Living with the Land is an indoor boat ride in two parts. The first half is a classic dark ride through a variety of natural habitats from our favorite planet, Earth. The second half floats through a working greenhouse where you’ll learn about the latest agricultural technologies. Hop aboard and ride with us – but if you’d rather float along to the whys, wheres, and hows, here’s your shortcut.
1. You’ll learn about our relationship with the Land.
Living With the Land isn’t “just another boat ride” at Disney World. In the dark ride portion, you glide through different forests, a desert, and the American prairie. Sound and lighting effects combine with heat, wind, and mist to give the feel of what real conditions in each of the scenes would be like. Our relationship with our environment and the impact we’re having on our planet are brought to life in a way that stimulates some serious thought about current-day conditions.
The second part of the ride takes you through a working greenhouse and Aqua cell. The Aqua cell demonstrates new techniques to cultivate fish as we seek to ensure an ongoing supply of food. The greenhouse grows crops using the latest agricultural technologies—and the produce grown there is used in restaurants throughout Walt Disney World.
Exhibits in the greenhouse change frequently. For the Christmas Holiday Season, Living with the Land is decorated with beautiful lights. The boat ride lasts about 14 minutes.
2. What the back“ground” is (get it)?
Living With the Land was an opening day attraction for EPCOT on October 1, 1982. The ride was originally envisioned as a dark ride called Blueprints of Nature. Guests would meet a character called the Landkeeper who would take them on a hot-air balloon trip through the four seasons and various biomes in greenhouses. When Kraft signed on as a sponsor, the concept changed to a boat ride – and the Landkeeper was turned into the Dreamfinder at the Imagination attraction. The dark ride/greenhouse parts of the ride took on the shape and content we know today.
On opening day, the ride had a different name. It was then called “Listen to the Land,” and featured a song of the same name. It included an opening sequence, “Symphony of the Seed,” a fun presentation about how plants grow. In 1993, this was replaced by the thunderstorm scene we have today as the attraction was retooled and renamed “Living with the Land.” Since its opening, Living with the Land has been sponsored by Kraft (1982-1992), Nestle (1993-2009), and Chiquita Brands International (2011-present).
3. You can sign up to go Behind the Seeds!
As you ride through the greenhouses, you may see Cast Members and guests wandering about. They’re taking the Behind the Seeds tour. It’s a one-hour, reasonably priced tour for those who want to learn even more about the Land. Plants, fish, insects, and the innovative agricultural techniques being developed are explored in greater depth.
The tour is offered several times a day. You can book ahead of time, or if you stop by the desk next to the entrance of Soarin’ you may find a spot open on the same day. If someone in your family is interested in plants and agriculture (like someone in our family is) I know the tour will ex-seed your expectations! You can read more about it: Backstage Tours: Behind the Seeds Edition.
4. The Lands has its secrets, too.
You know how much fun we have “digging” up some fun facts that might otherwise remain underground. For example, as you drift past the farm scene, there’s a mailbox with the number 82 on it. As with all things Disney, this isn’t random, but was intentionally chosen as the house number. It’s the year EPCOT and Living with the Land opened.
In the desert scene, you’ll see buffalo and prairie dog animatronics (there are 35 animatronics in the ride). These animals were originally intended for use in a never-developed attraction in the Magic Kingdom called Western River Expedition. When that space was utilized for Pirates of the Caribbean instead, the animals were stored until used in Living with the Land. Waste not, want not!
But my favorite “secret” of the Land is this. The animatronic dog in the farm scene looks exactly like the dog you see in Carousel of Progress. It also looks like the dog in the famous scene “give us the keys” scene in Pirates of the Caribbean. Why was this dog a favorite of Imagineers? The story goes that this pup was modeled after Walt Disney’s own dog.
5. The Nuts and Bolts.
Living with the Land is located in the World Nature section of EPCOT, on the first floor of The Land pavilion. The entrance is adjacent to Sunshine Seasons, making it easy to spot. Since Living with the Land is located inside, weather has no impact on the ride’s operation or those waiting in the queue. The queue itself is a series of switchbacks, passing by colorful murals and quotes about the planet and the importance of nature.
The boats are covered, each with five rows and a capacity of 3-5 guests per row depending on size. The seats are long hard benches with a back and there aren’t any safety restraints. To board, you need to take a moderate step down into the boat.
There’s a wheelchair-capable boat, but ECV users must transfer to a standard wheelchair in order to ride. Handheld Captioning and Audio Description Devices are available as well. There are no health or safety warnings for Living with the Land, and there is no height requirement, so everyone in your family can ride, learn, and enjoy.
Living with the Land is open for Early Theme Park Entry and around the Christmas season, it’s often available during Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. While this attraction offers Lightning Lane via Genie+, that’s probably not your best use. The line moves quickly and rarely has a long wait except perhaps during the holidays or around lunchtime when people jump onto it after a meal at Sunshine Seasons.
The Bottom Line.
We rate this attraction as not to be missed. Not only is it a fun way to learn a few things, but it’s air-conditioned and can make a nice respite in the middle of a long hot day at EPCOT.
Will you plan to ride Living with the Land on your next visit? If you’ve ridden, what’s your favorite part of the ride? Let us know in the comments below.