70 years of Efteling: these attractions are no longer alive

The Efteling celebrates its seventieth birthday this Tuesday. Numerous attractions have been added over the decades, but every now and then we have also seen a beloved part disappear. Below is a selection of the lost gems of yesteryear.

Written by

Sven de Laet

Some parts of the playground can still be found (photo: Eftepedia).
Some parts of the playground can still be found (photo: Eftepedia).

The Playground (1951-1990)
You can hardly imagine it anymore, but in the early years Efteling was mainly a playground. A large one, that is, with attractions such as a merry-go-round and merry-go-round. But as Efteling grew, the playground’s popularity declined.

At the end of the 1980s, the playground had to make way for a themed area with new residents: the Volk van Laaf. At the Lavenlaar you will also find a few old playground equipment that are reminiscent of the past.

The swimming pool served as a theater for years after its closure (photo: Eftepedia).
The swimming pool served as a theater for years after its closure (photo: Eftepedia).

The Pool (1953-1988)
Another thing that certainly the younger generations cannot imagine is that you could swim in the park for a long time. Since 1953, there was a large open-air bath on the spot where you can find De Vliegende Hollander today. When cutbacks had to be made in 1988, it meant the end of the swimming pool, which was no longer so popular anyway.

Yet the pumped-out basin did not disappear immediately. Grandstands were placed in it and a tent was placed over it. Until 2001, shows were performed there, including those of Samsom and Gert.

Pegasus was especially impressive in the dark (photo: Eftepedia).
Pegasus was especially impressive in the dark (photo: Eftepedia).

Pegasus (1991-2009)
At the time Pegasus opened, it was one of the first wooden roller coasters in Europe. The Efteling hoped to make a big hit with this, before EuroDisney would open in Paris a year later.

But as beautiful as the Pegasus in the water was – especially in the dark – it didn’t stay very long. Not only did the track become less comfortable, the construction also suffered from wood rot. In 2009, the attraction was demolished, to be replaced a year later by the much larger wooden roller coaster Joris en de Draak.

A lot of tears were shed when the Bob closed (photo: Efteling).
A lot of tears were shed when the Bob closed (photo: Efteling).

The Bob (1985-2019)
Where many fans were not exactly sad about the disappearance of Pegasus, it was different with the Bob. Because a roller coaster where you slide freely through a winding course in a bobsled, where did you find that?

Yet it was precisely that uniqueness that literally broke up the attraction in the end. Because there were only two similar examples in the world, maintenance became more and more expensive. With a heavy heart, Efteling decided to replace the Bob in 2019 with the family roller coaster Max & Moritz.

Polka Marina was already a great success when it opened in 1984 (photo: Efteling).
Polka Marina was already a great success when it opened in 1984 (photo: Efteling).

Polka Marina (1984-2020)
Who hasn’t circled that big whale? The attraction was opened at the same time as the adjacent Oude Tufferbaan, where you take a ride in a classic car. Together they had to make the area with the Python, which we now know as Ruigrijk, a bit more child-friendly.

With success, because until its demolition in 2020, the attraction will do well with children who take a ride with their parent or grandparents. But just like with the Bob, the maintenance costs are too high here. Unlike the previous examples, there will be no attraction on the site of Polka Marina.

Fans are still begging for the return of the Water Organ (photo: Eftepedia).
Fans are still begging for the return of the Water Organ (photo: Eftepedia).

And more…
Many more attractions have disappeared over the past seventy years. Honorable mentions are there for:

  • the boating lake (disappeared by the arrival of the fountain spectacle Aquanura),
  • PandaDream (the film was replaced by Fabula),
  • Monsieur Cannibale (was transformed into Sirocco after protest from anti-discrimination activists),
  • and – last but certainly not least – the old water organ, which fans are still begging for a return.

An attraction that the 75th anniversary party will not experience is of course the Spookslot. Also for that comes back something that should entertain today’s audience even more.

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