Are you planning a trip to Disney World and wondering if your highly sensitive, sensory sensitive or anxious kids will find the ride Living with the Land at EPCOT scary?
Hopefully you can find your answer here!
Get ready to read a thorough overview of one of Disney World’s rides—Living with the Land.
Living with the Land for Highly Sensitive Kids: a Ride Review and Rating
There are lots of things that you experience on Disney World rides that could trigger a meltdown in sensitive kids. It could be sudden noises, how loud something is, being in the dark, being exposed to bright or flashing lights, how fast something is, or seeing scary visuals.
Sometimes, these seemingly “minor” things can result in sensory overload meltdowns. This is especially true when there is already a barrage of overwhelming things to process throughout the entire day.
And one bad experience can ruin a day and create MORE anxiety related to trying new rides. Ride refusal is a very real thing.
This is why I’ve created these ride reviews and ratings—so that you and your family have a better sense of what you’re getting yourself into. More than what a POV Youtube video alone can show you.
However, if you don’t like to read spoilers and it’s your first time going to Disney World, STOP reading now! This is going to be full of them.
But continue on if you’d like all the details about Living with the Land, and want to know whether or not it would be considered a scary ride for your sensitive or anxious kids.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
Living with the Land Ride Info
The Land pavilion in EPCOT’s World Nature section of the park houses this ride. EPCOT, one of Disney World’s four theme parks, renamed the different areas of the park in 2021 as World Celebration, World Nature, World Discovery, and World Showcase.
The Land pavilion also houses Soarin’ Around the World, one of EPCOT’s more popular rides, in addition to the Awesome Planet film, Behind the Seeds Tour, Garden Grill restaurant, and the Sunshine Seasons quick service dining area.
Living with the Land is one of EPCOT’s original attractions. It opened on October 1, 1982—the first official day of EPCOT! And it was originally named “Listen to the Land”.
It is an indoor, slow-moving, narrated boat ride, that takes you through the history of farming and agriculture. The first part of the ride is more of a “dark ride” as you go through various scenes showcasing different types of ecosystems. The second part focuses on the greenhouse, and the newer technology that is used in agriculture now.
There are 5 rows of seating per covered boat, fitting approximately 3-5 riders per row without any lap restraints. The ride duration is on the longer end, at around 14 minutes long.
Just like other slow boat rides at Disney World, there is no height requirement to ride Living with the Land. This means everyone, including infants and toddlers, can go on this ride.
But it’s important to consider MORE than just height requirement when looking at Disney rides and attractions, especially if you have a highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious child. Let’s get into the nitty gritty and find out if Living with the Land might be too scary or overwhelming for your highly sensitive child.
SUDDEN NOISES 3/5
Sudden noises can easily startle a lot of highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids. This is because they experience sensory input (like sound!) in a more heightened way. Whether it’s the fireworks show or safety instructions being piped through the speakers, sudden noises are all over Disney World.
When it comes to Living with the Land, we gave this a 3 out of 5. It’s kind of in the middle of the road compared to other attractions. Not extremely startling throughout, but enough to possibly be a little overwhelming for more sensitive kids. The first scene has sounds of a thunderstorm. You can hear rain falling, and the shaking of leaves in the wind.
There are also sounds of various animals throughout, like monkeys chattering and birds screeching. Once you reach the farm area, you’ll hear a barking dog, a crowing rooster, and various other farm animal sounds. Again, none of this is TOO “sudden”, as it makes sense in the context. But it could still be experienced as somewhat sudden to more sensitive folks.
NOISE LEVEL 3/5
I like to differentiate noise level from sudden noises, since noise level is more about the overall volume level on the ride.
Living with the Land is an attraction with pre-recorded narration that continues through the entire duration of the ride. So, this is not exactly a quiet ride since you are experiencing constant auditory stimulation. Some background music comes on with the narration, when you go through the section with films being projected on the walls as well. It is also a little bit echoey during a few sections.
It isn’t SO loud that it’ll leave your ears ringing. But those who are sensitive to constant auditory input may find Living with the Land a little overstimulating.
Fear of darkness is pretty common among kids in general, but I do feel like it can be amplified in highly sensitive, sensory sensitive, or anxious ones.
Living with the Land definitely has elements of being in the dark. The first half of the ride is pretty dark overall, as the vibe is like your quintessential Disney dark ride. The beginning is especially dark with the simulated thunderstorm going on. The tunnels between scenes and before you enter the greenhouse are also very dark. It is not pitch black but still dark enough to feel a little scary for more sensitive kids.
The latter part of the ride, when you tour the greenhouse, is not dark at all. You have tons of natural light coming in from outside.
It is a little bit dark when you go into the section with the fish and shrimp tanks, but it’s still not as dark as it is in the first half of the ride.
BRIGHT & FLASHING LIGHTS 2/5
In addition to auditory sensitivity, visual sensitivity is a very real thing. If you find changes in lighting, or very bright lights, bothersome to your eyes, then you may have some visual sensitivity.
The main instance of flashing lights on Living with the Land is during the first scene. You’ll see flashes of lightning throughout the thunderstorm. It’s definitely more accentuated because you’re in a dark space.
The transition from the “dark ride” area to the green house could also be hard on sensitive eyes. If you’ve ever had your eyes become watery when going from a dark space to a very bright space, you know how uncomfortable this can be. You can prepare ahead of time by having sunglasses ready to put on so that the transition feels less harsh.
