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Living with the Land

The Land pavilion at Epcot focuses on man’s impact on Planet Earth and his efforts to learn from the past in order to create a promising future. The structure was designed to look like a futuristic green house, emphasizing our dependence on plants, especially food, a requirement for our survival. Encompassing six acres, this is the largest pavilion in Epcot and is roughly the same size as Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. This structure houses three attractions, Soarin’, The Circle of Life, and Living with the Land.


The Land Pavilion


The Land was an opening day pavilion at Epcot (October 1, 1982) and was sponsored by Kraft Foods. Kraft ended their sponsorship on September 26, 1993 and Nestlé took their place. Nestlé oversaw several pavilion makeovers during their tenure but decided to end their affiliation on February 13, 2009. Currently, The Land Pavilion has no corporate sponsor.


The Land Marquee


Today’s blog will focus on the Living with the Land attraction. But before we begin, I have an important message to share with you from The Secretary.


Good morning Mr. Phelps.

A noted artist from a country friendly with the West has created beautiful murals leading up to The Land pavilion.


Tile Mural


So ingenious is his design that the south wall is an exact mirror image of the north wall right down to the very last tile. Pictured here are close-up shots of the two sides illustrating this unique design.


Left Mural

Right Mural


However, an evil Imagineer has cleverly hidden a rogue tile within the murals throwing off the delicate balance, thus threatening peace among the World Showcase nations.


Rogue Tile


Your mission, should you decide to accept, is to find this tile, share its location with your friends and family, then experience the Living with the Land boat ride.

Should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed by Disney security, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

This blog will self-destruct in five seconds.



During Kraft’s sponsorship of The Land, the boat ride portion of the pavilion was called “Listen to the Land.” When Nestlé entered the picture, the attraction was given a minor refurbishment and the name was changed to “Living with the Land.” The attraction can be found on the lower level of the pavilion at the bottom of the “down” escalator.


The Land Interior

Living with the Land Sign


If you arrive first thing in the morning, this attraction has no wait and you can often ride all by yourself. But between 9:30 and 9:45, people start to exit Soarin’ and a line ensues. FastPass is available, but if the line is 20 minutes or less, I suggest riding at that time.

In an effort to make the queue more interesting, a mural was envisioned featuring inspirational quotes from world leaders, philosophers, scientists, and writers. As the idea began to develop, Walt Disney Imagineering President Marty Sklar suggested that children be included with this distinguished group. Several children’s environmental organizations were contacted and one, Kids for Saving Earth, volunteered to run a story about the mural in its newsletter. They received more than 800 submissions, of which 10 were selected for the mural.


Living with the Land Queue

Insperiational Message

Insperiational Message


We all know about “hidden Mickeys,” but did you know about the hidden prince and princess? This can only be seen from the FastPass line, but if you look closely at the wall, you can see a prince leaning over and kissing his princess. It’s subtle, but once you see it, there is no doubt.


Hidden Prince and Princess


Our fourteen minute journey begins at the loading dock where we board 20-passenger boats that travel in tandem. The attraction can accommodate 2,400 people an hour.


Loading Dock


The first sight along our journey is rather ominous. Here we see a video monitor reminding us that the entire attraction is under surveillance (all Disney attractions are). There is also a reminder to remain seated at all times. This warning is becoming more and more common and the cast members take this rule very seriously. I recently witnessed three teenaged girls being escorted off of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and out of the park because they repeatedly ignored warnings to sit down.


Surveillance Monitor


Our boat first travels to a tropical rain forest where a storm is raging. We’re told that while the wind and rain may appear to be violent and destructive to us, to nature it represents a new beginning. Beneath the surface of the land, roots trap water from the flowing mud, extracting nutrients and minerals. These elements, combined with sunlight, create the diverse living systems of Earth. Although the rain forests make up only a small portion of our planet, they contain more than half of its plant and wildlife species.


Rain Forest

Rain Forest


We travel next to the desert where we learn that this seemingly hostile climate is also teeming with life. The plants and animals that call these sandy expanses home have learned to avoid the sun and make use of what little water they can find.


