dark rides and their filler selection is nice.  I also got the chance to try the park's 3D cinema, Pandadroom, after it was down for technical difficulties in 2015.  I actually quite enjoyed the premise and the real effects it has, but the 3D itself was terrible, and the awkward wait before the show needs some serious attention.  I also enjoyed my time in the Fairytale Forest, with this new addition since my last visit being the highlight...

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All in all, I enjoyed Efteling again this year, for what was my second visit to the park.  After my original visit, I did class it as my favourite park.  However, since then, Phantasialand has grown on me all the more, and Efteling just misses the mark for me a bit now.  It's still a fantastic park and I really enjoyed my time there (even though 2 and a half days is a bit too much for the park), but it's not really a park for me I guess..

 

 

And so that concluded FreBelGerAnd.  We left the park slightly earlier than planned so we could get allow plenty of time to drive back to Dunkirk for our evening ferry, and as per, travelling home posed no issues at all...

 

Next up - my Liseberg review; it's only 2 months late fortunately!

 

 

 

 

 

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Glad you guys enjoyed Efteling, I can safely say I fell even more in love with the place when Tomb and I visited a week later.

 

Agree with the show and entertainment bits, absolutely fantastic selection of both quality and quantity. I thought the Fata entertainers were amazing and I found the singer around the Bob ride remarkably hilarious for some reason, as he reminded me of Harry Hill slightly. 

 

Will await thr Symbolica segment, but I personally think it's one of the best dark rides in Europe and one of the best attractions in the Efteling. I love Aquanura and probably prefer it to DLP's night time show, even just for the fact there isn't as much battle for a good viewing position which then gets obstructed by phones  and kids on shoulders.

 

I still enjoyed Baron somewhat (even if for the fab pre-shows) but the coaster is certainly more forceful now. I love Joris and almost forgot how great this duo actually are and Dutchman was still fab. Strangely I found my liking of Bob on my visit has gone down since my previous trip, it just lacked a spark somewhere. Apparently it's reaching a point in it's life where it will soon either need a major refurbishment or replacement altogether.

 

Will be interesting how the retracking will affect Python, which will hopefully make for a more smoother and enjoyable ride, however it does seem to lack the magic and character of most other attractions, so fingers crossed they can add some Efteling magic to rectify this. 

 

I love the Fairy Tale forest and feel it's a place you need a good couple of hours to take it all in and appreciate, if you go the whole way around. The Chinese Nightingale was my favourite. 

 

I think the thing with Dream Fkight is, it's supposed to be a selection of different Fairy Tale/dreamy landscapes and the ride takes a journey through these worlds and settings. Pandadroom amongst the effects, certainly delivers a powerful message concerning the environment, however the less mentioned the better on the actual 3D. 

 

Although Phantasialand rates slightly higher than Efteling, I adore both parks in their own way which feature some of the best theming in European parks IMO. 

 

How was Loonsche Land for accommodation? We stayed at the Efteling hotel and it was absolutely amazing and featured the typical touches you would likely find within the park itself.

 

 

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My Symbolica review is here - 

 

 

The Loonsche Land hotel was very nice.  The rooms were huge, beds were comfy, and it had the Efteling feel to it, much like the Bosrijk Village hotel did.  The included breakfast was very nice; plenty of variety and all nice quality.  The surroundings are very nice (though our room had a lovely view of the waste management area...), and the little animal areas are nicely done.  There's also some jungle trial style equipment for everyone to use - great fun for the most part...unless you slip on them when they're wet...  The separate huts looked very nice too!  

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