Efteling ~ World of Wonders


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Original Poster
Welcome aboard everyone!

Instead of focusing on the Disney parks I’d love to introduce this thread which is a new vision of a park less often discussed on these forums and taken from scratch in its design..

Today I’m inviting you all over to the charming Dutch town of Kaatsheuvel in the Netherlands to join me on a tour of one of Europe’s greatest theme parks, The Efteling with annually around 5 million visitors. It is home to an array of wonderfully designed attractions based on stories, myths and fairy tales from all over the world, all presented in a unique way which is characteristic to the park and its founding father Anton Pieck. Pieck was asked to design the Efteling and his grim and dark, yet romantic and nostalgic style immediately became associated with the park.

The park itself is one of the oldest theme parks still in operation today, with its roots founded in the early 1930s as a sports and hiking complex. However in the 50s it developed into a Nature Park which was home to their signature Fairy Tale Forest complex, an outdoor walkthrough area featuring 30 dioramas presenting famous fairy tales by Grimm, Perrault, Andersen and more. Since then, the park has been expanding after its initial successes. The park is now open year-round and features many different attractions such as the hybrid water coaster ‘De Vliegende Hollander’ (The Flying Dutchman), the trackless indoor dark ride Symbolica and the river rapids ride Piraña. It covers over 70 hectares (180 acres), which also includes their Efteling Hotel, their two holiday villages ( Bosrijk and Loonsche Land), a golf course and Villa Pardoes (a stay-over destination for children who suffer from severe illness).

The park itself is divided into five themed areas or ‘Rijken’ (realms). Though originally the park was divided into four areas called North, East, South and West, these new themes would offer more cohesive themes to the areas. The park was however never designed with these realms in mind, so the park sometimes comes off as a collection of random themes though it does make sense in a way! However in this re-design of the park, it will actually be designed with the thematic realms in mind, which means that some attractions that are featured will be found in another location than which they are at presently.
Our first realm as we enter the park is ‘Fantasierijk’ (Fantasy Realm), which is a fairy tale like introduction into the world of Efteling, exploring the parks icon characters, Pardoes, a magical harlequin, and his friends. Then, on your right you will find ‘Anderrijk’ (Other Realm), which transports Guests to various worldwide locales with each separate sub-area dedicated to a story from this location. Here, you can find yourself in an adventure based on 1001 Arabian Nights or brace the rushing rivers of Mayan America. ‘Ruigrijk’ (Tough Realm) is home to the fast and thrilling adventures of the park, for both the younger and older heroes visiting this part of the park. It is home to some of the best roller coasters in Europe including Joris en de Draak (St. George and the Dragon), a duelling wooden roller coaster and Baron 1898, a drop tower based on a cursed mine shaft. Next is ‘Reizerijk’ (Travel Realm) which is dedicated to stories of travel and expeditions. It is here that one of the park’s most iconic characters, Jokie the clown invites Guests to explore different countries around the World and where you can board a floating Thai pagoda for a panoramic view of the park. Lastly, there’s ‘Marerijk’ (Saga Realm) which is the largest of them all and features the famous Fairy Tale Forest. Additionally the realm explores other legends, folktales and stories with attractions like Villa Volta (a madhouse inside a cursed mansion) and arguably the park’s most popular attraction Droomvlucht (a flying dark ride through a dreamscape featuring fairies, trolls, fauns and floating castles).

With this re-design I’d love to take Efteling’s style and envision it on a grander scale, much closer to what we expect from Disney parks and with that I’d like to bring some more cohesion to the park’s separate areas and update attractions to a modern standard in the industry.


Its main entrance is marked by the House of the Five Senses which is a significant icon with 5 spike-like points perched atop, each representing one of the five human senses which collectively represent the Efteling experience. Inside Guests find ticket offices, guests services, toilets, the park’s main retail location ‘Efteldingen’ and a radio station. A fairy tale was envisioned for the entrance and is based on a king and his five sons:

‘’Once upon a time there was an old king who lived in a far away kingdom. He was blessed with five sons who each developed a skill with one of the five human senses: the eldest was able to see right through people and could even tell if someone was truthful, the second son could hear so well that he heard people’s thoughts, and their brothers could taste, smell or feel enchantingly well. On the king’s death bed it was to be decided which son would follow their father’s footsteps and step up to the throne. However, before the king could finish his sentence, he passed away. Each of the sons felt too afraid to reign, believing there would be a curse on the throne if the unrightful person would rule. Slowly, they isolated themselves in their own castles, with the land falling into a state of neglect. The only place where the princes would come together was the central Royal Palace where the magical harlequin Pardoes would come to entertain. One day, Pardoes magically conjures the late king and reveals a prophecy of what the harlequin must do to save the Kingdom. Pardoes wastes no time and visits the five sons to unite them with each of their special sense and to eventually rule over the kingdom together. The castle was then re-built with its five spires representing the background of the story of the princes. This is all very long ago and the kingdom though it lived long and prosperously is no more, but its castle’s roof can still be visible.’’
In honor of the year-round opening of the park, Guests are able to see the eternally writing pen on the square in front of the House of the Five Senses. Behind the glass, Guests are able to see a book with an enchanted writing pen. A plaque reads: ‘’As long as the pen shall write, the Efteling will remain open. Here, joy is brought to each child… a memory for eternity.’’ And at its foot another reads, ‘’Fairy tales are true, every day of the year in the Efteling’’. From the diorama, Guests are able to hear preview noises of what the park has to offer.

Past the ticket control, Guests would walk towards a newly shaped square (‘Dwarrelplein’) , re-themed in a more cohesive style to the rest of the Pardoes Promenade (sort of the main street of the park but without its many stores and restaurants and instead focuses on atmosphere and greenery). Therefore Efteldingen will be pushed back, to allow more space after the ticket control. The store receives a new exterior themed to both The House of the Five Senses as well as the nearby Efteling Theater. Similarly, the toilets and guest services on the left as you enter is converted into a new building, inspired by the never built ‘Faciliteitenhuys’ concept for the park.
The rest of the entrance area will become a green glade with flower beds and picknick tables surrounding ‘De Vrolijke Noot’ (The Happy Music Note), the park’s first dining option serving healthy sandwiches, salads and smoothies in a Symbolica type style. This green glade invites Guests past the royal pond where at night the colorful and musical water fountain spectacular ‘Aquanura’ takes place and takes Guests on a journey through the world of the Efteling. De Vrolijke Noot will be re-designed to look like an outdoor tent camp, which belongs to the Efteling Band. These characters are now found playing in the park all year round and Guests will be able to learn about each of these eccentric band member characters around the dining option. In the band play a cellist (Celeste), a violist (Viola), a drummer (Rick Roll), a flutist (Floris) and an accordionist (Arie)....


Well-Known Member
Color me invested. It's been a lot over a year since Efteling was on here, when in the beginning of '20, Efteling was one of the European parks reimagined, though I still don't know what the team that worked on said park replaced M.C. with.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Here are the backstories of the Efteling Band members that we'll get to know at 'De Vrolijke Noot'...

‘’Once upon a time there lived a man of good fortune and honest conversation with his wife in a small German town. Though they lived happily they had always one last wish, to have a son after all the daughters(6) they bore. However, one day the neighboring town of Hamelin had a rat plague and got in touch with the Pied Piper. The Pied Piper had taken the children of Hamelin, including one young orphan boy who had no one to return to after the Piper brought back the children. It was believed that the Piper treated him as his own and taught him all about playing the flute. The Piper, who was unable to take care of the boy for longer had heard of the man and his wife with 6 daughters and told the boy to play the most enchanting melody to lure the daughters. And so the boy did, with the Pied Piper slowly backing away never to be seen again in the town. The girls went outside and were mesmerized by his beautiful tunes. In return for playing his songs to the family the boy asked if he could become their brother. When their parents found out however they were overwhelmed with joy to welcome a boy to their family. Floris grew up to be a charming young man and travelled off to the Kingdom of Symbolica where he would meet his fellow band members.’’


‘’In a far, far away kingdom with a name so bizarre you’d forget it once you’ve returned home, lived a poor couple who wished to have a child. One day the wife meets an old woman in the forest to who she complains about her misery. The hag sends her home with the instruction, ‘’Go home and cut open a pumpkin, pour milk into it and drink it. You will then give birth to a girl who will be happy and rich!’’. Although the wife follows her advice and gives birth to a beautiful baby girl, she falls ill and dies shortly afterward. When the girl is twenty years old, she travels the world to seek her fortune for her father. She comes to a big city where a rich king rules. The king has a handsome son, whom he will give marriage to a princess who can do something which no one in the world has ever done before. Many princesses try their luck and fail, paying for their failures with their lives. The girl then fakes that she is of royalty from a distant kingdom. When she asks the king what she should do, she is thrown into a dark dungeon. Matuya, the fairy queen, appears to her in a bright light and gives him a box and a rod; she tells her that she should pluck some hairs from her head and string them over the box and the rod. Then she should bow the hairs of the box with the hairs of the rod, playing the violin to make people happy or sad as Matuya laughs and cries into the instrument. The girl demonstrates her artistic skill to the king, who is overjoyed and gives her his handsome son to marry. After they marry, Viola travels back to her father to grant him some of her fortune, revealing her secret to her father so that he can start a violin business. This is how the violin came to the world…’’


‘’Once upon a time there lived a very musical family inside an Opera Theater in a small French town. Every member of the large family played a musical instrument. There was father playing a contrabass, mother playing the flute, the oldest son playing a violin, the second son playing a bassoon, the oldest daughter playing trumpet, the third son playing drums, but then there was the youngest daughter, Celeste who did not play a musical instrument. One day the family started arguing who the most important is in the orchestra. ‘’I am the most important one!’’, said the oldest son playing violin, ‘’the people call the violin the queen of music!’’. ‘’No we are most important!’’, said the youngest son, ‘’we play a lot louder than other instruments!’’. ‘’No, I sound a lot louder!’’, said the daughter playing trumpet. What was even going on… Every instrument had its own reason to be called important. Celeste had run away from the quarrel and had found a box of musical instruments. She tried the violin, but it was so proud of itself and tried to show its advantage to everyone, that its snares couldn’t keep up and eventually tore apart. She tried the drums and a trumpet, but she felt no interest in playing them. Then she noticed a cello, dusting away in a dark corner. The timbre of this instrument was so deep and resembled the baritone, a human voice. She loved the sound and returned to her family to play the most harmonious and peaceful piece that each member of the family slowly had to join her. The music was beautiful and the instruments started to understand that they did not have to argue who is most important as they were each very important within the orchestra! Celeste eventually travels to Symbolica to join the Efteling Band.’’

