Have you heard of The Efteling theme park in Holland?

Have you heard of The Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuval, South Holland? If not, you need to read on and I’ll tell you why we thought it was brilliant! This isn’t a comparison to Disney Land/World as we’ve not taken the kids there yet, but they do say that Walt Disney visited here and decided that he wanted to build something similar, lo and behold, the Disney theme parks were born!

My two children stand in front of the big castle at the Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuval, Holland

It was a bit grey and rainy the second day but it made no difference to our enjoyment of the park!

I was born very near the theme park and my parents went several times when it was just the woods part, and I also went as a child but I had no memories of it and so I was very excited when my Mum and I decided to take the kids to Amsterdam and then on a little trip down memory lane and include the theme park before heading back up to Haarlem for my Oma’s (Grandmother’s) birthday celebrations with the rest of the family.

My Mum and two children feed crumbs to the tame ducks and ducklings who are all around the park at the Efteling theme park, Kaatsheuval, Holland

There were tame ducks everywhere who brought their ducklings to see if we had any sandwich crumbs for them.

I’m so glad we did because we all had the best time there and didn’t want to leave! We flew in to Schipol and got the train to Amsterdam where we were spending our first few nights. It was unbelievably hot when we were there and a little uncomfortable to be honest, but we had a lovely day at the incredible Artis Royal Zoo, which we got to by tram.

My son standing in front of the animals at the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam.

This was at the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam.

We then travelled by train from Amsterdam to Breda, it took us approx 2 hours with changes, going through beautiful scenery with windmills and people cycling by dykes everywhere, and then it was a short taxi hop to the theme park. We were staying at the Efteling Bosrijk which comprises of  many self catering houses in the woods. It had everything you need and I would liken it a little to centre parcs or similar with cars being allowed in to unpack but then being a car free site. There is a small pool complex with a lazy river. The pool is very deep and non swimmers must wear arm bands. Luckily for us, these were on sale at the pool and only €2.50 which I thought was very reasonable considering we were already in the pool with no means of getting any from anywhere else!

My |Mum sits on our patio in front of the large brick self catering holiday home at the Efteling Bosrijk.

This was our home for the two days.

My two children sit on the sofa beaming wearing blue and white night caps that the elves made them in preparation for their arrival at the Efteling Bosrijk.

There is also a small shop on site, selling the essentials and a restaurant too. We found the food excellent but if we’d have been driving, we would have done self catering as there was everything we needed in the house for us to make all meals ourselves.

A delicious looking plate of tortolini with rocket, tomatoes and walnuts on top.

The food was really good at the Efteling Bosrijk with plenty of vegetarian options and really great kids meals.

A generous helping of apple crumble with ice cream and cream at the restaurant at the Efteling Bosrijk

Ice cream AND cream with an apple crumble!

One thing to note is that breakfast in the restaurant is made very fun by the characters wandering around and chatting to you. They were very well acted, spoke excellent English and took plenty of time to chat to each table which made the children’s day. Bonus points to staying onsite is that you get to go in the park on the day you arrive and then the days that you stay too, so we stayed two nights but could have had three full days there. You also get a special entrance to beat the queues and also get to access the park half an hour early, and some of the rides are open for you. Like the Droom Vlucht (Dream Flight) which was hands down the best ride on the planet, we went on twice we loved it so much!

My daughter stands with two of the characters at the Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuval, Holland, Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.)

Meet Roode Kapje (Red Riding Hood) and Sleeping Beauty!

Meeting the characters at breakfast was how we heard about the live show The Ravelijn, which runs several times a day and is free to go to but requires tickets that you can get either from the reception at the Bosrijk or in the theme park itself in the kiosk. It’s a live action show with horses and birds and a five headed dragon and we loved it so much we went twice to that too!! There were many other live shows and events across the park, but that’s the only one we went to.

The fantastic live action Ravelijn show at the Efteling Bosrijk.

There is so much to see and do at the park, you can just walk around for hours just looking at things, we wandered around the original part first, which is the Fairytale Forest, and there are lots of things there that your children will know. It’s based on the Brother’s Grimm stories so be aware that it can be a little dark in places, as the original stories were before Disney sugar coated them. I’m still tearful now when I think of the little match girl exhibit! There are moving characters in each house to bring the stories to life and it’s brilliant but I did find myself wondering if someone had slipped some hallucinogenics into my morning cereal at some points!

There are also plenty of rides and they mix up the sections so there is something for everyone in each area. The park is split into different sections and there are toddler play areas, big rides for the groups of teens we saw milling about, water rides, steam powered rides and plenty of places to grab a coffee and chill out. It was very busy both days we were there but because of the size of the park, it never felt claustrophobic.

There are so many beautiful places like this one to sit and grab a coffee or a sandwich. There was also hot food available.

View from my favourite ride, the pagoda!

We had one day of sun and one of rain and it didn’t bother us either way. It was sheltered enough to not mind a bit of rain, (it was warm still though), and we could avoid the very hot sun under the trees. We were there at half term and there were a lot of people there, including many British people, so just be aware that it does get busy at UK holiday times too as so many Brits have discovered how great it is and go there.

 

We also had very good weather which is always a draw, this meant that there were some rides that we didn’t get to go on as queuing times could be long and we decided to go to things that didn’t have the queue time. The newest ride was closed for a large portion of our visit, which was a bit gutting as it sounded amazing. You can download the Efteling app which gives you live queue times for all the rides so you can plan your day. A huge huge highlight was the end of the day show. It was utterly spectacular. I have a video for you at the bottom. If you are on instagram, you can watch my many short videos from our trip there by clicking here.

 

In conclusion, we absolutely loved it here, it was such a fantastic few days and we all said that we want to make it an annual tradition to go again and again. I think it might be one of my favourite places I’ve been to with the kids. Word of warning though, the Pirate Ship is hardcore, I won’t be making that mistake again, we all went on and three of us nearly cried! 😀

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2 Comments

  1. July 8, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Ahh that sounds so good! I really enjoyed Europa Park too and it seems that Disney has the monopoly on advertising / awareness for theme parks outside of the UK but some of the non-disney ones are amazing. I am definitely going to take the girls to Efteling when we travel with them, it sounds perfect.
    Nat.x

  2. August 7, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Oh it does look fab there. I had already hear of it. I’m pleased you had fun and were able to get nostalgic!

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