Walt Disney World : Epcot : Future World : The Land

The Land is Epcot's pavilion dedicated to agriculture, conservation, and the environment. It's a huge pavilion, covering 6 acres, most of which is behind the scenes. As you enter the pavilion, be sure to notice the mosaics on either side of the entrance - they depict the layers of the Earth, and are made up of over 150,000 tiles. Once inside, you'll find yourself on the second floor of the pavilion's Great Hall. Hanging from the ceiling are five model hot air balloons in constant motion, representing Earth and the four seasons.

Attractions

Living with the Land
Living with the Land is a 14-minute boat ride that goes through some of the pavilion's labs and greenhouses. It starts off passing by Animatronic-filled scenes of some of Earth's biomes, and then enters the growing areas. These include the tropics greenhouse (home to tropical crops like bananas, cacao, and sugarcane), the aquacell (lots of fish), the production greenhouse (vegetables grown for use in the Epcot restaurants), and the creative house (hydroponics and experimental growing techniques). Living with the Land is a Fastpass attraction; it's enjoyable, but probably not worth a long wait in line, so make use of the Fastpass if the line looks long.

Food Rocks
There's nothing like Animatronic singing foods to drive home the importance of good nutrition. Food Rocks is a 12-minute show featuring the likes of the Peach Boys and Neil Moussaka singing some reworked songs about nutrition labels and balanced diets. Fun for the kids, especially if they weren't enthralled by the hydroponics on Living with the Land.

The Circle of Life
A movie about conservation and the environment, starring Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba. Timon and Pumbaa are planning to open a vacation resort (although I'm not sure who'd sell land to a warthog...), but they're engaged in some questionable environmental activities like cutting down trees. Simba, always the good guy, reminds them that they need to respect the environment. Lion King characters for the kids, great cinematography for the adults, and overall a pretty nice way to get off your feet and into some AC for a little while.

Behind The Seeds Tour
Need more hydroponics? Look no further! Seriously, this is a great tour for gardeners or anyone else who wants to get a better look at The Land's facilities. The Behind The Seeds tour is a one-hour walking tour led by a member of the Epcot Science Team. Also, for a Disney behind-the-scenes tour, this one is uncharacteristically inexpensive; $8 for adults and $6 for kids.


Dining

The Garden Grill Restaurant
A rotating restaurant on the second floor of the pavilion that serves a variety of foods grown in the greenhouses. As you eat, you can look out on to the Great Hall and into the Living with the Land ride. When I first ate here in the early 90s, it was a great dining experience; since then, the restaurant has been converted to character dining, making it somewhat raucous. If you're looking for a peaceful meal, go elsewhere. However, if you have kids who are drooling over the idea of being visited by Farmers Mickey, Chip, and Dale during dinner, give it a try. The food is basic, but pretty good, and is all-you-can-eat.

Sunshine Season Food Fair
A food court area located on the first floor in the Great Hall. This is probably my favorite counter service area in Disney World, period. You have your choice of soups, sandwiches, pasta, baked goods, and ice cream available from different food-court style counters. The seating area is on the Great Hall main floor, giving you lots of stuff to watch (people coming and going, Living with the Land boats loading). Because so many of the ingredients are fresh from the greenhouses out back, the food is far superior to that at other WDW counter service areas. If you're looking for a quick lunch, or even an informal dinner, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this.

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