Rick Roll:

‘’There once was a poor woman who had a son. He was a good boy, always willing to help his mother out in any way he could. It was not an easy life but they had each other. So, the boy didn’t mind that his clothes were town and he had few toys. The boy had a secret wish. He had always wanted a drum. One day, when his mother was going to the village to sell some of their grains, she asked, ‘’Is there anything you would like from the market?’’ The boy thought and said, ‘’All I would really like is a drum. I know you can’t get me one but that’s what I want most of all.’’ The poor woman thought of her son all the way home from the market and was sad she couldn’t get him the one thing that he really wanted. She started to cry to herself as she walked home. Not seeing where she was going, she almost fell over a strange little man sitting by the side of the road. ‘’Why are you crying?’’ asked the strange little man. The woman told him her problem. The man gave her a piece of wood and said, ‘’Maybe your boy would like this stick. It may have some magic in it!’’ ‘’It is not much but perhaps my good son can find a use for it.’’, she thought. The boy didn’t know what to do with the stick when his mother gave it to him. She told him what the strange little man had said. He thanked her and went out to play. On the road, the boy could see an old woman by a cook stove. The woman wanted to light a fire so she could cook bread. The wood was too new and would not catch fire. Lots of smoke hung around her. Her eyes were wet and the boy asked why she was crying. ‘’I can’t get my fire to burn,’’ said the woman. ‘’Here’’, said the boy, giving her his stick, ‘’Perhaps, this will work. My mother told me this stick has some magic in it and maybe there’s enough magic to start your fire!’’ The old woman started the fire. She thanked the boy giving him some bread that she cooked on her stove. The boy took the bread and walked on until he met another woman who was the wife of the village potter. A small child was in her arms but the child was crying loudly and would not stop. The boy spoke up so he could be heard. ‘’Why is your child crying?’’ he asked. The potter’s wife answered, ‘’He’s hungry. We have nothing for him to eat.’’ The boy looked at the bread he was holding in his hand. Then gave to the hungry child. As thanks, the happy mother gave the boy a large pot. The boy came to a river where he heard a man and woman yelling. ‘’Why are you yelling?’’ asked the boy. ‘’I’m a washerman,’’ the man replied, ‘’and my wife has just broken the only pot I had to boil clothes in. I’ll never get the clothing clean now.’’ The boy knew he could help the man and he gave them his pot.. ‘’Thank you very much,’’ the washerman said. And he gave the boy a coat for being so nice. The boy walked on until he came to man with a horse on the road. The man worse sandals on his feet and was only wearing underwear. His hair was wet and he was shivering. The boy asked, ‘’What happened to your clothes and why are you all wet?’’ ‘’I was on my way to visit my family when a robber rode up to this horse,’’ the man replied. ‘’He said I must give him my best clothes and money. Then, he pushed me in the river.’’ The boy handed the man the coat that the washerman had given him. The man put on the coat and said, ‘’Please, take this horse. I have no use for it!’’ The boy took the horse and kept walking down the road. He came to a wedding party made up of the bridegroom, his family and some musicians with their instruments. But there was no music. They were all seated in the shade of a small tree and they looked very unhappy. ‘’Why do you all look so sad?’’ the boy asked. The father of the bridegroom spoke up, ‘’We’re waiting for the man who is bringing the horse my son will ride. He’s very late and if my son can’t ride the horse during the wedding march, his marriage will have bad luck!’’ The boy listened to the story and decided to give the bridegroom the horse. ‘’You saved the day,’’ the groom exclaimed. The groom spoke to his father and one of the musicians. Then, he handed the boy a drum, ‘’Please, take this drum with all our thanks.’’ The boy’s face lit up with joy. ‘’Oh, thank you! It’s what I always wanted,’’ said the boy. The boy ran all the way home as fast as he could. He could not wait to show his mother that the strange little man was right. That old piece of wood did have a little magic after all..’’


‘’A long, long time ago there lived a king who couldn’t have children. However, when he turned grey, he did have a son, but unfortunately it became evident that the boy grew up blind. The king was very disappointed because of this and he ordered for him to be left in the woods as prey for the wild animals. But the wild animals in the forest sympathized with the boy and didn’t hurt him. A wolf suckled him, a fox clothed him in tree bark and the birds taught him how to sing. When the boy cried, the forest spirits came to him to tell him all sorts of stories. This is how he grew up to be an intelligent and lively young man who could tell wondrous stories and could sing so well that the animals thought it was a pleasure to listen to him. When the prince was seven years old, an accordion fell down from the heavens, made from the finest material. A forest fairy had to teach him how to play and soon the prince became a skilled player who would play for all the animals in the forest. After a while, the prince became a mature man who felt it was time to return to the human world. He said goodbye to his four-legged and winged friends, and left with his accordion. On his journey, he met hunters and shepherds, villagers and farmers, and sang for them the songs and stories he had learned in the forest. Everywhere he went, he was welcomed as a friend, received a place to sleep and some food. Because nobody knew his name, he would become known as ‘The Blind Minstrel’. One day he met a rich livestock farmer, who fell in love with his music and stories, that he didn’t want the prince to leave anymore. After a lot of begging, the minstrel agreed to stay with the farmer for a year. The farmer had many friends and when one day his friend, a horse farmer visited, he was just as impressed as the livestock farmer and proposed a permanent position to work for him. But the livestock farmer was heavily against it, because he believed he was older and had more rights than the horse farmer. The friends starting fighting and the livestock farmer turned to the old king to judge upon the case. The advisors of the king assembled for three days and three nights, weighed the matter from every possible perspective, but they couldn’t come to a conclusion. Then the king himself took matters into his own hands and asked the boy what he had brought with him. The boy replied and said ‘’Your Majesty, this is my accordion, it has been gifted to me by the Gods.’’ ‘’Can you really play that well?’’ asked the king. The minstrel started playing and singing and the king fell in love with his music that he forgot time. He had never heard anything like it, not even from his court musicians. The young man sang one song after the other and even revealed stories nobody had heard of before. Three days and three nights, the minstrel continued playing for the king, who couldn’t leave his throne, enchanted by the music. When the third night had come to an end, the king said ‘’You could probably play for eternity, but for now it is enough. We need to find a solution to the case that you’re involved in. Tell me something about yourself, my boy and maybe it will give us some more clarity.’’ The boy started telling him that he didn’t know who his parents are, he told them about the animals in the forests, and of the forest spirits telling him stories, and about the fairy who had taught him to play his accordion. The queen had heard the story and exclaimed loudly: ‘’That has to be our son!’’. She could no longer fight her tears and ran towards the boy to embrace him. The king did not show his feelings, but the people did expect him to come to a final sentence and therefore he said, ‘’The livestock farmer and the horse farmer can neither have this young man, because it is my very own son. Regardless of his blindness, he is the most conscient young man I have ever met. Therefore I choose him to be next in line for the throne, now that I am personally starting to become too old and weak to rule. Everyone was delighted when they heard the news. The kingdom celebrated for the Blind Minstrel who was to be king of the kingdom. And so it happened according to what the Gods had meant it to happen. The new king would record the stories and songs so that they would never be forgotten. And soon, he would start a band to share his stories and songs with Guests of the Efteling.''


The restaurant itself will look like an outdoor camp consisting out of tents, horse-drawn living wagons and a small stage that is home to the band members of the Efteling band. It is as if they have build their own stage near their camp so Guests can enjoy a meal and their stories around a fire. Posters and other items related to the backstories of each character can be found laying around the campsite. E.g. around Floris’ wagon you’ll find hints to his origin in Germany and some simple AA-figures of rats will peek around his site to hint at the Pied Piper of Hamelin. From time to time, Guests will be able to enjoy the band telling their backstories or other fairy tales related to the park’s attractions and characters, all while they’re able to enjoy fresh and healthy meals...


Guests would then walk into the grand and inviting grounds of the Efteling Grand Hotel, a truly imposing building surrounded by enchanting castle gardens with an atmospheric meandering past streams of water and fountains. It offers 7 floors of luxury and enchantment with a 106-metre wide façade. One of the most eye-catching features of the front will be an enormous clock with a string, under a green oxidized copper roof with 7 towers. Furthermore there will be an extraordinary glass greenhouse with classical design, divided over two floors. The green square between the main entrance and the Grand Hotel will have to make a pleasant entry for both park and hotel Guests. Park Guests will enter through a 9-metre high and 16-metre wide decorated arc. The Hotel’s design reminds Guests of Scandinavian harbour cities, which perfectly connects with the nature, the green and the water as connecting factors to its surroundings. Aside from that the complex has art-nouveau styled features, with its decorative golden curls lining up the front roof line. The hotel will provide 3900 beds in over 140 rooms, which will be watching over for example the Fairy Tale Forest, the Aquanura nighttime spectacle or the Green Glade and the House of the Five Senses. Moreover, the Grand Hotel includes use of a spa, a pool, two souvenir shops taking up the space of a total of 450 squared metres and lastly two dining options. The shops and restaurants will also be accessible to park or day guests who are not staying over at the hotel. One restaurant will be on the ground floor and one will be one the first floor, offering seating in the greenhouse, the terrace with a view over Aquanura and the inside area.
Past that point, the rest of the area will look quite similar to what it is now, though here and there Guests would find more and more buildings and scenery related to Pardoes and his world. Bubbelbrouwsels (Bubbly Brews) is one of these new buildings and is based on the character of Gwendolcus, an alchemist who is a friend of the mighty sorcerer Almar (Pardoes’ teacher). The store looks like a chaotic cottage, with glass pipes holding mysterious colorful brews within them wrapping around the building like a thorn thicket. Inside, Guests are able to try Gwendolcus’ many brews, including a few alcoholic options for adults. Be sure to be on the lookout for Gwendolcus’ brave pet marmot Pipet, popping up in animatronic form around the store.
Along the Pardoes Promenade new flowerbeds featuring a combination of imaginary and real-life flower and plant species color the scenery which is completely done in Pardoes’ Symbolica style. Facing ‘Bubbelbrouwsels’, Guests will find the newly renovated Fabula building, where inside ‘Wereldwonderen’ (World wonders), a restaurant, 'Beestenboel' (Beastly Bunch), a retail location, and Fabula, a 4D film experience can be found.
To find the entrance to the attraction Guests will wander into ‘Het Wandelwoud’ (The Stroll Forest) marked by two large rocks who vaguely resemble a lion and a bear’s head. Het Wandelwoud is a slithering path crossing through a thick green environment. Along the path Guests might spot some hints to the adventure ahead, such as a large turtle following Guests with its eyes and an elephant shrine along a misty bathing pool. Passing over a bridge through the mist, a majestic rockside is revealed. From it, clear waterfalls rush down into a almost hidden body of water. Guests proceed to an opening to the side of the rocks and into ‘De Wondergrot’ (Cave of Wonders)...


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Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Color me invested. It's been a lot over a year since Efteling was on here, when in the beginning of '20, Efteling was one of the European parks reimagined, though I still don't know what the team that worked on said park replaced M.C. with.
With M.C. you mean Monsieur Cannibale, right?
The park has recently announced new plans to re-theme the attraction to Sinbad the Voyager to create a cohesive themed area, together with 'Vogel Rok' (Bird Roc), a re-theme of the Panorama restaurant and a new play area called 'Archipel'. This re-imagining will be using these concept, but will instead create a cohesive area elsewhere from its present location.


Well-Known Member
With M.C. you mean Monsieur Cannibale, right?
The park has recently announced new plans to re-theme the attraction to Sinbad the Voyager to create a cohesive themed area, together with 'Vogel Rok' (Bird Roc), a re-theme of the Panorama restaurant and a new play area called 'Archipel'. This re-imagining will be using these concept, but will instead create a cohesive area elsewhere from its present location.
They announced it would be opening in the winter season later this year (I got that from EftelingWesley and Theme Parks Worldwide), with the new bakery for Max and Moritz Square (I think that’s what the name of the miniland is translated into English) being ready for winter as well but what I was talking about last year in the 6th Annual Sorcerer’s Apprentice competition, where teams were allowed to choose specific parks in Europe to renovate. This is what Efteling was part of:
Team S.E.A

European Parks Expansion

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Original Poster

The Cave of Wonders functions as the pre-show of the attraction and is themed to be underground, with dark roots covering the walls. Guests are then treated to a 15 min long show in which critters try to hide from the storm in this very cave, with among them a charming squirrel. However, when the bear returns to his cave, he chases them all away with a load roar. Klaas Vaak (The Sandman) visits the cave too and sees all this. He decides to enchant the bear and teach him a lesson of sympathy, bringing the squirrel along. Guests are then directed into the main show theatre.
From here, the story continues in a spark of enchantment. The movie itself will receive a major update, especially because of it’s now randomized system. Though normally, Guests would travel to the Savannah, the ocean and the rainforest, they are now invited to many more locales, each telling a story about how tough it can be in the wild. They will experience these scenes through various special effects; among others water, fragrance and wind effects are used to bring the story to life. Within the randomized system Guests will travel along the Bear and the Squirrel to 3 different locations out of 17 different scenes:


We are transported to the scorching hot sandbanks of North Africa where we meet Bear and Squirrel again. Guests will feel the heat as if they are stepping into the desert. Bear is changed into a desert rat and quickly asks a camel for some water for Squirrel who is drying out. The camel spits some water out (and into the faces of the audience).When he returns, he has to take on hungry vultures preying on Squirrel. He succeeds by blowing sand in their eyes, creating a mist in the theatre. Squirrel wakes up after drinking some water but quickly hears a strange rattling noise…a Rattlesnake! We turn around and notice the animal trying to lunge at us, but we are saved just in time by Klaas Vaak and his magic sand.

