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Complete Guide to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail at Animal Kingdom

Complete Guide to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail at Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom offers guests so many different, cool ways to observe and learn about animals, and we’re not just talking about Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Aside from taking a spin around the savanna, there are multiple trails throughout the park where you can get up close and personal with different creatures in a way that might not even be possible at your local zoo.

One of those trails is called the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, which is located in the Africa area of the park. It offers guests the chance to visit gorillas, along with several other animals, including hippos and even zebras.

This self-guided attraction can be a peaceful reprieve from a busy theme park, while also learning more about some of the coolest animals in the park. Come along for our complete guide to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail Quick Facts

  • Location: Animal Kingdom, in Africa
  • Height requirement: None
  • Suitable for: Everyone
  • Attraction length: Depends, it’s self-guided
  • Do we recommend? Yes, especially for animal lovers
  • When to visit: Anytime
  • Lightning Lane available: No
  • Eligible for Early Entry: No
  • Eligible for Extended Evening Hours: No
  • Scheduled Refurbishments
  • Tip(s): This attraction isn’t always open during regular park hours, so be sure to check when it’s available in the My Disney Experience app.

Description: The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail takes you through lush greenery as you explore different animals who call Africa home — and not just gorillas, either. During your adventure, you’ll also run into zebras, meerkats, and more along the way, while learning about the importance of conservation.

Location

The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail can be found in Africa, just to the right of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Follow the path past the Wildlife Express Train, and you’ll find the entrance to the trail.

gorilla falls exploration trail location

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AK Map Front Mar2023
AK Map Back Mar2023

How to Experience Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Since Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a self-guided experience, guests won’t find a Standby Line here, nor any Lightning Lanes or Single Rider Lines.

Instead, there’s typically no wait to experience the trail, and you can come and go as you please, spending as much time as you’d like observing the animals here.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Like with most other attractions at Disney World, you may find that this trail is at its busiest in the afternoon, when the park is usually at its most crowded.

For a quieter experience, you might want to visit in the morning or at the end of the day, but since the trail usually opens later and closes earlier than the rest of the park, be sure to check the hours in the My Disney Experience app while planning your visit.

Do I Need To Use Genie+ at Gorilla Fails Exploration Trail?

Genie+ isn’t offered at this attraction, but you wouldn’t have needed to use it in order to be able to explore at your own pace. You should expect to walk in without a wait, no matter what time of the day it is when you visit.

Colobus Monkeys gorilla falls exploration trail

Plenty of attractions at Animal Kingdom do offer this service, though, so be sure to check out our touring strategies for Animal Kingdom for more Genie+ advice.

What to Expect When You Visit

Queue

There is no queue here, and that’s a good thing — it means that it never gets busy enough to need one! You should be able to walk right in and start exploring when you arrive. Remember that this is an entirely outdoor attraction, with only a few covered areas along the way.

Accessibility Information

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is fully accessible, so guests using ECVs and wheelchairs will be able to stay in them while experiencing this attraction. Audio description is also available for guests with hearing disabilities.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail Accessibility Information

During the Experience

After you pass under the sign for the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail — which is themed as a conservation school and animal sanctuary on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve — you’ll set down a sprawling trail that offers plenty of shade from the lush greenery that surrounds you.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

You’ll follow the trail around through different areas and habitats, enjoying elements like waterfalls and bridges along the way. Plenty of Cast Members are on hand and are happy to answer any questions you might have about the animals.

zebras meerkats gorilla falls exploration trail

There are a ton of animals on the trail to see, including:

  • Okapi
  • Western Lowland Gorilla
  • Hippopotamus
  • Zebra
  • Ball python
  • Black and white colobus monkeys

Fish and plenty of different birds are found here, too; there’s an entire aviary to explore.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

How much time you spend here is totally up to you — if you’re pressed for time, you can probably manage to see everything in about 20 minutes, but if you’d rather walk at a leisurely pace and really take in all the exhibits, you could easily spend an hour or more.

Is Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail Kid-Friendly?

This trail is one of the most kid-friendly experiences in Animal Kingdom. Not only do they have plenty of space to explore, but children of all ages who love animals will truly be in their element here.

meerkat gorilla falls exploration trail

And if you’re not visiting strictly for the animals, this is a great place to take a walk and keep kids occupied while waiting for a Lightning Lane at Kilmanjaro Safaris or a dining reservation in the park.

Unless there are particular animals who frighten your child, there’s nothing scary here that should freak little ones out. While planning your trip, don’t forget to check out our guide to things that might scare kids at Disney World.

Strollers

Since this is a completely accessible trail, strollers are allowed on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, making this the perfect place to enjoy while your little one is napping (or when they’re too tired to walk… been there!).

History

The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail opened with the rest of the park when Animal Kingdom debuted on April 22, 1998. Just a few months later, the trail was renamed Pagani Forest Exploration Trail, but would revert back to its original name in 2016.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

The storyline behind the attraction is that you’re visiting a conservation school headed up by Dr. Kulunda, and the Cast Members you encounter are actually research students who are studying there. That must be why they always have the answers to all your animal questions!

While the animals here may change, over the years, this attraction has remained basically the same, aside from the brief name change.

Other Fun Details

  • The trail spans five acres, giving you a few extra steps to add to your count for the day (as if you needed that at Disney World).
  • Some of the animals you see on this trail are the same that you’ll see while on Kilimanjaro Safaris, including the hippos.

Other Attractions in Africa

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