Aquanura water show in the works at Efteling in the Netherlands

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Efteling plans to unveil a $24-million nighttime spectacular this year that features water fountains, flame-throwers, synchronized spotlights and symphonic music set to fairy tale stories drawn from the Dutch theme park’s signature attractions.

Aquanura, which will be the third largest water show in the world, is scheduled to open on May 31 as part of the Netherlands theme park’s 60th anniversary celebration.

PHOTOS: Aquanura water show at the Netherlands’ Efteling theme park

The water show will be built by Los Angeles-based Water Entertainment Technologies (WET), which created the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas and the Dubai Fountain in the United Arab Emirates. Aquanura has already been drawing obvious comparisons to the World of Color water show at Disney California Adventure.

A 10-minute nightly performance of Aquanura will be based on the thematic stories behind some of the park’s rides and attractions: the Indian water lilies puppet show, the Carnival Festival dark ride, the Raveleijn open-air arena and the haunted Spookslot castle. The show’s story will also include elements from the Frog Prince fairy tale, with four oversized frogs spouting water into the lake.

Additional “water ballet” shows will play periodically throughout the day. An original musical score performed by a Dutch symphony orchestra will feature songs heard throughout the park.

The 160-acre Efteling began in 1952 with the Fairy Tale Forest and has grown into the largest theme park in the Netherlands. In 2004, Efteling was designated a classic theme park by the Themed Entertainment Assn., an honor bestowed on landmark parks like Tivoli Gardens and Disneyland.

Efteling is building four new viewing areas around the existing Vonderplas boating lake to accommodate thousands of viewers during Aquanura, a name derived from “aqua” (for water) and “anura” (an amphibian order).

Looking further into the future, Efteling is already working on an ambitious $55-million Hartenhof dark ride expected to open in 2015.