I don't think we waited a whole hour in any line. Ever. Altho we may have gotten close a couple times on the 29th -- that is, our first day had the worst lines and it only got better from there.
The only ride closure which impacted us was the little cars (think Disneyland's Autopia). We all got to ride it, but when we tried to ride it on later days, it was closed, we think for repainting. There was an unexplained, substantial delay on Bobbaan one time that A. and I rode it, but that only added about 15 minutes to our wait.
That's a deeply freaky ride and a ton of fun. If you get a chance to ride on one of those, go for it. Check this list:
A. _loved_ it. Along with the adorably themed monorail:
and "the beautiful ride":
The bobsled is pretty exciting! But unlike most coasters, no huge drops and super smooth. I think it's also less intense if you are shorter and smaller. But who knows? The Volk van Laaf is pure theming, and brilliantly done. Lots of places to walk through and partially integrated as a playground, themed in and out, top to bottom, and them a monorail (the ride vehicles are snails) which wends among them. Really nice -- much better than the Santa's Village (New Hampshire) monorail, which is in itself quite enjoyable.
Dreamflight is just weird. Tons of fairies: little and winged, human looking with long hair and a low-key sexy vibe. Adorable little trolls running around naked, playing in water, playing music and generally frolicking and cavorting. No story, no mischievousness, no darkness at all: castles in the clouds, later castles on asteroids. The most excitement is where two ride vehicles are joined and then sent down a spiral into a lower room with a bunch of trolls playing in water. You can find websites suggesting how to handle the logistics of being high while riding it and I can definitely understand why someone might want to do that, but it seems like overkill.
A. got into a coaster mood one day, which was a bummer because while she's over 110 cm tall, she's under 120 so couldn't do a bunch of the coasters. I didn't attempt Villa Volta with her, but I did put her on Fata Morgana because hey, it's a dark ride and I love those. Probably a mistake; by the end of the ride, she was trembling. That last room really freaked her out. She was up for Joris en de Draak, which she was allowed to ride in the middle seats on the train. It's a racing wooden coaster and a decently fun if jarring ride. We got a great ride photo with all four of us, which R. has posted to FB.
The loading system on many of the rides at Efteling is shared: a big, rotating platform. The round boats on Pirana (A. _loved_ getting wet on that ride and asked for it towards the end of each day) used it. The boats for Fata Morgana used it. The cabins for Droomvlucht used either the same thing or something a lot like it. The Gondoletta ride used it -- that's a _long_ ride; you're in that boat moving around the lake looking at water fowl and plants and whatever for 20 minutes, IIRC.
Most of the coasters do not use it: they're trains and batch load rather than continually load. There is one downside to the platform which continually loads: when they needed to do a wheelchair transfer, they frequently stopped the platform entirely.
Like most theme/amusement parks, Efteling rents something to help you out with your soon to be brutally exhausted small children.
Really nice pictures here:
They are a little heavy, but work well. You pull them behind you, rather than pushing them in front. They cannot roll out of control, as they are two wheelers and have a stopper. You can park them in a sort of upright position, but I never bothered. They were charging E4/day for one and you got a little stamped card with the number of your wagon, in case you forgot which one was yours. I didn't get one the first day, but I did thereafter. It's good to leave something (NOT an Efteling shopping bag) on your wagon, because people will pick up the wrong one in error, and if you leave something, it's a little less likely to be taken by someone who lost theirs to someone else. If you're committed to hanging onto your particular wagon through the day, you could bring a lock and hook it to things when you walk away; I saw that happen.
It's the Netherlands, so there are fries _everywhere_, but the coolest common food item was a box with a "kiplolly": fried chicken in sort of a disc form with a crunchy coating, on a stick. A chicken lollipop. It came with fries, mayo and a drink choice. A. and I wound up sharing it a couple times (I ordered additional ketchup for her), because it's a lot of food. I ordered the Donner kebab once, but it took so long to get an answer on the allergy question that I just didn't bother after that. T. mostly ate frites and donuts.
Don't walk around with your food -- even in a theme park, the Dutch think you should sit down and eat proper, and they think you should do it at the correct time of day (don't worry: in addition to breakfast lunch and dinner, there are two snacks in between, and frites count as snacks so it's not like it's possible to actually go hungry, much less starve). Fortunately, they have tons of seating and table space, and it appears to be completely acceptable to bring a blanket and set up a picnic on the grass.
R. and I both tried the noodle place next to the Pagode. Like all varieties of asian food, there's a lot of local influence, but tasty. A.'s favorite ice cream novelty was the Cornetto.
The Pagode is basically one of these:
Only it has a viewing platform with seats. It goes up. It rotates. It goes down. The signs saying don't drop anything off the platform are in four languages and do NOT say any form of A.U.B., please, etc. This is strong language for the Dutch, and yet some asshole dropped an (empty) can off while we were waiting. Yikes. In a flat country, this kind of thing gives you a helluva view ... of some cooling towers, among other things. Are those really the ones 50 miles away in Borssele?
Merch is quite limited: there aren't as many shops, they aren't as big, and they are sparely populated compared to a typical American entertainment venue. Virtually all the merch is aimed squarely at children, so if you're thinking you want a whole Efteling wardrobe (jacket, tees and sweat pants, type of thing, with some sunglasses and a watch) the way you can easily do at Disney, you are seriously out of luck. Several of the shops have merch you cannot find elsewhere in the park (the Droomvlucht shop and the Fata Morgana bazaar, in particular), so if you want something there, don't assume you can pick up the exact same thing at the big shop at the main entrance/exit at the end of the day.
The oldest section of the park is the Sprookjesbos: fairy tale forest. There are some fantastic sections with little shows and animatronics and similar to stand and watch. The kids were impatient and I didn't get to see everything I wanted to. All the speech is in Dutch, so accessibility to non-Dutch speakers is somewhat limited. R. saw PandaDroom (the 3D movie with limited seat effects); I did not. None of us saw the other scary show. None of us went to the live show or watched the water show.
Efteling has possibly the Best Ever Solution to the Dumbo Ride problem. They have a whole plein, or square, full of carousels and spinner rides of various sorts. Thus, no massive line build on any of them. They _also_ have an indoor steam carousel (which is _LOUD_) that moves the horses in an almost realistic way.
Finally, whatever you might think about Disney and race, Monsieur Cannibale will likely shock you to your core. It's a teapot ride with a roof, and a swinging tune in French. But the theming is, well, see for yourself.
I'll probably think of things I forgot, to add later; hopefully R. will add some remarks about the coasters I did not go on, which he did go on with T. Vogel Rok is an indoor coaster. Python is a metal coaster. The Flying Dutchman is indoor/outdoor and has some water elements.
ETA: If you are wondering why we didn't go on Carnival Festival, well, so am I. IASW is A.'s favorite Disney ride, and this is the Efteling equivalent. *sigh*