As I write this I'm currently sitting in Epcot's Innoventions. You know that building that used to be filled with fun activities, and now you can hear a pin drop in it? Of course, it is still a good place to sit and charge your electronics.
I'm here today to take the "Behind the Seeds" tour. It's that group you see walking around the "Living with the Land" boat ride in Walt Disney World's Epcot. The tourists that make you wonder, "How the goodness did they get back there?" Well, they are taking this tour.
The "Behind the Seeds" tour is one of Disney's most affordable tours. It won't cost your family a mortgage payment to take it. It's $16.00 USD for children and $20.00 USD for adults. They also offer plenty of discounts for things like annual pass holders. Keep in mind you do need a valid park admission to take the tour because it starts and ends within the park.
Disney does say it's good for preschoolers, kids, teens and adults, but honestly, unless your children are super interested in plants and agriculture they might be incredibly bored. That warning goes for adults as well. We will be going into details in a moment but at the most basic level, it's a tour of four greenhouses and a fish farm. If that sentence doesn't immediately make you excited, I would probably stay away. With that being said, if you are interested in agriculture and conservation then I would say 100% go for it. Now let me explain why.
You first check in on the lower level of The Land Pavilion. The desk is located right beside Soarin'. The tours run between 10:30 am and 4:30 pm and departs every 45 minutes. Make sure to check with Disney for confirmation of times during your vacation. They want you to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This is the second time I have taken this tour and both times I didn't have a reservation. On both occasions, I just walked up to the desk and got on the next tour. No problem at all.
The tour group size really seems to vary. My group only had three people but the group after us had at least 15. The group size could really change a guest's experience. The smaller the group, the more questions you can ask. Also, this tour is an hour long, and you will be on your feet the entire time. You don't walk far, but you should still wear comfortable shoes. Don't be one of those crazy ladies in the 7 inch heels walking around. We have all seen them and wondered what they were thinking. My feet get sore in running shoes.
Our tour guide Andrea picked us up from the waiting area, and we quickly walked backstage. I will take any excuse to go back there, so that really excited me. Once there, she explained she had just graduated from Oklahoma State University and she was an Intern at the center. She went on to explain she actually worked in the greenhouse, and that to me gave her a little more credibility. It means she wasn't simply reading from a script, and would have valid answers to our questions.
She asked us where we were from and what we were most curious about. My whole group was local annual pass holders, and everyone was just looking for something new to try.
After the introductions were done she moves us into the first room. There we discussed the bugs they use in the greenhouse instead of pesticides. She explained a few other things and showed us a small collection of tiny bugs. It was interesting but wasn't Tower of Terror exciting. I remember there being more to do in that room that last time I took the tour, but she had mentioned they made changes to the tour over the years.
We then moved back outside and were shown a large window. Inside were cast members working, and hundreds of plants growing in dishes around them. Once you get over weird stalker feeling of watching people from outside a window, it was pretty interesting. She explained they have a team of scientists working to improve our world. She pointed out different experiments happening in the laboratory. Obviously, they don't want tourists trampling through the lab so it was nice to have a little peek. It's the same lab you see when riding the boat ride. I don't want to give away her entire speech but she explained some really interesting growing techniques they use. It was neat.
We continue on through the greenhouses and fish area for the remaining of the tour. It was interesting seeing a closer look at the plants you sail by on the ride.
Also, Andrea did a fantastic job of explaining the process they use to grow the plants and the history of the greenhouses. You can really tell how much she cares about agriculture and conservation.
As we walked our way through the tour, she had plenty of hands-on demonstrations. We were even given a baggie full of cucumber slices to eat that were grown right on the property. Also at the end of the tour we had to give her back the empty bags because they recycle them. She explained they have a goal of zero waste. That's really admirable. It's something we should all aim for.
Speaking of doing things ourselves, Andrea even gave us a handout how we can create our own Hydroponic Tank at home. How cool is that?
My favourite part of the tour is when we got to feed the fish. Andrea gave us special food that we tossed into the tank together. The fish when nuts. It was fun.
The little extra touches really made the tour feel special. I've seen the fish tank a million times on the ride, but feeding them made you feel like a VIP.
If want to learn more about the plants you float by on "Living with the Land" then this might be the tour for you. But if the ride is something you have to be dragged on, it's probably not.
I wouldn't do this tour if you only had one day in the park, but if you have more time I recommend doing it. You will get to see backstage, learn something new, and have a unique Disney experience. I hope you will like it as much as I did.
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