Bear and Squirrel are taken to the African Savannah where Bear is turned into an ostrich. In shock he puts his head in the ground after coming face to face with the king of beast, a ferocious lion looking for a meal lunges his claws at us, but luckily Klaas Vaak saves us just in time.

American desert:

Our two friends fall from their portal onto the ground in an American desert environment. Bear is changed into an armadillo. They roll through the desert, before bumping into a deadly scorpion. It tries to snap at us with its claws, but luckily misses us. However, by accident he snaps in a Buffalo’s tail, who is angered. This creates a huge stampede swinging away the scorpion before he takes his last shot at us. Smoke fills the theatre, simulating the dust that the stampede leaves behind and the benches start rumbling, but we are quickly taken away through our next portal.

European woods:

We find ourselves among the green bushes of a European forest. Bear is changed into a deer, who quickly finds himself trying to save an old hedgehog as he is nearly tricked by a sneaky fox. Squirrel and Bear take the old hedgehog to a cave as rain starts pouring down into the theatre. Once they are in the cave though they start seeing eyes everywhere (eyes start glowing in various places on the walls of theatre) and we hear growling… it’s a pack of wolfs! We follow Bear and Squirrel as they run through the woods. Squirrel quickly asks for help from his critter friends and together they scare away the wolfs with a trick.


Bear and Squirrel find themselves under the sea. Bear is turned into a sea lion, saving Squirrel by blowing him a bubble so he can escape a blowfish who has a crush on him. Bear finds himself having to make an escapade of his own as he is chased by a mean shark. Luckily Squirrel has made some friends underwater and helps him out. They are then sucked into a new portal.


The theatre is suddenly filled with a strong breeze and a cloudy mist is formed. Bear is changed into a seagull and flies along with many other birds, taking Squirrel on his back. Squirrel then dreams off into a cloudy ballet, until we are suddenly interrupted by an eagle that is hunting Squirrel. Bear manages to cooperate with the other seagulls, creating a tunnel that sends the eagle crashing into a rocky cliffside. The cliffside starts to collapse causing the theatre to start rumbling. Before the rocks hit us, we are transported to our next location.


Bear and Squirrel are dropped in an underground cave. Bear changes into a worm and learns how tough it can be to be a bug. He is then chased by a hungry mole, so it becomes a fast-paced escape by digging deeper and deeper(Guests will be able to feel bugs walking underneath their benches through a special effect). Along the way we’ll meet many other underground creatures and even crash into a few of their homes, before we eventually fall into the magic sand.


Bear and Squirrel find themselves in a cold tundra landscape. A cold breeze fills the theatre as Bear transforms into a musk ox. He quickly keeps Squirrel warm on his back. They then meet a snowy owl who guides them to a lemming who is too shy to ask their partner lemming on a date. Bear and Squirrel help him to gain some confidence and the lemmings happily end up together. However, other shy lemmings notice this and immediately come running at Bear and Squirrel in hope for help. Before they reach us, we fall through a portal to our next location.

Deep Sea:

Bear and Squirrel end up in complete darkness. All of a sudden Bear is turned into an anglerfish so that they have light on their journey. Bear finds a lost diving mask and gives it to Squirrel so he can breathe. They quickly find themselves among many mysterious deep sea creatures, including a snipe eel, an oarfish and a dragon fish. We then swim along Bear and Squirrel past a huge eye, it seems to be belonging to a giant Squid that emerges and swipes his tentacles at us, just as it is about to ink, Klaas Vaak takes us away from the chaos.

Alpine Grassland:

Bear and Squirrel are now in an Alpine mountainscape. We hear the noises of yodelers in the distance as we land between a few grazing cows and a fresh mountain fragrance fills the theatre. Bear is changed into a marmot and screams for a second in shock of his new appearance. As Squirrel and Bear run through the Alpine meadows, they run into a mountain goat, that starts chasing them. Luckily we’re just in time in escaping him.


Bear is quickly turned into a turtle, taking Squirrel on his back as they land in a mangrove swamp. We pass by a stinky skunk leaving a bad smell in the theatre as well as meet some friendly fireflies who guide us from the dark side of the swamp to a clearing. We then come face to face with a group of hungry alligators swimming at us. Water sprinkles Guests faces as the alligators lunge at Bear and Squirrel and nearly escape them.


Bear and Squirrel are now in an Arctic ice cave. Guests feel a cold breeze blowing through the theatre and drops of water fall from the ceiling to simulate melting ice. Bear is turned into a penguin. They find themselves among a family of polar bears with a mom and her two cubs playing with each other. Bear tries to collect some loose fur to warm up Squirrel who is nearly freezing due to the cold. However, by accident he pulls the wrong hair, resulting in a loud roar from Mama Polar Bear. This causes the ice cave to collapse, sending Bear and Squirrel down a slide through the various tunnels inside the iceberg, ending up on a small ice chunk drifting on the ocean. We notice a killer whale nearing us and splashing us with water. Before he is able to snap at us, the magic sand sends us to our next location.


Bear and Squirrel find themselves in the Australian Outback. Bear is turned into a kangaroo. Another Mama Kangaroo loses her baby out of sight and mistakes Squirrel for her child. This upsets Papa Kangaroo who challenges Bear to a battle. Until Squirrel reveals that the real baby Kangaroo is playing with some koalas. The animals then celebrate, with platypuses, echidnas, wombats and kiwis joining too! The benches start rumbling as the kangaroos jump up and down, with wind gushing up and down towards Guests. Until we are sucked into the next portal.


Bear and Squirrel are now in the cold tundras of Scandinavia. Guests will get a cold tingle from the breeze that blows through the theatre. Bear turns into a karibou and explores the beautiful landscape of Scandinavia. We nearly miss a group of husky dogs running in front of a sledge and we help a moose who is being annoyed by a group of sneaky wolverines. This brings them on a snowy chase, before they plunge down into an icy lake. Bear and Squirrel are saved by Klaas Vaak and his magic.


Bear and Squirrel are sent to the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Bear turns into a parrot and flies along with the other colorful birds. Squirrel tries to swing along to keep up with Bear, but eventually hits a tree, causing him to fall into the river. Here, he is chased by hungry piranas, splashing Guests as they jump up from the water and snap at us. Bear quickly flies to him and saves him. They are then taken to their next locale through a new sand portal. A jaguar is left dazed at what he has just witnessed.


Bear and Squirrel fall onto a tree branch in a mysterious green rainforest. Magic sparks and Bear is turned into a monkey. Through swinging from vine to vine, they are able to continue their journey, until they notice a baby panda bear in danger. Termites have infested the tree in which she is stuck and is nearly collapsing. Bear quickly grabs a tree vine and together with Squirrel brings the baby panda back to his parents, but….OOPS. They only just miss the next vine and we plunge down to the ground. A huge physical tree set plunges down at Guests, but luckily lifts up just in time before it hits us.


Our friends are dropped into the Andes mountain range in South America. Bear is turned into an alpaca and has to climb past steep cliffs to help Squirrel who is dangling from the side of the mountain. He quickly grabs him with his tongue, before some lurking condors try to snap at Squirrel. However then a bunch of guinea pigs start running at us (Guests feeling them walk by underneath their benches). Luckily before we fall off the cliff we are saved by Klaas Vaak.

In the end, Bear and Squirrel return back to the cave. Bear has now learned a lesson of sympathy and now makes space for Squirrel in his cave. They then walk off together into the forest. Guests are then asked to leave the theatre and proceed into the indoor ‘Speelwereld’ area. In this area we will find several interactive games based on the Rainforest, the Arctics, the Ocean and the Savannah. This is also where the restaurant ‘Wereldwonderen’ can be found. This will be merged with the play area in a sort of Rainforest Café type manner in terms of special effects.

Here we can also find the audio animatronic figures of Bear and Squirrel greeting Guests as they pass by. Wereldwonderen is a self service restaurant serving burgers, meal boxes and salads. These are divided into a fish option, a meat option and a vegetarian/vegan option. The options of the Savannah Bar with warm drinks, cocktails and smoothies will also be served at the Wereldwonderen option in favor of a new shop called ‘Beestenboel’ where we find Fabula themed merchandise, based on the many animal characters that we encounter during the experience. Past this point, Guests can get back to the square near the entrance of the attraction or back to the Pardoes Promenade…
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An Ancient Adventure Lies Ahead...

Currently the park’s haunted house attraction, ‘Spookslot’ (Ghost Castle) is located near the entrance to the queue of Fabula, however in favor of a more cohesively themed area in terms of themes within the park, Spookslot will be re-located to another realm. Instead if Guests walk either via Pardoes Promenade to ‘Het Sterrenplein’ (The Square of Stars, where each realm is represented within a weapon sealed into the tiling), through the Anderrijk gate (which every realm will have, is a more special gate hinting at what’s ahead in a similar way to what Disney does to separate themed areas) and to ‘Spookslotplein’ which will be re-named to ‘Wensputplein’ (Wishing Well Square) or via the Fabula exit back to Wishing Well Square, they’ll find the entrance to the new Ancient Greek themed area of the park called ‘Mythos’.

Therefore the Wishing Well will not just be any Wishing Well, it is said that the well foresees the future directly from ‘De Schikgodinnen’ (The Three Fates). Mist and mysterious dark blue lights emerge and Guests are able to interact with the well, who will conversate in a sort of fortune-teller manner. Klotho, Lachesis and Atropos will each provide an ominous message for passing Guests by.

Instead of finding Spookslot at its’ current location, will now find ‘Het Labyrint van Minos’ (The Labyrinth of Minos). This walk-through attraction experience will be a maze, inspired by the mysterious creatures and monsters of Ancient Greek mythology, such as Medusa, Sirens and the famous Minotaur.

The option was chosen after the loss of ‘Het Avonturendoolhof’ on the other side of the park near Vogel Rok and Monsieur Cannibale, since I will be using that area for another new theme. This is how this area of the park will still host an attraction with a ‘’scarier’’ nature, additionally to how the park will still host a labyrinth-type experience. Moreover, I feel like the theme of Ancient Greek mythology fits Efteling like a glove in terms of its storytelling nature and Greece’s richness of myths and legends.
The façade of the experience will be inspired by the antique Knossos temple palace on Crete Island, but will also use a lot of additional style elements including stone statues, gargoyles and fountains representing various creatures, Gods and other characters within Greek mythology. The gateway/entrance will be positioned as a sort of fortress, facing towards where currently Max and Moritz and Fabula can be found. A large squared tower marks the building, with fire emerging from its top every 15 minutes, all while monstrous growls shake the area with its impact. Two gigantic wooden doors seem to have been broken open and are now luring Guests into its mysterious pathways. A stone head of the Minotaur is positioned above the gate and seems to awake from time to time. Near the entrance, a stone bust reads the story of the Labyrinth..
‘’A long time ago in far gone Greece lived a cruel king named Minos. It was believed that he was a son of Zeus and Europa and that he would become holder of monsters. One day the King of the Underworld manipulated Minos and asked him to build a labyrinth through which he would have to send citizens in change for fortune, power and success. Minos ordered Daedalus to design and oversee the creation of the Labyrinth that was so complex that even Daedalus had a hard time finding the way out. Inside the labyrinth he would trap monsters, with the most hideous inhabitant being the mighty Minotaur, half-man, half-bull. To end the cruelty, Zeus, King of Gods looked for a new Hero to stop Hades from collecting more souls through the labyrinth. The son of Poseidon, Theseus would be that new hero, but a hero needed training, so he was sent to Philoctetes where he would grow stronger and smarter every day. One day he would be ready to face the labyrinth and its many creatures together with a team of brave heroes that would stay on his side. Will you be brave enough to join Theseus on his quest and find the way out?’’

