Ever since word got out last January that Efteling (Netherlands) would be demolishing its classic Spookslot (Haunted Castle) animatronic show in favour of a new indoor ride, fans have been eagerly awaiting any sort of information regarding the replacement. Yesterday, 16 May, the park invited several media outlets to attend a presentation during which finally some additional information on ”Danse Macabre” was given. A press release that summarises last evening’s presentation can now be found on Efteling’s website.
Efteling announced before that the Spookslot replacement, which opens in 2024, is to be part of a themed area that will continue to embroider on the ambience set by the 1978 original. Word already got out that the project’s working title is Danse Macabre, referring to the 1874 piece by Camille Saint-Saëns that forms the basis of the musical guideline during the Spookslot animatronic show. This has now been confirmed to be the name of the attraction and indeed, the new attraction will revolve around the work as well.
Jeroen Verheij, a self-proclaimed Spookslot fanatic, will be responsible for the design of Danse Macabre along with Sander de Bruijn. In a 4-minute promotional video found on Efteling’s Blog, the two are interviewed and proceed to share some small hints as to how they tackled the massive undertaking of designing a replacement for one of Efteling’s most famous attractions. De Bruijn: ”Efteling’s creative concept was conceived by Anton Pieck. And if you want to understand the concept behind Efteling, you have to start here.”, he says while taking a walk through the Fairy Tale Forest, where it all began.
Also according to De Bruijn, it was not possible to preserve Spookslot due to the state of the building and the outdated technology used. The ambience of Spookslot, the essence of the ride, was the starting point of the new project, along with a recently developed vision revolving around ”immersive worlds”, which promise to completely immerse guests into a story. The total investment for the new area will amount to €25 million. It has a size of 17.000m² and will also include a restaurant, shop and entertainment act.
Verheij: ”The request came to think about a new interpretation of the area. Specifically, not just an attraction, but a whole themed area. We put together a group from within our department which I like to call the ‘creative spirits’.” He briefly talks about what the ride will be like. ”The guests will find themselves among the remains and ruins of an old abbey. They will experience the ‘Danse Macabre’ in a completely new way.” The ride building will be about 20 metres tall and Verheij ensures us that some aspects of Spookslot will make a return in Danse Macabre. ”We are also going to immortalise Spookslot so that everyone can remember it in their own way for a long time.”
Aside from a theoretical capacity of 1.250 p/h, no specifications were given on what type of ride Danse Macabre will be. Fan speculation had been running wild, with the most common rumour being that it will be the worlds first installation of the recently reintroduced Dome Ride Theater by Intamin and Attraktion!. Recent rumours however suggest it will be something else, but a prototype none the less.