It was over a year ago that Efteling, the largest theme park in the Netherlands, announced their new ride for the 2024 season: Danse Macabre. The show ride is a replacement for Spookslot, a haunted castle walkthrough and animatronic show that was closed and demolished at the end of 2022. Danse Macabre will be a spooky ride themed around an abandoned abbey and an orchestra which mysteriously disappeared. A precise opening date has yet to be announced.
However, Efteling did give away an expected opening period of Danse Macabre via X / Twitter today. Followers were invited to share their guesses and by replying the park slowly revealed that the ride is scheduled to open in the fall of 2024. According to rumour, the park is aiming for an opening in October, just before the Dutch autumn school break. The announcement was accompanied by a GIF, showing some props from Spookslot that will be re-used for the ride.
Also a making-of video and accompanying blog post were posted one week ago, in which Efteling shared a few more details about the ride. One of the major elements of Danse Macabre will obviously be its music, the classical piece by the same name composed by Camille Saint-Saëns which is returning from Spookslot where it accompanied the show. In the video, we see Efteling’s lead composer René Merkelbach recording a newly adapted version of the famous music with an orchestra of 75 musicians. According to Merkelbach, the new score will not just be a rerecording and will include ”some surprises”.
Danse Macabre will include more elements from the old Spookslot. The ride’s designers drew inspiration for sketches that former Efteling designer Ton van der Ven made for Spookslot, some of which were never realised. Moreover, some props retrieved from the old ride are going to be re-used, such as some of the demon-like candle holders that used to decorate the queue line. Fans will also be able to recognise the main entrance gate of Spookslot, which is being rebuilt as the exit of Danse Macabre.
Danse Macabre will be a brand new show ride with a unique ride system, delivered by Intamin. It carries 108 passengers at a time, seated in one of the 6 rotating choir stalls. The choir stalls are placed on a large circular platform, which is capable of heaving and rotating, allowing riders to “dance and shiver to the music tones”.
The ride platform will be surrounded by decorations depicting a deteriorated abbey, which is the centrepiece of the new Huyverwoud (‘Shivering Wood’) themed area. The ride’s storyline follows the Charlatan family, who came to the ruins to find out more about their great-great-grandfather, the conductor of an orchestra who once disappeared mysteriously along with it.