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Old 20 Feb 20, 03:36 PM  
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Lostbrain
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Just the 4 of us - an Efteling adventure

Just back! Not going to do a blow by blow account, failed to take lots of pictures! But I thought I'd do a little overview.

Travel

We took the car, essential as we needed all the coats and thermals and hats and scarfs! We crossed the channel on Eurotunnel.
For years we took the car ferry, but unless it's a huge cost saving I'm converted to the Le Shuttle. They do a cheap return for trips of less than 5 days, which meant it was only a few £ more than P&O on this trip. 35 minute crossings means it takes an hour off the journey time. We live about 2 hours from Folkstone and had a 3/3.5 hour journey on from Calais. This made for long travel days, so we planned our journey to spend lunch in Calais, opting to eat at Cite Europe and take the opportunity to stock up on reasonably priced wine and beer (and sweets and apple sauce pots) in Carrefour.


On the way over we stopped at Comptoir du Malt - this is a pub style place, the house beer is really good. They have the usual pizza, burgers, steak and chips, and a surprisingly large selection of Welsh Rarebit - there are some good value set menus and a kids menu. I had steak hache and chips, the kids had pizza and I think J had steak fillet and chips - bill was just shy of 50 euros if I remember correctly.

On the return leg we went to Flunch.

This is another French chain. It is cafeteria style. You pick your drinks, starters and puddings when you go in, then pick your main from a board - main courses are between 6 and 9 euros - pay for it all and get a ticket for your main - grab a seat - take ticket up to a food counter when you're ready - help yourself to whatever fries, vegetables and sauces you want. Good value, clean, nice selection of wines and beers. It's nothing special but it's good.
Then onto Carrefour for all the wine and beer we could fit in the car.

On the way over we stopped at a Novotel in Breda - we like Novotel as they will put us all in one room (as Isla at 12 is an adult for travel purposes finding a hotel that will accommodate the four of us in one room is getting harder) and they do a good breakfast. On the way home we left Efteling at about 11am and drove straight to Calais - getting there for a late lunch.

Accomodation

This was a highlight of the trip. We stayed for 3 nights in Bosrijk - a small resort 10 minutes from the park. Oh my word it was the cutest place. Felt like staying in a fairy tale. The park consists of two castles - Poorthuys and Landhuys which sit at either end of the resort - with about 5 minute walk between them. Poorthuys is at the entrance and has a swimming pool, reception, small shop and restaurant located in the castle too. Rooms in these castles are for 4 people. We were in Landhuys in a luxury secluded family room. Between the two castles are lots of villas -designed like tiny houses which sleep 6-8 people. If we were ever to return I'd opt for the houses instead. In between the houses is a lake with Mr Sandman's Castle sitting in the middle an lots of little play areas, with swings and see-saws and climbing equipment - our kids loved this and I'd be tempted to return just for the resort and not worry too much about the theme park. There were trees and rabbits everywhere and it was just adorable.
Landhuys

The cute houses

Mr Sandman's Castle

Our accommodation had clearly just been refurbished. I had thought that it would have a kitchenette, but it didn't - I wondered if these had been taken out in the re-furb? The carpets smelt new in the stairwell - I wonder if it had literally just opened. We had two rooms, one with a double and one with a bunk, two shower rooms, one of which had a sauna and jacuzzi bath and one toilet. We also had a living room space with a telly and a table and chairs. The only grumble I had was that it was really not a hotel or self-catering. There was a coffee maker and mugs and glasses and a fridge, but nowhere to wash up glasses and mugs. I thought that maybe housekeeping would change them but they didn't. We had pizza delivered one night which was good, except that one of the pizzas hadn't been sliced and there was no cutlery in the apartment (and a walk outside in the rain to reception). We improvised with an IKEA card - which melted - but did the job!
The pool was very small, but sweet enough, we went a couple of times and the kids loved it. There is storytelling in the evenings, but this is only in Dutch. Breakfast was included, we enjoyed this, not too many hot options, the Dutch seem to love bread and jam/sprinkles/Nutella and this was bountiful, there was yoghurt and granola and a good selection of pastries as well as eggs, cheese, ham fruit and lots of sandwiches.