Desert


As our journey continues we come to the American prairie. The narrator explains that this area was also once a bleak desert, but over time, water and nutrients made their way into the soil creating rich farmland.

In the original version of this attraction (Listen to the Land), we were told how nature continually changes the face of the planet. In the prairie scene it’s explained that a lightning storm has set fire to a field of wild grass. This in turn stirs up a swarm of locusts that lay waste to the plains. The lightning, flames, and the insect swarm can still be seen in the distance.


American Prairie


The next scene brings us to an American farm at the turn of the 20th century. We are told that in our quest to feed a growing nation, humans have had a bigger impact on the land than Mother Nature, sometimes with negative consequences.

Be sure to take a close look at the mailbox. The route number is 82, the year Epcot opened.


American Farm

American Farm

American Farm


We travel into a barn where a hundred years of farming history is presented via film clips and narrative. We’re told that although man has made mistakes, these can be reversed and we can feed the planet while living harmoniously with the land. We’re also told that Epcot is playing a part in the solutions of tomorrow by testing innovative techniques in the greenhouses we’re about to visit.


History of Farming


The next portion of the tour takes us through five working food production areas, Tropics Greenhouse, Aquacell, Temperate Greenhouse, Production Greenhouse, and Creative Greenhouse.

For over twenty years, these sections of the tour were narrated by a cast member positioned at the front of the boat. This was deemed necessary as the crops were continually changing and the information shared with the guests needed to be current. However, on August 20, 2006, the spieling cast members were eliminated and a prerecorded narrative was added as a cost saving measure. The spiel is voiced by Mike Brassell who also narrates the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at the Magic Kingdom. The spiel is updated periodically as the greenhouses are replanted with new crops.


Mike Brassell


The Tropics Greenhouse is located inside a geodesic dome and features crops native to Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and portions of the southern United States. These regions are home to the greatest diversity of plants on the planet. Most of us are aware of papaya, banana, cacao, coffee and rice which are grown in these areas. But other, lesser known plants such as jackfruit, fluted pumpkins, and dragon fruit are showing great promise as they have high nutritional value and are well adapted to grow in soils unsuitable to other vegetation.


Tropical Greenhouse


During your travels, be sure to look for pumpkins and squash shaped like Mickey Mouse. This bit of Disney magic is achieved by placing a plastic mold around the budding vegetable and forcing it to grow into this famous shape.


Mickey Mouse Shaped Squash


Our journey next takes us to the Aquacell. This section of the tour introduces us to fish farming where we learn that more than 200 species of aquatic animals are grown today in tanks like these and man-made ponds. Cultivated fish account for almost fifty percent of the seafood consumed around the world. The Land pavilion grows about 5,000 pounds of fish each year. Much of this is served at various Walt Disney World restaurants.

If you’re wondering why this area is bathed in red light, it’s to help prevent the growth of algae.


Aquacell

Aquacell


In the Temperate Greenhouse we learn that cross breeding has created plants that are more resistant to disease and insects. Some of these hybrids can even survive where water and nutrients are in short supply.

Drip irrigation is also displayed in the Temperate Greenhouse. Here, the exact amount of water and nutrients needed to grow perfect vegetables are delivered to each plant individually. This produces higher yields with less impact on the environment.

This room is also where you’ll find the nine-pound lemons. Imagine the pitcher of lemonade one of these fruits could produce.


Drip Irrigation

Nine Pound Lemon


In the Production Greenhouse we’re introduced to more innovative farming methods. Lettuce is grown by using the Nutrient Film Technique. This system uses a thin film of nutrient solution that flows through plastic channels containing no solid material. In time, root matting develops in the shallow stream of recirculating solution. Disney grows over 27,000 heads of lettuce a year with this system.


Lettuce


The “tomato tree” was developed by Chinese scientists. These plants live longer than traditional tomato plants and produce significantly more fruit. One of The Land’s tomato trees lived 16 months and produced 32,194 tomatoes with a total weight of more than 1,151 pounds.


Tomato Tree


The final phase of our tour brings us to the Creative Greenhouse. One of the farming techniques seen here is the Integrated Aquaculture System. This method combines hydroponic crops with an aquaculture system populated by fish. The plants’ roots are bathed by the nutrient-enriched water from the fish tank. The water is cycled through a series of filters before it is circulated through the plants and returned eventually back into the fish tank.


Integrated Aquaculture System


Another innovative growing method suspends plants in the air. The plants are moved through a chamber by a conveyer system where nutrients are sprayed on the exposed roots. As the plants continue their journey, excess water drips into the rocks below where it’s collected and reused.


Plant Conveyer System


Many of the vegetables grown in the Living with the Land attraction are served in the Garden Grill Restaurant located on the entry level of the pavilion. This rotating restaurant revolves every 45 minutes and offers views of the rain forest, desert, and prairie scenes experienced at the beginning of the boat ride. This eatery has gone through several name changes over the years. Originally it was called the Good Turn Restaurant. On May 2, 1986 it reopened as the Land Grille Room. And on November 16, 1993 it became the Garden Grille.

Open only for dinner, the Garden Grill offers family style dining featuring grilled beef strip, turkey breast, sustainable fish, and a variety of side dishes. Being a character meal starring Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale, reservations are strongly suggested.


Garden Grill Restaurant


If you arrive at Epcot first thing in the morning, you might want to make The Land your first destination. Grab a FastPass for Soarin’, then experience the Living with the Land attraction and see The Circle of Life movie. By the time you’ve done both, your FastPass will be ready and you can go hang gliding over California.

If you find that the Living with the Land attraction only whetted your appetite for this type of information, you can learn more by taking a backstage tour called “Behind the Seeds.” This excursion takes small groups on a walking tour of the greenhouses with a knowledgeable guide who can answer many of your questions. The sign-up desk is located near the entrance to Soarin’. There is a small fee for this tour.


Behind the Seed Sign-up Desk


I took the Behind the Seeds tour a couple of years ago and you can read my review by clicking here.

Mike Bachand took this tour in May and you can read his review by clicking here.

As usual, I have created a video of the Living with the Land attraction. Even with editing, it is rather long running at 13 minutes – I wanted to capture the entire ride. I hope you enjoy it.




The previous post in this blog was Via Napoli.

The next post in this blog is Coronado Springs Resort -- Part One.

Comments (48)

Kirsty Butler:

Thanks for another informative blog! I really love this ride, and was very disappointed last year when it was closed during our visit. I like to see how new techniques are being developed and how they help provide for some of the wonderful meals we all have at Disney World. Can't wait for the next visit!!

kelley:

Thank you so much for your blog and video. I really appreciate your hard work. I think all of your videos are incredible! I enjoy watching them and they help to hold me over until my next trip!
Thank You!

Elizabeth:

Hi Jack,

Thanks for another terrific blog. Last time I was on this attraction was back in 2002 on our first family trip. I completely forgot about the first part of the ride. This is an attraction that will be on the must see list for the next trip.

Thanks again!!

Kel:

I love Living with the Land. It is one of my favorite attractions at Disney World. Every time you go, there is something different in the Greenhouses. I feel like a lot of people skip over it, which is very unfortunate. Thanks for showcasing it!

Jen Tremley:

Nice job as always with the blog and video Jack! I just watched that video and felt like I just got off the ride. Believe it or not this is one of my favorites at Epcot. You are learning things, but its fun in the process.

Thanks again and keep up the great work!

Suzie:

I love Living with the Land! I have to ride it at least once each time I go to Epcot. Thanks so much for reminding me of it during a hectic time at work.

BTW, who is the narrator in the first part of the tour (during the rainforest etc. part)? The voice sounds familiar, but I can't place
it.

Jack's Answer:

In reality, my video is not completely accurate. Mike Brassell narrates the beginning section of the ride as well as the greenhouse section, but I was unable to get a good recording so I used an old recording. The woman's voice you hear is now only heard in the barn section where the video clips are shown. I never did find her name.

Dennis:

Thanks for another great blog. We took the behind the seeds tour last month and enjoyed it very much.

