Living with the Land — a ride for the entire family
Located in the Land Pavilion at Epcot, Living with the Land is a slow-moving boat tour ride chronicling the past, present, and future of farming and agriculture in the United States. The first part of the ride illustrates how the forces of nature that appear destructive to us form and shape the land.
The ride has five distinct sections. The tropical greenhouse features crops from tropical areas, such as bananas, cacao, papaya, and vanilla. Did you know that the vanilla plant belongs to the orchid family?
In the aquacell section you can see fish farming. Some of the fish harvested here is actually served at the Coral Reef restaurant. On display are live eels, tilapia, catfish, freshwater shrimp, and American alligators.
Next, your ride takes you to the temperate greenhouse, where you can admire giant pumpkins, some grown in molds the shape of Mickey Mouse. This greenhouse is also home to 9-lb. lemons, beautiful sunflowers, and huge pomelos.
Living with the Land – home to award-winning plants
Innovative high-density techniques are on display in the next greenhouse. Using a vertical growing technique, plants are literally grown like trees. The most famous trellis is the record-producing tomato tree. In a period of 16 months, a tomato tree produced over 32,000 tomatoes (32,194 to be exact). This is 1,181.54 lbs. of tomatoes! The tomato tree was recognized by the Guinness book of records as the largest and most productive tomato plant in the world.
In July 2006 Living with the Land also produced the largest cucumber plant and won the top award for the most cucumbers harvested from one plant in one year. About 30 tons of the produce grown here annually is used in The Garden Grill and Sunshine Seasons restaurant of The Land pavilion.
The last exhibit is my favorite. I am mesmerized by hydroponics and love seeing the plants dangle on rotating devices with no soil attached to them. The plants grow as nutrient-filled water is sprayed onto them.
Make sure to note the NASA hydroponic display at the end of the ride.
Behind the Seeds tour at the Land Pavilion
If you loved Living with the Land, you may want to consider the Behind the Seeds tour. At $20 (adults) and $16 (children ages 3-9), it is one of the most economical behind-the-scenes tours available in the Kingdom of the Mouse. A Cast Member will take you and a group (up to 15 guests) on a 45-minute walking tour through the greenhouse, some backstage work areas, and a bug room.
Children will love the room where “good” bugs are cultivated and will be thrilled to release the Lady Bugs they receive in a little jar that will take care of the “bad bugs.”
The Biotechnology Lab is off-limits, as it is a sterile environment. However, at the Acquaculture tanks, kids and grownups alike will get a chance to feed the fish.