In the experience, Guests will choose their own path as they wind through the mysterious and ominous tunnels of the Greek monster world on their way to Theseus and the Minotaur. In a maze of Greek pillars, altars, statues, fountains and gardens, there’s adventure at every turn in this delightful family adventure(yes, though the theming will be somewhat scary to younger Guests, the experience will be family oriented in style and level of thrill). During their quest Guests will have to challenge five mythical monsters to find the powerful Minotaur. It involves a journey with many other characters giving clues or playing tricks along the way. The labyrinth’s walls and colors vary according to the storyline. Lacy Grecian archways mixed with topiaries shaped like mythological creatures give the impression of a surreal and mystic fortress. Part of the maze will be laid out in the rough shape of the Minotaur’s head.
The journey through the maze is divided into six main sections, each ruled by a different monster from mythology. Guests meander through pathways, reading signs and finding clues, until discovering the ‘’payoff’’ – an audio animatronic character that has to be challenged to give entrance into the next section. Along the way, stone gargoyles, hieroglyphs and other artifacts offer comic relief and hidden clues. They guard dead ends, play tricks, held confusing signs or shoot jets of water at unsuspecting Guests. Guests may explore any of these areas of the Labyrinth:

The first section of the maze has a formal aesthetic, with sharp angles, tight leaf patterns and regular shapes. Even the gargoyles in this section are more serious. In a clearing at the end of this area, we encounter a stone sphinx that is half-woman, half-lion. She sits quietly on her pedestal, looking out over her courtyard, until it is time to speak; then she grinds slowly to life, moving her wings and delivering a cryptic message about starting every journey at the beginning. Hints at the story of Oedipus can be found throughout this section of the labyrinth.
After leaving the sphinx, we pass under a bridge into the second area of the maze, where the atmosphere turns playful. Paths curve more, vary in height and shape. Water spouts leapfrog overhead. One dead end spirals into itself until hitting a twisted Hydra fountain at the center. The fountain occasionally comes to life and sprinkles water at Guests from its many heads. Another section of the pathway turns into a bridge over a small pond, where Charybdis, a sea monster that takes the shape of a whirlpool emerges and spurts water up and over the pathway. Gargoyle heads set into the stone walls call out jokes and laugh at Guests.

After successfully navigating this part of the maze, we come upon a clearing graced by a beautiful harpie on a flowery throne. It periodically comes to life to sing a mysterious hymn, flapping its green wings and challenges Guests to a battle of sound, where Guests have to follow sound and light effects towards several stations within time to pass to the next section. From here, we pass over a bridge and near the final part of the labyrinth.
Here, routes turn sharply back and forth in one final effort to deter us from reaching our goal. A wall of gargoyle heads offers interactive entertainment. By stepping on different tiles in the ground, we elicit different responses from the stone faces: jokes, blasts of air, or a sudden jet of water. After this, we meander through an archway into a courtyard guarded by Cerberus, a giant three-headed dog. This audio-animatronic character rises up, swings his heads, lifts its front claws and delivers an ominous message about nearing the Minotaur.

Snake-like arches, mysterious glowing statues and red rose bushes indicate you’ve arrived in Medusa’s Garden. Climb the tower for a sneak peek of the Minotaur’s fortress or stop by Medusa’s throne for a photo as the throne comes to life. Meet Medusa herself, but don’t look into her glowing eyes… there’s room for another statue, you know. Funhouse mirrors flanking the door will do wonders for your image and confuse Guests on their quest.
After passing by Medusa, we enter the Minotaur’s Fortress. From a balcony overlooking the labyrinth, we gaze out over the mysterious paths and watching others make their way through them. After getting enough of the view, we descend a flight of stairs into the Minotaur’s secret lair. The light dims as we make our way into the grotto at the heart of the castle.
Delicate Grecian-style stalactites draped in thorns drip from the ceiling, and gentle waterfalls feed a small pool lit with eerie green light. Bones, swords and shields lay around from other heroes who have failed to find their way out of the labyrinth. On a rock in the center of the water stands the mighty Minotaur, angrily watching us and giving mysterious messages about the journey through the labyrinth. After lingering here for a while longer, we exit the fortress labyrinth and return to Mythos as we pass by Theseus who thanks us for helping him find his way out...


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A Lost Classic is Reborn...

We return to ‘Mythos’ as we exit The Labyrinth of Minos and see on our left the Pirana river rapids attraction. However, we will return to this experience later and continue to where currently the Max and Moritz Square is. In this version of the Efteling, Mythos replaces the Max and Moritz Square, in favor of a more cohesive theme in Anderrijk and because I feel the narrative of Max and Moritz fits another realm in the park much better. Mythos presents a picturesque ancient Greek village where Guests are able to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle of early history. Gleaming white facades and antique statues invite you to relax, as does the terrace at the Taverna Herakles. There you can enjoy typical delicacies such as gyros and farmer’s salad, while you enjoy the view of a classic Greek tragedy.
This experience will be a dinner-show type experience using puppetry, live actors and simpler effects such as smoke and light. These adept players perform a show using stylized scenic pieces, props and puppetry. See them retell famous tales from Greek mythology such as Herakles, The Odyssey, Icarus and Jason and the Argonauts. In a way this experience will be somewhat comparable to the Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre show at Disneyland merged with Universal’s Tales of Beedle the Bard in Diagon Alley, coated in an Ancient Greek theme and mesmerizing theatre. The shows will last about 15 minutes and will come on about every half an hour with the stories rotating throughout the day, giving Guests the chance to experience multiple of these plays.

Another food option in Mythos is ‘Cornucopia’, which sells an array of soft and hot drinks, ice cream, yoghurt and smaller snacks like Melomakarona (oil, honey, oranges and nuts cake), Revani (a syrup-soaked cake made with semolina and yoghurt, known for its slight lemony taste) and Portokalopita (a syrup-drenched cake with the aroma of cinnamon and the flavor of orange). The building for Cornucopia is a simpler Greek cottage with its fore- and backside of its roof tiling decorated as the Cornucopia from Greek mythology. Cornucopia is a legendary object which according to myth was the horn of the goat Amalthea, who suckled Zeus on Crete. In return, Zeus placed the goat in the galaxy as a star sign, and her horn was gifted to give the holder anything they desired. Usually this desire is depicted with food such as vegetables and fruits, which will also be served in a form of fresh fruit boxes and smoothies.

The main draw to this part of Anderrijk however will be the return of a lost classic in a new form… For those of you who don’t know, in 1991 the park opened a wooden roller coaster on the edge of its ‘Kanovijver’ (canoeing pond). The ride was named ‘Pegasus’, but besides its name was never graced with any additional theming, besides being mostly covered in its surrounding greenery. The station was a bangkirai-wooden building resting on long poles with a small tower attached to it. At the station, there used to be play classic rock hits, a remain from the fifties theme of the opening year of the ride in the park. The ride had two green trains with each five carts in which a maximum 20 passengers could be seated for a ride that took about 85 seconds. The 492-metre long track would go up to heights of 16-metres heigh and drop you down 12,5 metres. It would reach up to a maximum speed of 55 km/hour and after four curves, nine ups and eight downs, you would reach the station again. However, in 2009 the ride was closed and later replaced by the duelling wooden roller coaster ‘Joris en de Draak’ serving its title as the wooden roller coaster of the park much better than Pegasus ever did.
However, I do feel like Pegasus deserves another chance and maybe not in the form of rickety old wooden coaster again, but in the form of a family coaster, to fill up the gap of Max and Moritz here. This version of the attraction will be steel Vekoma family coaster somewhat similar to Universal’s Flight of the Hippogriff, but directed in a much more dynamic way, similar to Phantasialand’s Taron and Raik, wrapping around its themed area and entering its various show buildings. Besides, going through the Mythos themed area, the ride also takes place within an Ancient Greek shrine or green glade, home to fauns, nymphs and other mythological creatures. First let me tell you the story of Pegasus..
‘’Pegasus was a beautiful, snowy white, but shy horse. He had large wings as of a large bird, and he could fly. A long time ago, when the Gods still lived on Earth, he dwelled around freely throughout the land of the Greeks. No one had dared to ever ride him. No one had ever gotten close enough to touch him, until one day a young prince learned the secret how to tame this beautiful winged horse. The name of the young prince was Bellerophon. He was very handsome and brave and loved quests and adventures. But, as with everyone, the prince had his flaws. Prince Bellerophon was quite full of himself and thought he could do anything. On his quests, the prince had heard of King Lobates, who ruled over a land called Lycia, north of Greece. The kingdom was rich, and there lived a beautiful princess. The king had sworn that she would marry the one who would be capable of defeating the powerful Chimera, a terrifying beast combined out of many different animals including a lion, a snake and a goat. It could spit fire and breathed toxic air. ‘’Wherever the monster goes, it creates desctruction and chaos’’, exclaimed the king, ‘’My bravest champions have attempted to catch the beast, but no one has made it back alive successfully. It is impossible to defeat it…’’. ‘’There must be a way..’’ mumbled Bellerophon. The king then send Bellerophon out on a mission to defeat Chimera. That night, Bellerophon couldn’t sleep as he was thinking of ways to capture the Chimera. ‘’If I can get high enough, I can catch him with a net’’, he thought. If only he could fly… his mind immediately thought of Pegasus and he quickly went out to find him. He sailed to Greece, where he visited the temple of Athena to ask for her help. The prince was tired and rested in the temple to wait for a sign of the Goddess. As he falls asleep, he dreams of a majestic woman in white gifting him a golden horse bridle that would enable him to tame Pegasus. The next morning he lay next to the golden horse bridle and set out to look for Pegasus. When he did, Pegasus felt uncomfortable with Bellerophon’s arrogance and once Bellerophon overcame this, they grew together as a great team. They then set out to capture Chimera successfully. Bellerophon returned to Lycia where he would marry the princess and live long and happily. Pegasus would be released again and eventually serve the God Zeus to bring him his thunder bolts…’’

The entrance to the ride is marked by two stone pillars holding an iron statue of Pegasus flapping its wings, leading into an Ancient Greek Garden filled with ancient statues, fountains, ponds, flowers and greenery. The surroundings will be subtly inspired by Disney’s Fantasia and her Pastoral Symphony segment. After winding through this path Guests reach a marked gate sealed into a green hill on top of which we can find a round temple structure next to a rushing waterfall that gushes water into the surrounding ponds and streams of the garden. Inside we find ancient markings depicting the birth and story of Pegasus and the legends behind the Chimera.
Once we reach the underground cave where Pegasus resides, we find ourselves at the loading station where a train with 8 cars are arranged across a single row for a total of 16 riders per train. Pegasus shape marks the front of the train. Riders are instructed to bow to the Pegasus animatronic figure resting in a tree before the riders progress up the lift hill, where riders have a full aerial view of Mythos, and then dropped through various dips and turns around the Greek garden, here we encounter unicorns running around together, centaurs and centaurettes gambolling in candy colored landscapes and waterways, cupids flying around past the train and fauns performing an enchanting melody. This will be done in a similar fashion to how Efteling does their Fairy Tale Forest dioramas and how the scenes for Droomvlucht are designed.
The train then makes a turn and is launched over the town of Mythos. The layout is then woven between the surrounding buildings and structures, and through tunnels. The riders aboard the train narrowly miss walls of faux rock faces and waterfalls, before they enter Athena’s temple, where they slow down, before pepper’s ghost effect enables the sudden appearance of the Goddess Athena pointing our way out. The train dives down and we go through a few turns and dips before entering the climatic scene inside a rocky cave shaped as a ruined arena.
Here we encounter the fire-breathing Chimera growling at us. As we circle the creature, it attempts to lunge at us, but before its able to, the lights turn out and then quickly on again to reveal the Chimera in a trap, softly howling. Guests make a few last turns before they enter another building where a large statue of the God Zeus comes to life with a blast of thunder to congratulate us on our successful quest. The trains then return to the station, where Guests are then returned to the town of Mythos. Here, they’ll be able to explore ‘Agora’, a marketplace filled with souvenirs and other useful items themed around the Ancient Greek mythology and the Efteling characters and rides. We then decide to walk back towards The Labyrinth of Minos and find ourselves standing in front of a building graced by Ancient Meso-American statues and details. The architecture of the building represents the artistic expressions of various pre-Colombian culture… what could be laying ahead?