David Lizewski:

Just make believe....your a tiny little seed! My wife and I love this attraction. It's always a must do when we visit Epcot. Great work again Jack!

Jeremy Hunt:

Wow - thanks for doing a writeup on this Jack! Living with the Land is hands down my favorite attraction on Disney Property. My sound strange to some, but it's so interesting, and grabbed me the very first time I rode it years ago.

These days, even if we go to Epcot just to walk around and see the sights, this is the one ride I've got to stand in line for.

Great stuff as always - loved hearing some new details about this attraction.

Betty:

Jack,

Thank you for writing about another one of my favorite (and I believe underrated) rides in Epcot. I was always fascinated with the cultivating and farming aspect they introduce you to, and have always secretly wondered it the salad I eat comes from the tour!
When my children went to Epcot for the first time, everyone was telling me , "don't take the kids on that boring ride!" but they loved the ride! They loved to see how fruits and veggies grow, and the section with the fish.We rode it twice, and my son would not stop talking about it for weeks afterwards! Maybe the apple does not fall far from the tree! ( Sorry about the pun, )
Keep up the great work
Betty

Betsy:

I really miss hearing Listen to the Land when I ride this attraction. One of my all time favorite Disney attraction songs. Any idea if there are "official" albums out there that still have it as a track? I can get it on Mouseworld Radio every once in awhile, but I'd love to have it on an actual album. Great blog post!

I love this ride, and every time I have ridden it, there has been no waiting. It's a very relaxing and informative ride and I was able to ride it twice while waiting for Soarin' both times I noticed something different. That's the magic of Walt Disney World! Thanks for sharing your insights on this awesome ride.

As an aside is the Integrated Aquaculture System a fairly recent addition? I don't recall seeing it the last time I was there in Dec 2008, but I do recall that there was some work going on (behind the screens) towards the end of the ride. Is that where it is at? Looks interesting and I will definitely be checking it out when we go back in June.

Thanks again!

Ron Stalsberg Jr:

Thanks for another great blog Jack. We have been riding Living with the Land for years and always enjoy it. This is the type of ride that makes WDW so great.

Andrea Greco:

my daughter and I enjoyed this very much!!! We love this ride and felt like we were actually on it, only the smells were missing!!! Thanks for the tour!

Shannon :

Thanks for the great article Jack! Living with the land is one of my favorite rides in the World. My husband is a fantastic amateur photographer who loves to take pictures at all of the parks. On our last trip, he took pictures of some of the hydroponic and suspended plants growing in Living with the Land. Since the backgrounds are all white sand and green leaves, the fruits and veggies take center stage. We printed and framed the photos and they are now hanging in our dining room! It's a great but subtle reminder of our trips. If we didn't tell our guests, they'd never know they were Disney pictures!

Wendy Crober:

Hi Jack,

Great video and blog as always. I'm ashamed to say we've never been on this ride but it looks so interesting we will have to do it on the next trip.

Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Wendy

A. D. Johnson:

Here is an interesting note - a "hidden attraction" at Garden Grille. I hope it is still there. As the restaurant rotates, there is a point where it looks out over the "Living With The Land" farmhouse scene. There is an upstairs bedroom in the farmhouse which can only be seen from the restaurant as it rotates around. It's a kind of neat little detail.

A.D. Johnson
-Littleton, CO

Jeff:

Another great blog, Jack. Just curious...have you ever thought about writing one on Discovery Island or River Country?

Jeff

Peggy:

I think it would be helpful for families with small children to mention that strollers are not allowed in this building. They have to be parked outside in a designated area.

There is only one elevator to get to the lower floor, which is frequently busy.

If you arrive at park opening, there is quite a "mob" of people that rush to Soarin. If you have small children, it can feel like you are being trampled. My toddlers are afraid of the escalator, and slow on the stairs, and we felt like we were being rushed down the stairs by impatient people. Just thought other parents would find this information helpful...

Deb Ragno:

Don't I remember that there is something significant about the dog in the scene with the house?

