Saturday was my birthday. Instead of staying home and having guests, I decided I’d rather spend the day at Efteling, one of the oldest theme parks of the world. Older than Disneyland. And better, of course.
I first went to Efteling when I was very young, and the park consisted of little more than the Fairy Tale Forest, Swimming Pool, Play Ground and Rowing Pond.
These days, the park is far bigger, with lots of different attractions, including several roller coasters, but the swimming pool, play ground and rowing pond have gone. The Fairy Tale Forest is still there though, and hosts more fairy tales than ever.
First, we went to my favourite ride, Fata Morgana, where the tales from 1001 Nights come to life. It’s wheelchair accessible if you can make the transfer from your chair to the boat. If you can’t, you’re out of luck.
Next up was The Haunted House, where the dead came to life to the sounds of Camille Saint-Saëns’s Dance Macabre. Wheelchair accessible. No transfer needed.
At Symbolica, one of Efteling’s latest rides, we went on audience with King Pardulfus and enjoyed the Music Tour. Accessible with transfer.
By now, the others were looking for more excitement, so they went for a ride with Bird Rok, which is wheelchair accessible with transfer. As my body doesn’t like roller coasters, I waited outside.
We then went for a 20-minute Gondoletta boat trip.
By then, I was pretty hungry, so we had pancakes at “Polles Keuken”. Their gluten free pancakes were quite good. Not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not bad. Not bad at all.
Bellies full, we decided to go for a ride at the magical Droomvlucht.
Though this ride is not wheelchair accessible, there’s the Virtual Droomvlucht, where you get to experience the ride, all senses engaged, using a virtual reality headset. Moreover, the other members of your group can stay in touch with you using a headset while they are in the regular attraction. It’s great fun!
One word of warning, if you’re prone to motion sickness, you might get nauseous during your virtual ride. This problem is quite easily fixed by simply closing your eyes for a moment and taking slow, deep breaths. At least, that’s what worked for me.
After Droomvlucht, the others went into the cursed house Villa Volta, which is not wheelchair accessible, so I waited outside.
And I waited again, while they had their tour through Laafland in the Monorail, which sadly, is also not wheelchair accessible.
Then we split up. The young ones wanted to ride some more roller coasters, while us old farts wanted something not quite as exciting as that.
We went to see the Diorama – an old favourite of ours – first, and to the Efteling Museum after.
We still hadn’t been to the Fairy Tale Forest, which I’d been really looking forward to, but it was nearing closing time and we were getting pretty tired, so we made our way to the entrance and on our way there, caught up with the young ones again.
I got back home late, completely knackered, but had a great day.