The Behind the Seeds Tour is one of those things I’d see at Epcot, each time we went on Living With the Land (back to when it was Listen to the Land) and always wanted to do, but never got around to it. Finally, last September, my newly local friends and I decided to fix that and I finally got to experience this wonderful tour first hand.
Most of the special tours Walt Disney World offers are well into the $50+ range, and the backstage ones can get up to over $200 per person. Having three children, that adds up quickly. Also, many tours are for ages 16 and up, so as not to ruin the magic for any younger visitors.
Back to Behind the Seeds; this tour is $18 per adult and $14 per child, and 15% annual passholder, DVC, Disney Visa, and military discounts are offered. If you have even a slight interest in gardening or horticulture, you will love Behind the Seeds. I had no idea that the cast members that give the tour are actually members of the Epcot Science Team, and really knowledgeable on the topics at hand. I just assumed all these years that they were just regular cast members, so that was a pleasant surprise. The tour groups are kept small, up to I believe 10 or 12 people, but it is still an undiscovered treasure, and our tour only had 5 people, including my friends and me.
The first stop is the Biological Control area. I feel like there should be a warning here for anyone squeamish about bugs, that there are some very icky videos shown of bugs in action, bugs that live inside other bugs and nest and all sorts of gross stuff like that. I’m not really a fan, but it was over relatively quick. Circle of life and all that. The point of this area is to teach guests about good bugs and bad bugs. Of course we all know ladybugs and dragonflies are good bugs, eating aphids and mosquitoes respectively, but there are many others out there, which can control pests that destroy crops and offer a natural alternative to toxic pesticides. It was great to learn that that is the preferred method in the Land greenhouses. At this time, we were all handed a test tube full of frozen ladybugs to hold on to. We were told we would get to release them later in the tour.
We then walk by the Biotechnology Lab, which is really just a look into the window where they are growing crops with different techniques. It’s also where they grow all of those little “Mickey’s Mini Garden” trees they sell out front.
Next, was one of my favorite parts of the tour. There is a plant which is touch-sensitive – it’s scientific name is Mimosa Purdica. We were told to touch the leaves of the plant, which instantly folded up! It was the coolest thing, until our tour guide bumped the pot the plant was in and ALL the leaves folded in. That was the coolest thing.
We then saw the hydroponic methods, elevated growing methods – which yields more fruit or vegetables, aquaculture, and then growing tea and spice gardens. It was such a wonderful tour – completely interactive – we got to touch things, feed fish, release ladybugs, try a hydroponic cucumber (yum!), and identify spice origins. You can also see how they make the Mickey-shaped pumpkins, watermelons, etc. but during our tour they did not have any on display that were big enough to look like Mickey yet. I always feel kind of bad for those veggies, forced to squeeze themselves into Mickey. But then, I’m silly that way, having grown up with Kitchen Kabaret and attaching feelings and emotions to my food groups. Check out some photos of what we did see on our tour in this gallery below:
I would recommend this tour in a heartbeat. You can bring children 3 and over too, just make sure they are well-attended as there are parts where you go near the water on the boat ride. Strollers are provided if you need them too. Most of all, it’s just really amazing to see the amount of time and effort Disney makes with these greenhouses. The fruits and vegetables are used in many Walt Disney World restaurants, which is even better!
For more photos of the tour, head to my Behind the Seeds flickr set. You can sign up for tours on the same day, at the desk to the left of the Soarin’ entrance. Tours are every 45 minutes, from 10:30 am – 4:30 am. You can also plan in advance by calling 407-WDW-TOUR. Behind the Seeds should definitely be added to your “Must-Do” Disney list, or even your Must-Do-Again list!