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Ride / Efteling

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Efteling (De Efteling) is the biggest and most popular theme park resort in The Netherlands, located in Kaatsheuvel (province of North Brabant).

It opened in 1952, and has evolved from a nature park with a playground and a fairy forest into a full-sized amusement park. Its main themes encompass fantasy and romanticism based on legends, fairy tales, folklore and myths, and its most recognizable designs are the trademark of Anton Pieck. The park's mascot is Pardoes, a jester and magician, and its signature rides include "Python", "Baron 1898", "De Vliegende Hollander", "Symbolica", "Joris en de Draak" and "Pagode".

It had over 5 million guests in 2017, which makes it the third most popular theme park resort in Europe behind Disneyland Paris and Europa-Park.

See also the character sheet for the park's own storytellings.


The park provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absentee Actor:
    • "Langnek", a long-necked man who can be seen in the Fairy Tale Forest, hails originally from a story called "The Six Servants", in which he is one of the titular servants. However a bust of one of the other servants can be found, the other fore servants are nowhere represented in the park.
    • The Mother Goat from The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids is notably absent in Efteling's character brand Sprookjesboom, the CGI series of the same name, and the puppets series. She does shown up in past Efteling book adaptations of the story (especially the Efteling Golden Book version) and her voice is heard in some of Efteling's audio books and CD-ROMS.
    • Besides Benjamin, the other 6 goat children are also absent in "Sprookjesboom Show" which is the puppets incarnation of the characters.
  • Advertisement:
  • All There in the Manual: The universe of Pardoes/Symbolica includes a lot of material and information that certain guests can only know if they read the Pardoes comic series sold in the stores. Eftelpedia has more information about the world of Pardoes.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Carnaval Festival is very similar to "It's a small world" at the Disney Theme Parks. Both of these rides feature stereotypical depictions of different cultures, childlike puppets and ear worm music.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: "Fata Morgana" is a dark ride with 140 animatronics in a One Thousand and One Nights setting, complete with turbaned magicians and seers, belly dancers, pet tigers, djinns and whatnot.
  • Audio Adaptation:
  • Big Eater: "Holle Bolle Gijs" is a character of a fat man who can be found in numerous incarnations throughout the park where he serves as a trash can. The character asks repeatedly for paper and he thanks visitors if they put garbage in his mouth.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The park contains numerous examples.
    • "Villa Volta" is a house that, after its owner got cursed, does not follow the laws of physics anymore.
    • The attraction "Het Volk van Laaf" is made up as a an entire village full of assymetric, crooked architecture created by the fictitious people of Laaf.
    • The park's entrance building is in fact a wooden construction with a thatched roof containing five conical towers.
  • Break the Haughty: The owner of the "Villa Volta" house used to be a very arrogant and selfish man. When he treated someone very condescending for calling him out about his being a thief, he got cursed. Now he is a sad, tormented man.
  • Bright Castle: "Symbolica", more or less the park's equivalent of the Sleeping Beauty/Cinderella castle from the Disney parks.
  • Big, Badass Bird of Prey: The dark indoor rollercoaster "Vogel Rok" is themed after a mythical bird of prey, the Roc. The entrance itself is a giant one.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Pardoes's original friends Paddel and Pieter Muis vanished from Efteling merchandise and the Pardoes universe around 2005. They still can be seen as portraits in the Pardoes Suite in Efteling Hotel.
  • Denser and Wackier: The TV show "Sprookjesboom" portrayed many fairy tale characters from the park in a more cartoony version.
    • The TV show later got a spin off called "De Sprookjesboom Show", which is a lot more humorous and goofy compared to the original CGI series. The characters are all portrayed as puppets.
  • Flying Dutchman: The mystery dark ride/splash rollercoaster "De Vliegende Hollander" is all about the original sea legend involving the Dutch East Indies Company in the late 17th century (i. e. no reference to how the story plays out in either Richard Wagner's opera or Pirates of the Caribbean).
  • Funny Animal:
    • Efteling's version of The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids are portrayed as funny animals.
    • Rattar (Pantagor's henchman in the Symbolica universe) is an anthropomorphic rat.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The main antagonists of The Wolf and The Seven Young Kids, Hansel and Gretel and Tom Thumb, don't get along very often in Sprookjesboom. They are seen singing along with the protagonists in some episodes.
  • Haunted Castle: "Spookslot". Unlike most theme park examples, it's not a dark ride. It's a show that blends the use of animatronics, lighting of the scenery, music and sounds effects, and thus emphasizes the beauty and romantic aspect of its ruins setting over spookiness.
