A Visit to Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a walk-through attraction located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. This experience is located in the Africa section of the park and offers guests the opportunity to see gorillas in a unique habitat.
In this review, we’ll take a detailed look at Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. We’ll cover the exhibits you can expect to find on the trail and the best time to tour this area.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is unique, unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited. Anyone who enjoys animal habitats will be blown away by this peaceful attraction that can be experienced at your leisure.
Gorillas tend to be beautiful creatures known to provoke many different emotions and curiosity. This trail allows for a unique observation window into the life of these land mammals.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is tucked neatly next to Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa section outside Harambe. As the current name of the trail states, you can expect to see gorillas and waterfalls.
I mention the current name because it was formerly known as the Pangani Forest Trail. The gorilla part was added a few years back to attract more guests.
However, in addition to the gorillas, this trail offers many more animal encounters and learning opportunities. Before we look at those, here’s a quick reference for the trail.
|Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail||Animal Kingdom|
Disney Height Requirement:
Rider Switch at Disney World:
Medium to High
Sometimes the younger gorillas are
out playing and are very entertaining.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail Review
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is self-paced. Therefore, you can walk through as fast or as slow as you would like.
On average, it will take a minimum of 30 minutes to experience the trail if you take the time to view each animal encounter.
Additionally, the trail closes earlier than the rest of the park. On most days, depending on the season, you can expect a 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. close.
Gorilla Falls is home to the following animal encounters:
- Grevy’s Zebra
- Bird Sanctuary
- Colobus Monkeys
Colobus Monkey’s on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
One of the first things you’ll encounter on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is the Angolan Black and White Colobus Monkey.
Colobus Monkeys are from Angola, the Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya. There are several signs with facts about the species. Often, a cast member is in the area to answer any questions you might have.
Here is a look at their habitat. These guys can be pretty active during the day. I enjoy catching them out during their feeding time.
Make sure to stop if they are out and about. The Colobus are incredibly entertaining.
If you enjoy monkeys, the Maharajah Jungle Trek offers the opportunity to see Lion Tail Macaque monkeys. Additionally, there is a considerable Gibbons monkey encounter in the heart of Asia at the Animal Kingdom. The Gibbons are located near the entrance to Kali River Rapids.
As we move along down Gorilla Falls, you’ll encounter a termite mound like the ones they point out on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Below is a look at the dissected mound.
I’m sure anyone with any real estate experience knows what havoc and expense these tiny pests can cause.
Okapis on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Next, there’s an Okapi viewing area. This area will be on your left-hand side after passing the termite mound.
Okapis, at first glance, appear to belong to the zebra family due to their striped legs. However, they are part of the giraffe family.
Bird Sanctuary at Gorilla Falls
Moving on, you will enter an enclosed area that becomes part of a bird sanctuary. For reference, the bird sanctuary here is entirely different from the one at the tiger trail.
This viewing area offers a beautiful waterfall. Thousands of bright blue and yellow fish fill the stream below.
Look close all around, and you’ll find many interesting birds.
However, you’ll want to look quickly. Some of these birds appear as though they are posing for a picture. In reality, many of these birds are constantly moving and challenging to photograph.
Here’s that pool of fish.
These birds below like to pop in and out of their nests.
Hippopotamus Viewing Area on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
After exiting the bird sanctuary, the trail continues through a building that looks into an underwater hippo exhibit. This area can be pretty crowded at times.
Unfortunately, sometimes the water is cloudy. But if the hippo comes up to the window for a swim, you’re in for a treat.
You might also be able to see it out in the distance if it’s not swimming.
Grevy’s Zebra and Meerkat on Gorilla Falls
Moving on, you’ll come to this covered area with a view of the savanna, where you might run into a Grevy zebra.
Closer in, there’s an opportunity to see the Meerkat family. They are adorable.
One brave meerkat takes on the lookout role to protect the rest of the group. This one above looks to the sky for predators that might attack his little family while the rest are busy at work in the picture below.
For those participating in the Wilderness Explorer’s activity, there’s an opportunity to pick up a badge in this area. This is a fun way for children to get involved.
Additionally, it’s a pleasant educational experience. As you can probably tell, there are quite a few things to do on the trail.
Gorillas on Gorilla Falls Trail
Finally, we’ve made it to the first gorilla viewing area on the trail. Unfortunately, this portion of the trail can get pretty congested depending on how many gorillas are out at any given time.
Below we see a few gorillas who appear to be a little lazy.
Several baby gorillas have been born here in recent years. Below we have Grace cradled by her mom while her brother sits close. Baby Grace is several years old now. She is quite a bit larger than what’s shown in the picture below.
As you move past the glass enclosure, you’ll cross a suspension bridge. This area looks out into the gorilla habitat on both sides. A ravine sits between you and the enclosure.
To the left side, you’ll usually see some of the silver-back male gorillas hanging out. It’s a vast area, so it might take a few moments to locate the gorillas. Most of the time, there’s a cast member pointing them out.
This portion of the trail is scenic, and even though I have mixed feelings about animals living in captivity, I don’t get that feeling here. I’m sure that’s a controversial opinion.
However, I’m thankful they have a large gorilla family with a massive habitat providing plenty of space for them to roam.
There is also a good bit of information on the trail about gorillas. This one below states that the stream beyond the fence marks a rough boundary between the home range of a family troop of Lowland Gorillas and territory used by a “bachelor” or all-male group.
Here’s one of those bachelors belowy playing the role quite well. Maybe there’s a hidden built-in TV screen above him?
Or he could just be wondering when that cute blogger is coming back to photograph him? Completely unaware that I’m already there. Or maybe he knows I’m there, and this is his latest stance.
Whatever the case, make sure to look closely. There might be more than meets the eye, like this hidden gorilla in the picture below. Seeing see him lean in for the picture was a complete delight when I had no idea he was even there in the first place.
In fact, this is my favorite picture I’ve ever taken at Walt Disney World. There’s a considerable amount of emotion behind this one.
As you wind yourself around to the end of the trail, you’ll encounter a tropical-like setting.
And a little Bougainvillea to round things out.
There’s one last waterfall and viewing area as you exit the trail and head to your left. Unfortunately, it is probably missed because most guests tend to exit toward the right and don’t realize there’s another opportunity to see the gorillas.
Final Thoughts on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is an attraction you should add to your list of things to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. While the park covers a lot of ground, a day spent truly exploring the Animal Kingdom can enhance your life in a way that some of the other parks can’t.
Not only that, but conservation efforts have become an integral part of today’s world and help protect species from going extinct. Here at Gorilla Falls, we can all learn a lot about how to help further the safety of our wildlife. I hope you will take the opportunity to walk the trail on your next visit.
For more of these types of experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, try these reviews:
- Discovery Island Trails
- Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Disney World’s Tree of Life
- Animation Experience at Animal Kingdom
If you enjoy animals and want to experience something a little different, you might consider a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s our top recommendation for resorts at Disney World.
Additionally, you might enjoy staying at a nearby resort. If so, check these reviews. They are both great options:
Or you can view every Disney World Hotel Review we have available.
In the Comments
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. What do you hope to see during your visit? Do you plan to walk the trail and see the gorillas?