Behind The Seeds At Epcot Tour Review

The Behind the Seeds at Epcot is a guided one-hour tour through The Land pavilion greenhouses that house the Living with the Land attraction at Epcot. The tour costs $18 per person, with a 15% off discount off to Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club owners, and Disney Visa Cardholders, among other groups.

Unsurprisingly given the name and location, the Behind the Seeds tour focuses on the forward-thinking agricultural techniques utilized in The Land pavilion.  During the tour, you’ll release lady bugs, see gators up close, feed fish, sample cucumbers, and learn more about the growing techniques and nutrient cocktails utilized in Epcot.

Sarah had wanted to take this tour for a while, and given that it was only around $15 with our discount and only lasts an hour (ours was more like an hour and thirty minutes), I could offer little reason to resist. While I love Livin’ with the Land, my interest in a more thorough explanation of what goes on behind the scenes in the pavilion was very low.

Despite that, I loved the Behind the Seeds tour. It was interesting without being dry and pedantic and balanced the practical applications of these techniques at home (something that doesn’t interest me at all–actually, it scares me, as Sarah trying to utilize some of these techniques likely means more work for me!) with the broader scientific studies and theory behind some of what is being done at The Land. As mentioned, I know very little about gardening (and science, for that matter), so I have no idea if the experimental techniques utilized in The Land are still experimental, or if they were experimental in 1992. In either case, it was fascinating and new to me. I’m not sure that a botanist or alligatorologist would find the tour quite as interesting. For all I know, it might actually be quite superficial to someone actually involved in these fields.

To the casual theme park guest, though, the tour is outstanding. The tour is engaging rather than a typical lecture, as guests are allowed to touch things, release bugs, and sample foods, and our tour guide was great. On that note, a word of caution; the tour guide is pretty make or break for Behind the Seeds. Our tour guide was exceptional. She had extensive knowledge of the different areas of the greenhouses, was articulate, personable, and wasn’t afraid to admit when she didn’t know the answer to a question (which was rare). I much prefer that than someone making up an answer that sounds good.

She was a college student in the Professional Intern program (not College Program) who was relatively new at Epcot, and obviously was enthusiastic about what she was doing. As we finished our tour, we passed another group with a tour guide who seemed less articulate than ours. Had we taken the next tour, the tone of this review might be totally different. But we didn’t, so it’s not. Others have reported very negative experiences thanks to disinterested tour guides, which is something to keep in mind when considering this tour.

The content of the tour was interesting and kept my attention. If you have wondered whether this is an appropriate tour to hold the interest of your child, the fact that it kept my interest might be a good litmus test. Normally my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to wander at the first mention of things like “horticulture” or “hyproponics.” Not the case here, as the tone was light enough that it kept my attention throughout.

I found this in itself to be quite fascinating. Critics contend that little remains of the EPCOT Center that opened in 1982. They claim that Journey into Imagination is now the antithesis of imagination. The Living Seas aren’t nearly as alive now that cartoon characters inhabit some of their waters. World of Motion and Horizons are gone, replaced by thrill rides. Wonders of Life (not a 1982 attraction, but still…) is now the Wonders Retreat, a seldom used home for hard-ticket events during Food & Wine Festival and Flower & Garden Festival. Spaceship Earth now wants guests to “thank the Phoenicians” and play with touchscreens.

While I disagree with much of this (and think many changes were necessary to hold the interest of contemporary guests), I think it’s unquestionable that Epcot has captured the spirit of “edutainment” with the Behind the Seeds tour. Resist as I might, I found myself accidentally learning while having loads of fun on this tour. Going in, I fully expected it to be nothing more than an opportunity to take some cool photos while Sarah learned about gardening techniques. I was shocked to enjoy this tour so much.

Overall, Behind the Seeds is probably the best way you can spend $15-18 at Epcot. Even if your hobbies include deforestation, littering, and casual animal sacrifice, there’s a good change you’ll enjoy Behind the Seeds.

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24 Responses to “Behind The Seeds At Epcot Tour Review”

  1. Matt says:

    Thanks for the review. I have been eyeing this tour for some time. I think it was Like $10 a person when I was looking at it but it is still a bargain for a tour. Very insightful review. Kudos!

  2. Lindsay says:

    I’m so glad you two had wonderful Behind the Seeds experience! I hear nothing but good things about this tour, which gives me comfort that my apathetic guide was a one off. I normally leave tours filled with excitement, but my Behind the Seeds tour left me seething with anger. I have plans to re-review it in the future, but until then – I’m very encouraged by all the other positive feedback.