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This is a little early to be asking but will the railway get any fixer uppers, like with Marerijk station? That and have you changed Baron 1898, since you listed it as a drop tower instead of a dive coaster or is what an error on your part?


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Original Poster
This is a little early to be asking but will the railway get any fixer uppers, like with Marerijk station? That and have you changed Baron 1898, since you listed it as a drop tower instead of a dive coaster or is what an error on your part?
Good questions, the railway attraction and stations will definitely receive several updates. and Baron will remain a dive coaster, though adjusted slightly. another drop tower will be making its way to the park, elsewhere


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Back from a short break...
A Wild Cruise Over Raging Waters..

Before us lies the park’s river rapids ride, Piraña. This ride, dressed in a combination of Central and Southern American cultures such as the Incans, Mayans, Aztecs and Toltecs, offers a rushing voyage through a swirling mass of water. The attraction opened in 1983 and though the ride is fairly popular and serves its purpose well, for the sake of the idea that this is a revamped version of the park, the ride will receive a major upgrade. The ride was once inspired by the study into commonalities within ancient cultures within central and south America, based on the discussion whether extra-terrestrial life was involved with this. Though it definitely inspired the theming in the sense of representing these different cultures, the ride poses itself as a fast-paced river ride controlled by forceful piranhas while Guests are fooled by ancient statues. The ride will keep its theming, but will be given more narrative and an original theme. Though the ride will still be inspired by Central and South American cultures, the ride will be centred around a fictional culture that worships piranhas as Gods of the river.
‘’Established in the 1920s, the Society of Discovery is a globe-trotting organization dedicated to scientific and archaeological studies and expeditions. In 1935, they set off on a mission to find the lost temple of the piranha, worshipped by the Miraflora people. They would eventually find the local people on an island of the coast of Central America and establish friendly relations with the locals. In the time since then, they work on excavating the ancient ruins of the Piranha temple. The miraflora people believe in a legendary river monster posing as the king of the Piranhas. The Society’s scientists unearth fascinating relics and a hidden pathway related to the mythology of the temple. Finding more clues will require a perilous river journey through uncharted waters. Brave volunteers are needed, having a thirst for adventure and a yearning for excitement, climb aboard and set off into the unknown…’’

The queue will be set both outdoors and indoors winding through the excavation site of the temple with hints and details revealing more of the backstory and what to expect of the experience. An energetic mariachi number plays as we wait in line and learn about the mischievous ancient idols that come to life. These are believed to be demi-gods causing chaos on Guests’ expedition. The building itself has a circular main building holding the loading dock for the attraction. It is inspired by the 600 year old adobe-architecture that Chimu-natives used their city Chan Chan in modern day Peru with smeared sun-dried loam. Two large monolithic atlantes or ‘warriors’ inspired by the Toltecs and the fictional Miraflora culture guard the temple. A large stone piranha-monster marks the entrance to the temple. The temple will be graced in earth tones and bright colors inspired by pottery from Central and Southern American cultures. Inside, we are brought to the rafting dock of the Society.
A bridge brings us down to the middle of a turntable in the loading hall that is bent with the disc. The walls are hung with ancient decorations illuminated by artificial light. These masks come alive from time to time to chant an ominous, yet exciting hymn. The rafts will be re-themed to look like actual investigation team rafts, almost similar to Shanghai Disneyland’s Roaring Rapids, but with more orange and yellow tones, much more reminiscent of its present colors. Once the raft comes loose from the turntable it ducks into a 65-metre long dark cavern. Ancient wall carvings magically come to life through projections re-telling the mythology of the temple, the people who built it and the piranha king himself. We hear mysterious growling as the water rages around us. There is light at the end of the tunnel and there’s a water curtain hiding the way out. Just as we pass under it, it suddenly disappears leaving just a sprinkle of water for Guests (except for in the summer season).
Once outside, we hear a radio broadcasting a message of problems at the excavation camp. We set off upriver to the camp and make a 180-degree turn, past a raging red rock waterfall. However, a fallen tree blocks the way and diverts the current in another direction, into collapsed temple ruins, where the raft is lifted onto one of two vertical lifts brought to a height of 22m high. During the ascend we will hear loud drumming, almost festively yet threatening. Ancient hieroglyphs and wall paintings hint at what’s about to come. At the top of the temple ruins, we encounter a large audio animatronic figure of the Piranha king himself. He growls at us as we are send down a huge drop. We get caught up in the river rapid caused by a narrowing in the river. The river then broadens again as we enter the wave pool, where the water rushes against the rafts keeping them in its grip. Mischievous stone statues come to life from time to time around the wave pool, depending on Guests’ interaction with them. These will then soak either Guests riding the attraction or Guests on the side trying to trick riders.
We dive into another narrow fast stream between high rocks. A small bridge runs above us and a water jet comes down from the rock as a monstrous growl emerges from the rocky passage. Then we make a bend to the left on another somewhat wider piece of river. An ancient stone idol holding a hose is placed in this turn and on really hot days, gives an even greater chance of getting wet. The second wave machine is also placed here. After this, we pass into another part of ruined temple remains, known as ‘’The Passage of Water’’. This indoor area consists of two walls of water splashing straight down, which mainly leads to a lot of mist formation. Leaving these water walls behind us, we sail straight into a wildly clattering high waterfall, the water of which splashes considerably from the rocks around it. After another short float, the current narrows and speeds up again. We enter a whirlpool where after a turn of 540 degree, follows another drop down 7m with a second encounter of the Piranha monster lunging at rafts. After this descend we reach another 180-degree turn, before we fall down a 3-metre high steep drop into the final part of the ride, past two ancient idols who trick Guests again.
The water ripples a little further, until we pass the storage basin for the boats on the right-hand side and arrive at the station again. Located on a steep slope, they are lifted out of the water and hoisted to a festive area of the temple as the Society of Discovery breathlessly welcomes its brave recruits back. Wooden cages, excavation material and other mystic artifacts lay around the dock as if they are being hoisted into the temple for study. After the top of the slope they go down a little more and arrive back at the turntable. A large jute cloth with the word ‘Uitgang’ (Exit) on it hangs above the turntable. We take the same dark brown walkway again, but no we come down to the action photo desk, now themed to the Society’s Wall of Fame. Via a turnstile we leave the building through the large opening at the front and arrive again at the Piraña Square.
On the square we can find the Casa Caracol dining option. This expanded taverna will serve a selection of Central and South American meals such as tacos, wraps, burritos and special custom burger meals, where the food dances with jalapenos and juicy bull meat on your tongue, as well as some virgin mojitos and bottles of beer. Behind the taverna lies a large pond overlooked by a large covered deck terrace. A tree has been placed in the middle of the terrace in a specially built planter under the decking. On the right side the terrace is bordered by the show building of the ride, on the left ‘Inca Gijs’ closes in. At the rear of the terrace is a jetty with two decorative boats, filled with fruits. In the center of the building’s roof is a turret covered with coarse stone and a bell on top. The logo of the Casa Caracol is depicted on the tower: a so-called Mayan calendar with the name of the catering point above it…
Next time we’ll come back with more on ‘Inca Gijs’!
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Paper here... paper here...!

Inca Gijs is one of the parks themed paper bins or one of the park’s ‘Holle Bolle Gijsen’. ‘Holle Bolle Gijs’ (Greedy Gus or The Paper Gobbler) is one of the park’s main icons and is a series of themed paper bins themed around the character from a children’s poem. Most of them will interact with Guests, using their iconic slogan ‘’Papier hier!’’ (Paper here). The trash is then disposed through a hole in their mouths which uses an air suction system to transport the trash via a tube to a waste container to a place invisible to the Guests. Gijs then thanks, in most cases with a ‘Dankjewel… dankjewel..’ (Thank you.. thank you..).
‘’Have you ever heard about that big wagon where Gijs the Big Mouth would sit. He could swallow great big pieces, a cow and a calf, and a whole horse and a half. An ox and a bull and seven barrels of beer, a boat full of sheep, yet Gijs the Big Mouth would not be able to sleep for the hunger.’’
Each of the bins is themed to its surroundings and introduces a new Gijs. Inca Gijs appears as a Chac mole, a statue of God of Rain Chac, based on a Mayan statue that can be found at Chichen Itza in Mexico. The figure is equipped with bracelets, feather rings and sandals and has a modified color scheme and an open mouth to serve as a Holle Bolle Gijs. Matching its monolithic theme, Inca Gijs is cast from decorative concrete, making it the only Gijs not to be made of polyester.

‘’There was once a king who liked to meet his ministers once a week. One day, they realized they had a big problem. Everyone had enough cupboards, tables and chairs, and the carpenters had run out of work. The fishermen weren’t able to work either, because their boats were leaking and to top it al off… there seemed to be rubbish lying around everywhere in the land. ‘Get the carpenters, to make new boats and the carpenters will have work’, said one minister. ‘What a good idea!’, said the king, ‘But what should we do about the rubbish?’. Meanwhile down in the king’s kitchen, there was another problem. The cook’s assistant, Big Mouth (Holle Bolle Gijs), couldn’t stop eating. He had eaten everything in the royal larder and the cook was at his wits end. He went to the ministers to ask what to do. They told him that outside the city, there lived an old wizard and that the ministers would ask him to make him a potion to give to Big Mouth. So the next day when the potion was ready, Big Mouth took a sip. ‘That’s disgusting!’, said Big Mouth. ‘Has it worked then?’, asked the cook. The potion smelled so bad that it would put anyone off their food. ‘Well, I still feel hungry’, Big Mouth replied. ‘I fancy… paper!’, he said. That gave the ministers a new idea and not long after that, the king proclaimed Big Mouth ‘Royal Paper Gobbler’ and wherever he went, he would call out ‘Paper here, paper here’ and the rubbish problem was solved.’’

Another such Holle Bolle Gijs can be found in an oasis themed to 1001 Arabian Nights. Here ‘Waarzegger Gijs’ (Fortune Teller Gijs) is placed in a small tent opening in the wall. He wears a turban and holds a mystic glowing glass ball. A sign near his top right reads ‘Paper for fortune’, which will be his unique slogan as well used in his audio. Once Guests dispose of rubbish at his station they are then treated to a short mysterious message, seemingly a vision of the future.
The entrance to this Arabian Fata Morgana Square can be reached via the forecourt, which can be entered via the path at the Mythos Square. Two tall pillars with torches form the border post to the themed area of the attraction. In addition to the entrance to the dark ride, ‘Fata Morgana’, the square also houses the Bazaar shop, the Oasis catering point, a toilet block, a new dining option called ‘Sultans Paleis’ (Sultan’s Palace), as well as the entrances to the relocated Vogel Rok (Bird Roc), Sirocco and Archipel attractions to create a smaller Arabian Nights mini-land. Though nowadays you’ll find the entrance to the attraction through a themed building on the square, the original plans were for the attraction to mainly take place on an island in the middle of the ‘Siervijver’ (Decorative Pond). This idea will be somewhat revived to create a more interesting queue and loading experience as well as more kinetic energy of the boats slowly drifting around the area. The idea will be worked out in a similar way to how ‘It’s A Small World’ at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris function through overhead coverings that help against harsh Dutch weather conditions.
On the square you will find a number of flower boxes, two large fountains and exotic plants. The pavement consists of coarse light brown stones. The main theme of ‘Fata Morgana’ can be heard from the speakers that are hidden on the roofs. The entrance to Fata Morgana is located under the twenty five meter high minaret, a richly decorated tower located on the southeast side of the building. The large gate is only used as the main entrance on quiet days, on busy days one has to queue in a covered bazaar area on the left side of the tower to enter the minaret through a side door. This covered bazaar area reveals more about the mythology of the Middle East, with various mysterious artifacts enabling interactions with them. Disabled Guests always enter through the large gate. The small hall at the base of the tower is tiled from top to bottom with geometric patterns and on the ceiling is a lamp made of copper filigree, as if it’s straight from Morocco.
Once inside, the queue passes through the dungeons of the Fata Morgana city, offering glimpses of several skeleton prisoners, along with a view of the dungeon scene of the attraction from a balcony looking down. The queue then enters the Oasis area inside the show building, made to feel as though Guests are outside at nighttime. From here Guests will find the dock at a large turntable. A gallery, decorated as an Arabian harbor city, complete with greenery, boats and stars in the sky leads us towards the loading dock. Each sloop consists of four white benches, which can accommodate four to five visitors per bench. There is a brass rod for each row. The rim of the boat is decorated with curl decorations. At a speed of 2 km/h, the boat follows the edge of the turntable in its rainforest like surroundings, only to get to the moment we head straight for a building with a small beige curtain...
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In addition to the entrance to the dark ride, ‘Fata Morgana’, the square also houses the Bazaar shop, the Oasis catering point, a toilet block, a new dining option called ‘Sultans Paleis’ (Sultan’s Palace), as well as the entrances to the relocated Vogel Rok (Bird Roc), Sirocco and Archipel attractions to create a smaller Arabian Nights mini-land.
I’ll never understand why Vogel and Fata were built in opposite corners of the park in the first place. They would’ve created so much synergy being neighbors. And I’m guessing that Sultans Paleis would substitute the Panorama restaurant’s retheme that’s set to occur next year?


