Inside Dutch fairytale theme park which visitors say is ‘better than Disneyland’ – & you’ve probably never heard of it | The Sun

WITH its magical themed lands, iconic characters and epic rollercoasters, Disneyland is widely considered the best theme park in the world.

But a fantastical attraction in the Netherlands could be even better.

Visitors say Efteling in Kaatsheuvel is just as enchanting, with storybook names like Cinderella and Tom Thumb roaming around in place of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

The rides also appear more suited to "real daredevils".

Baron 1898 has a 120ft free-fall drop into a mineshaft that travels at 55mph, while Python features a double loop and corkscrew.

Elsewhere, Joris en de Draak has riders screaming at its double-track alongside a 39ft fire-breathing dragon.


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There is even an indoor coaster called Vogel Rok, which runs entirely in the dark, and the world's largest swinging ship.

Other attractions more suited to young families include a rotating house, a "spectacular" water coaster and a 100-year-old steam carousel.

There is also a monorail though "Laafland", a gondola ride on a lake and 1,150ft-long river rapids.

The whole park, just over an hour from Amsterdam, is centred around the theme "fantasy".

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It reflects elements from ancient myths and legends, fairy tales, fables and folklore.

Efteling, which first charmed visitors in 1952, is hugely popular with Dutch families, attracting 3.3million punters in 2021.

That same year, it ranked as the third best destination for families in Europe, behind Europa Park in Germany and Disneyland Paris in a poll by FatherMag.

But social media suggests it's rising in popularity and could soon overtake the so-called "happiest place on Earth".

TikTok user Ben Ride posted a video stating he thought Efteling was better than Disneyland Paris.

It was flooded with comments from people who couldn't agree with him more.

One person said: "Omg Efteling is way better than Disney, and I am a fan of Disney."

Another wrote: "I prefer Efteling. Disneyland does not have intense attractions."

And a third commented: "Agreed. Disney is amazing but if you take away the Disney flavour, there is not much left."


Tripadvisor reviews back up their claims, with an average rating of 4.5 out of five.

One visitor from Malta said: "Everything from the attractions, shows and theming to staff friendliness was outstanding.

"There is something for everyone at this theme park – a truly magical experience."

Another, from Southampton, Hampshire, wrote: "What a beautiful park.

"We love theme parks and regularly visit the Merlin parks in the UK, and we've also been lucky enough to visit Disney World and Disneyland Paris – but Efteling is our favourite by far.

"We visited with a crazy nine-year-old and a hard-to-impress 12-year-old and we all loved it.

"A few really good thrill rides, lots of beautiful dark rides and plenty of small rides to scatter in between.

"The grounds are gorgeous which felt extra special with the autumn colours and glorious weather we were blessed with at the end of October.

"This place definitely has that special magical Disney feeling without the crazy price tag."

Like Disney, as well as the rides at Efteling there are hotels, restaurants, bakeries, bars, free shows and meet and greets.

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Efteling entrance tickets for May 2023 and beyond start at £33, while Disneyland Paris costs £50.15 upwards.

Prices for Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, start at £80.

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