A Visit To Efteling Theme Park

Efteling has been on our European bucket list with the kids for quite a while so we organized a surprise trip to the Netherlands over the midterm and finally got to visit this incredible European wonderland. I’m happy to report it did not disappoint and I’m going to share our highlights, our itinerary, where we stayed and some of my top tips to make the most of your trip.

Location

The park itself is located in Kaatsheuvel in The Netherlands, which is just over an hours drive from Amsterdam, or a 40 minute drive from Eindhoven airport. We flew from Dublin to Eindhoven Airport direct with Ryanair (flights cost approx. €380 for 5 of us including 2x 20kg bags that we shared). I pre-booked a taxi from the airport to Efteling with Sneleentaxi which worked out at approx. €90 each way – they provided booster seats for the kids on request and I would highly recommend – efficient, reliable and on time.

Accommodation

We stayed in The Efteling Hotel on one night during our visit which was really magical (Gifted/PR Overnight Stay). We stayed in a Comfort Room for 5 people which featured a king sized bed, bunk beds and a trundle bed which pulled out from under the bed. The decor was fun, whimsical and fairy tale themed and the kids loved it. This hotel is located right at the parks side entrance and allowed us to enter the park 30 minutes before it opened. The location is ideal if you wanted to take a little break during the day from the park. The Efteling Hotel is only one of many different accommodation options available within the Efteling resort and there are many other on site accommodation options to choose from which I will link here.

We ate in the restaurant in the Efteling hotel on one evening and the food was surprisingly excellent! Two of the kids and I had steak which was really good, my eldest had pasta bolognaise which he loved. The presentation and standard of food was much better than we had anticipated which was a welcome surprise. I think we have become accustomed to accepting mediocre food when staying in theme park resorts, so it was really nice to actually enjoy a really tasty, well presented meal! There was an A la Carte and set price menu available which was reasonably priced and I have linked here. There are also plenty of places to eat within Efteling park itself but the Efteling restaurant menu in the hotel definitely appealed to us most after a long day of walking – it was a a nice treat.

All on site Efteling accommodation includes your park entry tickets, but it is also possible to stay off site and buy your park tickets separately. We stayed in Guest House Hotel Kaatsheuvel for 2 nights which is an off site hotel that I discovered through the Efteling website. This hotel is an 8 minute walk from the main entrance of the hotel, is off site and a budget friendly option which is ideal for all family sizes. There are even rooms that accommodate up to 8 people. We booked an 8 person room just to give us a little extra space for €125 per night which was brilliant value. The style, and decor in the rooms was lovely. The beds were really comfortable and the restaurant and bar areas in the hotel were both great. We had a meal in the hotel on our last evening and the kids loved the pizza, and the beef carpaccio was delicious. Guest House Hotel Kaatsheuvel offer packages that include Efteling tickets which you can find on their website here. Also worth mentioning that the hotel is located beside an excellent supermarket which is ideal for picking up treats and snacks during your stay!

Attractions

There is so much to see and do in Efteling that we spent two days exploring the park over a weekend and had an absolute ball. The great mix of rides and attractions for all ages meant we had three very happy boys  (our kids are aged 5,7 and nearly 9). From some hard core rollercoaster like Baron for the thrill seekers to more family friend coasters we could all ride together like Max & Moritz. The park wasn’t too busy at all during our visit (February) – a lovely time to go as we never queued for more than 20 minutes for anything. Even at the main attractions and big rides, the queues were never long which made the whole day so chill much more pleasant for us all.

There are rides to suit all ages, even little kids. My smallest who is 5 (and not a thrill seeker!) had a ball on the fairground type rides like carousels, swinging seats and slower paced rides like Symbolica.  His thrill seeking brothers loved the more extreme thrills like Baron and Vogel Rock, along with the Halve Maen (Swinging Boat) and Sirocco. The staff in the park were all incredibly friendly and went above and beyond to make the experience magical for kids. We also bought tickets for the Caro show in the Efteling Theatre on the last evening which was absolutely brilliant and would highly recommend during your visit!

 

Food and Snacks

One thing we did notice when compared to other theme parks we’ve visited around Europe is that Efteling is undoubtedly very reasonably priced when in the park for food, snacks or extras. Things like treats, for example Candy Floss on a stick was €2, a big cone of 9 hot doughnuts was €4 – food was fairly priced which added to the experience as we could enjoy a few little extras without breaking the bank over the few days. The hot fresh cinnamon donuts and churros are not to be missed, and it really added to the whole experience being able to buy a few yummy treats without feeling like we were being totally ripped off over the two days. Theme parks get very expensive very quickly when you have 3 kids with endless snack requests so to be fair Efteling do a great of making the food and snacks feel accessible!

Final Notes

We also rented a little cart for our 5 year old who got tired legs on one of the days and it was €4.50!!! Which was an absolute bargain, and could just be left at ride entrances as we were queuing etc. A lifesaver if you have a tired little one and you don’t want to carry them around – it made the afternoon so much more pleasant for us all.
It’s well worth downloading the Efteling app before you go as it has lots of really handy information about height requirements for rides, closures, opening times and an interactive maps which help you make the most of your day and avoid disappointment at the ride entrance.
As I mentioned above, we bought tickets for the Caro show on our final night in Efteling which starts after the park closes in the Efteling theatre. I cannot recommend the show enough. We all really enjoyed it and it was a great way to end the trip – well worth going to see!

* Note to say that we booked and paid for our family flights, transfers and accommodation for two nights of the trip. Efteling did kindly offer us a one night PR Stay/accommodation in the Efteling hotel along with entry to the park for the purpose of review/sharing our experience. If you are looking for more family travel ideas click here.

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