Living with the Land (originally Listen to the Land) is a ride located within The Land pavilion in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. It is a slow-moving boat ride, which is part dark-ride and part greenhouse tour. The focus on the ride is on agriculture, especially new technology to make agriculture more efficient and environmentally friendly.
Living with the Land was originally developed as a suspended dark ride called Blueprints of Nature. Traveling underground to a carousel theater preshow, guests would be introduced to the Landkeeper, the attraction's host. From there, the Landkeeper would take guests on a hot-air balloon trip through the four seasons and a series of simulated biomes located in greenhouses at the front of the pavilion. These plans would be scaled back when Kraft came aboard as a sponsor and the attraction would become a boat ride, with the Landkeeper character being repurposed into the Dreamfinder at the neighboring Imagination attraction. The greenhouse portions of the pavilion would become focused on showcasing new agricultural techniques, while the dark ride portion would become the simulated biome portion.
Opening with Epcot as Listen to the Land, the attraction originally featured a song of the same name and an opening sequence called "Symphony of the Seed", which was a whimsical look at how plants grow with massive twisted roots designed by Disney background artist Walter Peregoy. This sequence would be replaced by a thunderstorm scene when the attraction was retooled and renamed in 1994.
The dark-ride portion of the attraction opens with a scene of a deciduous forest in the middle of a thunderstorm, illustrating how the forces that shape the land can appear destructive to us. The boat then sails through artificial biomes representing a tropical rainforest, a desert and the American prairie. Some of the Audio-Animatronic figures in this section were originally created for the never-built Magic Kingdom attraction, Western River Expedition. The biomes feature sound and lighting effects, in addition to heat, wind and mist, to simulate real conditions. The boats float through a small theater that illustrates the relationship between humans and the environment, and the ways that we have been modifying the land to better serve our purposes.
The second part of the attraction takes place in The Land's "Living Laboratory", which showcases ideas about the future of agriculture. There are five distinct areas of the "living laboratory" which includes the Tropic Greenhouse, Aqua-cell, Temperate Greenhouse, String Greenhouse, and the Creative Greenhouse. It also contains the Biotechnology Lab and the Integrated Pest Management Lab. All of the plants in this section are grown through various methods of hydroponics. Plants are grown in sand, perlite, coconut coir, and rockwool.
The ride concludes with a lighted collage of people and produce from all over the world, along with a projection of Earth as seen from space.
Distinct areas of the "living laboratory"
- Tropics Greenhouse - features crops from the tropical areas of the world, both home and abroad. Plants on display include banana, cacao, jackfruit, date palm, dragon fruit, vanilla, cleome, pineapple, java apple, and papaya.
- Aqua-cell - focuses on aquaculture, or "fish farming", containing several high-density tanks and a few low-density display tanks and tubes. Animals on display include tilapia, sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish, see bass, American alligator, and shrimp. Some of the fish harvested from the Aqua-cell are served in the Coral Reef Restaurant in The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion.
- Temperate Greenhouse (formerly the Desert Greenhouse) - features crops from temperate climates. Currently, it showcases large-sized crops, such as Prizewinner and Atlantic Giant pumpkins, winter melon, pomelo, and "Nine-pound Lemon." Besides are sunflowers, beets, turnips, cottons and millets.
- String Greenhouse (formerly the Production Greenhouse) - focuses on innovative high-density techniques, such as Nutrient film technique. It also shows off "vertical growing techniques", in which herbaceous plants e.g. eggplant, peppers, winged bean, lettuce and snake gourd are grown on specialized trellises to approximate the shape and structure of trees. One famous example is The Land's "tomato tree", which produced over 32,000 tomatoes within 16 months, recognized by Guinness World Records as both the largest and most productive tomato plant in the world. Furthermore, specific molds cultivate Mickey Mouse-shaped cucumbers and pumpkins. Much of the products grown in the String Greenhouse is used in the Garden Grill and Sunshine Seasons, both restaurants in The Land pavilion. In total, over 30 tons of produce are harvested from The Land each year.
- Creative Greenhouse - The final greenhouse in the attraction exhibits unusual concepts about the future of agriculture. One of them is that most of the plants in Creative House are grown via Aeroponics, in which a fine mist of water and nutrients is sprayed directly onto the roots of the plants. The roots dangle freely in the air, free from growing medium. Some of the plants' roots in Creative House are enclosed within rotating columns and A-frame structures, while others are completely exposed to the open air, at least temporarily, so the entire plant may be viewed by the guests on the boat ride. It also features a small exhibit of NASA hydroponic growing units, which were developed for use on extended-length space journeys, with tomato, squash, lettuce, basil, rosemary, cabbage, super-dwarf wheat, Swiss chard, marigold, and snapdragon, etc. on display.
- Biotechnology Lab - Attached to the Creative Greenhouse, the Biotechnology Lab is a sterile research environment. Several USDA scientists are on-site at The Land, performing research on crop improvement. The Land also produces a product called "Mickey's Mini Gardens" in the Biotechnology Lab, which are available for purchase in several locations in Epcot.
- Integrated Pest Management Lab - An Entomology laboratory that raises beneficial insects for use in The Land and abroad. Though invisible on the boat ride, it is visited during the Behind the Seeds backstage tour. Insects raised here include tiny, stingless parasitoid wasps and ladybugs.
- October 1, 1982 - Listen to the Land opens
- September 27, 1993 - Listen to the Land closes, original Symphony of the Seed opening scene, song, and ending are removed.
- December 10, 1993 - Living with the Land reopens with new "thunderstorm" opening scene, musical score, and ending.
- 2004 - Disney Fastpass option added.
- August 20, 2006 - Cast members no longer narrate the second portion of the ride. Instead an automatic audio spiel featuring the voice of Mike Brassell (also the narrator for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority at the Magic Kingdom as of October 2009) plays at each greenhouse scene, activated by RFID tags attached to the flume wall. The spiel is updated periodically as the greenhouses are replanted.
- December 11, 2018 - As EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays begins, a new seasonal overlay of Living with the Land debuts, called Living with the Land: Merry and Bright Nights.
- August 2, 2009 - The attraction closed for refurbishment, new exit unload safety bar added. New boats were ordered for the attraction but they were the wrong size and did not fit into the flume.
- August 10, 2019 - Film in the Barn Theater updated.
- October 4, 2009 - Living with the Land reopens again
- January 2010 - Living with the Land closes to change load area, dispatch console, and add the 6 new ADA boats and the 12 new ten row boats, and to repaint certain show scenes and reactivate the rainforest's rain scene.
- February 2010 - Living with the Land reopens again.