  • Haunted House: "Villa Volta" is a Mad House ride, the story of which is that its owner got cursed, after which everything in the house got lopsided.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: The teacups ride "Monsieur Cannibale". The teacups in which the guests sit are pots and there is a giant cannibalistic tribesman with Savage Piercings in the middle.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Benjamin the goat from The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids and Jokie appeal to younger guests. Benjamin is also one of the main characters in the animated series ''Sprookjesboom'' and shows up in live shows as a puppet.
  • Leitmotif: Pardoes Promenade, a song heard as guests first enter the theme park serves as the character theme for Pardoes and Pardijn. It also served as the park's theme song in earlier promotional material and eventually the Symbolica theme since the ride's opening in 2017.
  • Licensed Game: Pardoes starred in his own PC game "Een wonderijk Avontuur met Pardoes de Tovernar" in 2000, which involves Pardoes protecting Efteling from Pantagor and Rattar. The PC game is also the first time Pardoes was heard talking after being previously voiceless.
  • Long Neck: This guy, whose name is "Langnek". He comes from the fairy tale The Six Servants by The Brothers Grimm.
  • Mayincatec: The river rapids ride "Piraña" is themed after pre-Columbian South American civilizations.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Efteling's creation of a new series called Sprookjesboom based on the characters featured in Fairy Tale Forest resulted in one of the goat kids being given a name. The goat child that survived from the wolf and hid in the clock is named Benjamin. Benjamin has been very popular with child guests since 2008. Before the existence of Sprookjesboom, the goat children were unnamed.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Pardoes is a jester rather than a clown, but he's still very much both a friendly, cheerful entertainer and a heroic magician.
  • No Name Given: The six goat children from The Wolf and The Seven Kids are unnamed, while Benjamin (the goat that hidden in the clock) is the only one given a name.
  • One Of These Is Not Like The Others: Everything in the park has a strong thematization, but the roller coaster "Python" stands out against this, as it is much downplayed here. It is painted like a python, which matches its name, but it has no story behind it at all, no music and no pre-show or anything in the waiting line.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The wooden rollercoaster "Joris en de Draak" is based on the legend of Saint George. A giant animatronic dragon is attached to it, and it is very much a Western-type one.
  • Product Placement: The 4D cinema "Panda Droom" is established in cooperation with the WWF, which results in a lot of examples of this trope.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The music of "Spookslot" (Haunted Castle) is a well-known piece of classical music, "Danse Macabre" by Camille Saint -Saëns.
  • Scenery Porn: The whole park is well known for its beautifully maintained greenery and natural landscaping, so much so that many people over the years have speculated that Walt Disney copied it for his own parks (he didn't.)
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The tracks of the "Python" rollercoaster are modelled like a snake's skeleton, and a hissing snake head with glowing eyes and an animated tongue greets guests at the entrance.
  • Subverted Trope: The park subverts a number of common theme park tropes. To wit:
    • Most big parks (and the Disney ones above all) have at least a few Merchandise-Driven rides and attractions based on pop culture IPs and shops attached to them. Efteling has none, featuring Public Domain themes and its own characters, storytelling and merchandise instead (and most of the latter is concentrated in one big shop at the entrance).
    • The Haunted Castle is a show of animatronics, sound and light instead of a dark ride.
    • Pirates are a staple of animatronics-heavy adventure-based dark rides in most parks. Efteling has an "Arabian Nights" Days ride instead.
    • The "teacups" of the teacups ride are pots in which a cannibalistic giant cooks the guests instead of actual teacups.
    • The park's fairy castle ("Symbolica") has square towers with onion domes instead of more classic cylindrical towers with conical roofs.
  • The Theme Park Version: "Carnaval Festival" is an 8-minutes trip around a theme park version of the world, with the ride's signature character (Jokie) reproducing easily recognizable clichés from each continent.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: A small snippet of Pardoes Promenade can be heard when guests are interacting with magical music instruments in "Symbolica". It's also heard in the Pardoes Suite in Efteling Hotel when guests open a book with a music note.
  • Urban Legend: Rumors have circulated for years that Walt Disney visited Efteling in the 50s and directly modeled his own theme parks on Efteling, enough for the speculative connection to have its own sub-heading on the park's Wikipedia page. Disney never actually visited the park himself and Efteling management eventually dispelled the rumors themselves, however, the two companies maintain a great working relationship, and Disney Imagineers have even sought advice from Efteling's own staff when constructing the Paris expansion.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rattar the rat is Pantagor's main henchmen, who does his dirty work by messing with the citizens of Symbolica.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: One must be at least 1.2 meters tall to be allowed on the rollercoasters.


Example of: