Efteling will adapt to Monsieur Cannibale’s controversial appeal. The attraction with its rotating cookware has a Sinbad the Sailor theme, from the stories of 1001 Nights.
Monsieur Cannibale consists of a large number of cooking utensils for visitors to sit in. They then circle a large, semi-naked, colored man with a scoop through his nose. This attraction has been criticized for years as a problematic racist caricature.
More than 1,500 people signed a petition last year calling for the attraction to be removed from the theme park. At the time, Efteling emphasized that the garden should not prejudge social debate. “Most visitors really understand it’s a cheerful cartoon, as there are more cartoons in our garden. It’s an expansion, and it’s not the world as it really seems,” a spokesperson said at the time.
The attraction will only be modified during major maintenance, and this is happening now. The theme park received the green light from the State Council last month for major expansion plans. Immediately after the summer, in addition to Monsieur Cannibale, the Adventure Maze attraction will also be changed to a Sinbad theme. Later, it will also be the turn of the panorama catering site. The modifications are the first stage of the development of a total area and will cost 2.8 million euros.
De Efteling says the Monsieur Cannibale attraction’s cookware are boats that end up in a sea storm. “The adventurous and wealthy merchant Sinbad de Zeeman has been in the theme park since 1998. Sinbad (and his Seven Adventurous Cruises) is one of the most popular stories from 1001 Nacht and therefore recognizable to a very wide and diverse target group,” according to the theme park.