by Fancy Free Diva
If you’ve been on Disney blogs like ours, or if you live close enough to Walt Disney World, you may have noticed that every spring Epcot begins beautifying itself for the International Flower and Garden Festival. If you are a gardener, springtime is the time to be at WDW, as the International Flower and Garden Festival provides visitors with chances to tour themed flower and garden displays, learn tips and tricks for their home gardens, and listen to educational design presentations.
Even though the International Flower and Garden Festival has been expanded to 90 days this spring (2016), what if you cannot plan a trip during that time, but you still love gardening? Well, there’s still at least one terrific option for you that’s offered year-round: Epcot’s Behind the Seeds Tour in the Land Pavilion.
Unlike some of Disney’s tours, the Behind the Seeds Tour is really affordable. At just $20/adult and $16/children, this hour-long walking tour is designed to please everyone in your party. While this tour is handicap accessible, guests must be able to transfer to a wheelchair. Also, strollers are not allowed, so I wore Fancy Free Son (15-months) in our Ergo for the entirety of the tour. Note: You do need admission to Epcot on the day you plan to do this tour.
Diva Tip: If you’re an annual passholder, a Disney Visa holder, or a DVC member, you’ll be able to get a discount off these already low prices! We qualify for all 3 categories, but you only need 1 to get 15% off (as of July 2015).
When it’s time for your tour, you’ll need to make your way to the check-in desk. Note: You should check in 15 minutes prior to your reserved tour time. You’ll find the check-in desk in the lower part of the Land Pavilion, over near Soarin’ – it’s next to the little gift shop kiosk. You’ll really get the most out of the tour if you ride the Living With the Land boat ride before your tour. Jayship Earth does a fantastic job describing all of the ins and outs of this fun and educational attraction.
Diva Tip: You will be on your feet for the entire hour. My 4-yo who accompanied us on our tour was fine, but got tired toward the end. After the tour, we had dining reservations at the Garden Grill, one of our favorite character dining experiences. Incidentally, the restaurant serves food that is grown in the greenhouses below and features a slow rotation so that you’ll be able to see into the Living With the Land ride while you dine!
Once you check in, you’ll meet the rest of your touring party, usually a group of 12-15 in total. There were 9 of us in our family group, so we were joined by only one other couple the day that we went. The first step in the tour relates to pest management. There are lots of bugs here!
The pest management part of the tour was very scientific, and some people might think it could be boring, but the 4-yo, 5-yo, and 8-yo on our trip were fascinated by the bugs and asked our guide lots of questions.
Our next stop in the tour was the greenhouse. On our way, we passed the Mini Mickey Gardens. They are all cultivated in the Land Pavilion, so guests can take a little bit of Epcot home with them!
Even though it was a balmy 90-degrees outside, the greenhouse did not seem especially warm or humid. For the most part, you can’t touch most of the plants in the greenhouse, but you do get some amazing opportunities for up close photos.
While you can’t touch most of the plants in the greenhouse, there is at least one you can touch and one you can taste! That’s right, we got to sample a Mickey-shaped cucumber on our tour, fresh from the garden. While we were taste-testing the produce, we got to see the molds they use to shape the cucumbers into the classic Mickey shape.
This part of the tour was also focused on hydroponic growing, and our tour guide had photocopied handouts with instructions for building your very own hydroponic gardens at home using PVC pipes.
The plant we got to touch is not native to our home state in the Northeast, so our girls were fascinated by the morivivir (mimosa pudica). This plant is related to the Venus fly trap, and when you touch its leaves or shake its branches, it closes right up!
The “scaredy plant,” as my daughter called it, was one of the highlights of our tour, but it certainly wasn’t over yet. We left the greenhouse for the aquaculture area where we got to see the baby alligators and fish close up.
While some reviews of this tour report a ladybug release (the official Disney website also mentions it), we were not offered that opportunity (despite the presence of four children aged 8 and under!) Even without the ladybugs, this tour wa
s well worth our time and money. We learned a lot, and my mother, who is the gardener in our group, thought that this was one of the best things she had ever done at Walt Disney World! Our tour guide was knowledgeable, and it was really fascinating to see the flora and fauna of the Land Pavilion up close and personal.
To book the Behind the Seeds Tour, you can call 407-WDW-TOUR. You can also typically make same-day reservations by walking up to the check-in desk near the souvenir kiosk by Soarin’ in the Land Pavilion. Tours begin every 45-minutes or so and run from 10:30am-4:30pm every day. Of course, if you’d rather take the hassle out of your vacation planning, you can let Patricia of All for Dreams Travel take care of everything for you. Click here to find out how to get a quote.
***Disclaimer – We at Tips from the Disney Divas and Devos hope you enjoy reading our articles, and encourage you to share any you feel may be of interest to someone else. We do ask, however, if you choose to share the photographs attached to our articles, you give credit to the photographer. Thank you for your cooperation and sharing our love of Disney!