    Did you take this tour recently? Jan-Feb? I rode Livin’ with the Land recently and saw both this guide leading a tour with that same woman attending to the pumpkins with her booties on. I remember thinking how rare it is for me to see someone attending to the plants, and of course I’m always checking out the tour groups.

    Thanks for sharing the great review and wonderful photos (as always)!

    • Tom Bricker says:

      We did this tour last Sunday. I’d definitely revisit Behind the Seeds if I were you. On the upside, at least for your “bad” tour, you only wasted $15-18. That’s better than having a bad Keys to the Kingdom tour or something like that!

  3. Wendy says:

    Thanks for reviewing this tour! I’m considering it for our May trip. I would describe myself a lot like you did yourself (glazed over eyes, wandering mind), so the fact that you were so enthusiastic encourages me.

  4. Amy says:

    We did BTS back in 2009 and loved it. It was cheap for a Disney tour, we had an wonderful guide and it was interesting. Now we feel all smug when we ride Living with the Land :)

  5. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for the review and pictures. I am planning on doing this on our December trip.

  6. Nancy says:

    Thank you for posting – my family goes on Soarin’, leaving me to wander about, and I’ve wanted to go on this tour for a couple of years now… it’s a definite that I will this summer! Thanks again for the awesome photos! :)

  7. Kim says:

    My husband and I went on the Behind the Seeds tour back in September and had a fantastic time. It helped that there were exactly 0 other people on the tour, so we had the wonderful tour guide all to ourselves. Neither of us gardens or has much interest in plants, but we still found this tour fascinating. In fact, it was one of the major highlights of the trip for my husband.

  8. Dennis says:

    My wife and I took this tour in December and really enjoyed it. You can’t beat the price. I believe that our tour guide was the lady in your picture wearing the blue booties and pruning the hanging pumpkins. She was a U of F grad (Go Gators!) with a degree in entomology. Very knowledgeable and informative. If you enjoy “Living with the Land” at all, I highly recommend this tour.

  9. Melissa says:

    Thanks for posting this…I never realized how inexpensive this tour was. We broke the bank recently on the Wild Africa Trek (same week you guys were there I think)…and I’ve been looking for alternative, tour experiences that aren’t too, too expensive. This fits the bill (no pun intended). 😀

    • Tom Bricker says:

      Wild Africa Trek looks awesome, but it’s a little too pricey for us at this point! Was it as awesome as it looks?

      • Melissa says:

        It was awesome, I do think it should be at least $50 cheaper than it was though. They said a portion of the price of it goes to their Wildlife Conservation Fund, so…I am going to hope that was around $50 (prob not) and pat myself on the back for helping African Elephants. 😀

  10. sarah says:

    hubby and i went on behind the seeds for my bday at the end of december. we both loved it! our tour leader was fun and knowledgeable. i only wish that the tour could last longer! i highly recommend this tour to anyone who enjoys ‘living with the land’.

  11. JameeC says:

    Thanks for the informative review. I have reservations for the tour tommorrow. Not a gardening guy myself, but I was interested in seeing this area a little closer. I was worried pictures would be prohibited but the pics you posted tell me that will not be an issue.

    I will post my thoughts of the tour after.

    Thanks again!

    • JameeC says:

      Did the tour today. It was great! Our guide, Melissa was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, so I guess we got one of the good ones. I highly recommend the tour.

  12. Lauren says:

    I have been reading your blog for few days now. I was curious if tours like this offer sign language intpreters. My husband and I have gone to Disney World and have been eyeing this specific tour for a while. Next year, we will take our daughter for her first trip to The Happiest Place on the Earth! :).

  13. Trey Thurston says:

    Have you done any other tour reviews? I was curious about “The Keys to the Kingdom” tour as well if there was one for behind the scenes in “The Seas with Finding Nemo”. Also this is about a different post on here, but your post I saw this morning about saving $2500+ on a deluxe trip may have allowed me to go with my girlfriend this year, where I plan to propose to her under “Wishes”. Thank you so much!

  14. Jennifer says:

    Can someone in a wheelchair easily attend this tour?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I’m not entirely sure, but I think so. I don’t recall any stairs or anything that would preclude it. I’d check with Disney if I were you.

  15. Jason says:

    I have seen people taking the tour when I’ve been on the land before in the past. After reading this article I think I’m going to have to take it myself. Thanks for the article!

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