Living with the Land is located in the Land Pavilion in Future World at Epcot. It is no doubt one of those often overlooked and under-appreciated attractions that make Epcot synonymous with boring to many Disney visitors. Nevertheless it is worth the time to see it if only to be able to say you have seen it.
The ride has two distinct phases. The first is your standard if understated Disney dark ride, meaning you are in a boat riding past Disney created landscapes and animatronics.
The first scene opens with a thunderstorm in a forest and tell us the beneficial impact of even seemingly cataclysmic events. Next the guests pass through a rain forest as they are told that even though the rain forests are a small part of the earth’s surface they have a major impact. Then the American plains open up as the narrator informs everyone how the landscape was transformed by even simple things like the hooves of the buffalo. The final scene is an American farm house complete with goats and chickens. From this we are taught the quest for more efficient food production can lead to overuse and destruction of the land. We are offered a glimmer of hope as the narrator tells us we are now learning to live with the land without destroying it for future generations.
At this point the ride shifts gears to focus on the efforts humans are making to minimize their impact on the environment while producing the food we need to sustain ourselves. This is not a standard greenhouse though. The boats enter greenhouses where some interesting crops and techniques are displayed. The key word for these greenhouse is sustainability. The crops are grown and sometimes engineered to survive with minimal resources and produce maximum results.
In the tropics greenhouse guests get to see some familiar fruits and some new faces too. Each of these fruits are edible to humans and though some are not as popular as the banana (the most popular fruit on the planet, at least among humans) the others offer the possibility to help feed an ever growing human population.
Aquaculture is the next exhibit as the boats float past aquariums filled with sustainable fish. Not every animal in this area is fishy though. There are some alligators too.
In the temperate greenhouse guests will not see any fruits they will not recognize but they may be surprised at how big these common fruits can grow when given the opportunity. Several prize winners were grown here right in Epcot. Of special interest to lemonade lovers are the nine pound lemons grown here in the greenhouse.
The string greenhouse introduces guests to some innovative growing techniques such as nutrient film technique and vertical growing. Vertical growing makes plants, like tomatoes, look like trees.The Guinness World Record is held by a tomato plant grown at Epcot. It produced over 32,000 tomatoes! This greenhouse also houses some Mickey shaped surprises.
The last greenhouse is the creative greenhouse. Here the aeroponic technique is demonstrated. Instead of planting the crops in the ground it is suspended in the air and nutrients are sprayed directly onto the root. It works too. There is also a small display of NASA experiments created for long range space expeditions.
While this ride is a great science lesson is it worth it? To some it is and to others not so much but Grumpy enjoys it. Guests can get a Fastpass and enjoy a leisurely ride will getting some much needed rest from the rest of Epcot or its a good time filler while you wait for your Soarin Fastpass which is housed in the same building.
It is also interesting to note that over 30 million tons of produce are grown here for use in Disney restaurants and some of the seafood is produced here too.