Efteling Amusement Park :: Netherlands
A magical collection of fairy tale worlds awaits you at Efteling amusement park in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands. With four distinct realms designed around the forests and children’s stories native to this land, it is a wonderland of fun and amusement. Opened in 1952, Efteling is one of the oldest theme parks in the world, predating Disneyland in California by three years. Hosting over three million visitors a year, it is also one of the most popular attractions in Europe. With its breathtaking greenery, strong appeal to children, and exciting thrill rides, this is a destination that appeals to kids of all ages.
The four realms, similar to Disney’s “lands”, are: Travel Realm (Reizenrijk), Rough Realm (Ruigrijk), Fairy Realm (Marerijk), and Alternate Realm (Anderrijk). Travel Realm is home to the Carnaval Festival. Reminiscent of “It’s a Small World”, it takes you through several different countries in eight minutes whilst playing Mardi Gras themed music for over 300 dancing animatronics characters. Rough Realm has lots of fast thrill rides, including the legendary Python with its intense loop-de-loops and exciting freefalls. Fairy Realm has the Fairy Tale Forest and lots of lovely architecture including castles and cottages teeming with beautiful fairies. Alternate Realm is probably the calmest of the four areas, but it is also quite beautiful and enchanting. The Bobbaan, a bob sled theme rollercoaster, is the most action packed ride here but it also features a great river rapid ride (Piraña) and a mellow family ride based on the tale of 1001 Arabian Nights (Fata Morgana).
Efteling is not simply a theme park, however. Built in a rural area of The Netherlands, the towering pines, romantic flower gardens, and charming little ponds make this a nature lovers destination too. The designers (chiefly Anton Pieck, a Dutch artist famous for his fairy tale themes) wanted not just an amusement park, but to take visitors literally into another world. They succeeded a thousand times over. Both beautiful and exciting, Efteling is a fantastical place for those with wonder in their hearts and adventure in their blood, great for families, couples, groups of friends, and everyone in between.
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