Living with the Land

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Living with the Land
Livingentrance2.jpg
The entrance to Living With the Land. Photo by Theme Park Tourist
Epcot
Land Future World
Attraction type Boat Tour
Opening date October 1, 1982
Vehicle names Boat
Vehicle capacity 20
Ride duration 14 minutes
Audio-Animatronics 40
Formally Known As Listen to the Land (1982-1993)
FastPass + Yes (Group A)
Sponsored by Kraft (1982-1993)
Nestle (1993- 2007)
Chiquita Brands International (2011-Present)

Living with the Land is an attraction within The Land pavilion at Epcot.

Attraction History

The history of what would eventually be known as Listen to the Land began when Kraft announced that it would sponsor The Land pavilion in Disney's unbuilt theme park EPCOT Center. Initially, Disney had expanded the concept of the "ecology and mineral pavilion" so that it focused on the many environments of the earth [1]. When the original sponsor of the pavilion,Georgia Pacific (a logging company), ended its involvement, the theme and content of the pavilion once again changed [1]. In September 1978, Kraft agreed to sponsor the pavilion, and thus agriculture and food became The Land's focus. In order to showcase agriculture, Imagineers, led by Rolly Crump, created an open-top boat ride that would take guests through the earth's many habitats, while showing man's effect on them. During the initial creation of the attraction, Disney had planned to create the "Living Laboratories" where food from around the world would be found growing[2], however this idea was later slightly modified.

During the development of Listen to the Land, two major changes took place. The first was the fact that the temporary greenhouses planned for The Land pavilion were permanently incorporated into the attraction[1] (the Living Laboratories concept was also utilized here). The second change was the addition of a canopy to the boats themselves. When Imagineers decided to add real rain effects to the attraction, the boats were given coverage [1]. Listen to the Land opened with the rest of The Land pavilion on EPCOT Center’s opening day, October 1, 1982 [3].

Listen to the Land remained largely unchanged until Nestle assumed sponsorship of The Land in 1993. On September 27, 1993, Listen to the Land was closed for refurbishment [4] (the rest of the pavilion would also be systematically updated over the next year and a half). During the renovation, the Symphony of the Seed opening scene was removed, and replaced with a new storm scene [5]. Furthermore, an automatic narration was installed for the first half of the attraction, and the ride's theme song "Listen to the Land" was removed [5]. Finally, the Symphony of the Seed recap that concluded the original attraction was taken out and replaced with a collage of people and agriculture from all over the world. The "futuristic" growing methods that were originally showcased in this final scene were moved to an earlier part of the ride. On December 10, 1993, the attraction reopened as Living with the Land [5].

Following the changes in 1993, little of note changed with the attraction until August 20, 2006. At this time, the boat captains were removed from the attraction and replaced by a new automatic narrator voiced by Mike Brassell [6]. On July 29, 2011, Chiquita Brands International announced it would be sponsoring Living with the Land as part of a strategic partnership with Disney[7].

Attraction Plot

Listen to the Land

Listen to the Land began with guests boarding their boats and being greeted by their tour guide. While they loaded, riders could hear the attraction's theme song, "Listen to the Land" playing in the background. The first scene in the attraction was known as the "Symphony of Seed". This scene was a stylistic look at how plants grow and spread. Within the scene, guests could see seeds being blown by the wind while classical music played.

Moving out of the Symphony of the Seed scene, guests entered a rainforest. Here, the tour guide explained that in the rainforest, plants had to overcome a lack of light in order to grow. As guests passed through, they could see lush vegetation and Audio Animatronic animals thriving. After exiting the rainforest, guests entered a desert. Here, the tour guide would explain to them that although plants faced the threat of sandstorms and a lack of water, they were still able to grow and survive. As an example of this, guests could hear a sandstorm howling, which vegetation (such as a cacti) endured.

The greenhouse located in Living with the Land.

