Sunday, December 6, 2009
How Disneyland attractions inspired parks around the world - Part Three : Efteling's Carnival Festival and Fata Morgana rides
Here we go for the part three of my "How Disneyland attractions inspired parks around the world" series and this time we will have a look at two rides of one of the best theme park in the world: Efteling, located in The Netherlands.
Efteling is the largest theme park in The Netherlands, and as it opened in 1952, it is one of the oldest theme parks in the world - yes, older than Disneyland! Efteling, located in the town of Kaatsheuvel has received over 100 million visitors and in 1992 Efteling received the IAAPA Applause Award for Best Amusement Park in the World.
Originally the park catered towards children with a fairy tale theme. In over fifty years the park has evolved from a nature park with playground and a Fairy Tale Forest, into a full-size theme park along the lines of Disneyland. It is twice as large as the original Disneyland parkand nowadays Efteling appeals to both young and old with its cultural, romantic and nostalgic themes and its variety of amusement rides.
Efteling has a good relationship with the Disney theme parks. Disneyland Paris consulted Efteling during its construction and design phase, in order to adapt the American park to European culture. As a token of appreciation the Disney Company gave Efteling a small statue. Ton van de Ven, who designed many of Efteling's attractions, is also a good friend of Tony Baxter - senior vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering. The relationship between the two parks was emphasized when Efteling won the 2004 Thea Classic Award, the highest honor awarded by the Themed Entertainment Association: Efteling had, as it turned out, been nominated by Tony Baxter.
There is in fact a legend of sorts connecting Disney and Efteling: for years, rumors have circulated that Walt Disney got his inspiration for Disneyland (which opened in 1955), from Efteling (which opened in 1952) — and in the early 1950s Walt Disney traveled to Europe a few times, visiting tourist attractions. Reportedly, a brochure from the IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, even states that Disney "spent a great deal of time studying Pieck's work at Efteling before beginning his own parks." However, the rumor was discredited by Efteling: one of the causes of the rumor was an off-hand remark by a PR person for Efteling, who had dropped to reporters that Disney could well have visited Efteling—the reporters accordingly dropped the hypothetical from the phrase, and a legend was born. Disney probably did not visit Efteling at all, though he did visit Madurodam and Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen; the latter actually did provide some inspiration for Disneyland.
In 1984 Efteling opened the Carnival Festival attraction where Carnaval Festival figures from all over the world take you on an exciting journey to explore their countries, their national dress and to find out how they make music. The guests will go on a journey to 15 different countries, get a taste of China, France, England, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, etc...the whole world is celebrating carnival-style!
The ride was designed by Joop Geesink, is original, but clearly influenced by Disney’s "it's a small world", and signified a breach with the fairy-tale style of the Efteling. Just like IASW the ride is full animatronics with 270 different dolls. In 2005 the ride was redecorated with the famous Dutch doll "Loekie de Leeuw", which also was created by Joop Geesink. Joop Geesink’s objective was to make it a hilarious ride, which is done by taking cultural aspects that have been generalized, and portraying them with funny dolls. Here below is a great video of the ride.
Just like Disneyland Efteling also have its great flume ride called Fata Morgana. Fata Morgana - which means "mirage" - is not a copy of Pirates of Caribbean as the attraction is a trip through the mysterious Forbidden City from the Tales of One Thousand and One Nights, but you can feel the influence of POTC and also Spaceship Earth.
Open in 1986, this ride has 14 boats which sail past 104 different audio-animatronics characters in an Oriental setting and the AA don't look that bad at all. The ride begins in a twilight setting, showing a jungle and the skyline of a distant Arabian city. Upon entering the city, in the poor quarter, beggars and merchants call for attention. The next scene shows a prison and torture room, followed by a palace and a harbor with ships. Passing by a harem the real rhour capacity of 1800 persons. Here is the video of the full ride!
All pictures courtesy of Het Wonderlijke WC Web, a great web site about Efteling whom i thanks a lot for his help for this article.
Youtube videos: copyright baziewazie and Eftelrijk
Part of the text: copyright Wikipedia