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Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: ‘Chocolate’ Trees in Full Bloom at The Land Pavilion at Epcot

Fred Petitt, Ph.D.

by , 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.

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  • Hi Fred
    I’ve tried to grow cacao trees indoors on several occassions…no luck. I saw the cacao trees on the Land (boat) tour a few years ago. Any tips on growing these trees? My wife is from the Hershey, PA area…looks like she should know :-). Would love to take the Behind the Seeds tour next time we visit EPCOT

  • Living With the Land is actually one of my 10-year-old son’s favorite rides. The other 2 are it’s a small world and Splash Mountain. Catch the theme here? Can’t wait to by back in 83 days!

  • I love this attraction so much. It was especially nice to ride this past holiday season, as the green house had all sorts of Christmas decorations up.

    Also, it’s nice to see where lunch comes from if you plan on eating at the Sunshine Seasons Food Court. 😉

  • I just returned from a Walt Disney World where I did my first Behind the Seeds tour. Kate (pictured above) was my guide. She was so fun, informative and vivacious – it was like reliving my tour again when I saw her smiling face on this blog! I encourage everyone to do this tour if they can!

  • I can’t wait to be back! Living with the Land is one of my all time favorite things about Disney. It is somehow very relaxing in the middle of all the crazy fun! See you in a week during the Princess Half! The Behind the Seeds tour is one of the hidden gems at the Parks. Everyone should take advantage of this special added activity!

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