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I’ll never understand why Vogel and Fata were built in opposite corners of the park in the first place. They would’ve created so much synergy being neighbors. And I’m guessing that Sultans Paleis would substitute the Panorama restaurant’s retheme that’s set to occur next year?
Totally agree, though in terms of division of the action over the park was most likely the main reason for that. I'm hoping to create a more open design for the square in order to incorporate the various attractions into one cohesive whole.

Sultans Paleis would indeed be somewhat inspired by the Panorama retheme but nothing has really been released so far besides the coming of the retheme itself. Additionally, the restaurant will be subtly connected to one of Fata Morgana's main scenes in the 'Troonzaal' scene.

A Legend in Mirage
''Very, very far away lays an Eastern city called Fata Morgana. The Sultan is ruler of the city and possesses anything ever wanted. He preys on money and holds huge parties for rich people. These, however, are only allowed to come if they bring money. About ruling the city, however, he wants no part off, he just lets that run its course. The market is soiled by dodgy market people who will try and sell you anything. Thieves and other scum roam in the streets. It's absolutely not safe for rich people. In the prison, it's even worse. Prisoners in the treadmills keep the fire hot. It's hard and heavy work. The supervisors whip the people when they don't work hard enough. Whenever someone collapses, he is thrown into the prison cells. Many different prisoners are wasting away and justice is nowhere to be found. One day, the Sultan fancied something new. He wanted to see the future! He sent his servant out to find him a soothsayer. After a couple of weeks, the servants returned with a soothsayer named Fortuna. The Sultan was very impatient and asked the soothsayer what the future would bring. Futura said: 'You will live in wealth for forty more months and then all will be over! You can change your fate and avoid this curse by playing all the songs of the birds on this magic flute.' 'Oh, go away!', said the Sultan indignantly. 'You, liar! Be gone from my sight!'.

The soothsayer left and forty months went by. On the first day of the forty first month the Sultan stepped outside for a bit of fresh air on his balcony. Dark clouds rolled in around the city. 'Oh, my!', thought the Sultan. 'It's probably just another monsoon, I had better go back inside.' He had just closed the doors behind him when heavy weather broke loose. It rained for a very long time. The streets were empty and the water just kept rising until the whole city was completely flooded. Buildings crumbled under the pressure and everyone drowned!. Almost everyone, two servants of the Sultan had stolen the magic flute after the soothsayer left. They had been practicing the songs of the birds. When the storms started a pack of birds came to take the two servants away. In this way, only they escaped death.''
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Visit the mysterious Forbidden City, right from the stories of 1001 Arabian Nights...

The curtains open and we exit under a tunnel of beautifully decorated Moorish arches. The boats pass over water towards a mysterious Forbidden City, a city with uncountable spires, towers, domes and curves. The city is placed on a jungle like rock as if it came right from a desert illusion in an oasis. The boats drift into a rocky mysterious cave overgrown in greenery. As soon as we near, the greenery opens up and we are able to enter. When this opens, we enter a jungle, filled by tropical plants and palm trees. In the distance, a golden treasure is briefly visible in front of us, which also quickly disappears – like a mirage. After this the boat makes a sharp turn. After a few metres there are snakes hanging above us in the trees, threatingly hissing at passing Guests. In a rock opening, smoke emerges and a wizard appears (a similar effect to the Wicked Witch of the West in Disney’s Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He makes a twinkling noise with his magic wand and with a few flashes manages to open the large doors and grant us access to the Forbidden City.
We sail into The Poor District Scene, where beggars ask for money while a dog barks at a loud door slamming shut. A man tries to get his donkey over a broken bridge while arguing with an annoyed man woken by the noise. The market follows after a slight bend to the right. Baskets are woven here, fruit is sold and there is a quack who helps a patient get rid of a rotten tooth. His large hand cart is mostly made out of its seat, but is also stored with pots, scissors, combs, knives and a mirror. A woman has gotten into a fight with a fruit merchant who stands behind a stall with colorful materials. In a corner sits a coppersmith, surrounded by his products, such as dishes, copper oil lamps, pitchers and pots, which are critically examined by some costumers. Merchants quickly pass by in a far off alley while others are either shouting at Guests to sell their goods or filling up their stocks. Attention turns to a clumsy man attempting to balance a long beam on his shoulder. It is obvious that the beam is just about to hit a ship’s sail from behind which a man tries to restore order.
The beam starts to hang over Guests as if they are just about to get hit by it. A loud warning from another man on the market drives the beam away just in time to not obstruct our path. A woman empties a jug of water from her balcony just in front of the boat. The boat then passes under a portal behind which is the next scene. Features include a spirits seller, snake charmer and flying carpet seller, while children play by the pool in the back with playful monkeys and silhouettes of merchants can be seen from behind the window. A fakir sitting on a bed of nails , has a spherical basket on a rug, from which a cobra rises slowly swaying to the rhythm of an incantory tune, produced by the fakir on a typically shaped flute. A man sits amid a number of oddly shaped pitches and bottles. Sneaking out from under his heavy eyebrows, he offers his wares. As the boat get closer, inside the bottles, which are sealed with oddly shaped stoppers, strange lights are seen moving restlessly in bizarre currents, some accompanied by muffled sounds. It turns out to be a trader in bottle spirits. A single bottle contains such a powerful spirit that it is encased in a steel cage with a padlock.
Through a well decorated with mosaics, where a few children fill the pitchers with water, the eye falls on a carpet seller who comes to tap the boat. He has hung his colorful wares on the walls and a number of them are piled up on the floor. Next to him is a pile that moves on its own. ‘’Flying Carpets’’ the man babbles in various languages, pointing at the pile. The carpets tug and pull at the leather straps that keep them anchored to the ground by means of wooden pegs driven into the ground. In the meantime, the boat is sailing towards a high building which stands across the water. All windows and doors of this building have been bricked up. Fragments of mist float slowly towards the boat from a low dark culvert. In a dark alley, a screaming and gesticulating figure tries to warn us not to go any further, but the boat continues on its way undisturbed.
We enter a dark stone tunnel. Above our heads we hear the flapping wings of bats, which fly over in a flash. On the right side is a staircase where a cadaver is eaten by rats. A greenish glow illuminates the space in a sinister way. Water seeps down the walls and drips from the ceiling. While the light is briefly interrupted by a shadow, there is a hollow laughable scream of a bird, which rolls echoing through the tunnel. When the wisps of mist diminish, at the back of the tunnel in the dim light one sees the boat of a predecessor disappear around the corner. As if by magic, a few crocodile-like monsters come out of nowhere, blowing and snorting and swimming towards the boat. Giving a powerful blow to the water with its tail, the foremost monster shoots open flashing a row of formidable teeth. At that point, the boat makes a sharp turn to the right, avoiding the beast’s shattering bite.
Through this manoeuvre of the boat, one has passed through the gate which gives access to an interior space of the barracks. One is surrounded by high chilly facades with a dark starry sky above it. Windows are located in the facades. Some are lit up and all manner of sounds of laughing and talking soldiers, footsteps and the clatter of weapons permeate visitors. The courtyard is lit with a number of flames. In front of the boat is a deep arched gate, flanked by two bizarrely dressed sentries, who are at least six feet in groove. In their hand they hold a beautifully carved halberd. Two guards, one on each side of the quay, tell us to stop. As they approach the boat, they try to force it to stop by crossing the halberds in front of the gate. A third guard nods from behind a window, a cannon is fired and a large iron gate falls down. At the last moment the gate stops and the gates to the prison open...


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Sail off into the fantasies of the East...

