Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Efteling: Magic Castle

InPark interviews Sander de Bruijn- head of Efteling’s design team for Symbolica

Interview by Tina Kreitlow

ABOVE PHOTO: The climactic scene of Symbolica includes a large ballroom filled with sweets and populated by animatronics created by Garner Holt Productions. Photo courtesy Efteling.

Efteling has a great and long history of dark rides. How does Symbolica build and expand on that history?

Symbolica was built in the tradition of our dark rides – it is a palace, and the interiors and characters were designed by our own staff, based on our own park tradition. The show you see inside is a whole new experience, of course, taken to a whole new level – but built in a similar style to Dreamflight or Fata Morgana.

Sander de Bruijn

How do you use technology to help tell the story?

For us at Efteling, the groundbreaking technology is used to make fantasy come alive through special effects. What the fantasy does to its surroundings and what it does to our guests in Symbolica is something our guests can’t experience elsewhere in Efteling.

What is your process for creating the ride story and ensuring it fits into the park?

The story starts with the book “Symbolica,” that the founding father of Symbolica, Mr. Henny Knoet, created and left to Efteling before he died. We built on that tradition and created a story around one of our famous characters, Pardoes. We made this palace a good home for him so he can play with fantasy and lead the guests – which makes a joyful ride.

Are there any secrets hidden within the ride we should look for?

Absolutely – but if I tell you they are no longer secrets. But you have to look very closely when the fantasy twinkles appear, you have to pay attention and see what happens then. •

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