One of my family’s favorite (and one of the least expensive) tours at Walt Disney World is the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot. We ride Living with the Land every time we’re there and it gives a really great overview, but there is nothing like walking through the gardens and really seeing how they do it.
The tour took us behind the scenes. We were able to view how they use natural ways to keep pests down. For example, they use ladybugs (lady beetles) to eat plant-killing insects. At about this time, I discovered I needn’t have worried about our son getting bored. He was given a very important job. Our guide handed him a vial of ladybugs to hold on to and was told to keep it safe; that he’d need it later in the tour. They had been kept cold and he loved watching them come to life as they warmed up in his hands.
We moved into the first greenhouse where they showed us how they use hydroponics to grow the plants. They even gave us instructions on how to do it at home! On our tour, they had mature cucumbers that we were allowed to try. I admit to having several samples. They were just so good! They also showed us the towers where they grow vegetables and edible flowers using aeroponics.
Another interesting part of the tour was the explanation on how they regulate the temperature and moisture in the buildings. Coming from Arizona, I was familiar with evaporative cooling, but this is on a grand scale. The entire wall on one side has water dripping down it and there are fans on the opposite wall to force air through. It’s difficult to explain here, but you’ll completely understand it on the tour and you’ll be able to feel how it works for yourself.
A great part of the tour was the VIP feeling. We could see the boats going by but while they had to move at the boat’s pace, we were actually able to walk through the gardens… well, sort of. We had to be very cautious to only walk on the path so we didn’t contaminate the soil with stuff from our shoes, even though we had walked through a “dip” on our way in. Anyway, it was great to see all the plants up close and learn more about unique ways Disney grows them such as the “tomato tree” and Mickey-head shaped pumpkins.
If you’re looking for something a little extra to do on your next Walt Disney World Resort trip that won’t break the bank, I highly recommend this tour. Not only is it educational for kids and adults alike, they made it a lot of fun! It got me so interested that I even started my own aeroponics garden at home. Who knows what you will do?
As of this writing, tours are offered nearly every day throughout the day for $16.00 for children and $20.00 for adults. To sign up, call 407-WDW-TOUR or stop by the Behind the Seeds desk near the Soarin’ attraction entrance in the bottom level of The Land Pavilion at Epcot.