Only 2 more years to go and we hit the big 70!
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You’re probably stuck indoors. I feel your pain. There are some Efteling things here however, that can kill some time for you (and the kids, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a bit of colouring in?!)
And while you’re doing that you can listen to Efteling Kids Radio (you can listen on your phone via TuneIn Radio App, as the Efteling Radio app doesn’t work over here).
The Efteling tulips are blooming again, and looking as well as ever! Just a little something to brighten the day during these times.
While we’re here, if you have Facebook, please join the new Efteling Fans UK Group, where we talk about all things Efteling!
I wrote this thinking that it might be helpful to some people who are embarking on an Efteling trip with a baby (around the age of 1). In fact, I wish I’d read this before going for the first time with a small person!
You don’t realise until you have a baby, how much things change once they’re here. This of course also applies to going on holiday with them. Long gone are the days of zipping from coaster to coaster and then having an extra ride on Droomvlucht, eating lunch when you get hungry rather than when routine dictates it, and staying in the park until the very last minute!
After visiting Efteling since the mid-nineties, you’d think I would have it sussed, even with a baby! There are however a few things that are handy to know before you visit with your small person (or people), especially if it’s your first time.
First off, it’s important to note that we visited during Winter Efteling so that does play a part in some of the things we encountered. We were staying at Bosrijk in the Landhuys, and the baby had just turned 1 that week.
I’ll start with talking about Bosrijk;
I have stayed here many times before and the main attraction with the room in the
Landhuys was that my daughter would have a room to herself where we could put her cot.
I did notice though, that even though the heating in the main room was turned up and was warm, the kids’ room was rather chilly. Obviously it was January, but I’m not sure why the room wasn’t warming up. It could have just been a fault with that particular room, but it is something worth mentioning. Also in relation to the room, there are no longer cots located in there, so you have to hire one, for €10 a night!
We were fine as we’d brought our own to use on the ferry, however, I do find it quite astonishing that they charge that much, instead of loaning you one for a deposit or even maybe €10 for the duration of your stay. If you’re staying for a few days then it makes more sense to buy your own, because you’ll have paid for one by the time you leave!
Our baby was still having bottles at this stage, so we were a bit disappointed that the only microwaves available are now located just inside the entrance to the Landhuys (we had a microwave steriliser). This wasn’t too much of a problem, as our room was as close as you could get to the main entrance, however it might prove a bit more of an annoyance if you have to go wandering around with sterilisers/bottles/baby food to rooms that are further away.
One more annoyance (sorry for the negativity Efteling) is that the new fridges are very small. As in, I had to remove the shelf to get an average carton of juice in there. There’s also no freezer compartment.
Onto a positive now, I always loved the bathroom, but now I have a baby I can see the value of having a bath that has a wall on both sides, just in case they decide to make the great escape. Also, the bathroom has its own thermostat so it gets really toasty in there.
It is such a shame that Efteling chose to take out the dining table from these rooms, mostly because, as you can still order pizza/pasta to the room, you need somewhere to eat it, rather than balancing it on your knee. This was a problem when we did order food to the room, as we didn’t want the baby walking about whilst eating. I have learned since that you can hire a high chair for €5 a day, but that only helps the baby really and not us.
Onto the rest of Bosrijk now, namely the Eethuys. Breakfast is included now which it was not before; some people like this change, some folks not so much. With a baby however, having it included is one less thing to worry about, as on previous visits I would have bought things from the Bosrijk shop, or gone out to the nearest supermarket to buy food. This way, everything is ready for you, all you need to do is turn up. The bonus is the characters that come to visit your table, a nice distraction for a baby who gets bored easily. Suitable breakfast items for the small person include pastries, yoghurt, meats and cheeses. There are doughnuts available for kids too but we skipped those!
Onto the park!
One of the first things you might like to do is familiarise yourself with the changing areas, either by picking up a park map or looking on the Efteling app. There are changing tables in most toilets and there are also feeding rooms available which require a key (info on where to get the key on the Efteling app). Some of the changing areas are shared, as in there are 3 changing tables together, such as in Het Witte Paard. This for us was a good thing as our little girl isn’t a fan of getting changed, so seeing other people with babies in the room was a welcome distraction.
Whilst mentioning Het Witte Paard, this is where we found ‘mini food’. This was a little tray with a small pastry, a piece of fruit, a mini sandwich, a piece of cucumber, and a tomato. I didn’t notice this offering anywhere else but I’ll look next time, because it was a good option for a baby who is past baby food but not onto large meals yet. In general however, the food in Efteling is varied and there are plenty of healthy choices, so there are things that baby could share with you rather than buying them a full meal.
As a side note, it is useful to know that the Dutch seem to microwave baby milk rather than using bottle warmers (or at least Efteling do this). If you aren’t happy with doing this then you might be best to take a travel bottle warmer with you and fill it before you leave on a morning.
