Carnaval Festival is the first dark ride that was built in Efteling. It was designed by Dutch film producer Joop Geesink, who worked mostly on puppet movies. Geesink worked on several small projects in the years before the opening of Carnaval Festival, however none of them were used in the park.
It became clear in 1983 that the development of Fata Morgana took longer than expected. Geesink pitched the idea for a dark ride, inspired on Disney’s ‘It’s A Small World’. The park approved the plans. To this date, Carnaval Festival is still the only ride in the park that was built with a design that was not made by de Efteling themselves. Joop Geesink passed away a couple weeks before the opening of the ride.
The melody of the theme music of Carnaval Festival was composed by Dutch comedian Toon Hermans. Efteling composer Ruud Bos took this melody and turned it into a complete soundtrack for the ride.
Over the years, the ride was modified a couple times. Loekie de Leeuw (a puppet from stop-motion commercials, made by Geesink) was added to various scenes in 2005, to be removed in 2012. That year marked the re-entry of Jokie, a mascot from the ride. In 2019 the Asian and African scenes were altered after years of controversy over racism.