A thunderous roar of creaking iron and rattling chains, come down with a heavy iron gate, with perilous spikes. The boats drift just beneath them. The doors at the other end of the gate open by themselves, allowing the boat to enter the stronghold. To the left and right are gloomy barracks buildings. A faint reddish light falls from a row of high windows on the left. Up in the rocks a guard can be seen pointing his gun at us. Bullets seem to hit the water to the left and right of the boat. On the right side of the quay, in the portal of a building, a veiled belly dancer is dancing to the music of a small band sitting further away. Seven guards are seated around the woman and noisily express their good mood. When the boat is noticed by the dancer, she lets out a startled cry. A guard gets up and shoots his gun as the boats sails past. The bullet that has been fired first hits an oil lamp that hangs above the sentry, then over the rock wall onto a low table, before landing into the water right next to the boat.
The boat sails calmly and makes a left turn, where we go through a low rock corridor. This high cavern, gives access to a high stalactite cave. In a reddish light one sees that the stalactite formations have formed caves one above the other. Sturdy bars have been placed in this, so that they can be used as prisons. In a cove sits an old jailer, small and bent with a bunch of keys on his belt and a large vulture on his back, which at the sight of the boat makes a horrible screeching sound. He mumbles and suddenly conjures mysterious lights and smoke from his campfire. Around him are scattered carcasses of small animals. Cells can be seen in the rock wall on the right from which complaining sounds are heard.
The left side, opposite to the cells, consist of a large cove in the rock, where a large dynamic mechanism is in motion. Humming plaintively to the rhythmic beats of a drum, some of the prisoners are busy forging swords. Several large wheels, ropes and beams are connected to each other and are moved by two prisoners who run circles in a wheel. In the center of the scene is a guard with a whip. A staircase has been carved into the wall of the stalactite formation, which leads upwards. Halfway up these stairs, two men are chained to the wall. Half turning their heads in the direction of the boat they try to get the attention of the strange Guests in order to be saved. Hanging at the end is a large cleaver that shakes every now and then as if it could be released in front of our boat at any moment. One of the cells has been flooded and the prisoner is trying to keep his head above water, spewing up the bars.
At the end of the cave it gets so low that the boat can barely pass. One has now arrived in a crater-like high-rising cave. At the top of the cave an opening shows a part of the starry sky and the moon. In the poor light it soon becomes clear that the waterway comes to a dead end here and people threaten to crash into the rocks. Quite unexpectedly flashes of lightning pierce the sky accompanied by a rolling thunder, while a strange whistling whirling wind has arisen. After a curtain of fog has lifted in front of us, the wizard makes his second appearance in a similar way to his first one in another rock opening. With a flash, the wizard knows how to help us further. The rock splits open with a ripping and grinding sound and we sail into a large harbor.
From this moment one has entered a dream world. You are on a large body of water to which to the left is formed by lush gardens, which are built in terrace form. Exotic flowers hang over the white-and-gold adorned walls, fringing a gold arbor, a silver glowing fountain a large growling tiger. On the right a harbor, where a 17th Century ship is moored against the wall of a large palace and next to it is a smaller boat with a beautifully covered seating area where a number of chic traders are standing, who show each other trinkets. A merchant sits at the back of the rim of the boat, looking around and on the platform between the two boats stands a servant with even more glittering merchandise. On top of the ship two guards are calling to us where we come from. Our boat continues along the palace walls. Behind the ship between the trees, the water to the horizon can be seen glistening in the moonlight. A gentle breeze, carrying sweet scents welcome Guests. To the left, concealed in a niche of a large gate, a gardener can be seen who braces himself to restrain a tiger, who snarls and claws, with reins away from us.
A little further on begins a low quay where a scantily clad woman on a sofa watches. Behind her, on an elevation behind glass, four ladies can be seen brushing each other’s hair. Hidden behind the planters and balustrade on the quay, we also see the donkey from before blushing. A large red velvet curtain opens, behind which is the throne room of the Pasha. A wave of music and buzz from the attendees pours over the Guests who are now in a lavish banquet hall. The ceiling is hidden from view by a festive, multi-colored décor. Huge chandeliers and a number of oil lamps illuminate the banquet hall. To the right is large group of smartly dressed nobles, who are busy talking to each other, enjoying the drinks and snacks. A few servants with trays stand and walk between the Guests. A little further on, on an elevation, surrounded by stairs, is the Pasha. Around him are his bodyguards and servants, five belly dancers dance in front. The Pasha is commanding his ministry in unintelligible gibberish with many hand gestures and with a loud voice. Opposite to the Pasha, on the left side of the boat, is a five-piece orchestra. They play along to the music that can be heard in the throne room.
A servant sounds a large gong and the curtain opens to a hallway where we see Guards who let out a loud cry. An excited murmur rises from the multitude present and everyone looks at the intruders. There is a heavy rumble and panting. With the thump, a great chandelier hanging over the boat subsides, and the overall light dims and begins to flicker. A sadistically smiling scrawny figure on the left bank draws a curtain where the boat is now heading. The boat sails into a darkened room where a storm appears to be raging, created by a huge ceiling fan. The water seems to be boiling here. Another wall splits open to enter a long, narrow red-lit room, the walls of which are covered with arches and ornaments. Gargoyles can be found on the sides of the room. We sail towards a gate in the shape of an snake-like head. Red laser beams shoot out of its eyes, which make them splash when they fall into the water as torches are suddenly lit with bright flames. The room tilts a few degrees to the left, but optical illusions make it seem as if the boat is about to capsize.
Once we leave this space, we sail into the huge Djinn, who with his huge body takes up almost the entire scene. Djinn is an oriental figure dressed in a robe, who looks down ferociously and moves his head. In his hands he holds the pillars that hold up the roof and the many ceiling cloths, which he shakes violently to make the room collapse. Large chunks fall into the water on the left and on the right a column splashes into the canal next to the boat. We pass under him and pass the treasures; jewellery, vases, Efteling ducats, chests full of gold work and a bust. After passing between Djinn’s legs, we enter a hallway that leads to the wizard’s third appearance, who appears through a pepper’s ghost effect and saves us from the Djinn by petrifying him and splitting the wall on the right in front of us so that we can sail through. The wizard raises his arms and in a sea of fire he disappears completely as we are guided into a piece of jungle, where palm trees hang bend over the water, only to see doors open for us after a sharp left turn and arrive back under the tunnel of arches outside leading back to the (un)loading dock. We can get off the boat as soon as it has reached the turntables, but before we do we pass by a few drifting crates with monkeys playing with treasures from the Djinn’s treasury.
Guests are then assisted by an employee and can then leave the hall via a staircase on the left side of the new control room and a gallery. We pass the entrance for wheelchair users via an uncovered corridor and through the store ‘De Bazaar’. Once inside, Guests are greeted by a profusion of Middle Eastern trinkets. Everything is arranged in colorful cabinets against the walls or low tables and racks in the middle of the room. The action photo can be viewed and purchased at the cash register. Among the Eastern souvenirs we find incense, candles, candlesticks, pillows, figurines, shawls and the like. Themed clothing is for sale for children: a wizards suit with a hat and a belly dancer outfit. There are also many stuffed animals for sale of the animals from the attractions: camels, tigers, snakes and crocodiles. There is also a specific Efteling item: a Fata Morgana home perfume with which you can make your house smell like the Throne Room. We then return to the forecourt of the attraction…


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Original Poster
Hey everyone, I have just returned from a long awaited vacation and hiking trip through Luxembourg! Hopefully, I haven't lost your attention just yet after this break. I hope to catch up a bit by posting more often the coming days, if the circumstances allow it of course! Enough about the break, let's dive right back in where we left...

An Oasis of Dining Options...

On the Middle Eastern forecourt we soon find ourselves at ‘Oase’, which will be re-done as a more expansive dining option and terrace overlooking the pond where Aquanura takes place. Oase will be a waterside Arabian tent camp with a lot of greenery and flowers filling up the area with color. Here lives a popular food merchant known throughout the land for his fresh fruits, Turkish pizzas, falafal and doner kebab. Guests are able to sit under a beautifully woven tapestry that forms protection against the sun and rain as well as enjoy the smells of the flowers and food, while enjoying the view over the pond and the Arabian square. Our attention is then quickly turned to another corner of the square where a large Palace-like structure is home to ‘Sultans Paleis’, one of the park’s new table service options.
The palace features a full table service restaurant at night and provides counter service dining by day. Cuisine is Middle-Eastern inspired. Four dining rooms are located within the palace, including the Sultan’s Banquet Hall, The Royal Garden, The Library of Scheherazade and the Djinn’s Wing. The restaurant features stained glass reminiscent of works such as ‘The Pink Mosque’ in Shiraz, Iran as well as others telling stories of the 1001 Arabian Nights. These stories will otherwise be re-told through wall murals in mosaic and carvings depicting objects, characters and scenes from stories such as Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin.
Outside the Sultans Paleis restaurant and continuing into its foyer, there is an inviting feeling yet there’s a sense of foreboding luxury, decorated with colorful tapestries, carvings, rich plasterwork, wooden frames and marvelous tiles. Beautiful scenery is juxtaposed with hints to the prisoner backstory of Fata Morgana and the Djinn causing havoc around his wing. Continuing through the restaurant, Guests pass through a hallway lined with statues of tigers with red-glowing eyes as if they were rubies, where wood and tapestries make an appearance, lightening the mood slightly. However, whispers emanating from the static Guard figures leave Guests slightly on edge. We take a turn into the castle’s entry hall where a large fountain sits in front of a winding golden staircase that leads upstairs. Above the stairs, beautifully stained glass windows create a magical glow in this hall. From here, Guests are led into the separate themed dining rooms.
Firstly, the Sultan’s Banquet Hall will serve as the largest of the rooms and placed in the middle of the restaurant, it will truly be the impressive centerpiece of the dining option, similar in scale to the Ballroom in the Be Our Guest Restaurant at Walt Disney World. Large windows oversee a Middle-Eastern fantasy cityscape among a desert night sky. A fakir flies by on a magical carpet from time to time leaving an enchanting flute melody echoing through the room. Red velvet curtains adorn the walls. Large chandeliers and colorful oil lamps illuminate the domed room, while loud music, similar to what is heard in the Throne Room scene in Fata Morgana swings through the room. The tile belt surrounding the walls bear calligraphic inscriptions revetted with blue-and-white Delftware and mirrors of Venetian glass. In the hall stands the Sultan’s throne. Ornate treasures such as vases, urns and statues surround the hall. Two stone tigers with red ruby eyes stare down at Guests. In the center of the backwall sits the Sultan’s throne, a large impressive seat inspired by the shape of a peacock. The grand hall projects from the walls of the palace, providing views in multiple directions. The tiles are nearly 4 ft high all round and the colours vary at intervals. Over them is a series of oval medallions with inscriptions, interwoven with flowers and leaves.
The Royal Garden room will be placed behind the Sultan’s Banquet Hall, meaning Guests will be led through the Banquet Hall regardless of if they’re assigned a table in this room. A passageway leads us out to a courtyard inspired by the Moorish gardens of Alhambra and Alcazar Palace Gardens in Southern Spain. Fruit trees, horticultural produce and a wide variety of fragrant flowers surround Guests under the night sky. Water is ever present in the form of irrigation channels, runnels, jets, ponds and pools. In the centre of the Garden court is the Fountain of Tigers, an alabaster basin supported by the figures of twelve tigers in white marble as symbols of strength, power and sovereignty. Each hour one tiger produces water from its mouth. Other lush planting and even bird cages filled with audio animatronic bird figures are the finishing touches of the garden.
Next, The Library of Scheherazade can be found to the left of the Banquet Hall. This enchanting, large and magnificent room is filled with books and stories originating in the Middle-East, North Africa and Eurasia. It has a high roof and fret worked walls. Blue and gold coloured double doors open into the library. Big world globes, writing desks, maps, paintings, carpets and a few chairs on the colourful ceramic floor set the scene. The room’s centerpiece is a floating book that enchants the rest of the room with its stories. Statues and other objects related to the stories seen in the library can also be found around the room, while murals in the walls’ tiling reveal scenes of tales of Scheherazade.
Lastly, we enter the Djinn’s ominous wing on the right of the Banquet Hall. This will be the smallest dining room, in a dimly lit environment. Through special effects, the room is made to appear to shake from one side to the other, similar to what was seen in the Fata Morgana attraction. Other magical objects such as a magic lamp, a flying carpet and a mysterious hourglass can be found around the room as well. From time to time, the Djinn will appear through projections and greet Guests shortly before enchanting the room, when these objects come to life, pillars start twisting and curtains start waving in the wind. When we have finished our tour around the restaurant, we return outside where we turn to another corner of the Arabian forecourt where the sounds of a loud bird squawk can be heard...


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Original Poster
Unfortunately due to some personal family business, I had to take some time off the forums here. However, this doesn't mean that I've been sitting still and doing nothing. Therefore I'd like to move on right now and start with the introduction of the World of Sindbad complex which includes Vogel Rok, Sirocco and Archipel.
Explore the Seas with Sindbad the Brave Sailor...

‘’There once lived a Middle-Eastern sailor named Sindbad. He had braved the Seven Seas and traded goods in many far-off countries and lands. This is how he gained immense wealth. Sindbad lived in a golden palace with about 25 servants, or maybe even 30; Sindbad had never counted them. His most important adviser, Ali, knew Sindbad from a young age. Ali noticed that Sindbad had changed. The jolly sailor that he was before had become a cranky complainer, who would complain to his servants all day. This wasn’t done right and that wasn’t done right… Even though he got wealthier, he got crankier by the day. No one had dared to say anything of it. One day, Sindbad had complained that the couscous was too sticky. Ali remembered that Sindbad complained about it being to dry the day before, and too cold the day before that and too hot the day before that! ‘Oh, my sultan,’ said Ali as friendly as possible, ‘maybe you need to get out of the palace for a bit and get some fresh air. Shall we go to the souk together? Or the Bazaar?’. ‘The Bazaar?! What does a Sultan do at the marketplace?’, asked Sindbad. ‘It’s bustling with life, my lord’, Ali answered. ‘The people are happy there and the smells are amazing!’. ‘Hm, I did always love wandering the marketplaces of foreign cities’, said Sindbad with a dreamy tone. ‘After days sailing the sea, it was always so nice to be among the people and drink a cup of sweet tea in the shadow of a palm tree.’ ‘What are we waiting for then?’, said Ali. His master laughed, ‘You’re right, Ali. Besides, I could use a new turban.’ He put on his best sandals and took a stroll to the Bazaar with Ali. Here, Sindbad enjoyed the fuzz of the people, the high pitched laughter of women and the energetic yelling of sales people.