In terms of rides, there are plenty that babies are allowed to go on. Our go-to was Carnaval Festival. She’d been prepared by watching a YouTube video several times beforehand, so she already liked the music, and of course the lights and figures are fun to watch. It is a gentle ride and it doesn’t last too long, so it is a great choice for the little ones.
This is similar to Symbolica, lots to look at, a gentle ride and not too long. Our daughter did have a little panic on Droomvlucht when you first go up the little hill, but she was fine after that. Maybe for a small person it really does feel very high up, so if you think that your baby might panic and wriggle out, maybe it is best to skip that one. On these rides it is important to say that the staff members told us that the baby had to be able to sit on their own under the bar, and not on our lap.
There are plenty of places outside of the rides to leave your stroller, however most of them are not covered over, so you may need to put on your rain cover before you leave if it’s raining. Fabula does have covered stroller parking, as does Polle’s Keuken, and the Sprookjesboom show, which makes me think that these are provided in places where you are going to spend longer. The (small) stroller parking place for Symbolica is located next to the path to the right of the ride, which is not immediately noticeable (you can tell by all of the strollers parked right at the entrance to the ride!).
I just mentioned the Sprookjesboom show in the fairy tale forest which is of course aimed at the younger guests, as well as Jokie en Jet outside of Carnaval Festival and various fairy tale characters roaming the park; all of these are great and less intense attractions for the babies to experience. Our girl loves the Jokie en Jet show.
As I mentioned, we visited in January so it was still Winter Efteling. Although there are plenty play areas in the park which are great in the Summer, there just isn’t really anywhere like that to enjoy in the Winter (or just on a wet day). An indoor themed play area would be totally perfect, a bit like what they have attached to the bar in the Efteling Hotel.
Efteling is a big park, so it is a great place to walk the baby to sleep, and we found that she actually slept quite a lot (thank you cosy snowsuit).
There is a baby switch available if there are two of you and you both want to ride one of the bigger rides, but as we’ve been before, we didn’t use this because we didn’t need to do every single ride.
After trailing the baby around all day, we wanted her to watch Aquanura, however, even though it was only 6:15pm (to be fair her bedtime was about 7pm) it was really hard for the show to hold her attention, and ultimately we left before the end because she was very restless.
In all though, it was a successful visit, and we got a lot of lovely photos (including on-ride photos) to show her when she’s older. You may also find that you’ll spend more money in Jokie’s Wereld than you ever thought you could!
If you’ve never been to Efteling before and you’re doing it with a very small person, expect to not get everything done, but going at a slower pace really does help you to take in the park better than you would normally.
My friend Milena of An Englishmen’s Guide to the Efteling has written a review of the newly refurbished rooms at Bosrijk. Here are her thoughts on the newly renovated rooms…
Here follows my review of my stay at one of the freshly refurbished Bosrijk rooms at New Years.
Our room – and I assume all of the standard family rooms – had a modern grey sofa rather than the leather sofa you see in the pictures. though I believe the VIP rooms do get the leather sofa you see in the designs https://youtu.be/VRx5WlbeVUQ?t=71
I much prefer this type of sofa as I have always found leather sofas to be cold to the touch.
The grey sofa is more comfortable than it looks. It is however unfortunately placed.
The sofa is situated on the left of the TV rather than across it. Even though the new TV has been mounted on an extendable arm it still means you have to tilt your head to watch the TV which gives you a sore neck pretty quickly.
You can sit in the two arm chairs instead which are across from the TV but you can’t really sit together so it’s not very cosy.
It also means the window is partially blocked by the sofa so it really doesn’t make much sense. It would look much nicer the other way around and it would be much more comfortable and make much more sense.
Under the TV in the cabinet you’ve got the mini fridge which is useful. We used it to store leftover salad that we had ordered. But I imagine in summer it would be great for cooling water bottles or sandwiches. Some people may need a cool place to store medicines or breast milk too so it’s a very useful feature.
You also get 4 tea cups, 4 glasses, 4 wine glasses and 4 tea spoons.
The cabinet also contains a kettle and a coffee machine that only takes capsules.
On the first night we wanted to make ourselves a cup of tea so we got the kettle out and started looking around for outlets.
The one under the sideboard at the foot of the bed seemed the obvious choice but when we tried to plug it in the lead wouldn’t reach.
The bedside table plugs were no good because the steam would get in the lights.
We didn’t want to put the kettle on the floor so the hallway one was no good.
The top socket plug next to the TV had what looked like a modem plugged in it so we didn’t want to mess with that and one of the standing lights was plugged into the second one.
We decided to sacrifice the light. The lead only just barely reached and the kettle blocked the TV screen a bit but we got to have our cuppa.
