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Behind The Seeds Tour Review

My wife, Julie, and I have long talked about taking the Behind The Seeds Tour in Epcot. Well recently, along with our good friends Mike and JoAnn, we finally got to take the tour. What follows is my review of the tour with lots of pictures to give you a good idea as to what you'll see on the tour. Keep in mind that this is a "review" and that you'll need to take the tour yourself to get detailed information about what you see in the pictures. OK, with that said, let's begin.

Here's a description of the tour as shown on AllEars.net:

Take a one-hour walking tour of the LAND greenhouses and labs. Tour greenhouses to discover over 60 crops from around the world, and see some of the latest techniques used to grow and improve plants. Watch as beneficial insects used at The Land battle pests that can destroy our food supply. Venture through the fish farm to see thousands of fish and alligators, too! Bring your cameras, and have fun!

Tours are led by a member of the Epcot Science Team. Flash photography and videotaping are allowed. Children are welcome, but must be supervised; strollers are provided for small children. Wheelchair accessible (guests in electrical wheelchairs need to transfer to push type). Safety and sanitation rules are strictly enforced in the greenhouses and labs. Covered, non-alcoholic drinks are allowed during the tour.

$16/per adult and $12/per child (3-9). Reservations can be made up to one year in advance.

Same day tour sign-up downstairs at The Land pavilion, near the entrance to Soarin'.

You can either call the WDW Tour office number (407-939-8687) to make advanced reservations or you can make them the same day at the tour desk right by the entrance to Soarin. I called and made advanced reservations for the 1:30 pm tour. However, lots of folks walked up and signed up for the tour that same day. I was told that most of the tours are not sold out and that the most crowded ones are the ones in the early afternoon.

In case you don't know, the Behind The Seeds tour is located inside The Land pavilion.

The Land sign

The Behind The Seeds tour desk is located just to the left of the entrance to Soarin.

Tour desk

Above the tour desk is a sign showing the time of the next tour.

Tour schedule sign

On the tour desk is a laminated sheet with all the information regarding the tour.

Information sheet

Signs of things to come.

Mickey

We were all given name badges to wear while on the tour.

Name badge

Once you have checked in with the Cast Member you are asked to wait in the area adjacent to the desk for the tour guide.

Waiting area

At 1:30 we were greeted by our tour guide Lisa. Just a picture of her name badge here but many pictures of her to come.

Name badge

We entered a "backstage" area through a door located by the Soarin Fastpass machines.

Backstage door

Surprisingly there were no restrictions on photos. I've taken other WDW tours and this is the only one where I was allowed to take unrestricted pictures.

Backstage area

The first stop was the Biological Control area. Here we learned about many of the harmful pests that Disney has to deal with and some of the things they do to control them. In particular, Disney uses other "good" insects like ladybugs instead of pesticides. Volunteers were given some ladybugs that they could release later in the tour.

Biological Control

Here tour guide Lisa tells us about pest control at Disney. She explained the pest Disney has to deal with and the "good" insects, like ladybugs, that they use to control those pests. Voulunteers were given a vial with ladybugs inside to be released later in the tour.

Biological Contol

Biological Control

Here we are on the move to our next location.

More backstage area

Our second stop with the Biotechnology Lab for Crop Improvement. Here we could only look into the lab from outside. It's a sterile environment that's used to test different growing techniques.

Biotechnology Lab

Biotechnology Lab

The Research and Production Greenhouses (Growing Innovative Ideas) is where we spent the majority of the tour. This is the area that you can see as you the the Living With The Land boat ride.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

My wife, Julie, was one of the volunteers to release the ladybugs. Here's she is gently letting them out onto the plant.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

All of the vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices grown here are used in WDW restaurants. Here we get to taste a cucumber that was picked that morning. It was very, very good!

Research and Production Greenhouse

Lisa explained how Disney uses Hydroponic Gro-Tanks. For those of you who don't know, Hydroponics is growing plants without soil. We were given directions to build Hydroponic Gro-Tank on our own.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Back to the tour.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

A look inside one of the grow tanks.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Pumpkins aren't the only vegetable that they grow in the shape of Mickey. Here you see a Mikey cucumber. Pretty cool!

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

If you've ever taken the Living With The Land boat ride you've seen that "tomato tree". Well, Disney holds a Guinness world record for growing tomatoes on a tree. Pretty impressive!

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

There were Mickey's wherever you looked.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Here's another Mickey.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

These guys are earning their ears. Seeing that always gives me a chuckle. When I was training to be a Concierge I had to wear one of those red "Earning My Ears" ribbons under my name badge. To see it on a vegetable is pretty funny!

Research and Production Greenhouse

We also got to tour the area where you see the fish and alligators. As with the vegetables, all the fish and other sea creatures are used in Disney restaurants. However, there was one exception; the alligators. Once the alligators reach a certain age they are given to an alligator harvester who does sell the meat and skins.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Here Julie is being very brave and feeding the Tilapia.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Lisa provides some information about teas and spices and then does a wrap-up of the tour.

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

Research and Production Greenhouse

We exited the backstage area via the same door we entered.

Research and Production Greenhouse

What a great tour! It was advertised as a one hour tour. But, much to our delight, our tour lasted an hour and a half. I don't think we could have had a better tour guide than Lisa! She was very knowledgeable, informative and personable. If you take this tour and get Lisa as your tour guide you'll be in for one great tour. Anyway, as I said, we had a fantastic guide in Lisa, the information was very good and, as for the price, it has to be one of the best bargains that Disney offers. I highly recommend this tour for adults. I don't recommend it for children as I think that they would be bored with it.

Let me know if you have any questions or please comment if you're taken the tour yourself and let me know your thoughts.

Finally, be one of the first people to hear when my newest blogs go live on AllEars.net by joining "DisneyMike's World" Facebook group.

Well, that’s all for now. As my good friend says “see ya real soon”….DizneyMike

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The previous post in this blog was DizneyMike's Disney Collection: Beauty and The Beast Playbill.

The next post in this blog is My Top Five Attractions In Each Walt Disney World Park.

Comments (37)

Mary Lee:

This was really interesting!!! I would love to see it!!!!!

DizneyMike replies: Mary Lee, well all you have to do is come down. You know you have a place to stay. Your loving brother...Mike

sandra shaw:

Mike this is one of our families favourite rides and we have talked about doing the tour We will now have to do the tour

DizneyMike replies: Sandra, the tour is a great bargain and a wonderful take. So, if you can do it I strongly recommend it...Mike

Reagan:

Mike,
That was a very interesting article. I have always wanted to take my father on that tour as he has always been quite a gardener. He is older now and can't walk far. I will have to talk him into using a wheelchair and go. Thanks for the interesting information.

DizneyMike replies: Reagan, this tour is wheelchair accessible, so no reason not to do the tour. You'll love it...Mike

dusty cheatham:

will not be able to do tour next trip in 2 weeks but in sept. will have to try it . looks like it was fun & intresting.

DizneyMike replies: Dusty, it was both fun and interesting. It's something that you should fit into one of your trips...Mike

Marilyn:

Enjoyed reading your post, as always.
We did this tour back before Soarin opened. Very interesting to read the changes. Back when we did it, we did not get to sample a food, nor did we release ladybugs. Perhaps it was a difference in the guide, but from your description - I think we may try this again.

DizneyMike replies: Marilyn, I think they've changed the tour since you last took it. I think you'll enjoy the changes...Mike

Josh:

I think I might have to take this tour! I would love to have a mold for my tomatoes...

DizneyMike replies: Josh, how cool would that be to have one of those Mickey molds? Thanks for the comment...Mike

Ashley:

My husband and I have taken the tour twice and love it! My husband is actually starting our own hydroponic tank based on the sheet we were given. I have to agree with not recommending children on the tour. Our most recent tour had a family with four children around 10 and under. While they loved releasing the lady bugs and feeding the fish, they were not amused with the rest of the tour! Being from Georgia with cotton fields around our area, we were fascinated by the tall cotton plants!

DizneyMike replies: Ashley, thanks for the comment. It is a great tour, but not for children. Good luck with the hydroponic tank...Mike

Josh:

Mike,
I just went out back to take a look at my garden...I planted quite a few cucumber plants since I like to make pickles. Well to my surprise I have "baby" cucumbers on the vine! I can taste them already!

The mold would be awesome!!!

We will be down in October and we just added this tour to our list of to dos thanks to your article!

DizneyMike replies: Josh, I think you'll really be happy with this tour. Lots of great information that you can bring back to help with your garden...Mike

Tracy:

Mike,

Great blog! Though I haven't gone on this tour, I've always wanted to! The Living with the Land boatride is always a must do for me and I'm even more convinced I must try the tour! Thanks so much!

Tracy

DizneyMike replies: Tracy, I hope you get to take the tour soon! Thanks for the comment...Mike

Darrell Shortt:

My wife and I took the tour last summer and we absolutely loved it! Our guide was a graduate student who had only been there three weeks. His specialty was entimology (bugs)and he was very knowledgeable. Our tour also lasted 90 min. It is fun to see the plants from the boat, but it is amazing to see them up close. Thanks for the memories.

DizneyMike replies: Darrell, glad to hear that you had a similar experience as I did. It's a great tour. Thanks for the comment..Mike

Loye Schulthess:

Hi Mike!
My daughter, Valerie, is a student at Brigham Young University - Idaho, and is interning at The Land. She works in the research greenhouses and also conducts these tours. She has been interning since last June, and will be finishing in about 6 weeks. She knows working anywhere else will be downhill from here! I love this tour, even though I am a bit biased ;-)
As far as the Mickey molds go - no dice on getting one. You'd have to make it yourself!

DizneyMike replies: Loye, what a wonderful experience for your daughter. I wish we had her for our tour guide. That would have been something special. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Dana:

We have taken this tour several times and it never gets old. My son enjoys going thru the greenhouse thoroughly!! One trip we even took the little cousins because my son wanted them to see how they grew the pumpkins and he wanted them to release ladybugs with him......the learning for kids is awesome! I'm sure we will return to this tour again and again with our kids as they grow -- until they say, "been there, done that".....we'll use it for an educational part of our trip!

DizneyMike replies:: Dana, thanks for the insight regarding children taking this tour. It's good to know that you can take children and have them enjoy it....Mike

Lisa Havens:

Mike,

Great overview of the tour. I took the tour last Dec and found to be very interesting to say the least. Also your review was great just like the one you wrote for the Disney Holiday D'lite tour we took last year. I am still planning for my upcoming trip this year and as of yet have not decided which one to take..so many to choose from. Who knows maybe I will run into you again and shre another bus ride.
Lisa

DizneyMike replies: Lisa, great to hear from you again! I hope all is well with you. Thanks for commenting and maybe I'll see you again someplace in the "world"....Mike

Julie:

We took this tour in April with our three sons (9, 7 and 5)and they were thrilled. My oldest had been asking for 2 years and we finally relented. We are so glad that we did. We too were lucky enough to have Lisa as our guide. She is wonderful! The kids released ladybugs, we saw the alligators getting fed and we all fed the tilapia. I would say if you know your kids and think they would be interested, then go for it. My oldest wants to do the hydroponic growth tank for his science project. We love Living with the Land and have been on it many, many times. It is definitely a must do for us so this was a natural progression. Thanks for the memories and I'll show your post to the rest of the family so they can enjoy it again.

DizneyMike replies: Julie, you're the second person to recommend this for children. Thanks for doing so! I hope your son's science project is a success. It's a great idea to do that. Good luck and thanks for commenting...Mike

Donna:

Hi Mike,

My 11 year old daughter and I took this tour last year. We were waiting for our Soarin fastpass that would be in 2 hours, so we decided to pass the time on this tour. It was much longer than 60 minutes! We had some farmers from the midwest who asked very detailed questions, which our tour guide answered expertly! I thought we would be bored. Surprisingly, my daughter loved this tour! She wants to go again this year! If parents are going to WDW during school, this is a great "homework" assignment that's fun! I do remember that my legs hurt at the end. Wear very comfortable shoes; the walkway is mostly cement and you do stand still for certain areas.

Thanks for such a great blog!

Donna, I like the idea about taking the tour as a homework assignment. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Suzanne:

We had planned on trying this last week, but simply ran out of time. It sounds as if maybe that was a blessing, as we had 3 6 year-olds. If hubby and I make it down in October, we will definitely make time for this. Thanks for the blog!

DizneyMike replies: Suzanne, well I do hope you make it down in October; it's a great time to be in WDW....Mike

Tina:

We did this tour in November last year, myself, my 14 year old son and 9 year old daughter. He had been wanting to do this tour for about 4 years and we just got around to it. I have to say that we all enjoyed it immensely and the tour had no trouble keeping my kids attention. They participated and asked questions. I think this is a great educational opportunity for kids that they will enjoy learning from. We also took lots of pics and had fun looking for hidden mickeys.

DizneyMike replies: Tina, thanks for the additional comments about children taking this tour. Seems that this tour is something that children will appreciate and enjoy...Mike

Cindy:

My mom and I did this tour 9 years ago and loved it. I wasn't thrilled with doing it at first; mom had to talk me into it. I was really impressed with what all Disney does behind the scenes. It was a great learning experience! We're going back next week and plan on going on it again. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes that you mentioned. My husband (who's never been to Disney) and my step-dad are also going with us.

DizneyMike replies: Cindy, I love doing Disney with someone who's never been. What fun it will be taking showing your husband the wonders of WDW. Have a magical time and thanks for the comment...Mike

Danielle Harmon:

Mike,

Thanks for the review. My husband and I have always wanted to do this tour but never did because our kids probably would not enjoy it, though they like Living with the Land ride. This summer we are going by ourselves, so I think this may fall into our schedule! Thanks again, the pictures were awesome!

DizneyMike replies:: Danielle, I think you and your husband will really enjoy this tour. I hope you get to do it....Mike

Kelly Adkins:

I took the Behind the Seeds tour on my last trip. I totally loved it. I had always liked the Living with the Land boat ride but to go behind the scene made the adventure even better. I was able to release my tube of lady bugs on the tomato tree. I give the tour two EARS way up for adults.

DizneyMike replies: Kelly, because I was taking pictures, my wife was the designated lady bug releaser. Next time it will be my turn. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Elizabeth Goodman:

Mike,
We have taken the Behind The Seeds tour in the past. At the time, our children were 9 and 14. Both of them truly enjoyed the tour. Living with the Land is one of my daughter's favorite things at EPCOT and this tour was very enjoyable for her. The children on our tour were given the ladybugs to release, and we all got to taste cucumbers, although they weren't Mickey shaped (nice touch). It's a great tour for the price, and our guide was very informative. We will try to do it again sometime in the future.

DizneyMike replies: Elizabeth, thanks for sharing that with us. Hope you can visit again soon...Mike

Michelle:

Loved reading about your experience. Our family took the tour this past February at the request of my 6 year old daughter (she's been wanting to do it since she was 4 - Living with the Land is one of her favorite rides). We were at WDW celebrating her birthday so we decided to grant her wish. She loved it and wants to do it again next visit. My 4 year old daughter enjoyed it as well (especially releasing the ladybugs and feeding the fish) so I'd actually recommend it for any children that have expressed interest in it. Some children may be bored by parts of it, but others may love it as much as mine did. I guess it depends on the child. Thanks for the review!

DizneyMike replies: Michelle, you make a great point. It really does depend on the child and the parents would know best...Mike

Mike NJ:

While it is an interesting tour, it all depends on the guide you get. We had one who was a college student working as an entomologist(studied bugs). While he was knowledgeable on the bug side of things, he was not as knowledgeable on the plant side. There were many questions asked he was not able to answer. All in all, we (including kids 15, 11 & 9) felt we learned something and that made it worthwhile.

DizneyMike replies: Mike, no question the tour guide makes a difference. However, I've found that most of them are really outstanding....Mike

Chris:

Glad to hear others who posted had a good experience on this tour with kids. We'll be at WDW in July and our family (with kids 13 and 7) really wanted to do this tour. We live on a farm and our kids are really into how things grow and creatures so we're hoping they'll enjoy it. Any idea how many times the tour is given each day? Haven't made reservations yet but might try to do so soon. Thanks for the great info!

DizneyMike replies: Chris, like you I'm glad that other have commented on children taking this tour. I believe that the tour runs every hour....Mike

Peter Ciarcia:

I took this tour with my best friend Rob on our trip last spring. Thank you for letting me re-live one of my favorite memories through your eyes. And I remember how delicious that cucumber was.

DizneyMike replies: Peter, glad you enjoyed the blog. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Terry:

I have 3 kids and had long wanted to do this tour. The Living with the Land boat tour is one of my favorites in EPCOT. The wife and I finally did the tour on a rare visit without the kids and our experience was just as Mike says here. It is a great tour for adults at a really cheap price. While my kids were jealous that we went without them, I do not think they would have enjoyed it. I did see a few kids on tours, taking it as an educational trip for school. Put in that context, it works wonderfully.

DizneyMike replies: Terry, thanks for the comment! WDW without children is a GREAT experience...Mike

Bev:

My Husband, myself and then 11 y/o son took this tour. My son loved it. Some children may find it boring but if they are into science and or horticulture I am sure they would enjoy this tour as much as my son did. It is definitely a fun and informative tour.

DizneyMike replies: Bev, I agree, as others have said it depends on the child. Thanks for the comment...Mike

Jellie:

I just returned from a trip to WDW where my family and I did this tour. I wanted to point out a minor correction though to your review...electric wheelchairs were allowed on the tour. We had both a scooter and a motorized wheelchair on our tour just last week. It was fairly easy for each of the people using them to negotiate the corners in tour, as well. However, the heat could be an issue for some, so water bottles are good idea. There was one small station for water about half way through, but that was it.
Overall, we loved it, but agree that it could be boring for kids. However, if one is looking for a school-related activity, and you have the right kids, it could be great. We didn't get to release any ladybugs during our tour though. :( I'm sorry we missed that part! Feeding the tilapia just doesn't seem as fun.

DizneyMike replies: Jellie, thanks for the update regarding motorized wheelchairs. That bit of information in my blog came from Disney's description of the tour. Seems they've changed things a bit (for the better). Thanks for the info and comment...Mike

Bruno:

Oh, that post has bring back good memories from the tour I had in November 2005, when I found myself alone because Mother was sick (don't worry, as it was only a cold and she enjoyed sipping on orange juice while resting on a hamac very much thank you!). To my surprise, I was the only one that booked it for this time slot, so I got to have the guide for myself, what a treat! My English wasn't that great at the time, being from Montréal, and it was nice not to feel like I was slowing the others if I asked him the meaning of a word. I told him that he didn't need to go with the usual spiel, so it was more of a conversation, which I really appreciated. With patience and quite a bit of pantomime, the energetic guide managed to educate and entertain me!

Thanks again Mike for making me relive this Disney experience!

DizneyMike replies; Bruno, what a great experience; your own personal tour! Sounds like you had a pretty special tour guide. Thanks for sharing that with us...Mike

Donna Talis:

I just wanted to comment that last year My husband and I took our kids 5 & 9 on this tour and they enjoyed it very much! They were the hit of the group with all of the attention. When they received their Disney Awards for Good Bugs Experts they werer thrilled. Yes, it is the best deal in Disney!

DizneyMike replies: Donna, that's the first I heard of the Good Bugs Experts Award. How magical was that? Thanks for sharing...Mike

Great review!

I took this tour in October because I was writing a paper on it for my Plants and People course at school. (Yep, that's the name!) We could write on anything involving plants, people, and something that interested us- so obviously that meant Disney to me!
I'm so glad I took the tour- the main reason was for my paper, but it was just such a fun time! I had a great tour guide, Darnell. I really loved the tour.

Oh- and I got an A on my paper. :)

DizneyMike replies: Katarina, congrats on that A. What a great idea to write a paper on this tour....Mike

Danielle Siebert:

I took this tour last May and we had a really good time. We decided to add it to all the other Flower & Garden things we were doing. Our guide was a college student majoring in Agriculture and was very knowledgeable.

Interesting Item of Note:
When we were about to enter the first greenhouse (outside going inside, after the Biotechnology Lab for Crop Improvement). I noticed a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride vehicle in a fenced in lot (to the left in front of me). There was also a Jungle Cruise boat. It is easiest to see when you are in the green house and look through the gap in the wall before you enter the next building in the green house. It thought it was very interesting that MK ride vehicles we around the green houses.

DizneyMike replies: Danielle, I didn't see any of that. Either I just wasn't very observant or they've done a better job hiding those things. Thanks for the comment....Mike

Heidi Baker:

My family went on this tour May 2009, we had a 3 year old and a 5 year old with us, they loved it! They got to release the ladybugs from the little jars and feed the alligators. We all enjoyed seeing how they make the vegtables into Mickey's head. Great tour and very informative. It is a tour for all ages!

DizneyMike replies: Heidi, thanks for the comment....Mike

Mary-Jane Deplin:

My family and I have been on the Living With the Land ride many times since our first visit to WDW in 1985. The kids were only mildly interested, my husband just went for the great music (which was changed several years ago), but I have always loved Living with the Land. Innovative growing techniques combined with environmental responsibility and a bit of whimsy (e.g. the many Mickey-shaped veggies)has made this one of my favorite EPCOT stops. Reading of your experience Behind the Seeds has me convinced that the walking tour is a "must do" on our next trip to WDW. This time we'll have grandchildren in tow!

DizneyMike replies: Mayr-Jane, you won't be sorry that you took this tour; it's a great take...Mike

Debra :

Great post! I rode the Living with the Land ride for the first time on my last WDW trip because frankly I figured sitting down in a boat for minute would be a nice rest. lol. I ended up riding three more times during my trip! It's a little gem. My friends tease me that when I talk about Disney I always mention it! lol. I ran out of time before I could catch the tour but will definitely do it the next time. Thanks for the great photos!

DizneyMike replies: Debra, glad you like the photos. You know, having places in WDW where you can get out of the sun and off your feet can be a "magical" moment in itself. And the Living with the Land ride is one of those places....Mike

Mary Jo Collins:

Thanks for the great review, Mike. I plan on doing this with my family in June. My 7 and 11 year old are fascinated by the Living with the Land ride, so I think it will hold their attention.

DizneyMike replies: Mary Jo, I agree, I think it will be fun for the whole family...Mike

Brittany:

Hi Mike!
I took my girl scout troop (20 of us total) a couple of years ago and they LOVED it! In fact it's one of the memories they all still talk about! We did 2 YES programs and they liked this even better than that! I called ahead and they were very accomodating. Since we had a large group and it consisted of mostly 7 & 9 year olds - they customized it just for us. I am not sure how much it would differ from the regular one but my girls were totally entertained with everything from releasing the ladybugs to tasting the cucumbers to feeding the fish. They also loved the touch & feel portion at the end. I would highly recommend this for any kids group - especially if you are trying to squeeze in something educationial! Thanks!

DizneyMike replies: Brittany, thanks for sharing that with us. You're a brave young lady to take 20 7 and 9 year olds anyplace. -:) Glad Disney was so accommodating...Mike

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 15, 2010 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was DizneyMike's Disney Collection: Beauty and The Beast Playbill.

The next post in this blog is My Top Five Attractions In Each Walt Disney World Park.

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