Europe has many famous theme parks such as Disneyland in Paris, Efteling in the Netherlands, and Legoland in Denmark to name a few. You can find a list of famous European theme parks in this website. Aside from these big ones, there are also small theme parks such as Slagharen Theme Park in The Netherlands and Phantasia Land in Germany. The small theme parks offer relatively comparable experience with big theme parks, yet the small ones are cheaper and less crowded as compared to big theme parks. In this blog, I am going to compare Efteling versus Disneyland Paris. I have written separate blogs about the Efteling and Disneyland Paris based on our previous visits. The comparison of these two theme parks can be helpful in making decisions on which theme parks your family should visit.
Comparison: Efteling versus Disneyland Paris
1. Costs of tickets
Efteling is way cheaper as compared to Disneyland Paris. A regular (low season) ticket to Efteling costs 38 euros while to Disneyland costs around 87 euros. It is possible to save costs in booking these theme parks via various discount sites or promotions. For Efteling, first you can buy a discounted Efteling ticket by collecting four stamps – 1 stamp is equivalent to 10 euros worth of shopping, at Albert Heijn (AH) supermarket in the Netherlands. In exchange for four stamps, visitors can get discount to the price of Efteling ticket. The price of AH ticket is as low as 28.50 euros during low season and 32.50 euros during peak season. Second, you can also buy tickets in the Efteling website and get 2.50 euros discount per ticket. And third, you can also get discount to your Efteling ticket in combination with other promotions, such as hotels (via Groupon and SocialDeal) and public transportation (NS Spoordeelwinkel).
For Disneyland, there are also some techniques to buy discounted ticket like buying them online on websites, such as Picniq and 365tickets.com. There are many blogs and available online websites that recommend where to buy discounted Disneyland tickets, just hit Google. With the discounts, you can save at most 20 euros, with approximately 65 euros price of a 1day/1park ticket.
Comparing the ticket price of these two theme parks in the end, we can conclude that Efteling ticket is half the price of what you pay for a Disneyland Paris ticket.
2. Costs of Food & Souvenirs
In Efteling, you are allowed to bring your own food and enjoy having picnic in many of the tables in the park. In Disneyland Paris, however, you are not allowed to bring your own food inside the park. If you are about to buy in the restaurants, the costs of food in Efteling is also way cheaper as compared to Disneyland Paris. To give you a perspective, a one plate of fresh vegetarian salad for 2 people costs 7 euros, which is an equivalent to a small portion of McDonald salad in Disneyland Paris. The costs of souvenirs are also somewhat cheaper in Efteling than Disneyland, while both souvenirs are of good quality.
Efteling attractions suit more to people who love realism and classical stories. Many of its attractions feature the Grimm brothers’ fairytales, such as the Little Red Riding hood, Hansel and Gretel, The Wolf and the Seven Goats, Cinderella, Snow White, Pinnochio, and many more. Disneyland features fairytales and stories in a “modern setting”, such as Mickey Mouse, Donald duck, Madhatter, Aladdin, Spiderman, Finding Nemo, Hercules, Lion King, etc. In both cases, visitors get different flavor and ambiance of these two theme parks.
In our experience, the highlights of Efteling are the attractions ‘Symbolica’, a dark yet spectacular ride inside the castle and the Sprookjesbos, a forest trip that highlights famous fairytale characters of the Grimm brothers. For older kids, thrilling rides such as Halve Maan (Swinging Ship) and 1898 Baron Free Dive Coaster can be the breathtaking rides. Disneyland Paris features many highlights such as Alice curious Labyrinth, Pirates of the Carribean, Starwars hyperspace mountain to name a few. For more highlights, see this website.
4. Waiting time and rides duration
The waiting time in the attractions of Efteling is way less as compared to the waiting time in Disneyland Paris. For popular attractions in Efteling, you wait at most an hour and at least no waiting time for some rides. The rides of Efteling also take long, such as 7 to 20 minutes. For Disneyland Paris, it can costs you 1.5-2 hours waiting time for 2 minutes ride. I guess you can calculate how many rides you can take if you stay in both park for 1 whole day. In the end, it is worthwhile to consider visiting both parks during low season to maximize the number of rides that you can get.
Although both contain nature areas, Efteling is greener and has more nature area than Disneyland Paris. The Disneyland Paris has on average more sunny climate than Efteling. In terms of ambiance, Efteling sets up more mysteries, sometimes even dark or scary, which is similar to original fairytales. Disneyland Paris is like Ámerican” setting, which focuses on pure happiness and happy endings. Given the different atmospheres of the two theme parks, both comes with their advantages and disadvantages. For example in Efteling, young kids may find some of the young children attractions a bit scary. On the other hand, this excitement is exactly what makes these fairytales also interesting to them when they are a bit older. Disneyland Paris tries to create amazement by setting up grand atmosphere using parades of Disney characters, dancing, and music at the entrance. This is indeed spectacular and try to pulls visitors in to the magic of Disney. But once out of Disneyland, people has to go back to realism.
Efteling is a good value for many and gives comparable experience to Disneyland Paris. Going to Disneyland is quite expensive that sometimes, the prices seem to be quite irrational. Yet, many says that you must be in Disneyland at least once in your lifetime. And therefore, the price of the ticket in Disneyland becomes irrelevant.
If you are a tourist in Europe, we can say that Efteling is economically a better choice because tourists do not pay more than the locals do. In Disneyland Paris, most tourists end up paying double of the price the locals pay. It is good to know that Efteling is a very good alternative to Disneyland because Efteling brings equal magic and wonder like Disneyland, but for a better price. For a large part however, which theme park you go to will depend on where your holiday is, and of course, your budget. In both cases, be ready to be amazed and be hypnotized by the magic that these theme parks bring to you and your kids!