Every winter De Vliegende Hollander at Efteling (Netherlands) closes for maintenance, but this year the park announced a redesign for one of its dark ride scenes inside. Following a testing period spanning 2 weeks, the semi-dark ride revolving around cursed ship the Flying Dutchman opened yesterday on 30 March, two days before the planned reopening of 1 April. Dark Ride Database made the trip to Efteling to try out the renewed experience.
The plans for the new scene on the rollercoaster were announced back in February. The section before the lift, where guests encounter captain Willem van der Decken’s ship in a storm and afterwards get banished to the ‘underworld’, would be changed. The projection of the crushed ship on a rain curtain was often out of order so the decision was made to redo the scene.
After leaving the station and experiencing the first 3 scenes like usual, our boat enters the new section. A storm starts and debris can be seen floating on the water. As lightning strikes, a total of 3 shipwrecks become visible one by one, their figureheads with glowing green eyes towering over us. Water springs up next to them.
There is no escaping the Dutchman as it emerges in front of us, while lightning strikes again. The ship itself was present in the ride before but has received new lighting and mist effects. We get ‘swallowed’ by the ship and disappear into glowing red mist. After a short drop we come to a stop on the lift where the experience continues in the way it always has. One exception being that the smoke screen on the top of the lift has been replaced and no longer features a projection of the captain on top of it.
On 27 March, Efteling posted an item on their Blog hyping up the reopening and showing the first picture of the final result. Jarno Jacobs, Project Manager of technical partner BOM Engineering, is quoted as saying: ”Creating a new scene is a really fun part of this maintenance. But of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. Before we started, the water was first pumped out of the attraction so that the scaffolding could be safely put up. Then all unnecessary parts of the old scene were removed. All in all, this took a week or two. After removing the scaffolding, the construction of the new scene could begin.”
The realisation of the thematic elements were overseen by Efteling designer Karel Willemen who was the man behind De Vliegende Hollander. The idea for a ship graveyard was on the table during the designing phase, but had to be scrapped due to budget constraints. The original plans for the lift, in which a set of figureheads would appear to fall towards guests, also got scrapped at the last minute due to technical complications. The figureheads had already been crafted and were kept in storage until now, as they are reused in the new scene.
Also other aspects of the attraction were tackled, from the now more maintenance-friendly queue-line to upgrading the lighting to LED. To improve technical reliability of the coaster, the lift and electrical systems have been revised. Even though the soundtrack of De Vliegende Hollander has remained unchanged, Efteling released an album on Spotify counting 9 remastered tracks.