With the Land
Behind the brightly colored, mosaic façade of The Land pavilion at
Epcot sits non-descript offices where greenhouse "magic" takes place.
Horticulture and entertainment -- which some call "horti-tainment" --
blend to create some of the most visually interesting fruits and
vegetables found under one roof anywhere in the world.
From Mickey Mouse-shaped food and tons of tomatoes to Cinderella
pumpkins and lemons the size of bowling balls, the Epcot Science team
at The Land constantly works to include produce and other foods on the
pavilion's Living with the Land attraction to give guests something
they can't see anywhere else. Living with the Land, a narrated,
14-minute boat ride through the farms of yesteryear as well as the
greenhouses of tomorrow, showcases the team's research and work inside
The Land's four greenhouses.
Some of the horticulture highlights:
Mickey Mouse-shaped cucumbers: In 2003, The Land Science
team developed a special, elongated mold that is placed around a young
cucumber. As it grows, the vegetable forms the familiar shape of
Mickey's silhouette. The cucumbers are harvested and served atop
salads inside The Land's Garden Grill Restaurant.
Mickey Mouse-shaped watermelons: Building on the success
of the Mickey cucumber, the team created a similar mold for
watermelons. Guests on the Living with the Land attraction often see
the three-dimensional Mickey Mouse-shape watermelons growing on the
vines inside the greenhouses.
Mickey Mouse-shaped pumpkins: Autumn brings the biggest
harvest of pumpkins at The Land, and Mickey Mouse-shaped pumpkins have
quickly become a favorite. Introduced in 2004, the Mickey Mouse-shaped
pumpkins -- some which weigh nearly 80 pounds -- are harvested and
placed inside the greenhouses for guest viewing. Also featured: the
“Cinderella” pumpkin, named for the shape it shares with Cinderella’s
Nine-pound lemons: While they're not Mickey
Mouse-shaped, the nine-pound lemons grow to what their descriptive
name implies -- a lemon that weighs nine pounds. These sour mammoths
begin as young, green fruit on trees inside the greenhouse. As they
mature, they take on the familiar lemony-yellow hue and preserve all
of the taste of smaller variety lemons.
Thousands of tomatoes from one vine: Yong Huang, Epcot’s
manager of agricultural science at The Land pavilion, is working with
a new "tomato tree” that is currently growing inside the theme park's
experimental greenhouses. The only one of its kind in the United
States, the plant yields thousands of tomatoes at one time from a
single vine. Huang discovered the plant while on vacation last year in
After meeting with scientists responsible for that
plant, Huang brought its seeds to Epcot and created the specialized
greenhouse for the fruit to grow. The golf ball-sized tomatoes are
harvested and served in restaurants at Walt Disney World. In addition
to showcasing science to Epcot guests, Huang, a native of Shenyang,
China, said his team’s goal is to set a world record for the most
pounds of fruit grown on a single vine.
Guests on the attraction also see:
The Tropics Greenhouse, growing crops native to Southeast Asia,
Africa, Latin America and the southern United States. Rice, sugar
cane, peanuts, cacao, bananas and a 59-foot peach palm flourish under
a 60-foot dome. The Aquacell, showcasing crops that swim -- fish and other aquatic
life including alligators, catfish, tilapia, sunshine bass and
The Temperate Greenhouse, featuring the concepts and technologies of
sustainable agriculture, including intercropping, integrated pest
management and specialized irrigation systems that reduce waste and
increase crop production.
The Production Greenhouse, where tons of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce
and other vegetables are grown for use in The Land's Garden Grill
Restaurant and other Epcot restaurants. The Land scientists utilize
growing systems that are kinder to the environment and improve
The Creative House, showing imaginative ways to grow crops -- without
soil, hanging in the air, even on a space station. USDA scientists
currently are working at The Land to develop dwarf pear trees for
greater production efficiency.
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