So yeah not sure if we missed something obvious but otherwise maybe they could look into getting new kettles with longer leads to go with the new rooms?
The TV itself was good but a DVD player could be a useful addition.
The new coffee table opens up, presumably so that you can store the throw pillows in it if you don’t need them. Otherwise it’s quite small and not very useful. Since they got rid of the table there is no where good to eat your pizza.
Perhaps a better idea would be to get a convertible coffee table like IKEA TRULSTORP so you don’t have to hunch over.
Speaking of the food delivery service, the pizza is great, the service is great and everything but there are still a few issues. There is no phone in the room so you are expected to use your own phone which could be quite pricey for us foreigners depending on your phone plan, in my case it meant a terrible connection.
Or you use your Efteling account but this means you can’t make any changes to the dish.
Reception has a phone you can use specifically to order pizza’s but the phone on the ground floor of the Landhuys is for emergencies only.
So adding phones to the room or a phone to the building for pizza ordering would be received gratefully.
As the new rooms no longer come with crockery or cutlery you are provided with a plastic knife and fork. This is quite a wasteful way to go about it and maybe they could look into providing real cutlery and just taking it away to be washed along with the cups as part of the cleanup.
You are also provided with a large paper bag in which you are supposed to put your rubbish.
I’m not sure if this is a temporary method as I would think trash removal should be a part of the new daily cleaning service?
There are no longer microwaves in the room but on the ground floor they have installed two microwaves for the guests to use.
At the moment the cleaning service is quite sporadic, they are still getting used to it. We got a new set of clean towels wrapped in plastic left in our room every day. Though only once were the old towels taken away. On that day they also took our bath mat and never returned it.
Perhaps they could put a note in the bathroom, as many hotels do that says that if you want fresh towels to put the old ones on the floor. That way they aren’t washing towels unnecessarily and wasting water or bringing fresh towels that are not needed.
Or you could just leave a bunch of spare fresh towels in the cupboard since they are wrapped in plastic anyway.
They are also supposed to make the beds every day but this was only done once or twice during our stay. Personally I hate a made bed but it’s a service that is included in the cost so I’m mentioning it.
The cups and glasses we used were not cleaned, we asked reception if this was supposed to be part of the service and they told us that they will start doing that from the 6th of Jan but they could give us clean cups there and then if we wanted.
Personally I dislike daily cleaning services as it feels like a bit of an invasion of my space and a reminder that the room I’m staying in is not mine. It also feels less secure.
It would be great if we could ‘opt out’ of the cleaning service. Perhaps by use of a door card like the ‘Do not disturb’ hangers many hotels provide to hang on the door knob. It would be cool if you could customise it with sliders for if you want fresh towels or clean cups. E.G.:
The bathroom has sandman themed hand soap dispensers, shampoo and bodywash dispensers and a hairdryer which are all very useful. They had started integrating them in the old rooms too which was great. Otherwise nothing has changed about the bathroom.
The Villeroy & Bosch bath is still huge and awesome, the Grohe shower still has fabulous water pressure and temperature control. The sink is huge with it’s only fault being the tap which is a standard hot & cold turn mixer tap rather than a hot & cold lever mixer tap.
The separate WC is still exactly the same. It has a toilet and a sink with a single cold tap, toilet roll holder and a few rolls of spare toilet paper. There is STILL no hand soap dispenser or hook in the WC which renders the sink pretty much useless since you will have to go into the bathroom to use the soap and towel anyway. This is something that has been missing since the very beginning and every time I visit I think they surely it will be there this time. So yes, hand soap and hook PLEASE, and a mixer tap if they can swing it but that would be an expensive change I’m sure. While we’re dreaming maybe a little mobile phone shelf ?
The new bed is quite comfortable, the pillows and duvet are like fluffy clouds. I was however disappointed that there are still two separate single mattresses. This means someone is going to roll into a crack at some point. I get the sense the bed as a whole is much bigger though and the single mattresses tend to stay put. In the old bed the mattresses had a habit of sliding apart.
The bed covers are now a plain white rather than sandman themed which is a bit of a shame as I liked the way it made me feel like a big kid but I see the sense in it.
The kids bunk beds still get Sandman sheets.*jelly*
Overall I would say the bed is a big improvement though could be improved further with a double mattress or the addition of a double mattress topper.
The night cap & book holder might not be positioned in the best place as a friend of mine told me that she hit her head pretty hard on it after tucking their kid in for the night.
You can get an english version of the book at reception which is super cool but it would be even better if they provided it in the room based on the language preference in your Efteling account.
The slim wardrobe in the hallway has a space for hanging clothes, a safe and a cubby space. I don’t think the hanging space is big enough to hang dresses comfortably in summer so that is unfortunate for people who don’t like creases. Also when you open the wardrobe door you tap the light switch on the wall. So if you aren’t careful you end up turning the living room light off.
