yes 10 years ago. DD was 6, we all loved it. We stayed in the hotel which was very nice. Not cheap but we did go to a themed evening meal there, all in Dutch but fully translated for us so we could enjoy it. It was funny and sweet, and turned out to be about 30 each which was excellent for 3 course meal with all the entertainment. Happy memories.
Not written the review yet. Will do and let you know when it's up. In the meantime...
How did you get there? My DH Is thinking of driving? We drove. From Hants to Dover then ferry. Was about 3 hrs the other end. Easy driving though. We did three nights at Duinrell near Amsterdam then travelled down to Efteling.
How long did you stay & did you stay in hotel or village cottage? Stayed for 4 nights in one of the Woodland Cottages
How many days do you need to make it worthwhile to see/do everything. 4 nights was perfect. We have rollercoaster junkies and a younger child so they have have different interests. We had a late start into the park then took our time. There is a nice pool at the village.
Was it packed? Not really. Busy at times but not packed. By 5pm the queues were gone even for the busiest rides.
What is food really like? Plentiful but all very theme parky (to be expected really). Lots to choose from. Restaurant at the Bosrijk was good. DP is coeliac so needed special consideration but they understood and there was a limited choice. There's a good kitchen in the cottage, and a supermarket fairly close though so we chose to have a large lunch and then eat something light for dinner.
We stayed at the hotel there, can't remeber but think we did a long whole day. You have to look out for the geese being paraded! We drove, car in the tunnel then drove. We got a bit lost on the way back to be fair!
I grew up about 40 miles from there and although I haven't been for a few years now it has always been fabulous 'Innocent and magical' is the right phrase I think. At 5 I think your DS is the perfect age for it too, any younger and the story themes might not make sense (everything is fairytale themed and has a story to it).
If you're going in the Dutch school holidays it will be busy. If you can avoid those, it shouldn't be so bad, especially if you go on weekdays rather than weekends. Here are this year's dates which you should be able to make out even though it's in Dutch, 'Zomervakantie' is the summer holiday. 'Bouwvak' isn't really relevant so ignore that (it's the construction industry's holiday). Holidays are staggered by region so weeks where all three regions' holiday don't overlap will be less busy but still busier than non-holiday weeks. The Efteling is in 'Zuid', but draws visitors from all over. 'Basisonderwijs' is primary, 'voortgezet onderwijs' is secondary.
Never stayed over due to living so close so can't advise on the hotel or food beyond in-park snacks/lunches, which are typical theme park pricing and style - expensive, leaning towards the junk/treat food end of the spectrum, but acceptable quality.
It's not huge, and I think even with a five year old and taking it easy you wouldn't need more than two days (although they didn't have all the shows they have now when I was little, so maybe it'd take longer now!). If you wanted to make a longer break of it, you could also visit Beekse Bergen Safari Park, which is only about 25 minutes away. Again I've never stayed over due to proximity so I've no idea what the accomodation is like, but the safari park is awesome - I love it now even as an adult! There is also a water- and play park next door, although I've never been there so I don't know how good that is.
Thanks for the replies. So glad it exists as whenever I ask anyone I know with DC They look at me blankly. AnotherWorld I shall be looking out for yet review. Can I ask you-
How did you get there? My DH Is thinking of driving? How long did you stay & did you stay in hotel or village cottage? How many days do you need to make it worthwhile to see/do everything. Was it packed? What is food really like?
Sorry so many ? but I so want to go and take DS and DH who dislikes Disney is nearly convinced !