From: newsgroup rec.roller-coaster
DAY ONE - FRIDAY (Arrival, Tilburg, Efteling)
arrived at Amsterdam airport around 8am and went straight to
the train station. There we bought tickets to Tilburg in the south of the
country, the closest station to our first park. We traveled everywhere we
wanted to go in Europe by train and always rode in first class. The trains
in Europe go everywhere and there were buses from the train station to
EVERY park we visited. Every single train schedule for ALL of Europe can
be found easily on the internet. A couple of the parks were actually
within walking distance of the train station. Try doing that in America.
decided to skip the slower public transportation and take a cab to the
first amusement park of the trip, Efteling (in The Netherlands). Efteling
is a park very highly regarded by the well-traveled enthusiasts who had
been there. Many people even consider it to be the most beautiful park in
the world. After visiting the park for myself, I have to agree - As high
as my expectations for the park were, it still exceeded them. Efteling has
also won awards in the industry for being the greatest theme park in the
world. It was gorgeously and lushly landscaped with tons of trees, fields
of green and narrow winding paths, with lots of little nooks and crannies
to explore. But the most impressive feature of the park was all the flowers.
The tulips were absolutely stunning in the most brilliant shades of red,
orange, blue, white, purple, etc. There were even some tulips with two
colors like dazzling orange-yellow, red-yellow or red-white combinations.
I took four rolls of film in the park and most of them were of the flowers
(and I could have taken more). As great as the landscaping was, so were many
of the rides.
arrived at Efteling on a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon about noontime
and stayed until they closed at 6 pm. Admission was only +/- 17. The longest
line we encountered was about 20 minutes. Their roller coasters, although
each was unique, were actually the most boring attractions in the park. The
dark rides, on the other hand, were world-class themed rides.
start with the coasters: The first one we rode was called Bob. It
was an Intamin bobsled coaster, but taller, longer and different than the
standard model. Next we rode Pegasus, an Intamin junior woodie about 50
feet tall and built over a lake. The unusual thing about this coaster
was that it had a unique type of wheel that was designed to be very quiet.
The coaster was even more silent than a normal steel coaster and it is very
unusual to see a woodie in action without all the noises associated with
it. It was a good and peppy little ride. Next came a Vekoma double loop
corkscrew coaster called Python. The ride was rough and very aggressive,
even more than your normal Vekoma ride. The helix at the end (the unique
touch on the ride) was full of strong lateral forces.
final coaster of the park was also the newest one. Built last year
by the Dutch firm Vekoma, it was an indoor coaster called Vogel Rok. The
storyline involved some kind of mythical bird and the entrance featured a
gigantic bird that you walked underneath to enter the ride. The queue
line was enormous and went through several rooms, but we only had to wait
about 20 minutes to ride. The wait ended up being the longest of the whole
trip. The ride vehicles had several on-board speakers with a unique
synchronized to the ride. The ride featured lots of curving drops and
turns, all in the dark, over a unique ride layout. Overall, the ride was
much better than I expected.
onto the other rides: ALL of the rides and attractions at Efteling
are Disney quality or better. Fata Morgana was a wonderful 10 minute dark
ride very similar to Disney's famous Pirates of the Carribean, except
that it had a Moorish theme (with Arabs instead of Pirates). To start off,
the ride was housed in a huge building with gold, blue and yellow onion
on top. The building/castle looks very impressive from across the lake on
which it sits. The queue line inside is one of the best looking and
coolest I have ever seen: an elevated wooden walkway above the station,
with carved wooden motifs every few feet. The loading platform is a huge
rotating turntable and the boats hold about 15 people, but we had a whole
boat to ourselves that day as there was no line for this incredible
ride was very elaborate and had over 15 rooms, most of which were
separated by a fancy curtain or themed door that opened to admit each boat
and then closed behind you so your craft was alone in every scene. The
park claims the ride contained 140 animatronic figures. The cast of
characters includes camels, tigers, donkeys, magicians, belly dancers and
lots of Arabs. The ride was so good that we decided to stay in our boat
and ride again. We noticed many more details during our second and
attraction at Efteling had its own original soundtrack, many of them
with a grand orchestral scores. The park offers a compact disc of the
music and I bought one. It is a wonderful souvenir of the park and upon
my first listening at home, I was flooded with warm memories of the park.
Morgana was the second ride we rode in the park and the first one
that made me realize that this park was truly something special. In fact,
over and over again that day, I was blown away by this park, its landscaping
and its themed rides. I should also note here that, quite frankly, I had
become very jaded over the last few years after having visited over 175
amusement parks around the world and it was so refreshing to experience a
park of this caliber and get my spirits lifted once again like they hadn't
been lifted by a theme park in years. Efteling reminded me of my first
trip to Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida (in 1994), where I
was blown away by all the theming and the scope and length of the rides. It
had been over five years since I was so impressed by a theme park.
was another amazing 10 minute dark ride. It is a suspended
dark ride: the vehicle is suspended below an overhead track (like
Disney's Peter Pan). This type of system allowed the car to fly over
gigantic scenes as the riders looked at the elaborate theming all around and
below them. The ride's name translates as Dream Vehicle and it has some
dreamy rooms and effects with fairies and trolls. The room that took us
totally by surprise was an enormous jungle room in which the ride actually
became like a coaster and spiraled down a triple helix, propelled
completely by gravity. We got off the ride and couldn't believe it, so we
immediately rode again.
was also another elaborate 10 minute dark ride called Carnival
Festival. It was a little like Disney's Small World with the different
figures from different countries spinning around (the park claimed there
were 270 characters). It was quite good. Then we walked to a haunted
castle called Spookslot that held a multimedia show set to music with many
animatronic figures coming to life in an animated graveyard. It was also
about 10 minutes long and started with a single figure playing fiddle and
gradually more and more things started moving until at least 50 things
were going on and you could not watch all of them.
very unusual observation tower called Pagoda was 50 meters tall (165
feet) and came with an incredible view of the park. What makes it unique
is that the tower is attached to a pivoting arm that raised the tower.
When it reaches the top, it spins very slowly all the way around so that
every passenger could see in every direction. We also rode a relaxing
scenic boat ride called Gondoletta that slowly floated around on a big lake.
Around every corner, there another gorgeous bunch of brightly colored
attraction that took us by surprise was a ride built by Vekoma
called Villa Volta. It was an elaborately themed -magic spinning room.
After two pre-shows, we entered a fancy room and sat down on a bench and a
lap bar was lowered. I knew what was going to happen next, but Leslie
had no idea. The lights dimmed in the room and the music started. This
attraction had the best soundtrack of an ride in the park. The benches
remained stationary and the room began to slowly rock back and forth. As
the music peaked, the room began to spin and completely rotated around the
riders in a head over heels fashion. Girls screamed and we laughed our
heads off as the optical illusion was breathtaking. Although you were
sitting still and the room was rotating, your brain was tricked into
thinking that YOU were being flipped upside down. It was a
TOTAL blast and one of the best non-coaster rides either of us had ever
park had many other rides that we did not have time to experience like
a hedge maze, pirate ship, rapids ride, antique cars, carousel, train (that
was not working), and a very cute tea cup ride themed like kettles with
flames painted on the bottom that was called Monsieur Cannibale. There
were also many dioramas, sculptures, carvings, fountains, themed exhibits
and colorful buildings scattered throughout the park. It was truly an
enchanting place and the BEST theme park I have ever visited.
Thanks to Hans van Kilsdonk.