Sunset Over the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Thanksgiving Bounty Aplenty at The Land Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on November 13th, 2013 by Fred Petitt, Ph.D., Agricultural and Water Sciences director, Disney Parks


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Any time of the year is a fantastic time to experience Living with the Land and the Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot. A visit around Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates the fall harvest, however, can be even more special.

The Agricultural Sciences team really gets into the holiday spirit. They created a delightful display featuring pumpkins, gourds, hay bales and scarecrows. Throughout the attraction, guests can see fall colors on fruits, vegetables and flowers including pepper “towers,” bitter melons, and even edible flowers like the French marigold.

Thanksgiving Bounty Aplenty at The Land Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Thanksgiving Bounty Aplenty at The Land Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort Thanksgiving Bounty Aplenty at The Land Pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort

Did you know?

  • Guests experience a two-acre wonderland of tomato “trees,” cucumbers on strings, hanging pumpkins, floating lettuce and even Mickey Mouse-shaped fruit at The Land Pavilion, making it one of the most unique growing facilities in the world. Visitors gain inspiration for their gardens at home and look at the issues of feeding the world in sustainable and creative ways.
  • On the Behind the Seeds tour, guests get a more in-depth understanding of innovative growing practices as agricultural scientists guide guests through the greenhouses and laboratories. Technologies aimed at achieving sustainability are demonstrated, like the careful management of water and nutrients and biological control of insect pests.
  • The Land scientists are constantly working to develop growing systems that are both kinder to the environment and improve productivity — for example, figuring out how to grow more crops in less space so people have the food they need and forests and other natural areas are protected.
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Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: ‘Chocolate’ Trees in Full Bloom at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

posted on February 13th, 2013 by Fred Petitt, Ph.D., Agricultural and Water Sciences director, Disney Parks


Cacao Trees in Full Bloom at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to pick chocolate right from a tree to give to your Valentine? Well it’s not as simple as that, of course. You need to start with the fruit of the cacao tree, which contains the beans that can be transformed into chocolate. Guests visiting Epcot are getting a good look at the cacao tree when they experience Living with the Land or the Behind the Seeds tour. Our cacao trees, one of the more than 100 food crops that guests can see at The Land Pavilion, are in full bloom.

So how do you transform cacao beans into chocolate? The process has quite a few steps. It begins with cleaning and roasting the beans, then removing the shells. Next is the creation of the cocoa liquor, which, with cocoa butter and other ingredients like milk and butter — and a few more steps — becomes chocolate.

Historians tell us that chocolate played a special role in both the ancient Maya and Aztec cultures — for example, chocolate drinks were served during sacred ceremonies. And although cocoa is originally from the Americas, today western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa.
Cacao Trees in Full Bloom at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

Did you know?

  • Guests experience a two-acre wonderland of tomato “trees,” cucumbers on strings, hanging pumpkins, floating lettuce and even Mickey Mouse-shaped fruit at The Land Pavilion, making it one of the most unique growing facilities in the world. Visitors gain inspiration for their gardens at home and look at the issues of feeding the world in sustainable and creative ways.

  • On the Behind the Seeds tour, guests get a more in-depth understanding of innovative growing practices as agricultural scientists guide guests through the greenhouses and laboratories. Technologies aimed at achieving sustainability are demonstrated, like the careful management of water and nutrients and biological control of insect pests.

  • The Land scientists are constantly working to develop growing systems that are both kinder to the environment and improve productivity — for example, figuring out how to grow more crops in less space so people have the food they need and forests and other natural areas are protected.

 
Read on for more updates from Epcot:

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Wildlife Wednesdays: Produce from The Land Pavilion at Epcot ‘Enriches’ Animals’ Day

posted on August 10th, 2011 by Fred Petitt, Ph.D., Agricultural and Water Sciences director, Disney Parks


Our primary mission at The Land Pavilion at Epcot is sharing innovations in agriculture with our guests – the science of growing food in a sustainable way to meet the needs of people around the world. Being Disney, however, we’ve found many ways to make agricultural sciences fun.

Fruits Growing in Experimental Greenhouses at Epcot

On the Living with the Land boat ride, guests traveling through experimental greenhouses marvel at Mickey-shaped pumpkins, a tomato plant capable of producing thousands of tomatoes, sweet potatoes growing in mid-air and other exotic fruits, vegetables and flowers of all shapes and sizes.

Meerkats at Disney's Animal Kingdom

We’ve also found another way to have fun with The Land Pavilion produce – sharing it with the animal care team at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park to be used as special treats and enrichment for the park’s animals. For example, shells from long-handled dipper gourds grown at The Land Pavilion make great toys for the meerkats on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. The animal care team explains that enrichment items are important for the meerkats’ – and other animals’ – physical and mental health. They note that special treats such as foods, toys or fragrance prompt animals to explore, make choices and maintain a level of activity in their habitat similar to their natural behavior in the wild.

You may already know that produce grown at The Land Pavilion is served in several of our Epcot restaurants. You may not be aware, however, that some of The Land Pavilion’s produce – including the banana and ginger leaves that you might see on the boat ride – will soon be enjoyed as special treats and enrichment by the gorillas and other animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.



Take a look back at the posts below for more from The Land Pavilion at Epcot:

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‘Wildflower’ Wednesday: Always Something New Blooming at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

posted on June 29th, 2011 by Fred Petitt, Ph.D., Agricultural and Water Sciences director, Disney Parks


With full support from Jackie Ogden, whose area of responsibility includes agricultural sciences at The Land Pavilion at Epcot as well as animals and the environment, we’re switching from wildlife to wildflowers for this Wednesday’s post – and my first on the Disney Parks Blog.

'Wildflower' Wednesday: Always Something New Blooming at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

When people ask me what I like best about leading the science team at The Land Pavilion, my answer is simple: with fruits, vegetables and flowers as part of the show, every day brings new wonders. This also is what our guests tell us they like best.

For example, our guests recently had a chance to see our first-ever lotus plant bloom in our Tropics Greenhouse. We added the plant to our water garden this spring to showcase edible plants that naturally grow in water. The lotus plant was identified by Les Frey, our Horticultural Manager, as one of more than 20 aquatic plants that would be suitable to grow at The Land Pavilion, the majority of which had never been grown here before.

'Wildflower' Wednesday: Always Something New Blooming at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

At The Land Pavilion, we grow more than 100 different food crops from around the world. The Tropics Greenhouse alone has about 50 different food crops, including dragon fruit, fluted pumpkin, jackfruit, miracle fruit, pineapple, and our new fruit tree patio, which has an ever-changing display. In addition to the lotus plant, the water garden contains water lilies, water chestnut, cattail, water hawthorne, bamboo and many other species.

Guests can get an even closer look when they take the Behind the Seeds tour, an hour-long indoor walking tour of greenhouses seen on the Living with the Land attraction.

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