Disney Backstage Tours

Epcot Behind the Seeds Tour Review, July 2014

Hi everyone!

I has been over 7 years since I last reviewed the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot. I have been talking about taking it again for the last year or two, and we finally did. I’m not sure what took so long! The tour hasn’t really changed much since 2007, except for the price. The cost is now $20.00 for adults and $16.00 for children, with a 15% AP, Disney Visa, or DVC discount. In 2007 it was $14, so the price hasn’t risen as much as I thought over 7 years. Jeff hadn’t taken the tour since it was free, and we will share a few vintage photos at the end of the article.

We will have a video in the next day or so from the tour and will embed it in this article

The Behind the Seeds Tour is found in The Land, near both Soarin’ and the Living With the Land attraction. I do recommend taking the boat ride before the tour, which will give a different perspective in the greenhouse. Some plants won’t be the same year round. One of the highlights of the boat tour is Mickey shaped pumpkins, but those aren’t yet there – they should be growing soon. We also didn’t have any ladybug releases on our tour, we were told those are more geared for kids now when it does happen. You can read my tour review from 2007 to see how similar the tour was, and how the ladybug release worked.

We did not book our tour before driving over to Epcot. Fortunately there were a couple of spots left in the last tour, which ended up being a full one. I recommend either booking prior to a vacation or stopping at The Land early in the day to see what openings are available. On the day we toured, there were 9 tour times ranging from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The tour lasts one hour, although ours ran an extra 15 minutes.

The first 10 minutes or so of the tour had to do with pest management. I didn’t take any photos, there wasn’t much of interest visually and I found that part a little slow. We soon ventured out into the greenhouse, stopping along the way to hear about Mickey’s Mini Gardens. Those are the little plants that guests can purchase to take a little bit of Epcot home with them.

It was a very warm day when we toured (in the 90’s), but the greenhouse didn’t get overly warm.

We passed by some cactuses. Guests are not to touch the plants in the greenhouse except for one or two of them (including my favorite plant).

Jeff posed in front of the boats passing by.

Plants being stacked vertically made a huge difference in how many plants can be grown in the greenhouse.

This is my very favorite plant, the sensitive plant or Mimosa pudica. My family had these growing in our yard in New Jersey back in the early 1970’s. When we moved, I never saw it again until my first Behind the Seeds tour. Touching it causes the leaves to close temporarily. This plant is in no way native to New Jersey, it is a tropical plant. I am surprised we had it in our yard! 

Before we had a chance to photograph a leaf closing, our tour guide shook the plant to show what it would look like in that situation. The beautiful plant folded quickly. It takes about 15 minutes to get back to normal, and we do pass it again at the end of the tour (and we took a photo of it closing there).

Next, we talked about plants growing in water. While we take quite a few Flower & Garden Festival seminars, I still don’t quite have a green thumb to do this type of planting. But we did try a delicious cucumber from the greenhouse. It tastes fresher than in the store. Guests dining in The Land may be eating lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and other food grown here.

Hydroponic Gro-Tank.

Our cucumber wasn’t shaped like Mickey.

Back when I took the 2007 tour, a Guinness Book record had been recently set for the most tomatoes harvested in one year from a single plant. While I missed seeing the plant up close by a year, it was viewable from the boat ride and I had the opportunity to see it many times that way.

There are tomatoes here, but it isn’t quite as impressive looking.

Lettuce is grown on these revolving contraptions.

I have a photo that looks almost exactly like this from 2007 – Epcot spelled out in lettuce.

A vintage photo hanging in the greenhouse shows Mickey in lettuce.

The tour is handicapped accessible, but guests have to transfer to a wheelchair.  Everyone on our tour was walking, and we received a break midway through to sit down for a few minutes. Cold water is available here too.

Watermelons and pumpkins are being readied for this area.

One of the most memorable plants on the Living with the Land ride is the 9 pound lemon. We were told that the plants would be moved.

The Living with the Land boat ride is one of my favorite attractions at Epcot. However, I noticed on MyMagic+, it is ranked with Soarin’ and Illuminations. That was a surprise. We did ride on the same day as the Behind the Seeds tour without Fastpass+, waiting about 10 minutes.

Mickey Mouse is nearly hidden in the plants.

Another Mickey can be found with this freshwater shrimp. I enjoy walking and riding through this area of the greenhouse, which houses alligator, fish and eels.

An American Eel was active.

Guests ride past alligators.

The greenhouse is full of hidden Mickeys, some of which can be seen from the boat ride.

Hybrid tilapia are being grown for consumption.

Bananas are grown here.

Another Mickey plant.

I believe this was a cocoa bean of some sort.

Different items were passed around for us to look at.

Guests travel around the greenhouse near the Dragon Fruit.

Pineapples can take 2 years to grow, but we were told that Disney can grow them in about half that time.

The greenhouse dome always reminds me of Spaceship Earth.

Spices are grown here, including licorice and black pepper.

We retraced our steps at the end of the tour, passing by the alligators again.

Our tour group follows the leader.

I mentioned that we would come back to the sensitive plant. Here it is, closing as it is touched.

We recommend the Behind the Seeds Tour! If you’ve taken it in the past, you will recognize the tour. But as the seasons change, the crops grown will slightly change too. We may head back in fall.

I never took the tour when it was free, but Jeff did many times. Here are some of his photos from about 20 years ago.

The Land was sponsored by Kraft, then Nestle. Now there is no sponsorship listed on the sign.

Eels were here, as were tilapia. That part hasn’t changed at all.

Cast Members used to narrate the boat tour, but it is automated now.

Some planting methods were different back then. Not as much has changed since 2007, but definitely in the last 20-25 years.

We look forward to heading back in the near future for another Behind the Seeds tour. It is the least expensive tour at Walt Disney World, and worth the money for anyone who is interested in plants.