Do you find yourself wondering how things work at Disney World? Me too! There are tours available that give you a peek behind the Magic. One of the most popular is the Behind the Seeds tour in EPCOT. This tour covers the backstage area of the Living With the Land attraction, as well as some of the onstage area that you can see from the boats.
Living With the Land is a sleeper hit at Walt Disney World. It is a boat ride that not only talks about sustainable farming, and all things agriculture, it shows you. The ride takes you through greenhouses with beautiful plants and vegetables, and even different species of fish, being farmed in new sustainable ways, and of course, you might see some Mickey’s along the way. The Behind the Seeds tour allows you to walk through the greenhouses with a knowledgeable guide, giving you a much closer look and some great information.
Part 1: Backstage
You arrive for your tour at a counter that is between the Soarin’ entrance and the Living With the Land Exit, in the Land Pavilion. The cast member will check for your reservation and give you a lanyard to wear that identifies you as part of the tour.
The tour guide will bring you to a backstage room where everyone will introduce themselves. Our tour guide had a degree in Bioengineering, so not only was he enthusiastic about the topic at hand, he was very knowledgeable and answered a large spectrum of questions.
As the tour begins, you’ll move into the Biological Control lab, where aquarium-sized tanks will introduce you to garden pests and solutions. Complete with videos, and live critters in the tanks, this part is mostly about bugs, but it’s not at all creepy.
As we prepared to go into the greenhouses, our tour guide passed out listening devices so we could hear him as we spread out a little in larger spaces. The devices are easy to use and comfortable even for my son, who is on the Autism Spectrum and has significant sensory issues. If the devices are not something you can use, as long as you stay close to the tour guide, you should be able to hear them without trouble. (It’s pretty easy to stay close enough to hear.)
The first stop in the greenhouses is an FDA research lab. If you’re there on a weekday, you might see scientists in action as they work on projects designed to further sustainability with agriculture. This is an area that is protected, so you will only be able to view it from a large window. You can actually see this window from the ride, but on the tour, you’ll be able to look through it and see what’s going on inside.
Part 2: Onstage Greenhouses
As you continue the tour, you’ll enter the spaces the ride goes through. The tour progresses in the opposite direction from the ride, starting with a large greenhouse that is predominantly plants and vegetables that you can grow at home. There just might be a little surprise tasting at this stop. Oh, and don’t forget to wave at the boat as it goes by.
As we walked through, our guide discussed the multiple species of lettuce used at many of the restaurants at Walt Disney World. Tuesday is harvest day, so maybe that’s a day of the week you’d like to visit. One thing to know is that since the plants change from time to time, you may learn slightly different things than if you took the tour in the past.
Next up, we moved into aquaculture and got up close and personal with the fish farming elements. I don’t want to have too many spoilers – but I suggest you volunteer to feed the fish if it’s part of your tour.
The final greenhouse was all about spices and includes the adorable and highly scientific Mickey topiaries. We played a game involving spices, and our guide took photos for us and answered questions. And, of course, we continued to wave at the guests on the boats.
All the Details
Most everyone can take the tour. It is an hour-long walking tour with one short time where we sat. Ages 3+ are welcome, so unless you have very young kids your whole family can go, and it is fully accessible. Guests under 18 need to be accompanied by an adult to take the tour.
Having said that, keep in mind that the subject matter won’t be exciting for everyone. But if this sounds like something that is your cup of tea, the next step is signing up.
The tour itself is $35 per guest, and Annual Pass and Disney Vacation Club Member discounts are available. At that price, you won’t be surprised to hear that although you need to enter the park to take the tour, park admission isn’t included.
Behind the Seeds runs 7 days a week, with tours leaving multiple times a day. The latest tour will be at 4:30 p.m., and the morning tours tend to fill up first. I recommend a morning tour during the summer months, as the greenhouses heat up throughout the day.
The easiest way is to start from the Behind the Seeds page on the Disney World website. (If you start in the app, it will take you to the page on the website.) Click on “Check Availability”, and you’ll be able to search a range of up to 10 days for available times.
Reservations open sixty days in advance. As I was searching through the dates, I saw that less than a month out, typically some dates and times are unavailable. However, if you are not fussy about the specific time it is often possible to book a tour on the same day. If you exit Living With The Land and are inspired to take the tour, the check-in desk is right at the exit. If there is a time still available on the same day, the Cast Member there will be happy to get you registered.
My family had a great experience, and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Living With the Land.
Have you taken the Behind the Seeds Tour? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!