“Living with the Land” and the “Behind the Seeds Tour” of the same attraction keep the original intent of Epcot alive more than any other aspect of the park.
Epcot, which once stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), was originally intended to be a city of the future.
On a television program previewing what was to come, Walt said, “EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed but always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”
Very little of the original plan for the city was built and people nowadays point to this quote as a reason against incorporating more Disney characters into current-day Epcot. Fortunately, Walt’s dream still came true to some extent.
Living with the Land is a 20-minute long boat ride through greenhouses and laboratories showcasing innovative farming techniques like aquaponics and aeroponics. Demonstrating new materials and new systems? Check.
Partnering with American industry? Check – The US Department of Agriculture has onsite researchers studying the plum pox virus to benefit fruit farmers around the country.
If you want to take the edutainment value of the Land Pavilion to another level, go on “The Behind the Seeds” tour. The hour-long, multiple times a day tour costs $25 for adults and $20 for kids before any discounts and it’s the only behind-the-scenes tour where you can take as many photos as you want.
And based on Kathleen Christiansen’s recent review of the tour in the Orlando Sentinel, the tour is different every time depending on the season and your guide.
“Never be completed?” Check!
On the tour, my guide, an intern in the aquaculture labs named Chelsea, explained that plants don’t need soil to survive and bugs are essential for plants’ survival. The Disney-grown cucumbers tasted delicious, even before they are put into Mickey-shaped molds for salads all around the parks and resorts. Kids will especially love feeding the huge tank of tilapia and petting Stanley, a plant that closes up its leaves when touched!
Walt would be proud of how his Florida Project has become a role model for urban living.
The “Living with the Land” facility is managing to achieve 99.2% no-waste by recycling everything from water to the plastic bags for the cucumber tasting. Apparently, the secret to being an environmentally-friendly city is to have a zoo full of animals to eat whatever is leftover from the 100 pounds of produce harvested per day.
And the Behind the Seeds tour even fulfills another goal of Walt’s EPCOT – inspiring visitors to take the new things they learn about back into their own homes. How? By offering the only souvenir that is made and sold on Walt Disney World property – your very own seedling.
Do you think the Land Pavilion is the most educational part of Epcot? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the photos from my tour, too.