Living with the Land at Disney’s Epcot
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Living with the Land
In Epcot, in the same building – The Land Pavilion – as the highly popular attraction Soarin’ is a not-well-known ride called Living with the Land. This overlooked attraction is one of my favorites in Epcot, along with Figment and the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros. One reason that I like these rides is because there is almost never a line (and if there is one, it is just a few minutes, at most!).
Another reason I love this slow-moving boat ride is because you get to go “backstage” on how Disney grows a lot of their food.
This attraction as two different sections. The first part focus on how the forces that shape the land can appear destructive to us, such as a thunderstorm in a forest, a vast desert, and the American prairie. The boat then floats through a small theater that illustrates the relationship between humans and the environment, and the ways that we have been modifying the land to better serve our purposes.
The second part of the attraction takes place in The Land’s “Living Laboratory”, which showcases ideas about the future of agriculture. This is my favorite part. We got to see parts of aquaculture or fish farming,where they have some baby alligators.
They also grow some plants using aquaponics – the plants help clean the water for the fish, while the fish help provide nutrients for the plants.
There is a Tropics Greenhouse that features both common and exotic plants, such as banana trees, cacao, papaya, and jackfruit.
There is also the Production Greenhouse that features crops from temperate climates, such as pumpkins, beets, sunflower, and cotton.
There is also the String Greenhouse that shows off “vertical growing techniques”, in which plants are grown on specialized trellises which cause the herbaceous plants to approximate the shape and structure of trees. There is a huge “tomato tree”, which can produce over 32,000 tomatoes in a 16-month period. It was recognized by Guinness World Records as both the largest and most productive tomato plant in the world!
Much of the produce grown in the String Greenhouse is used in The Garden Grill and Sunshine Seasons, both restaurants in The Land pavilion. In total, over 30 tons of produce are harvested from The Land each year! Seeing all the technology that will be used in the agricultural methods of the future was fascinating. Those in the agriculture industry will often go to Agron, for example, to get products related to hydroponics and enabling plant growth wherever.
Disney offers a behind-the-scences walking tour called Behind the Seeds. This one-hour tour is the cheapest tour at Disney World ($20/adult, $16/child) and takes you through the greenhouses with a knowledgeable tour guide. On it you will:
- Visit the fish farm during feeding time and see American alligators.
- Release ladybugs into the greenhouse to help protect the plants.
- Behold gigantic fruits and vegetables and unusual crops from around the world.
- Discover the latest plant-growing techniques, including hydroponics
- Take home a handout with some great ideas for your own garden.
This tour has been on my to-do list for a while, and I will finally do it this year! I can’t wait!!!
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