It’s no secret that Efteling (The Netherlands) makes sure to take good care of their heritage. That is why every once in a while a classic ride has to stay closed for a long period of time in order to ”preserve it for posterity”. Earlier today the park announced what is going to happen to their suspended dark ride Droomvlucht. The ride will undergo a major technical revision, starting from Monday 31 October and lasting until 4 March 2022, with a budget of over €6 million.
In an article on Efteling’s blog, project coordinator Stefan van der Putten explains more about the nature of Droomvlucht’s revision: “It’s mostly technical maintenance, which goes unnoticed by most guests.” It may be clear that no large adjustments are to be expected in the decors, but components that are broken will be taken care of. Most notably the rain effect in the second to last scene ‘Zompenwoud’ (Swamp Forest), which has been out of commission since late 2021, presumably due to a leakage in the pond.
Other improvements will be made to the various scenes, including the installation of new LED-lighting. The park has taken photos of the current situation, to ensure the colour palettes can be accurately recreated with the new type of spotlights. Back in 2013, the Zompenwoud was the first scene to be equipped with now outdated LEDs, which will also be replaced.
Perhaps the most important technical updates are expected with Droomvlucht’s transport system, which has been problematic from its inception. Some track sections needed to be replaced during a major refurbishment in 2013. Now, nine years later, again some parts have reached the end of their lifespan. According to Stefan, it is not needed to replace the entire track, but a total of 260 cross-ties are to be manually swapped out with new ones. In addition, aspects of the technical installation like ride control, power distribution and climate control cabinets will be renewed.
Across much of the building including the station and ‘Kastelenrijk’ (Castle Realm), the ceiling is made from cloths which are in need of a replacement. So are the cloths on the walls in Kastelenrijk and ‘Hemelburchten’ (Heavenly Strongholds). Finally, general maintenance and cleaning will be carried out on the decor like the castles in Kastelenrijk and on the roof, wrapping up a project that is expected to take 124 days in total.
Droomvlucht (Dutch for Dream Flight) opened in 1993 after a delay of one year and was the second dark ride designed by Efteling’s then Creative Director Ton van de Ven. Guests float through 7 scenes depicting fantasy creatures and landscapes, hence the name. The innovative ride system that can climb steep slopes and speed up to 18 km/h was manufactured by BHS and Translift, while the theming was carried out by a variety of external artists as well as Efteling’s own.