Jack's Answer:

I've read that the dog in the farmhouse scene is a duplicate of one of the dogs in the Carousel of Progress attraction. But since I could not verify this information, I did not include it in my blog.

Tim:

Another great post, as per usual, about one of our favorite unsung attractions!

How did you find out that Mike Brassell did the narration? It's always great to find out the real names of the really-real people behind those familiar voices, largely because so many go uncredited.

Jack's Answer:

I learned that Mike Brassell was the narrator on Wikipedia. However, since this webpage often has misinformation, I checked Mike's page and was able to verify he's don't narration for Disney.

Becky Norman:

Thank you...you did a fantastic job :) I love this ride, and since I have not been to WDW in 3 yrs, this was a joy to experience!
Becky*

Adam August:

The views of the ride reminded me of the Land's private lounge, accessed by elevator, that for a year or so was opened to annual passholders. It was a great place to cool off, relax and grab a free soft drink. Its windows overlooked a portion of the boat ride. A shame it's not still accessible.

Hermes Chiong:

Hi Jack,

Were did you find out about the prince an princess in the frost?

The Mission: Impossible twist was very unexpected but clever.

Another great blog!

Hermes

Sue and Jerry Ziolkowski:

We missed riding this last year as it was closed for refurbishment, we can't wait to ride it in December to see what enhancements have been made. It was a great ride before they closed it but there is always new technology to be added. We have taken many a picture and it has benefited our children as thy do projects to look back and tell a story for their reports about this attraction. This is a must see for our family. Thanks for the wonderful job of narrating this and showing so many interesing features we have missed.

Ann:

Awesome video!!! It's nice to revisit this ride and bring back the sights and sounds of one of our faves at the World!! I am usually hindered while trying to videotape since I have 4 kids chattering constantly :-) Thanks so much for posting this!!!!

Jeff Farrell:

The female narrator is Marsha Mason.

Noreen Rachuba:

Jack:

I believe the woman's voice that you are referring to is that of actress Marsha Mason.

dusty cheatham:

good afternoon MR. PHELPS the tile in question is aaaaahh!!! bang bang. another good one jack.

"The Disney Fanatic":

Thanks again Jack for another great blog! This attraction ia a family favorite for my wife, my son, and I.

Nathan P.:

Love the blog Jack! Long time reader, First time commenter.

I have had everyone in my house staring at that mural picture and nobody can see a prince and princess. Can you help us out with this or were you just pulling our legs?

Jack's Answer:


This is not a gag. The prince is on the right leaning over the princess on the left who is leaning backwards. It appears that they are kissing. I hope you can find it now.

Kimberly :

Hi Jack!

Great article! I love this ride! It is one of my favorite rides and must do every trip.

scoodo:

I don't know if it's just me, but every time I ride Living with the Land (which is one of my favorite rides in all of WDW), I want to go home and plant a garden and eat healthier. One might think that was intentional...

DavidW:

Great blog! Living With the Land is one attraction we always make sure to do whenever we visit Epcot. Last May, we took the Behind the Seeds tour for the first time and loved it. It was a great way to find out more information about the technologies that Disney is using to keep this greenhouse running efficently. Without ruining the experience for others too much, the thing that impressed me the most was how inexpensive some of these technologies are. Simple items that can be purchased at your local hardware store would be enough to replicate some of these feats in your own backyard. Once again, Disney seems to have the inside track on newer, viable technologies.

Thanks for the great blog, my wife and I love this ride. Do you have any idea where I could get some of those Mickey molds for the vegetables? I have quite the garden and some of those would be just great. Thank you.

Jack's Answer:

To my knowledge, the Mickey Mouse molds have never been sold to the public. I'm fairly certain they are custom made in backstage shops.

Jason Simpson:

Great Blog!!! I must say though, my wife and I are extremely disappointed that cast members no longer narrate the ride. It gave it much more of a personal feeling.

Disney is seeming to be going this route more often now because they did this on the Backlot Tour in Hollywood Studios as well.

Sometimes the cast members have some really cool information that you will never hear from something prerecorded.

mander:

Are you sure that house is fron turn of the 19th century? Maybe turn of 20th.

