My family and I have been looking forward to summer, as it is vacation season and it’ll be warm in the Netherlands! But 2020 has been busy, especially with COVID hanging around the entire year. A vacation to tropical islands or nearby EU countries has been off the list. This summer vacation will be the perfect time to explore the Netherlands and its beautiful cities. I have planned out a whole week of exploring and on top of my list will be a visit to Efteling.
Efteling is the largest theme park in the Netherlands. It is also one of the oldest theme parks in the whole world being established in 1935. What sets apart Efteling from other theme parks that we’ve been to, is its natural charm and ethereal feel. If you know the Grimm Brother’s fairytales and the series Once Upon a Time, Efteling has that theme all through out the theme park.
The park is open from 10 AM – 6 PM with longer hours during the summer season. We picked out a perfect day, Friday which was not too hot (24-27deg) and had a 30% chance of rain. Daxton was super excited. He remembered his visit to Disneyland Paris because of our travel video.
My son was 3 years old during our visit and below 100cm, so we were on the look for rides suitable for Daxton. I have compiled our favorite rides that are perfect for small toddlers (below 100cm).
The Polka Marina is a carousel which consists of small boats. My husband rode it with Daxton and had fun.
De Oude Tufferbaan
It is a small train which the whole family can ride on. The little ones were seated at the front (driver seat) as they pretended to be drivers of the train. Daxton enjoyed this ride because he loved driving.
The kinderspoor is another train ride with the difference of being a pedal train. My husband went with my son and had a good exercise with all the pedaling they did for the ride.
We all enjoyed this ride for it is mellow and scenic. You ride a boat, rest, and admire the nature surrounding Efteling. If you want a good rest for all the rides and walking, this is the best ride to hop on.
This ride is also a mellow one. You go to a big temple, and rest while admiring the entirety of the whole theme park as it slowly rises.
This ride reminds me of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride. It has a fun song as you go through different themes of countries/cities. This is the only ride we braved the long queue. The wait time was around 30 mins, but it was worth it.
It reminded us of the Mad Hatter Teacup ride in Disneyland, except this one will rock your world. The speed of the spinning cups was so fast, that we were all tired and dizzy after.
Anton Peik Plein
It is a small square filled with small rides for the little kids, like a carnival. There’s a chair swing, two traditional horse carousels, and a small roller coaster. My only concern is how fast these rides are. It is not kid-friendly as I am used to.
This ride goes through the Laveland which houses the ‘Volk van Laaf people’. You can also explore their village by walking.
Daxton was really excited about this one. This ride was the first thing we saw once we entered. You can already hear the prominent steam sound from the train as it passes through the entirety of the park. It has two stations, but due to the restrictions, you can only ride at one station, Station Marijke.
The Netherlands is known for its museums, and we visited two museums inside the theme park.
It is a collection of odd things associated with Efteling. It shows how Efteling started and the vision behind it. You can clearly see how it evolved into the theme park it is today.
It is a small display of miniature towns along the mountains. It is fascinating as the display transitions from a normal day to a dark thunderstorm night.
Inside Efteling there are two playgrounds where kids can still expel their energy.
This playground was one of the first attractions established back then. According to the Efteling Museum, this playground is in the same spot as the attractions around it evolved into something new.
This playground is near the Anton Piek Plein. It is small and near the restroom, perfect for parents to rest as the kids continue playing more.
There are shows played across Efteling. We were able to catch two of them.
It is considered one of the best shows in Efteling. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions, they modified the storyline to fit into the regulations. It is only available in Dutch and we understood only a few parts of it. Overall, it was quite entertaining.
This is the main highlight of all the shows. It is synonymous with Disneyland’s fireworks. It is a spectacular water show like no other. The Netherlands prohibits the use of fireworks all throughout the country except on a few days before and after New Year’s. This is how the Dutch wrapped up an exciting day at Efteling, which was quite nice and innovative.
One day is not enough to explore the whole park, these are the attractions we missed and will definitely go back for:
Sprookjesbos (Fairytale Forest)
This is the most anticipated attraction in Efteling and sadly we missed it. It is called Fairytale Forest for you will have an adventure exploring through different sections inspired by various fairytale stories. It was unique and somewhat old school in comparison to princess/fairytale stories.
We went in early at around 10 AM, yet there are already a lot of families in the park. I was so anxious that everyone would head straight there, that we opted to go there at a later time. Time went fast and when we reached the forest, it was almost time for the Aquanura show. We decided to skip the forest and look for a nice spot to see the show.
The path going here was near the entrance. It is only accessible from the Fairytale Forest or near the entrance. COVID made me more anxious that we also put it for later until it was too late, it was near closing.
This is another ride that we didn’t make because we didn’t have enough time. We were not able to see how this differs from the other traditional horse carousels.
We skipped this ride because the waiting time was more than 30 mins, and the queue was a bit long when we passed by. We opted to catch the Ravelijn show instead.
This was supposed to be the first ride we would try, but we backed out when we saw the queue was long.
Food in the park
There are a lot of snack bars spread across the park. There are also restaurants or proper sit-down places you can eat. We opted for Toko Pagode, which serves Asian cuisine. We need our rice/noodle fix so we can last the whole day at the park.
If you are on a budget, you can bring your food inside. Drinks tend to be expensive inside the park ranging from 2euro per bottle. We brought our drinks, but the heat and all the walking, it wasn’t enough to last the whole day. We saw families with big coolers which was so clever. But our logistics were not too good to lug around many things as we go on rides. We allotted a budget for food to buy in the park.
It was one tiring but very fun day! We were not able to try the more exciting rides like the rollercoasters and such. It was okay because the smile and excitement on Daxton’s face were enough for us. Daxton was so exhausted that he stretched his nap up until he could not make it. He slept in the car on our way home smiling.
Photos were screenshots from the Efteling App, which was very useful as it provides real-time info about waiting times, show times, and ride closures. We took mostly videos, so wait for our Efteling travel video on my husband’s YouTube channel.
What are your favorite rides at Efteling?
Share it in the comment box down below!