So what is the most popular attraction at Efteling? Well, it’s no roller coaster, nor is it any of the park’s original attractions. It is the Dream Flight, an adventurous journey through forests, swamps, and floating castles, which are inhabited by elves, fairies, trolls and many woodland creatures.
Each part of the ride is divided into different realms: the Castle Realm, the Wondrous/Miracle Forest, the Fairy Garden, Heavenly Strongholds, and the Squelch Forest. The transportation system consists of two ride vehicles attached overhead, leaving your carriage dangling, therefore giving the effect of flight. Disneyland/World visitors will notice that the vehicles bear a resemblance to the ‘Doom Buggies’ of the Haunted Mansion, and similarly, the vehicles in Dream Flight are also constantly moving, enabling guests to move more swiftly through the attraction.
Guests are first taken through the Castle Realm, seeing, from a distance, charming fairy tale castles which appear to be moving ever so slightly…After passing through a corridor you find yourself in the Wondrous Forest, full of flowers, trees, plants, deer, elves and even a few fairies. There are relaxing waterfalls flowing down the edge of a shallow cliff, and if you cast your eyes underneath the waterfall, you may even see an elf taking a shower! Also keep a lookout for a unicorn and a disappearing/reappearing fairy. Moving along another dark corridor, the Fairy Garden is revealed. Thousands of flowers adorn the scene which is home to a number of beautiful fairies and a handful of animals, with a fairy house taking centre stage, and down below fairies bathe their feet in the small lake. The smell in this scene is wonderful; fresh, sweet and floral. On leaving this scene you will get a wave of goodbye from King Oberon, sitting on his throne (and usually missing a shoe).
Moving on to the Heavenly Strongholds, you will feel as though you are in space, passing by floating castles and planets against a backdrop of numerous stars. From here, you pay a visit to the Squelch Forest, where the Trolls live, but you aren’t on ground level, you are high in the treetops! In the middle of these trees it is always raining, with a few drops steadily trickling down the centre of the forest and into a lake below. Suddenly, your carriage starts to descend, slowly at first but quickly speeding up as you circle the trolls. Leaving the Squelch Forest indicates that it is time to leave this wonderful place, and there are trolls and fairies on hand to wave you off as you pass through a veil of mist. You have now woken up from your Dream Flight!
Here is a video of the Dream Flight from 1997. Surprisingly, this video is better than a more recent HD video I took in 2011, as you can see more of the ride.
Some of the corridors you pass through are lined with small bright, sometimes coloured lights, to make the journey more magical. In recent years, Efteling have added UV paint to the floor in one of these corridors in random splatters, a bit like flicking a toothbrush at the floor with paint on it. Another addition, which was pointed out by Eftelist, was that some of the fairies now have pink or blue/turquoise hair instead of the blonde wigs which they started out with. Maybe the fairies simply fancied a change after so many years; however they do look a bit silly in a world which is supposed to be all natural.
You exit through the gift shop, of course, but before the shop is a café called Den Gulden Gaarde. Here you will find Panini, sandwiches and lots of cake. There is also seating outside. The gift shop originally sold things relating more directly to the ride, however as the years have passed the merchandise here has weakened considerably. If you are a girl under the age of 8 then you will find plenty to buy here, though at the time of writing, the only decent things for adults to buy are the Droomvlucht ‘making of’ DVD and the Droomvlucht house spray…The spray is fantastic as it really does smell like the ride; a perfect and unusual souvenir.
Dream Flight was the brain child of Ton van de Ven, whose name you will see throughout this site, as he was involved in many attractions at Efteling before his retirement. Almost all of the attraction was created in-house at the Efteling workshops. The attraction was originally planned to open in Efteling’s 40th year in 1992, however there were setbacks with the transportation system. Basically, things were not working as they should have, and, in the words of Efteling:
‘En dan gaat het mis…het blijkt niet te werken’
Eventually the ride opened a year later in 1993. In its first few years, visitors were greeted with a very ornate queuing area, complete with oversized versions of the ride’s signature flowers. This room eventually proved too small for such a popular attraction, and in 1996, when guests started turning up in their hundreds, the line was moved elsewhere. The original room is now used for special events. The queuing area which is now used is rather huge! Some of it is outside, and some is undercover. At a time when the ride was reaching the height of its popularity, Efteling realised that the long wait for the ride would prove rather boring for some guests, especially since the queue is simply a large room with nothing to look at.
With this in mind, a stage was used to allow performances to take place of Droomvlucht inspired songs at the end of the room, keeping guests entertained in the tedious queue. They even brought out a CD called Dromen, as a tie-in to the attraction. In recent years the stage has been taken away, and I personally have not stood in a very big line for this ride since the 90s.
The music is by Ruud Bos, who also composed the music for Fata Morgana, Vogel Rok and Villa Volta. It has come to be expected over the years that the music for Efteling’s attractions is of a very high standard, and the music in the Dream Flight is no different, it is beautiful!
If you are visiting Efteling, this is a must-do attraction.
48 Fairies, 10 trolls, 38 animals, 1 million flowers, 1.5 million plants and 3.8 million leaves.
Track is 425 metres long.
Ride Length is 6 minutes.
1800 people per hour capacity.
Cost €12.5 million approx.
Some of the trees are real, the rest are plastic.
On October 9th 2011, a musical loosely based on the attraction will open in the Efteling Theatre.