Efteling Park
We spent 3 days in the park. The weather was fairly rubbish. On the first day all the outdoor rides were closed due to high winds. I would say that when it's quiet you can easily do this park in 2 days.
Efteling is themed on fairy tales and it's pretty quirky. In some parts downright strange. Much darker than Disney. There are a few big rollercoasters - the water ones weren't open while we were there - looked like there were 2 of those. There is a large wooded rollercoaster where two trains leave at the same time and race to the finish - we all enjoyed this. Then there are two large steel coasters which involve upside downs and big drops - I'm told the larger of these - Baron 1898 - was as good as Hulk in Universal, the theming of it was beautiful. Isla didn't fancy the steel coasters so she and I sat them out, they boys loved them.
There is a dark rollercoaster which was fun - and dry (it rained every day).
Both kids loved the Fairy Tale woods - parts of this are a little dated, but it's well maintained. They also liked the area dedicated to 'Laaf People' which has an ancient monorail and lots of funky play equipment.


One thing worth noting about the rides, and I'm not sure if this was just because it was so quiet while we were there, was that they don't always have staff loading on the rides, once you're sat down there's someone to check the harness, but unless it involved a moving walkway you just make your way to the cart or whatever - which meant it was easy to queue jump - we barely experienced a queue, so no big deal but I'd imagine at busier times that could be irritating.

There was only one 3D ride - which was enchanting - and finished in an area with a nice café and some great indoors play equipment. But in Disney and Universal my favourites have always been the 3D rides and I did feel it was missing this kind of thing.

The haunted house was particularly dark - featuring someone hanging as it's opening gambit and not really getting less sinister.

The kids loved Droomvlucht which J and I thought was quite odd - a bit like the ET ride in Universal or maybe Peter Pan at WDW - I'd imagine it was opened at a similar time to the ET ride. Lots of the rides had lots of mannequins, which I think always look strange.

Food options were quite limited, with most of the food stalls closed when we were there, but we never felt ripped off, food and drink in the park was very reasonable.

We went the theatre show - Caro - if you stay overnight you can get tickets to this for 7.50 euros, otherwise it's 25 euros each. I really enjoyed it - it's a mixture of dance and acrobatics and tells the story of the life of 'Oscar'. The songs are popular English language ones (mostly) and there is little dialogue so it's fairly easy to follow the story - you do have to work out that actors in similar clothes are playing the same character as they age - if you don't get that it is confusing. It's 75minutes and I'd say good value even if you're paying full price.

Highlight of the trip was definitely the accommodation. Lowpoint was the weather, which was cold and damp. Would we go back? Possibly, it would be nice to see it in the sunshine and I'd love to revisit Bosrijk. However for me it lacked the wow of Disney - I think it was maybe because so much of it was unfamiliar. It was definitely better value and much better all round than the UK theme-parks, but not quite the 'happy place' feeling that Disney or Universal evokes. The whole place was spotlessly clean, staff were friendly, couldn't really fault the service.
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Old 22 Feb 20, 06:10 PM  
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Tinkermom
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Thank you for sharing it’s somewhere we’ve never been so lovely to hear all about it 😊
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Old 1 Mar 20, 10:58 AM  
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orlandobound
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Go back in the summer when everything is open. We spent a weekend there last July in one of the houses in Bosrijk. It was charming- 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with full kitchen and outside seating area. It was high season but very quiet and peaceful and only 10 mins walk to the park. We got a late deal - 3 nights accommodation for the 4 of us and park tickets for 4 days cost 750 euros. We loved it- my kids are young teenagers and enjoyed all the rides. I thought the food choices were excellent and good value for a theme park. It's not Disney but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
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