If you have ever been to Epcot you have ridden this ride. How could you not? To me, Living with the land is almost the same as It’s a Small World, meaning I know everything about it but I have to go on it each trip! I absolutely love this ride for many reasons, but I am fascinated that most of the vegetables you eat at Disney restaurants are actually grown right on property and this ride takes you right through some of it! If you’re lucky you might see a cast member picking the ripe goodness for someone’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Living with the land resides in the Land Pavilion in Epcot and takes guests on a journey via boat through different scenes. But, this isn’ what the ride once was! The ride opened with Epcot in 1982 but was first called “Listen to the land” and was sponsored by Kraft until 1992. However, this wasn’t the original idea for the ride. Instead, the ride was to feature a suspended dark ride called Blueprints of Nature. Guests would embark on the journey traveling underground to a carousel theater preshow where they would meet their host, the Landkeeper. From there he would take guests on a “hot-air balloon ride” through the four seasons and a series of biomes located in greenhouses. However, these plans were tweaked once Kraft became the sponsor of the ride.
The ride originally began in the “Symphony of the Seed”, which features a whimsical look on how plants grow with twisted roots, before continuing on into the different climates and the amazing greenhouse. However, the Symphony of the seed portion of the ride was re-imagined into a thunderstorm scene in the 1993 refurbishment. Fun Fact: the original ride was narrated by a Live Cast Member! In 1993, the ride underwent changes including the new name, Living with the land. During this change, more scenes were added, along with new narrations, and the route of the boat was changed as Imagineers felt it told more of a story this way.
Fun fact: the buffalo and prairie dogs used in the desert scene were actually originally planned to be placed in a Magic Kingdom attraction called Western River Expedition. The spot for the Western River Expedition is well-known today as Pirates of the Caribbean.
As guest cruise past the house and the dog scene, take a look at the mailbox. The house number listed on the mailbox is #82, which is a nod to the year Epcot opened. Another fun fact: the dog featured in this scene is modeled after Walt Disney’s dog.
The ride underwent another change in 2006 with the pre-recorded narrations being voiced by Mike Brassell who also previously voiced the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.
Lastly, maybe one of the best features of the ride is the restaurant, Garden Grill, that is featured above the ride! Not only does the restaurant feature food grown inside the ride, it rotates! As you enjoy your meal the restaurant rotates through scenes from the ride and at certain points, you can wave to guests on the ride.
Is Living with the Land one of your favorite rides while visiting Epcot at Walt Disney World?
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