The third habitat that guests would visit on Listen to the Land was the prairie, where large bison could be seen grazing. Here, the tour guide would explain that the unpredictable weather of the prairies caused problems for the plant life there. Two examples of this unpredictability, wildfire and storms, could be seen on the horizon as guests traveled through. Moving on from the prairie, the boats passed by a turn of the century farm, as a country version of “Listen to the Land” played. After passing by the farmhouse (which featured a dog laying on the porch), guests entered the Barn Theater. Here, images of various forms of agriculture were shown and the tour guide explained to guests that research was continuing to make agriculture more efficient. Examples of this progress included better machines, fertilizers, and seeds. The guide also told guests that much of the food served in EPCOT Center was grown using these techniques.

At this point in the attraction, guests would exit the Barn Theater and enter the research half of Listen to the Land. Now touring the pavilion's greenhouse, the boats would pass by various plants being grown in a tropical atmosphere. Plants located here included: papaya, sugar cane, rice, bananas, pineapple, and vanilla. The next section of the research center focused on "aquaculture", where fish farming took place. As guests passed by various exotic fish, the tour guide would inform them that many of the fish found here were served in restaurants throughout The Land.

The final part of the attraction showed new ways in which researchers at The Land were growing food. The first example that guests could see of these techniques were cotton and cucumbers that were shown growing in the desert. Further on, guests could see crops growing vertically, which was done in order to save space. Other crops in the area were shown growing without soil, and the tour guide would tell guests that researchers were using ladybugs as a pestilent (in order to cut down on chemical use). The last thing that guests could see in the research facilities was future methods of agriculture. Ideas seen here included plans for growing food on the moon, and genetically altering crops to make them more nutritious and resistant. Guests could then hear "Listen to the Land" one more time as they passed through the Symphony of the Seed finale before reaching the unloading area.

If you want to hear "Listen to the Land", click play below:

Living with the Land

The prarie scene in Living with the Land.

When Nestle assumed sponsorship of The Land pavilion in 1993, Listen to the Land was closed for refurbishment. The attraction reopened later that year as Living with the Land which was similar to its predecessor except for a few changes. These changes included:

  • The replacement of the Symphony of Seeds scene with a new storm scene. In this scene, the narrator tells guests that climate changes are sweeping over the land. He then goes on to say that the storm is a new beginning for the land, and that the water combined with sunlight leads to the growth of the planet.
  • The rainforest scene was extended.
  • The finale of the attraction was changed so that it showed various humans standing in front of agriculture. The former finale which showcased futuristic agricultural methods was moved to the greenhouse section of the tour.
  • The removal of the song "Listen to the Land" from the attraction.

In 2006, Living with the Land was given an automatic narration as opposed to a live tour guide.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • In order to add interest to Living with the Land, it was decided to add a mural featuring famous quotes about the environment to the attraction's queue. During the development of the mural, Marty Sklar suggested using quotes from ordinary children. In order to accomplish this goal, Disney reached out to various children's environmental organizations. Eventually, Saving Earth agreed advertise the mural in its newsletter, and the company received 800 different submissions. Of these submissions, the number of quotes was narrowed to the 10 which were chosen [6].
  • The address on the mailbox in farmhouse scene has the number 1982 in it. This is a reference to the year that EPCOT Center opened [6].
  • One tomato plant in the Living With the Land greenhouse can produce up to 32,194 tomatoes every 16 months [6].
  • The University of Arizona's Environmental Research Lab acted as a consultant for Listen to the Land's aquaculture exhibit [8].
  • Inside of the greenhouse, RFID tags start the automatic narration. The narration is occasionally updated when there are new planting techniques showcased [5].
  • Living with the Land's score was composed by George Wilkins [9].
  • The song "Listen to the Land" was written by Bob Moline [2].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.martinsvids.net/?p=652
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sklar, Marty. Dream It! Do It!: My Half-century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms. Disney Editions, 2013. Print.
  3. http://thisdayindisneyhistory.homestead.com/epcotgrandopening.html
  4. http://thisdayindisneyhistory.homestead.com/Sep27.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 The Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia: A Guide to Walt Disney World's Greatest Theme Park
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/08/living_with_the_land_1.html
  7. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chiquita-and-walt-disney-world-resort-announce-multi-year-alliance-to-offer-fresh-healthy-chiquita-and-fresh-express-products-to-disney-guests-126408463.html
  8. https://wrrc.arizona.edu/publications/arroyo-newsletter/fish-may-be-cash-crop-arizona-farmers
  9. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0929260/