We Bet These 5 Facts About Living with the Land Will Surprise You

by | Jun 17, 2024 | EPCOT, WDW Blog

Brush up on your greenhouse knowledge with these fun facts and you’ll be truly Living with the Land on your next visit to EPCOT!

Living With The Land might not be the most thrilling ride at EPCOT, but it’s a fun and unique behind-the-scenes experience you won’t find anywhere else. This slow-moving boat ride is a holdover from EPCOT’s “edutainment” years in the 1980s, and there’s no denying how fun it is to tour various climates and areas of the world, plus take a sneak peek into Disney’s actual biotechnology labs.

Plus, on those supremely hot Florida days, Living with the Land is an absolute must-ride for its cool, air-conditioned climate!

We’re providing you with even more edutainment and sharing some cool facts about this beloved EPCOT attraction. Whether you’ve ridden Living with the Land hundreds of times or just once, we’re willing to be a number of these facts will surprise you – and teach you something new.

1. The Farm Scene Includes an EPCOT Easter Egg

Living with the Land mailbox Easter egg

Look closely at the mailbox in the American prairie scene. Photo by Laurie Sapp

When Living with the Land begins and your boat sets sail, you’ll first move through the “dark ride” portion of the attraction and see different land environments – including the American prairie. As you cruise past the farmhouse, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the mailbox. It’s hiding an Easter egg that references EPCOT’s history!

The mailbox is adorned with a name and “address” for B. Jones RFD #82. The number 82 is a nod to EPCOT’s opening year, 1982.

Additionally, some Living with the Land fans think the “RFD” on the mailbox is another Easter egg. It could be a reference to “Rural Free Delivery,” a type of mail service in the U.S. that first started in the late 1800s to deliver mail directly to rural residences instead of requiring individuals to visit a post office or other pickup destination.

However, other fans think the “RFD” mention might actually be another Disney World-related East egg instead of a historical one. RFD boasts (almost) the same initials as the resort’s Reedy Creek Fire Department, so it could also be a play on that – it all depends on your interpretation!

2. The Farm Dog Isn’t Unique to Living with the Land

On the front porch of the American prairie home, there’s another Easter egg hiding. But it’s one that might not be super obvious on your first ride-through.

Sitting on the porch is an animatronic dog. If he looks vaguely familiar, that’s because he is – at least, if you’ve been on a couple of other popular Disney World attractions!

The Living with the Land dog is actually the exact same dog that’s in Carousel of Progress and Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom Park.

Why does the same dog appear in three different attractions and two theme parks? Well, this particular animatronic is special. It was modeled after Walt Disney’s dog, making it a uniquely personal pup and a nod to the man who dreamed up the parks and their attractions.

3. The Animatronics Were Originally Designed for Another Ride

Animatronics inside Living with the Land at EPCOT

This prairie dog wasn’t originally meant for Living with the Land. Photo by Laurie Sapp

Speaking of the animatronics you’ll see as you ride Living with the Land, that dog isn’t the only unique addition. Some of the other animals you’ll encounter – specifically, the buffalo and prairie dogs you’ll cruise past in the desert scene – weren’t meant to end up in this attraction at all.

The buffalo and prairie dogs ended up inside Living with the Land after their intended attraction fell through. They were originally created for Western River Expedition, a ride that was meant to wind up in the Magic Kingdom.

Western River Expedition was intended to be the Magic Kingdom’s answer to Pirates of the Caribbean. When Disney World’s first theme park was being designed, Imagineers had no plans to replicate this 1967 Disneyland attraction. Instead, they were planning the Western River Expedition, a western themed boat ride that would take guests past wilderness scenes filled with singing cacti, buffalo, and prairie dogs (along with other twists and turns, like Mexican banditos robbing a stagecoach and a bank robbery complete with hootin’ and hollerin’ cowboys.)

However, when Magic Kingdom officially opened, guests were surprised to find no pirates here – in fact, the lack of pirates was a persistent complain. So, Imagineers changed course and whipped up a second version of Pirates of the Caribbean… and the plans for Western River Expedition fell by the wayside.

The animatronics, however, were sent over to Living with the Land and given a second life inside an entirely different boat ride.

4. The Attraction’s Product is Used to Feed Guests – and Disney World Animals

You probably already know that the produce grown inside Living with the Land’s greenhouses goes to good use: It’s served to guests at EPCOT restaurants, like the nearby Sunshine Seasons. But we’re betting you didn’t know that it’s also used at other Disney World locations… and for some popular animals.

According to Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment, the produce grown here is also used for animals who call Disney World home. That includes animals you can see at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from gorillas to bats, all enjoy the same fresh fruits and veggies. Lettuce, tomatoes, melons, and more all become a source of food over at the park.

 

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5. Living with the Land Used to Be Narrated by Cast Members

Living with the Land hasn’t undergone too many changes over the course of its lifespan at EPCOT. Since it first opened in 1982, the attraction has undergone a name change (from Listen to the Land to Living with the Land) and one reimagining (though the change in opening scenes was primarily the big difference) which, for a Disney World ride, is pretty little!

But one notable change did take place in 2006, and it’s one that many guests may not have noticed. Prior to this year, the attraction was actually narrated by Cast Members. It wasn’t automated but instead featured a live spiel – quite a difference from many other rides, except for staples like the Jungle Cruise.

When the changeover in narration happened in 2006, the ride’s audio became automated. The prerecorded voice of Mike Brassell took over.

If Brassell’s voice sounds at all familiar to you, that’s because it is! He also did the narration for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (or the PeopleMover) from 2009 to 2022

Posts by Heather Adams

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Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu

Authored by
Heather Adams

Heather is a lifelong Disney fan who grew up at Disneyland and loves spending as much time as possible in the parks. As WDW Magazine’s Content Operations Manager, Heather is a content creator and strategist with experience at a wide variety of different outlets. She’s written for publications including Clean Eating Magazine, Fatherly, The Drive, Task and Purpose, Healthversed, Nation.com, and Car Bibles. Heather also authored the book Fidget!: 101 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Decrease Stress.
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