The sandman board game is now left out for you on the coffee table instead of hidden away in the kids room and is cleverly built into a tray rather than into a little table which makes rolling the dice and moving it around easy. The game is a type of Ganzenbord and is good fun. The pawns are lovely wooden pieces carved in the shape of woodland creatures. We never bothered to play it before so I’m not sure if this is a new thing.
You still get the hessian bag welcome set which contains sugar, creamer, 4 Lipton Yellow label tea bags, and 4 Nespresso coffee capsules. As part of the cleaning service it would be good if these were replenished as well?
We also got a little Amenities bag which contained shoe shine, a vanity kit, some lotion and a shower cap. The vanity kit contained 3 cotton buds, a nail file and some cotton wool pads. The Gold Body lotion from Italy was mentioned to be vegan friendly, paraben free, dermatologically tested and nickel free. It did not mention that it smells like old grandma perfume. So I love the thought since with the dry winter air I could do with some lotion, but maybe an unscented version might suit better plus it would be extra allergen friendly that way.
There is no longer an information book in the room which is a shame as it was quite useful. Lesser known things like the how the Laundry service works and that kids without a swimming diploma need floaties at the pool may fall by the wayside. Maybe they are still rewriting it?
Overall I really miss the more rustic style and the homey feel of the old apartments. They really felt like I was coming back to my home away from home.
The new design is less friendly, more posh and to me gives off a classic ‘ don’t get too comfortable’ hotel vibe. The old rooms were an affordable way for a couple or a small family to still get that that self catering homey feel without having to pay for a big house with lots of space they don’t need. The new rooms are a lot more like hotel rooms of which there were already two options to choose from.
Lots of pictures and a terrible video can be found on my website here.
The new rooms also mean that as well having a daily cleaning service you also now have the breakfast included in the now higher price. In other words you now pay for a cleaning service and breakfast buffet whether you want it or not. We don’t really need to eat much at breakfast so we were previously quite happy to buy a croissant from the shop to have for breakfast and saved some money that way.
There were various cold meats and cheeses, chocolate and fruit sprinkles, peanut or hazelnut butters, jams and yoghurt, coco pops, muesli and granola, fresh bread and pastries, mini donuts, eierkoeken, full sandwiches with different fillings (there were no labels :-(), fruit and ontbijtkoeken. Cold boiled eggs, warm fried eggs, warm hollowed out bread buns with bacon and egg inside and hot scrambled eggs. There was even a little basket with gluten free bread things.
For drinks there was milk, Chocomel, Fristi, raspberry smoothie, apple juice. There was also tea and coffee though we avoided the tea as it’s the kind that uses plastic mesh tea bags which we recently learned leaches a whole lot of microplastics into you.
On busy days the staff would guide you to a free table.
Usually in the green house area
Red riding hood went round the tables and greeted the little children.
Overall a good experience. Breakfast changed slightly on different days, some things were available some days and not others but pretty good regardless.
Many pictures and another terrible video on my website here.
With thanks to Milena K.
So this year has been fairly busy for me and as such I’ve not gotten round to updating things on here as much as I would have liked. A lot has happened at Efteling this year, including new attractions such as Fabula, The Six Swans, and the renewed Oude Tufferbaan. There was the demolition of Bob to make way for Max & Moritz, and the updating of Carnaval Festival, as well as more recently a new installation in the Efteling Museum and the transformation of the Loetiek into a costume shop called Spiegeltje Spiegeltje. There has also been a slight refresh of Symbolica with the addition of 3 new animatronics, and the extension of Polle’s Keuken.
Thank you to everyone who continues to follow the page and the Facebook page (things are more active on there) and I hope to post more in 2020!
Here’s a little look at the past year:
Special thank you to Eftelwesley for letting me use his lovely videos!
In just 2 days, on November 11th, Winter Efteling begins again! It will carry on through December, January, and 2 days in February. With Winter comes many wonderful things, like fire pits, new merchandise, and entertainment, but most exciting of all is the new Winter food!
Here’s a little look at some of the things you can get hold of during your Winter Efteling visit:
Also on the subject of food, this year when you buy an Unox sandwich you will receive a blue scarf, which I believe lights up (exciting huh?!) and a blue Efteling travel mug when you buy a hot Chocomel.
The rest of Winter Efteling is ready, with bonfires and food stalls all set up, as well as the Ice Palace, and even the monkeys who are usually having a water fight outside Station de Oost are now having a snowball fight! It is interesting to note that ice skating children now have their own section in the ice palace.
And now a final farewell to Pandadroom…
We said goodbye to Pandadroom this month, and on the last day, some fans of the attraction came together to sing the song in the pre-show. Here’s a video from Eftelwesley showing the sing-along!
With thanks to eftelingsestraat.nl