From 1 April onwards, Efteling will be open every day of the year. For the first time in the theme park’s 58-year history, it will no longer close after the autumn or winter holidays, but will remain open all year round. The decision for year-round opening was influenced by the increasing number of visitors to the World of Wonders in recent years, the success of the Winter Efteling and the realisation of the new holiday park, Efteling Village Bosrijk. Seven League Summer and Winter Efteling will remain important ingredients of Efteling’s year-round programme. On 1 April, Efteling will become only the second theme park in Europe to permanently open its doors. The new, interactive attraction, Fairytale Tree, will open in the Fairytale Forest this spring. And a further expansion will follow on 1 July, with the opening of the new, wooden, racer rollercoaster ‘Joris en de Draak’ (George and the Dragon).
The permanent opening of the theme park provides many new challenges and around 200 extra staff in various disciplines were recruited earlier this year. As President and CEO, Bart de Boer, explains: “With more than a decade’s experience of Winter Efteling, the theme park’s attractions, catering outlets and numerous facilities are fully prepared. Any maintenance necessary during opening hours has been meticulously planned to cause minimum disruption to visitors’ enjoyment. At the same time, we continue to develop new Efteling attractions, like Fairytale Tree and the new, wooden, racer rollercoaster ‘Joris en de Draak’, thus ensuring an even spread of visitors throughout the park. We are 100% ready.”
All of the efforts and preparations of recent decades are now bearing fruit. The first Summer Evenings were introduced in the 1980s, when Efteling also opened its doors during the autumn holidays for the first time. An increasing number of ‘hardy’, sheltered attractions and catering outlets were added and the lighting plan was expanded extensively. Just a stone’s throw from the theme park, the Efteling Hotel opened in 1992, followed by the championship-standard Golf Park, in 1995. The first Winter Efteling was introduced in 1999, initially for a three-year trial period, and the Seven League Summer became a permanent fixture on the Efteling schedule. The 2002 addition of the Efteling Theatre to the World of Wonders was a fitting celebration of the park’s 50th anniversary. And the realisation of Efteling Village Bosrijk, in December 2009, completed the preparations for year-round opening.
The Fairytale Tree has an enormous canopy, 13 metres high and 13 metres wide. He comes to life when children approach him. His speciality is interacting with visitors on a personal level, after which he tells a short story. The Fairytale Forest animals, Woodpecker, Squirrel and Rabbit, are on hand to help him. This great, wise tree, with small special effects, has put down roots opposite the little match girl in the Fairytale Forest.
Visitors climbing into this new, wooden, racer rollercoaster do so as real ‘dragon hunters’, following in the footsteps of the legendary Joris. In ages past, he slayed a dragon and saved the life of an innocent girl. Those who dare can choose from water or fire chariots and race against each other on separate tracks to see who can finish quickest. The aim is to hunt down the swamp dragon. With a length of 810 metres on each track, a height of 25 metres and a maximum speed of 75 kph, Joris en de Draak will be an exciting, themed, racer rollercoaster for the whole family. Visitors over 1.10 m in height can become dragon hunters.
Efteling Village Bosrijk, which received its first overnight guests last December, is a new holiday park in the theme park’s back garden. Anyone wishing to experience more of Efteling can book a stay for two or three nights at a time, including unlimited access to Efteling Park. The holiday park comprises 203 characterful Woodland Cottages, Village Cottages and apartments, set among fairytale woodland surroundings. The realisation of Efteling Village Bosrijk makes Efteling a short-holiday destination. The fairytale-themed Efteling Hotel is also available for shorter stays of one or two nights.
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