|The bear and squirrel animatronics in Fabula|
|Designer / calculations||Marieke van Doorn |
Piet De Koninck
|Capacity||1440 per hour|
Fabula originally opened in 2002 as "PandaDroom". PandaDroom was conceived in a collaboration between WWF and Efteling, with WWF sponsoring the attraction. The attraction would focus around animals, and the consequences of human activities on their habitats. The total cost of the attraction would be 23 million euros, with WWF paying 7 million of it. WWF pitched the idea to the Efteling, and Efteling accepted, mostly because they where still looking for a new attraction for the parks 50th anniversary. The attraction's film would be made by Belgian studio NWave. When designing the attraction, Disney's "Its Tough to be a Bug" served as a big inspiration, combining a standard 3D movie with practical and special effects.
PandaDroom was the least favorite attraction in the park of most fans / enthousiasts, and, besides its opening, never had a long line. PandaDroom received mostly negative reviews on opening, with people stating that the theming looked unfinished, as well as the entire experience just feeling like a big WWF ad. In its later years, the movie got criticized for its terribly aged animation, as well as the showbuilding being a huge unthemed eyesore in the park. PandaDroom remained unchanged for 17 years despite all of these complaints however, eventually closing its doors on November 3, 2019 for a retheme to Fabula, including a highly requested new film. This new film was produced by British studio Aardman. Fabula eventually opened on December 6, 2019.
The film had both a pre and main show, although the pre-show wasn't animated while the main show was.
The pre-show took place in a big cave, with tree roots spread around the room. This room contained no seats, guests where expected to stand up. The pre-show itself consisted of videos of actual animals in the wild, these videos where backed up by a supporting music track, these tracks changed through the years.
Music tracks used in the pre-show
|First year||Last year||Music track||Artist|
|2002||2003||You are so beautifull||Joe Cocker|
|2003||2006||The morning has broken||Cat Stevens|
|2012||2019||Custom composition||Réne Merkelbach|
After the pre-show, the doors to the main theater would open. This room did have seats, and guests where expected to put on their 3D glasses. The film started on the north-pole, with a family of polar-bears playing in their ice cave. This cave would start to collapse, and the family would start to slide down the ice and end up on a small ice chunck, drifting away into the ocean.
The second scene was the ocean, here we would meet a turtle, the turtle meets various underwater creatures before they all get scared away by a fishing net, destroying everything in its path.
Last but not least was the jungle, where guests would come face to face with a snake, This snake would slowly come towards the guests, preparing to attack, he doesn't get to attack though, as he is being thrown down the tree by a couple monkeys. These monkeys would then start to play baseball with a few fruits. Their fun game would be interupted by the loud sounds of chainsaws and the tree they are all standing in would start to fall. On this moment, a large physical tree would come down from the ceiling of the theater.
When exiting the theatre, people enter the "Dierenwereld" (Dutch for "animal world") an indoor playground, which ended in the 'Octopus' Restaurant. This playground features a few animatronics, one of a Panda, one of the orangatang, one of the Turtle, one of a lion (that wasn't featured in the movie). and one of a polar bear.
The film consists of two parts, a pre-show and the main show.
The pre-show takes place in a big cave, with tree roots spread around the room. This room contains no seats, guests are expected to stand up. The pre-show film itself takes place in a cave during a storm, we see different animals enter the cave for cover. A bear appears and all the animals flee, except for one squirrel which has fallen asleep in the bear his bed. The bear roars angrily and pushes the squirrel away, making him sleep alone in the cold. This is when the sandman uses his magic sand on the bear and the squirrel, giving them a special dream.
This is when the doors to the main show open, this room does have seats, and guests are expected to now put on their 3D-Glasses. The main show focuses on the bear and squirrel being teleported over to different habitats, changing the bear into a different animal, this in a effort by the sandman to show him that different animals lead different lives, and not to judge a tiny animal like a squirrel by its appearance. The habitats featured in the ride are:
Habitats Featured in the film
In the end, the bear and the squirrel wake up, the bear finally understanding that he should also think of others, and he now gets along with the squirrel. 
When exiting the theatre, people enter the "Speelwereld" (Dutch for "Play world") an indoor playground, which ends in the Fabula Restaurant. This playground features a few animatronics, one of the bear (with the squirrel on his head), one of the orangatang, one of the Turtle, one of the lion and one of a polar bear, which is not featured in the film (but was featured in the old PandaDroom movie)
The ride is located in the "Anderrijk" area of the park, roughly translating to "Different Realm".
PandaDroom is dutch for "PandaDream" although the official English name for the attraction and film is "Pandavision"
Fabula is a reference to the Latin word "Fabel" which stands for a story told with animals, containing a moral.
The attraction got mixed reviews on opening, people praised the movie for having a way better quality than the original PandaDroom, but the overall attraction was seen as lackluster, with most of PandaDroom's assets getting reused, and sometimes not even cleaned.
The Fabula film features a few Easter eggs, most of which reference the original PandaDroom movie that preceded it.
- In the Ocean scene, a turtle with a similar design to Aura from the old PandaDroom movie appears
- In the Jungle scene, a orangutang with a similar design to Oek from the old PandaDroom movie appears. Two pandas also appear, their kid being rescued by the bear (in monkey form). Of course a big nod to PandaDroom
- Also in the Jungle scene, monkeys appear, throwing fruit towards each other, this scene is a reference to a similar scene found in the PandaDroom movie. On the end of this scene, the bear (in monkey form) gets a piece of fruit on his nose, and a small bit of the Carnaval Festival Music plays
Aardman is allowed to sell the movie to other theme parks, with some changes, for example:
- In other parks, the movie is simply named "The Bear and the Squirrel"
- The sandman and his owl are replaced by mother nature in all other parks
The music of the movie does stay the same, meaning that the musical Easter eggs can still be found.
- "PandaDroom on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/PandaDroom.
- "PandaDroom's pre-show on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Wondergrot.
- "PandaDroom's main show on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Wereldreis.
- "PandaDroom's Dierenwereld on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Dierenwereld.
- "Fabula's pre-show on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Voorshow_(Fabula).
- "Fabula's Main show on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Hoofdshow_(Fabula).
- "Fabula's Speelwereld on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Speelwereld.
- "Fabula on Eftepedia". https://www.eftepedia.nl/lemma/Fabula.
- "American zoo gets Efteling film". https://www.looopings.nl/weblog/16561/Amerikaanse-dierentuin-kiest-voor-Efteling-film-Fabula.html.