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Wed, Apr. 15th, 2015, 12:48 am
Efteling

I’ve been planning on crafting this post for ages. Between the last theme park post, and now, I’ve had the exceptional pleasure to have visited the Efteling twice. So it truly is time to write my review of the Efteling.

As far as I am concerned, the Efteling is one of the best theme parks out there. The only one cooler theme park I have ever been to, was Disney World Florida. As far as I’m concerned, the Efteling beats Euro Disney hands down. So let me take you down the road, and lets explore the Efteling together.

More on the EftelingCollapse )

All in all, the Efteling provides you with an experience. I heartilly recommend it to anyone that loves theme parcs, likes fairy tales, and is nearby the Netherlands. The only one negative aspect for international visitors, is that some of the rides are in Dutch. However, for most rides, this is either not relevant or does not detract much from the overall experience of the ride. There is much to do, beautifully, embedded and immersive scenery, and a great atmosphere. As far as I am concerned, the Efteling is one of the theme parks that all fans of theme parks, especially those that also love fairy tales, truly must have seen.

Sun, Aug. 17th, 2014, 12:24 pm
Phantasialand

I've had this park recommended to me several times, and therefore, as a good theme-park fan, had to visit it. Even though it was quite the trip for me, it didn't disappoint.

The park is set up according to several themes, called Berlin, Deep in Africa, China Town, Fantasy, Mexico and Mystery. The different themed areas differ hugely in size. Also, some are mostly lots of atmosphere and a few rides, while others seem to consist of mostly rides and only a touch of atmosphere.

We entered trough the gate near the Asian themed part of the park, China Town. And I have to give it to the park designers and landscapers: they sure know how to create a beautiful atmosphere.

                                    IMAG0292

The area mostly consists of lots of atmosphere, several food and snack options and a small gift shop, sporting only two rides, a large haunted house ride and a martial arts story themed ride. The haunted house saw a cart slowly moving you pasts elaborate displays, reminiscent of the displays in haunted houses on carnivals, without the annoying moving scare effects of regular haunted houses.

The Deep in Africa part is mostly dominated by lots of music and an impressive floor-less rollercoaster, the Black Mamba.

Fantasy is by far the largest area of the park, with both a fair amount of rides, and lots of attention to atmosphere.

                                    IMAG0308

In parts of the area space is used almost overly efficiently, and I would recommend making sure you visit the top of the hill where the Hollywood Tour, a boat ride past several reproductions of iconic scenes, and the Temple of the Night Hawk, an indoor dark roller coaster, are located. Another part of the area, though, sports a lot of scenery and traces of what probably used to be rides, activities or or stores.

                                    IMAG0309

It was gorgeous to walk trough, but halfway through I got thirsty and there literally was not a single vendor point or bathroom for at least 20 more minutes of walking, which considering we were in a theme park, I thought was a lot.

After Fantasy we visited Berlin, which was a depiction of 19th century Berlin, dominated by cake shops, which I can heartily recommend, and a giant carousel. This area also sports the largest gift shop of the park, a haunted hotel, a laser-game ride where you get 3D glasses and get to shoot a 'whipped cream'-gun at mice, and an impressive swing ride.

The Mexico-themed area is where the wildest rides live. Trough an underground line, walking past waterfalls and decorated walls, you can enter a wild water ride, reminiscent of a log flume ride.

                                                                                              Mural

Besides this, there are free fall rides, spinning rides, basically, if you like extreme rides the part of the park where you'll be spending most time.

Finally, there is the tiny Mystery part of the park, with a water ride and a free fall ride. While there isn't much to this part of the park, it is dominated by the free fall ride, which looks like a castle. Yes, and actual castle.
         
                                                                       
Castle

All in all, it is a beautiful park to visit, with fun rides and a lot of atmosphere. I had only two major notes of criticism.

The first is that while they excel at atmosphere, generally they don't appear very good at storytelling. A lot of the rides could have been much better if there had been attention to the narrative of the ride. For instance, both the Hollywood ride and the haunted house ride depicted scenes, but there appeared to be little or no correlation between the different scenes, other then the general theme of the ride. No progression, no narrative.

The second point of criticism is that a fair amount of the rides are rocky, and sometimes uncomfortable to be in. When there is a warning notice: follow it, because they do not mess around.

On the other side, that they do not mess around also translates into a compliment, one I'd like to end with. Because they not only do they not mess around with warning notices, they also do not mess around with ride lengths. After spending a fair amount of time waiting to enter a ride, bang for you buck is nice. And more then once, I expected a fun ride to be over already, only to find that we were actually not even halfway trough. And yes, this definitely included the roller coasters.

Sun, Aug. 17th, 2014, 12:08 pm
Hellendoorn

I am a rather large theme park fan, so when I get the chance to visit one, I tend to do so. I also greatly enjoy visiting new places, and I hadn't been to the Adventure-park Hellendoorn in ages. Last time was when I was a child myself, and I had only the most rudimentary of memories of the park. So when we planned a mini-vacation, I added it (and another theme park, which I will discuss in a later post) to the things we were going to do.

Hellendoorn was interesting, but I quickly saw why it's not a park I hear my friends about. The optimal age to visit the park is obviously between 8 and 14. There are fun rides for all ages, like the 'Wild Waterval' (Wild Waterfall), a log ride which could get you soaked, the Sungai Kalimantan, an Indonesian themed river rapids ride, the Discovery Club, a underground lasergame adventure where you get to shoot at haunted items from a slow moving cart, and the 'Rioolrat'(Sewer-rat), an underground rollercoaster. While these rides themselves are fun, the seats tend to be just a touch small for adults.

Next to the rides that are also fun for adults, there are a fair amount of rides for kids only. The park itself is very compact, with a lot of rides in as little space as possible. The price paid for this is a lack of thematic atmosphere. That doesn't imply that there have been no attempts made to add this, and here and there there are bits where the rides theme works, like around the Sungai Kalimantan, the toddlers village and the Rioolrat, but for the most part, the park has the feel of an eclectic collection of rides, with a bit of a water theme.

All in all, the park is something I recommend you to visit at least once if you happen to be on vacation really nearby anyway, and it is high summer, or if you are in the Netherlands and have kids with you that are between 8-14 years old, and you want to visit a theme park other than the Efteling.

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