At an old lady’s booth, Sindbad picked out a new turban. It was the most beautiful and colorful she had, but the woman said, ‘I’d advise you to take this simple white one, my lord. This turban is made from the very best and strongest fabric. I can sense that you can put it to good use.’ Sindbad agreed, though he though it was quite strange that the woman recommended a cheaper turban than the one he had chosen. Then they visited a teahouse. An old acquaintance of Sindbad’s immediately approached them, sailor Youssef. ‘Good to see you again, Sindbad,’ said Youssef, ‘after all these years. I hear you’re doing well, but is it true that you are no longer sailing the seven seas?’. ‘That’s right,’ Sindbad replied. ‘I live in a palace and have quite a few, eh.. let me count… er.. well, a lot of servants.’ ‘But doesn’t a born sailor like you miss sailing?’ Youssef asked surprised. ‘The wind and the waves? The vastness of the ocean?’. Youssef made a wide gesture. ‘I wouldn’t want to miss the adventures for all the gold they could find me in the world. You won’t believe what I’ve been through recently. Wait.. you need to hear this story!’ They sat down at a table and Youssef leaned towards Sindbad and Ali. ‘Have you ever heard of the mythical bird Roc?’ he whispered mysteriously. The other two nodded. ‘The largest bird of prey in existence,’ Ali said. ‘I know that fairy tale.’ ‘It’s not a fairy tale!’ Youssef shouted excitedly. ‘I saw him from my ship. It flew over us and is so immense that it darkened the entire sky!’. Sindbad laughed while making a sceptic gesture. ‘Awesome! Do you have another story like that?’. ‘Coincidentally, yes,’ Youssef said gruffly, ‘but I see you clearly don’t believe me.’ He stood up. ‘So I won’t tell you about the diamond valley.’ ‘The diamond valley?’ asked Ali curiously.

Youssef leaned forward again. ‘Yes, I’ve seen them. Thousands, no! Millions of diamonds! But… they lie deep in a chasm and no one ever got out alive. Because it is full of giant snakes!’. Sindbad laughed loudly again and hit the table. ‘You haven’t changed a bit over the years, Youssef. Such great fairy tales you tell.’ ‘The best thing is that they’re real, Sindbad’. Youssef corrected his hat. ‘Take care in that palace of yours.’ He shook both men their hands and left the teahouse. ‘It’s good to see you so cheerful again, my lord,’ said Ali. ‘Those stories Youssef told us are really nice, Ali. But I have to admit that he also awakened something in me.’ Sindbad was suddenly silent and stared absently into nothingness. ‘Uhh..what exactly, sir?’’ asked his servant cautiously.’ ‘The wind in the sails… the adventure.’ Whispered Sindbad. ‘Ali arrange ship with crew.. I’m setting sail again!’. Not much later Sindbad the sailor sailed out to sea again for a long time. All his servants waved him off from the wharf. ‘The trip will do our master good’ said Ali. After Sindbad and his sailors had reached several harbour cities, they docked on the bays of an uncharted island. It was mountainous, lush green and seemed uninhibited. They savoured themselves with ripe fruits that were hanging there for grabs. ‘This is truly a paradise’, said Sindbad. He stretched himself out at a clear fountain and fell peacefully asleep. When he woke up, his sailors had all disappeared. In the distance, his ship disappeared on the horizon. ‘This is mutiny!’, Sindbad exclaimed.

There was no other option but to explore the island. So he did, but he had not been able to find any sign of life. That’s why he started to climb a tall mountain and sadly sat upon a rock. ‘I fear that I am chained to this island for the rest of my life’, said Sindbad to himself. Suddenly he saw something glowing in the valley in the distance. It seemed to be a white dome like structure that rose high up into the sky. ‘Hooray!’, Sindbad shouted loudly. ‘A house! Or maybe some temple-like structure!’. As quickly as he could he descended from the mountain and reached the tall structure. Sindbad had looked around but had found no windows or doors. But then, a dark shadow and a forceful gust of wind threw Sindbad to the ground. He looked up and got the greatest shock in his life. With its spread wings, a huge predatory bird stroke down. Its claws were stretched forward. The frightened sailor pushed himself as flat as possible against the white dome as soon as the bird apparently sat down on it. Sindbad immediately recognised it: It was the legendary bird Roc! Unbelievable, silly Youssef was right with that story all along. And now that gigantic bird was hatching an enormous egg, but also sitting atop Sindbad. He let it process for a while and quickly thought of a smart plan. This was his chance to get off the island! Sindbad took his new turban off his head and tied it to one of the birds claws. Not much later, night fell. Sindbad awaited quietly. It was still earthly dark when the bird spread its wings again.

It let out a hideous shriek and flew away. Sindbad was taken with the bird on its claws. Roc was so large and strong that it hadn’t even noticed that it had taken a human with it. What followed was a terrifying journey through the dark night skies. Sindbad was shaken up and down, from left to right. He was happy that the material the turban was made off was of the finest quality. Despite the rough flight, the sailor was safely tied to the bird’s claw. The sun rose to the tops of the skies when Roc finally started to descend. The bird circled above a narrow gorge, before it suddenly let itself fall down. In a dive the bird flew straight down. Sindbad started to believe his final hour had struck, but luckily he landed on the bottom of the gorge without any injury. The brave sailor freed himself just in time, as Roc already flew away again with a gigantic snake in its beak. The monstrous viper squirmed violently, but it didn’t stand a chance against Roc. Sindbad felt happy and relieved to feel firm ground under his feet again. He took a big grasp of air and tied his turban back on his head. Then he looked up and saw a strange light reflecting off the sides of the steep rock walls; it seemed to reflect off the floor. Sindbad quickly realized he was in the Valley of Diamonds. This valley was covered in millions of diamonds that shone bright in the morning light.

He quickly gathered as many diamonds as possible and filled his pockets and duffel bag with more. Suddenly, a terrifying rustle sounded through the gorge. At that very moment, Sindbad realized how many gigantic snakes were crawling among the seas of diamonds. They slowly crawled towards Sindbad, who quickly thought of a plan to get away. He ran to the side of the rocks and began to climb as fast as possible. However, this proved to not be easy, as the walls turned out to be very slippery. There were some protrusions in the rock walls to which he luckily was able to hold himself onto, but less fortunately these were far apart from one another. Under his feet, were now 10 of these oversized reptiles crawling to catch a bite of the sailor who was stealing diamonds from their gorge. He then used his turban to lasso from one rock side to another. In this way, he was able to quickly climb to higher grounds. Deep down, the snakes were deeply disappointed with his skill. Ali and all the other servants were happily surprised when their master returned home to the palace after a few weeks. Especially, once they saw he had regained his enthusiasm and good attitude. ‘We feared the worst, my lord’, said Ali. ‘The sailors had forgotten you by accident and sailed back to the island the next morning, but they found no trace of you..’. Sindbad laughed loudly and explained what happened on the island. He was now richer than ever before, but not by the diamonds he had taken with him, but by what he had learned from his journeys; appreciate what you have. He emptied his duffel bag and gave all the diamonds he had to his servants.. and the next day the woman in the marketplace who sold him his turban would get her share of the diamonds. Sindbad set out on many more voyages across the seas and lived happily ever after…’’


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A Terrifying Flight Through Darkness...

On one side of the Middle-Eastern bazaar, Guests will find the façade to the gigantic rollercoaster complex for Vogel Rok (Bird Roc). The façade consists of a large bird figure that lurks with its head from left to right, watching Guests passing by and under. Behind it, a large mural of cliffs, seas and islands transports Guests into another world. Parts of this front-square to the attraction will be re-imagined with new water features and palm trees. Once under the legs of the large Bird Roc, you go through a rocky tunnel where waterfalls rush down and greenery climbs up the walls. From a wooden floor you have a view of a smaller courtyard with another waterfall, some shrubs and the skull of a Roc bird. We then arrive at the actual entrance of the attraction building, marked into the rock wall in front of us. Two large(but smaller than the first) bird statues lead us into almost an ancient temple passageway dedicated to the Bird Roc. In front of the caveway stands a bone with a ruler. Children can measure themselves here, because Vogel Rok has a height restriction of 1.20 metres. Inside the cave, the route continues to the left. Oversized bones can be found in the rock walls, which are used for the dim lighting in this dark cavern. If you look closely, you can even see that a complete carcass has been processed in the hallway.
After the cave, the route follows to the right, where we enter a temple-like hall. The stucco walls have spherical lamps and torches, a gate with a donkeys back arch and the floor is tiled with oriental tiles. Above the gate you can see a nest with a huge egg. In the next room Guests will discover the story of Sindbad through moving murals projected onto the walls, teaching us about the brave sailor, the valley of diamonds, the enormous snakes and of course the legendary Roc. The route follows up the mysterious stone stairs on the left. We walk across the track via these stairs and a small hall. If we then turn right, we walk down the stairs again. We enter the boarding hall, themed to an Oriental temple-like structure. The hall is a large and angular space in a very different style from the queues we just passed through. The walls are blue, draped with textiles and decorated with decorative curls. On the other side of the track hangs a painting of Sindbad the Sailor, dangling from the leg of a flying Bird Roc, the most explicit reference to the story of the attraction.
On the ceiling, which consists of a kind of mesh, behind which all ventilation systems are hidden, are spherical lamps that decrease in height when viewed from the entrance. These begin to flash at regular intervals as the flapping of wings is heard, culminating in a chilling scream, suggesting Roc’s proximity. When a train arrives, the gates are opened and you can take a seat. After closing the gate and a final check by an employee, the train departs and passes under the control booth. Though originally, the attraction is a covered dark steel coaster by Vekoma, this new version of the ride will be a suspended family dark coaster built by Vekoma without any inversions. Just like all inverted roller coasters the train runs under the track with the seats directly attached to the wheel carriage. The trains will be themed to the feathers and other features of the Roc, like its claws. Each cart contains sixteen loudspeakers through which music by composer Ruud Bos can be heard during the ride.
The train passes a large egg which slowly breaks open through projections. We are then lifted onto a lifthill, where we pass through a thick glowing mist. At the top of the lift hill we are under the highest point of the roof and we see five smaller birds that are briefly highlighted. Purple stars are projected on the roof. The first descent starts with a slight bend to the left, after which we descend sharply and are immediately photographed for the action photo. During the flight, you skim through the darkness under a flock of sixteen birds. You fly past an island where a giant Roc stretches its wings. Then, get swallowed by a giant snake and end up in a laser tunnel inside a brake block. After a roller coaster ride at the back of the building you will enter a tunnel of lights with a laser effect in it. After this we come to a brake block. Here the millions of lights cover the walls of the tunnel to simulate the Valley of Diamonds. After surviving the ride, riders alight on the left and exit the front platform through a donkey-backed gate. A short, not quite straight corridor similar to the queue takes them back to the skeletal cave area in which the action photo desk is integrated. Turning right, you leave the attraction again along the garden and past the Bird Roc again to the Bazaar Square. In response to the immense success of Vogel Rok, an 'Egg-laying Roc' is placed at the exit of the attraction, which is based on the concept devised by Peter Reijnders. If one gives a guilder to the bird perched on an oriental column, which has by the way been reduced to the size of a duck, it jumps up, flapping its wings and screeches. When the bird settles down a little later, she sits down again, and an egg with some feathers, a flag and a scoop of sweets roll into the nest below her.
Facing Bird Roc will be the new other new elements for the World of Sindbad complex, including the re-imagining of the Adventure Maze into Archipel and Monsieur Cannibale into Sirocco, which would be the finishing touches to this grander Middle-Eastern area in Anderrijk. The cooking pots of the current attraction Monsieur Cannibale become real trading boats. A whirlwind has sprung out at sea and every merchant who sets foot aboard embarks on a dizzying adventure until the storm subsides. Monsieur Cannibale’s famous cooking pots have to make way for trading ships. For this, Efteling works together with the original manufacturer of the mill, the renowned German firm Mack Rides. The story behind Sirocco is about a storm that visitors find themselves in. The existing thatched roof should soon represent a transfer place where merchandise is stored before it is traded again. Just as we are working on that, the storm is rising, which explains the acceleration of the mill. Sirocco itself is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and can reach hurricane speeds which stands for ‘Eastern’...
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