While the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full swing why not immerse yourselves completely in Living with the Land? You probably have taken the relaxing and very educational boat ride inside the Land Pavilion before but have you ever taken the Behind the Seeds tour? At $20 (adults) and $16 (children 3-9) it is one of the most economical behind the scene tours available at Walt Disney World. The tour is great for those with a green thumb and at the same time perfect for the entire family.
Did you know that 30 tons of fruits and vegetables are actually grown annually at The Land Pavilion and served at Epcot’s restaurants? This and much more is what this tour is all about.
Instead of the narrated boat ride you will be met by a Cast Member who will take you and a group of maximum 15 guests on a 45-minute tour, on foot, through the greenhouse, a bug room, the actual Living with the Land attraction and more. I really liked to see the boats passing through the attraction while we were standing right inside of it. Disney is usually very restrictive when it comes to taking behind the scene pictures but during the Behind the Seeds tour photography is not only allowed but it is encouraged. I was in heaven!
The state-of-the-art agricultural techniques used by Disney as well as the NASA hydroponic growing units are explained but fear not it is all really interesting and done in such a way that kids and grownups alike feel comfortable. The growing methods used are explained and there is ample time for questions.
I loved the room where ‘good’ bugs were cultivated. The kids in our group were really interested in learning how and why Disney is breeding good bugs that then are released into the greenhouse to eat the ‘bad’ bugs. The kids even received a little jar with Lady Bugs and they were all excited to release them once we reached the greenhouse. I tried very hard to catch the action in a picture – I failed!
I was a bit disappointed not to be able to enter the Biotechnology Lab but understood that it was impossible seen that it is a sterile environment. I would have loved meeting one of the employees though for a little Q & A session about their daily work in the laboratory. At the Acquaculture tanks we got a chance to feed the fish and saw the alligators up close and personal. Some of the fish raised here are actually served at the Coral Reef Restaurant.
Walking through the greenhouse was a great experience. My favorite part was the hydroponics house. Even though I had seen this area while riding the Living with the Land ride, I simply can’t get enough of it. Plants hanging from the ceiling and herbs grown without soil are just an amazing sight. We received a handout with instructions on how to build our very own hydroponic garden and got to taste the most succulent cucumber I’ve ever had.
I recommend this tour highly. The Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot’s Living with the Land Pavilion is educational and fun and the tour guides are very knowledgeable. Tours are offered every 45 minutes from 10:30 am through 4:30 pm.
The tour is not suitable for very small children and first time visitors. There is simply too much to see at Epcot but a return visitor and those with a green thumb will love it. AAA, DVC members, annual passholders as well as active military members are offered special discounts. For reservations call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-868). Same day reservations are available based on availability but I recommend you do so first thing upon arriving at the park. The reservation desk is located at the lower level of the Land Pavilion right next to the entrance to the Soarin’ attraction. More information here.
Liliane Opsomer is the coauthor of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids and a photographer to The Color Companion: The Unofficial Guide.
She is passionate about travel, Disney, fairies, hobbits and all things magical. Some of her favorite destinations are Orlando, Anaheim, Middle Earth, Belgium, Sydney, Dresden, Patagonia and Hawaii. Liliane lives in Birmingham, Alabama and visits the parks several times a year.