Behind the Seeds Tour is one of Walt Disney World’s longest-running tours. The tour lasts just over an hour and is a backstage tour of the Greenhouses that make up the popular Living With The Land attraction.
Living with the Land(originally Listen to the Land) is one of EPCOT‘s original attractions, although several changes have been made over the years. Today, Living with the Land is a slow-moving boat ride consisting of a few dark ride components but mainly a tour through the Land Pavilion’s greenhouses. The ride’s focus is on agriculture and how innovations and technology can make it more sustainable.
What is Hydroponics?
The Land might be considered a misleading name for the pavilion. One thing you won’t see much of in the greenhouses is soil. Instead, all plants are grown using Hydroponics.
Hydroponics is the use of mineral-based water to grow plants instead of soil. You could consider all the plants to be “test tube plants.” The staff who work in the Land Pavilion are not your average farmer and are specialist scientists, including your guide for The Behind the Seeds Tour.
Hydroponics might sound like “space age” science, but it actually isn’t anything that new. Unbelievably, hydroponics was first mentioned in the book Sylva Sylvarum, published in 1627 and written by Francis Bacon. While the Land Pavilion might promote this as the future of farming, it is actually reviewing techniques first discussed in the Middle Ages. In recent years, NASA has done extensive hydroponic research.
Today, there are increasing numbers of commercial Hydroponic Ventures. The commercial viability of these ventures has been discussed at length, but successes are becoming more common. Increasingly, hydroponics is used to grow tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in greenhouses.
How much is Behind the Seeds Tour?
The Behind the Seeds Tour allows you to get a closer look at the greenhouses, see a few backstage areas, and learn more about the innovations used at EPCOT. Guests must be over 3 to tour, but the tour probably isn’t suitable for children under 10.
When Walt Disney World reopened, most of the usual Tours and experiences did not initially return. Slowly, many have returned, but fewer tours are still available in 2023 compared to 2020. However, one aspect that hasn’t been reduced is the price.
Tours now come at a significant premium, with Behind the Seeds costing $35 plus tax, but Annual Pass holders do qualify for a discount. Before the tour was postponed, the tour cost $25, and not too far in the past, it cost less than $20. There also is no longer a child discount. I do wonder how much the guide received!
Behind the Seeds is still Walt Disney World’s most reasonably priced tour despite the above figures. It is also the cheapest way for you to get into a backstage area unless you are fortunate/unfortunate to get evacuated from a ride. Unlike most other backstage areas, photographs are encouraged while you are on the tour.
What is included in Behind the Seeds Tour?
The tour is in several stages but starts in a backstage area with a short video and several display tanks. This initial part of the tour discusses garden pests and solutions EPCOT uses to control them. In my opinion, this was the slowest part of the tour. After this, guests are given digital listening advice, which they wear for the rest of the tour. The device allows you to listen to the commentary from your guide while exploring the greenhouses.
One of the first stops in the tour is a look into the window of the FDA Laboratory. Although you get a closer look compared to the boat ride, you are not allowed into the lab. However, you do learn more about the research getting done in the lab.
There is a short-tasting spot as you walk through the greenhouses and past the ride boats. On our tour, guests had the opportunity to taste some of the cucumber grown in the greenhouses. Food from the greenhouses can be tasted at several locations, including The Garden Grill at Epcot and Tiffins in Animal Kingdom.
During the walk through the fish farm, there was an opportunity to feed some of the fish reared at EPCOT.
There is plenty of opportunity to take photographs and ask questions as you tour. On our tour, a few guests were keen “amateur growers,” and they dominated the questions a bit too much.
Our opinion on Behind the Seeds Tour
Overall, this was an interesting hour spent looking at a backstage area of Walt Disney World.
Behind the Seeds Tour is the most affordable way to explore backstage at Walt Disney World; therefore, the tour is extremely popular. We don’t recommend the tour for small children and would suggest avoiding the tour if children are under 10.
We recommend the tour as an opportunity to do something different but suggest you book early, especially during busy periods.
Our Guide to Walt Disney World is a fantastic place to start your research for a Walt Disney World Vacation.