When it comes to attractions, Efteling really does have it all. Thrilling roller coasters, fun family rides, a good selection of flat rides and breathtakingly beautiful dark rides. All of these are encapsulated with beautiful scenery, and most have a soundtrack that adds to the experience and leaves you highly satisfied once you finish the attraction.
It is with great sadness that I have to say that Carnaval Festival is not one of these attractions.
To sum up the basic premise of the ride, I could describe it as essentially a dry land “it’s a small world” rip-off. The problem with this analogy is that Carnaval Festival doesn’t really have any of the charm or beauty that “it’s a small world” does. The characters are pretty static, and their models look like their paint is peeling and they just haven’t been as well-maintained as their Disney equivalent. I think it’s designed to have a certain whimsy to it, but unfortunately I found this rather lost on me. Couple this with the highly infuriating and repetitive music and it’s not really a good start.
I also have a couple of issues with the execution of the attraction. Towards the start of our ride we were treated to a member of staff taking a stroll along the floor next to the ride vehicles, which was strange and not really in keeping with the rest of the ride. You also experience the usual delays you get on these endless train-style ride systems, but instead of themed announcements like you would get on say The Haunted Mansion, you’re treated to a bilingually disinterested voice who not only talks very loudly but also kills all the background sound so a lot of the ride’s themeing is lost while the vehicles are stationary. One thing I couldn’t get my head around is the on-ride photo. This is probably the least interesting ride in all of Efteling, so why you’d want to pay for the privilege of a photo of yourself looking bored I don’t really understand.
This all sounds like I’m slamming the ride here, and make no mistake about it, it wasn’t my favourite ride of the day. I can see why some people might find it enjoyable, I just thought it was a huge let-down compared to the drama, magic and beauty of Droomvlucht or Fata Morgana. It’s not the worst ride I’ve ever been on, but it was probably the least fun thing we did at Efteling, so I would say it’s not a huge disaster if you miss out on this one.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Along for the Ride.