One of Walt Disney World’s best backstage experiences recently returned for the first time since the pandemic began, and the Unofficial Guide has your complete look at EPCOT’s Behind the Seeds walking tour at The Land pavilion.
The Land pavilion at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT has long been known for its Living with the Land boat ride, which some guests (including this writer) consider even more essential than the Soarin’ simulator it sits beside. Living with the Land’s gentle tour through Disney’s greenhouses is a must-see, even if you don’t have a green thumb. But for anyone with a serious interest in gardening, agriculture, botany, or ecology, the boat ride is merely the beginning.
For the full scoop on EPCOT’s agricultural innovations, you need to sign up for the Behind the Seeds walking tour, which returned to daily operations in October 2022 after being temporarily closed for over two years. Advanced reservations for Behind the Seeds tours are available online, and you’ll want to check in at the desk found near the exit of Living with the Land at least 15 minutes before your assigned tour departure.
To begin your tour, your guide will lead you through a “cast members only” doorway in Soarin’s exit hallway and take you backstage to a facility where helpful insects are bred for integrated pest management. You’ll learn a little about that process—and get to eyeball some bugs—before receiving wireless receivers with amplifying earphones that will allow you to clearly hear your guide throughout the rest of the tour.
Next, guests get to peek into the USDA laboratory visible near the end of the boat ride, where scientists cultivate miniature plants sold as souvenirs.
The bulk of the Behind the Seeds tour takes place inside the large greenhouses, along a pathway visible to Living with the Land riders. The tour begins near the end of the ride, then proceeds backwards toward the start before backtracking to the exit.
Highlights of the greenhouse tour include a close encounter with a “sensitive” fern that curls up in response to touch…
A tasty sample of freshly harvested cucumber…
And an opportunity to feed the fish in The Land’s aquacell.
Near the conclusion, guests can take photos with the iconic Mickey-shaped pepper tree, which is the oldest living plant inside The Land’s greenhouses.
The quality of the experience—a cross between science lecture and Willy Wonka factory tour—depends heavily on the guide’s presentation; our guide, Kelsey, was extremely friendly and energetic, and she did a good job accommodating the wide range of ages in our group.
At only $35 per person (ages 3+; passholder discounts apply), Behind the Seeds is by far the cheapest exclusive tour available at Walt Disney World; because it lasts a full hour, it’s a great value. Even if you aren’t interested in agriculture, the opportunity to see EPCOT’s backstage areas (where guests are ordinarily forbidden) is well worth the price of admission. [Note that park admission and park pass reservations are required and not included with the tour.]
If reading this review made you eager for more, be sure to watch our complete POV video of the entire Behind the Seeds walking tour:
Have you been on the revived Behind the Seeds tour, or do you plan to go? Let us know in the comments below!
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids.