BEST AT­TRAC­TION LIV­ING WITH THE LAND

WDW Magazine - - The Best Of WDW - BY DANNY SHUS­TER

Lo­cated within the Land Pavil­ion at Ep­cot, Liv­ing With The Land is a per­sonal fa­vorite of mine. It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing ride that helps cap­ture some of the orig­i­nal in­ten­tions Walt Dis­ney had when en­vi­sion­ing his Ex­per­i­men­tal Pro­to­type Com­mu­nity Of To­mor­row.

Ep­cot as we know it to­day is not ex­actly what Walt had in mind—but it is rides like Liv­ing With The Land that still man­age to cap­ture the essence of Walt’s orig­i­nal dream for his EP­COT.

The Land Pavil­ion is ac­tu­ally a 43,000 ft² (0.4 hectares) re­search fa­cil­ity. In ad­di­tion to hous­ing Soarin’, Cir­cle of Life: An En­vi­ron­men­tal Fa­ble, Liv­ing With The Land + The Be­hind The Seeds Tour, Sun­shine Sea­sons and the Gar­den Grill restau­rants, there are also large sec­tions of the Pavil­ion rarely seen by guests, ded­i­cated to hor­ti­cul­ture re­search in hy­dro­pon­ics, ir­ri­ga­tion meth­ods, and more.

The Liv­ing With The Land ride gives park guests an op­por­tu­nity to get a glimpse at some parts of the this hor­ti­cul­tural re­search cen­ter, and see the unique and in­no­va­tive work that Dis­ney is pur­su­ing in both crop de­vel­op­ment and agri­cul­tural re­search.

The ride is di­vided into two parts. Guests board a boat—sim­i­lar to the “it’s a small world” ride ve­hi­cles—and em­bark on a gen­tle ride to learn about the past, present, and fu­ture of how we grow our food. With no height re­quire­ments, it is a per­fect for the whole fam­ily. It is also wheel­chair ac­ces­si­ble, although guests trav­el­ling in an ECV will have to trans­fer.

The first part is a “dark ride” style jour­ney where an on­go­ing nar­ra­tion ex­plains some of the ba­sics of how na­ture, along with an­i­mal and hu­man in­ter­ac­tion cre­ates dif­fer­ent types of grow­ing en­vi­ron­ments all over the globe. It also gives a lit­tle bit of his­tory on how we have grown food in the past.

The real fun starts when we move onto Part 2 of the ride, which gives guests a chance to see into the work­ing re­search fa­cil­i­ties that Dis­ney has in­side the Land Pavil­ion known as the “Liv­ing Lab­o­ra­tory.”

As you travel through this Liv­ing Lab­o­ra­tory, you will see plants and crops that are both fa­mil­iar and also quite strange. You’ll see ex­am­ples of in­no­va­tive plant­ing and grow­ing tech­niques that al­low for greater crop yields while us­ing less space and fewer re­sources.

Big­fat­panda Liv­ing With The Land Ride - Ep­cot - Land Pavil­ion Boat Tour - Fruit & Veg­eta­bles - Dis­ney World

You’ll travel through an aqua­cul­ture fa­cil­ity where you’ll learn about farm­ing fish, and get a chance to peek into the state-of-the-art lab fa­cil­i­ties that are used by Dis­ney and USDA sci­en­tists who are study­ing crop im­prove­ment.

Keep your eyes sharp dur­ing the ride be­cause in ad­di­tion to fun food odd­i­ties like enor­mous lemons (think bas­ket­ball-sized) or plants grow­ing up­side down, there are also TONS of hid­den mick­eys through­out.

If you re­ally en­joy this ride and want an even more in-depth ex­pe­ri­ence, you can also check out the Be­hind The Seeds tour. There is an ad­di­tional charge for this ex­pe­ri­ence but it gives guests the op­por­tu­nity to go right into the green­house fa­cil­i­ties and learn all about the work and re­search be­ing done there. The tours hap­pen pe­ri­od­i­cally through­out the day and you can sign up at the desk near the en­trance queue for Soarin’.

Most of us prob­a­bly don’t take much time to stop and think about where our food comes from or how it is grown de­spite how im­por­tant it is to our lives. Liv­ing With The Land of­fers an ac­ces­si­ble and in­ter­est­ing win­dow into the com­plex and ever-chang­ing na­ture of how we grow and con­sume food.

I also think it’s re­ally cool that when you eat at Sun­shine Sea­sons or The Gar­den Grill that some of the pro­duce comes from these same green­houses. The toma­toes you saw grow­ing up­side down on the ride could very well end up in your next salad!

Liv­ing With The Land will def­i­nitely give you some food for thought!

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