Happy Earth Day from Epcot!

Sorry for not writing in a while, but Christine and I were in Tampa last week for her work and are just now getting back to normal. Had an awesome time in Florida, got to visit with my Mom and Courtney and ate some rocking-good food — which I will totally tell you about later — but perhaps our coolest adventure was visiting Disney’s epically-nerdy Epcot theme park in Orlando.

I’m not kidding, man, Epcot was just as geeky and cool as I remember it: educational “message” rides about the environment and science, that gigantic geodesic dome at the front gate, and that whole international pavillion thingy…wow…amazing! We were in nerd heaven…

And while we have plenty of other Epcot stories to share with you, in honor of Earth day, I wanted to start with one of favorite rides: Living with the Land. As you may or may not know, Christine has totally “gone green” over the last decade — seriously, you’d think she’s the one who grew up in Santa Cruz! — so when she heard about this ride, it was literally the first thing on her Epcot to-do list.

And after getting on that little boat and floating through the various climates on our planet, I gotta agree with her. Living with the Land is a seriously cool ride! After a quick “history of agriculture” intro, the 14-minute ride glides into the first of four “experimental growing areas”.

First up is the “Tropics Greenhouse” which is housed in a massive 60-foot dome. Here you will find bananas, cacao, peanuts, sugar cane, etc. You’d think it would be all tropical hot in that place, but it’s really nice and warm and the bananas smelled awesome! We kind of loved it there.

Next up is the “Aquacell” which is home to dozens of exotic fish, alligators and American Eels. This place was kind of spooky and didn’t smell nearly as good as the banana room, but the fish tanks were pretty impressive..so, rock on.

But the best two areas were saved for last: The “Production Greenhouse”, where USDA scientists are exploring new ways to grow fruits and vegetables without soil and the need for toxic pesticides; and the “Creative Greenhouse” where this same group of greenies is working hard to perfect cheap and innovative hanging growth techniques for use in gardens around the globe and even in space! Rad!

Our favorite things here were the hanging tomatoes and pumpkins. We tried growing some pumpkins a couple years back and they were literally devoured by bugs before they could grow but man, if we had some of that hanging pipe action in our back yard, well…wow, bet we’d have a hell of a better crop!

Oh yeah, and the coolest thing of all is that almost all of the food grown on this ride is used at Restaurants around the park…awesome! And while we didn’t get to sample the baby green salad at the Land’s Garden Grill Restuarant, it did look pretty damn fresh, so, yum.

Anyway, happy Earth Day everyone and if you happen to have any Mickey Mouse ear-shaped pumpkin molds gathering dust in your garages, break that shit out and grow a pumpkin!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Happy Earth Day from Epcot!

  1. Excuse me Tommy, I didn’t need to grow up in Santa Cruz…

    I grew up on a farm in Oregon where we raised our own animals for meat and had a huge garden that supplied all of our veggies! I have been green for a long time, I am just trying to get more people into it in the last few years. 🙂 I also try to do more things every year, because most of us could easily do more to save our planet! 🙂 Ok, maybe I do sound a little Santa Cruz-y after all.

  2. It’s been a few years for me too — 1998 if I’m not mistaken — but I remember enjoying this attraction as well.

    The last time I rode this was before we had our first digital camera, so I’m glad to see your pics. It brings back many good memories.

  3. Linda F

    Do you have the process of how they grow the foods at the Lands at Epcot in the vats? Is it sand? I would really like to know how to set up a garden like the ones that you show, above ground. Is there a book with the techniques in it?

  4. yeti9000

    Hey, Linda F. Thanks for checking out our blog!

    I don’t know much about hydroponic gardening myself, but I did a quick Google search this morning and came up with some interesting books listed in an article on the DIY Network website.

    Not sure how useful they will be, but the article explains a bit more about how they grow the plants at Disney’s Epcot. So, check it out at: http://www.diynetwork.com

    Happy gardening!

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