Hi Jack,

No matter how many times we go to Epcot, we always ride Living With The Land.

One reason, you can always get right on late at night so there is no waiting in line.

We really enjoy the environments you go through and the nice smooth boat ride (until you get to the end).

I'm really sorry to hear about your "Brown Thumb". You might want to see someone about that.

Rob Dickinson:

Another awesome blog Jack! I love the Land pavilion but I must admit the first couple times I was to WDW I passed it by. I thought "Who wants to see a greenhouse?" but boy was I wrong. There is soooo much more to this pavilion and I think above all others this is the closest to walking right into one of Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Disney" episodes that focus on the future like in the "Tommorrowland" DVD set. We plan to do the "Behind the Seeds tour" on our next trip down!!

BTW any clue where I could find a copy of the "Listen to the Land" song/soundtrack?

Thanks!!

Rob

jeanie:

I've always loved the Land boat ride. I've been on a quest for years to find those mickey shaped forms so that my garden can 'earn its ears'.

Any chance that you know where I could get a few of those? My tomatoes will taste better if they are Mickey shaped!

Jack's Answer:

To my knowledge, the Mickey molds are custom made for the Land Pavilion in the backstage shops. I don't believe they have ever been sold to the public. My only suggestion is to contact Disney General Information and see if they know someone you can write to. Their number is 407-824-4321 ext 0.

Lisa:

Hi Jack! Great blog as usual. This is one of my DD and my favorites. She's only 12 but has taken to Epcot like wildfire and it's her favorite park - with LWTL being one of her favorite things to do. Not only does she learn about what we can do to help the Planet, etc but she gets a boat ride in the process.

Sad thing though as you mentioned this has no corporate sponsor at this time - are there any companies considering becoming the sponsor?

Jack's Answer:

I have heard nothing about a future sponsor, but I'm sure Disney is on the lookout. These pavilions are expensive to operate and I'm sure they would appreciate some financial help. However, Disney is particular who they would choose. It would have to be a company that represents "land" or "food" in some way. For instance, a farming conglomerate would be a good match whereas IBM would not.

Janet:

Great video! can't wait to go 42 more days!

Randy:

My wife and I enjoy your blogs. When we can't be at Disney, your blogs take us there. There entertaining and informative.

Wondering what type of video and still cameras you use.

Thanks for the "Minnie" vacations.

Been there and goin' back !

Randy

Jack's Answer:


For video I use a Sony XR500V High Definition Camera. However, the videos I upload for Allears are not HD. I also us a wide-angle lens.

For still pictures I use a Nikon D80 with a Nikkor 18-200 zoom lens.

Steve B :

One of the first things I do when I get to the World is ride Living With The Land. I get into the back of the boat and hear the music and as we start to move I know now why Disney is the most magical place on Earth!

Laura G:

This was awesome! It was so nice to be able to listen to the entire presentation! I'll know and appreciate it even more now when I go in 22 days!

Loyemarie:

My daughter just finished a one year professional internship at The Land working in the research greenhouse and conducting the Behind the Seeds tours. She did NOT want to leave, but school beckons! If your child has interest in horticulture, aquaculture or entomology have them apply! It was a one-of-a-kind experience!

Jen:

I love LWTL....nice slow pace on a hot, crazy touring day. The first time my 4 year old daughter rode, she really didn't want to (boats going into a dark space...) and the cast member gave her a flashlight, and then she was hooked! They have several yellow flashlights on the podium of the cast member who loads the boats, you just have to ask to borrow one if you have a nervous child.

Alexandra:

Hey Jack, I love your blogs... You're the best!

Wondered if you could tell me where I can find the music (or who is it by?) when you enter the barn during the Land. It's got a great blue-grassy sound.

Thanks much!
Wish I could go to Disney with you one of these days!

Jack's Answer:

Without going on this attraction and listening specifically to the music, I'm not sure of the answer. However, I believe it's just a bluegrass rendition of "Listen to the Land."

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 12, 2010 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Via Napoli.

The next post in this blog is Coronado Springs Resort -- Part One.

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