There is a reason why Efteling is world renowned for its dark rides. Their beauty and storytelling is nigh on unmatched, and yet they still manage to feel original and special even decades after they first premiered. It makes me very excited and enthusiastic for the opening of their new dark ride Symbolica next year. Until then, we have the small matter of a ride through the Forbidden City on Fata Morgana to attend to.
If you’ve been reading my Efteling ride reviews up to this point, it should come as no surprise that Fata Morgana has a great setting and awesome soundtrack throughout the queue line and ride area that sets the scene nicely for the ride ahead. That scene in this case is Arabia and the stories of 1001 Nights, and Fata Morgana itself consists of a boat ride through various scenes devoted to these themes.
What makes this ride so special and so talked about among enthusiasts is the attention to detail that has been lavished onto aspects that normally get forgotten about. The transition between scenes, for example, is something that is never forgotten or swept aside, with each scene having a distinct and unique transition whether that be through the parting of a rock wall or the opening of a curtain or anything in between. The recurring character of the wizard often features in these scenes and helps to add some cohesiveness to the story. The fact that you very rarely see the boat in front as well is also a bonus – you occasionally see it turning a corner and going out of sight at the beginning of scenes but other than that you’re usually the only boat in the scene. It’s a nice touch that helps the ride feel more individualised.
Fata Morgana is also a very pretty ride, much like Droomvlucht. There are darker scenes, sure, such as the torture chamber and the ‘cave of wonders’ near the end, but by and large it uses colour, light and scents to enhance your journey and make it more memorable and unique. With any ride themed around a foreign country, there are always going to be issues and questions as to how romanticised and potentially insulting it could be to residents of that country. I think the scenes in Fata Morgana need to be taken with a pinch of salt, you have to remember the context and the setting of the original stories and not take everything to heart. That said, it’s not the most unpolitically correct ride out there, and I still think it has a certain charm to it regardless of whether you question its intentions and depictions or not.
I like Fata Morgana a lot as a ride. It runs very efficiently but more importantly it’s an enthralling and unique attraction. I think it could do a little more to excite and thrill guests, and maybe if a different ride system was used then a drop or two could be incorporated, which would have been nice. Those niggles aside, Fata Morgana is good fun and an enchanting journey through classic fairytales for both the young and young-at-heart. Which I guess is Efteling’s M.O. as a whole, really.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Along for the Ride.