Efteling presents first of its kind ride system for Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre
Concept art for Danse Macabre (© Efteling)

Efteling, the largest theme park in the Netherlands, is currently constructing its newest ride: Danse Macabre. The ride takes the place of the former Spookslot, a haunted castle that entertained guests since 1978, but which was closed last September. Danse Macabre is supposed to be a true successor of Spookslot, by keeping the spooky theme and even continuing on the same atmosphere and storyline. Today, Efteling announced more details on the ride system of the new ride, which will be the first of its kind.

As revealed today, Danse Macabre will be an immersive simulator ride which will have visitors dancing to the famous music after which the ride is named. This music, originally composed by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1875, was already featured at Spookslot as main ride score. In the new ride, the music piece will have an even more central role. “We want the visitors to dance and shiver on the music tones,” as Remco van Hoek, technical design engineer at Efteling, says in a blog post.

“From this idea, we developed a completely new type of ride together with renowned Swiss ride manufacturer Intamin,” Van Hoek continues. He explains that Efteling wants to build something unique, and that existing ride systems did not match the criteria of the park. The ride system consists of a turntable 18 meters in diameter, topped by six smaller turntables which each host a choir stall. Each choir stall fits 18 riders, making for a total of 108 visitors per ride and creating a capacity around 1250 pph. The large turntable can rise, turn and tilt, making for a dynamic thrilling ride experience. Riders are surrounded by decorations depiciting a detoriorated abbey, similar to the decorations of Spookslot.

Concept video of the ride system (© Efteling via YouTube)

A possible ride system for Danse Macabre already leaked in July 2022. Apart from the position of the choir stalls, the ride which is officially presented today matches the images leaked earlier. Although this ride system is completely unique, it shows a resemblance to rides like Chasseurs de Tornades or HollandRama, which both featured large rotating and tilting turntables to host riders. What sets Intamin’s new system apart is the integration of additional turntables, in a way that is also seen of flatrides like teacups rides. This probably makes the Danse Macabre more dynamic than the rides developed earlier.

Efteling announced before that Danse Macabre will be integrated in a new immersive area which is called Huyverwoud (‘shivering forest’). “We designed something very pretty, where guests will be immersed in the remnants of an old abbey. It includes retail and food & beverages, but also this beautiful new ride inside a building reaching around 20 meters tall. Pretty impressive!” as Jeroen Verheij, designer at Efteling, mentioned in an earlier interview. The total investment for the zone is around € 25 million.

Concept art for Huyverwoud, with the Danse Macabre show building visible in the distance (© Efteling)

Together with the presentation of the ride system, Efteling also intoduced a first hint of the ride’s storyline today. This revolves around the Charlatan family, who have been travelling the world for genarations. The park introduces Virginie Charlatan and her husband Otto, who have recently set up camp in Huyverwoud, a place where they expect bad things are going to happen. The pair claims to possess something which can’t be named, enabling them to protect others from evil forces.

During their travels, the Charlatan family has brought their remarkable barrel organ Esmeralda, an heirloom of the family. It originally belonged to Virginie’s great great grandfather Jozef Charlatan, a music conductor who once mysteriously disappeared. Starting 19 November, Virginie and Otto Charlatan can be seen in the park, together with the organ Esmeralda.