As I mentioned last week, we spent six days at Walt Disney World here in Florida.
One good thing about going away on vacation, at least for me, is it gives me a different perspective on my garden. When I got home, I was able to look at all my plants objectively and I realized that there was a *lot* of work to be done. The few days away provided me with enough distance that I was no longer attached to plants that have been struggling for a very long time- I realized that in the week I was gone they made no progress at all, so it was time for them to move on to the great garden in the sky. And it also gave the mealy bugs a chance to overwhelm a few of my plants, and while heartbreaking to have lost some of my favorite plants to infestations, it was good to finally be able to figure out where the bugs were coming from and get really serious about getting rid of them once and for all.
But more on this next week… I want to talk about something to do with Disney.
Disney World is made up of four different parks, and one of them is Epcot Center. Epcot stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”. It is supposed to be all about evolution and technology and community and science, but over time it’s really sort of developed into more of an amusement park- a lot of the original rides have been replaced with attractions and roller coasters which get more traffic.
Regardless of the way its changed, Epcot is a BEAUTIFUL park, probably *the* most beautiful of all of Disney. It’s full of plants and flowers and butterflies and birds and you could easily spend at least a day, strolling around and taking it all in.
But there’s a hidden gem in Epcot, one of the original attractions from when it was still going to be a “prototype community”- it’s called “Living with the Land”. It’s housed in the Land pavilion, which is home to one of the most popular rides at Disney- Soarin’
But Soarin’ is new to the park. The “Land” pavilion was originally created to house several greenhouses and laboratories devoted to the science of agriculture and gardening. Of course, Disney created a little ride so visitors could tour the greenhouses without getting in the way of the people who work there, so there’s a canal that flows through all of the labs and greenhouses and boats float past regularly. Since Soarin’ moved in to the top floor of the building, the little greenhouse tour (called “Living with the Land”) doesn’t get nearly as many people on it (even when Disney is most crowded, the ride barely gets any traffic) but the greenhouses continue to evolve as science and technology changes.
I loved “Living with the Land” before I became a gardening nerd, and now that I have my own garden, this little bit of Disney is pretty much nirvana to me. Every time I go on the tour they have completely new things growing in the greenhouses. And because they are in such a limited space, and everything is grown in containers (or hydroponically), “Living with the Land” always reminds me of how much gardening is possible in a small space.
Almost everything they grow is edible, and it’s all used to provide produce for the restaurants and resorts around Disney.
It’s not a very long ride, but it’s completely worth it. It’s cool and comfortable and fascinating. There are barely any screaming kids on it because it’s seem as a little “boring” compared to some of the flashier rides at Disney, but it’s truly worth the fifteen minutes you’ll spend on the boat.
Here are some photos of the ride. Enjoy!