The fast speed of some Disney attractions can be overwhelming, especially to those who are sensory avoiders. Luckily, Living with the Land is a great attraction for those who prefer slow-moving rides.
As mentioned earlier, Living with the Land is a boat ride through dark scenes and then the greenhouse. It moves slowly as the narrator explains and teaches about different ecosystems and methods of agriculture. EPCOT especially is full of these “edutainment” (education + entertainment) opportunities, so they are not going to speed you past everything.
It CAN be a little bit bumpy at times, especially leaving and coming in to the the loading zone, but it’s not too startling.
Those with a sensitive vestibular system usually find the dropping sensation to be overwhelming. In case you didn’t know, the vestibular system is the one that is responsible for our sense of balance and being aware of where our body is in space. There are no drops to worry about on Living with the Land
SCARY VISUALS 3/5
So, Living with the Land probably isn’t the first Disney attraction you think of when you consider “scary” visuals. But again, it is these seemingly minor things that can often scare highly sensitive kids.
There are no visuals of violence, conflict, or villains on Living with the Land (phew!). However, there are a few things to be mindful of. First, if any of your kids are scared of thunderstorms, be aware that they’ll be going through a storm where they will see some flashes of lightning. This section doesn’t last very long but it does occur at the very beginning of the ride.
Also, if your children are scared of any kinds of animals, you’ll see some animal animatronics here. The most visible ones are alligators, large insects, buffalo, and prairie dogs popping up. Again, none of this is overtly scary. But if your kids have very specific fears, it’s good to be aware of what they’ll be seeing while riding Living with the Land.
PROXIMITY TO OTHERS 1/5
Being in crowded places can be really overwhelming for highly sensitive and anxious kids. It might be due to the feeling that they can’t escape. Or it could be because of ALL the sensory input that comes from being around a ton of people.
Luckily, Living with the Land does pretty well in this department. It’s not a headliner attraction at EPCOT so wait times for this ride are generally on the lower end. Which means crowds are uncommon. The ride vehicle itself also helps maintain personal space, as there are several rows of seating and you are likely to sit with just your travel party. There are no lap restraints either, so this is good news for those who cannot handle being in tight confined spaces.
STRONG SMELLS 1/5
Disney is known for making attractions, shows, and rides more immersive by engaging ALL senses. That even includes smell!
Highly sensitive or sensory sensitive kids are more likely to be bothered by strong smells, even if they are seemingly pleasant ones. It can cause headaches or even nausea.
In our personal experience, we didn’t experience super strong smells while riding Living with the Land. Some people do say there is a bit of a musty odor, which is common on a lot of Disney World boat attractions. A fresh scent is noticeable in the greenhouse, as you are surrounded by tons of growing plants, but it’s definitely not an artificial one.
Even if you or your child has a sensitive sense of smell, Living with the Land shouldn’t be too bothersome.
Okay, whose kid hates getting wet?! Getting wet on Disney rides can totally contribute to sensory overload in highly sensitive or anxious kids, especially getting wet UNEXPECTEDLY.
Even though Living with the Land is a boat ride, you cannot get wet here. Unless somehow someone chooses to hop off the boat and into the water 😛 But for real, wetness is not a factor to be concerned about it when it comes to Living with the Land.
How do we understand this rating? A LOWER score means LESS sensory overload. A HIGHER score means a GREATER likelihood of being overwhelmed and overstimulated. This creates a helpful data point for deciding which rides might cause sensory overload meltdowns in our sensitive kids.
Potential Pain Points of Living with the Land
Living with the Land is a gentle indoor boat ride without any height requirement. The overall thrill level of this ride is very low for the average person. BUT if your child hates being in the dark, thunderstorms, animal animatronics, and constant audio narration in the background, this might not be the best fit.
I’d suggest either reconsidering including this attraction in your park itinerary OR coming up with ways to help support and accommodate your child. You could have noise canceling headphones on hand. Maybe your child could hold a little glow stick if they are scared of the dark. You could remind your child to close their eyes and snuggle close if they see something scary.
Positive Aspects of Living with the Land
On the other hand, Living with the Land is a great filler attraction that the whole family is able to ride. Children who are interested in gardening, farming, and taking care of the environment (this is EXACTLY my oldest child!) will really enjoy this one. It’s also fun to spot different plants and see them growing throughout the greenhouse. This is a great one for detail-oriented kids.
And even if none of your family is interested in this topic, this 14 minute indoor boat ride can be the perfect way to rest tired legs and get away from the Florida heat for a bit.
What has YOUR experience been on Living with the Land at EPCOT? Do you or your kids LOVE it or HATE it? If you haven’t been yet, will you be including this ride in you park itinerary at EPCOT?
If you need extra support and want to find community with other parents of highly sensitive or anxious kids going to Disney World, I encourage you to join my Facebook group!
You can ask all your questions and get feedback from a wonderful group of Disney-loving parents who are also looking to better manage the meltdowns and maximize the magic during their Disney World vacation.
And follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to stay up-to-date on all the latest Disney tips!
Lastly, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of my must-have Disney ride planner tool! Use it so you can easily keep track of which rides you want to avoid and which you want to try with your highly sensitive kids. It will make planning your park days SO much easier!
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