Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

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Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a walking trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom
Land Africa
Attraction type Walking Trail
Opening date April 22, 1998
Formally Known As Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
(April-July 1998) Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (July 1998- 2016)
Disney Genie + No

The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is an attraction located in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Attraction History and Description

The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail originally opened with the rest of Disney's Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998 [1]. The Exploration Trail was originally designed to be an epilogue to the Kilimanjaro Safaris [2]. Guests who had successfully helped stop the poachers were going to be given access to an exclusive "research station" where they could see Lowland Gorillas. As the poaching aspect of the Safaris was reduced, less focus was paid to the trail's backstory [2]. In July of 1998, the attraction was renamed the "Pangani Forest Exploration Trail" [3].

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is located between the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Wildlife Express Train in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The trail passes through the fictional Pangani Forest Conservation School and Wildlife Sanctuary which is run by the joint effort of the citizens of Harambe and international conservation groups. The Research center is overseen by Dr. Kulunda and staffed by research students. The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail features various mammals from Africa, as well as an aviary area which features exotic birds. Although there is no guide for the Exploration Trail, the "research students" located along the trail to provide guests with information about the different sights.

On May 20, 2016, Disney announced that the the Exploration Trail would be returning to its original name, "Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail" [4]. According to Imagineer Joe Rodhe, the original name of Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail was chosen to advertise the attraction's gorillas. In an attempt to show that there was more than just the primates, and that guest's may not actually see a gorilla, the name was changed to Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. In 2016, the name Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail was deemed "more concrete" and returned [5].

Featured Animals

ColubousMonkey.jpg Okapi.jpg Yellowbackduckier.jpg
Columbus Monkey Okapi Yellow-Backed Duiker
StanleyCrane.jpg Hippopatamus.jpg Dikidik.jpg
Stanley Crane Hippopotamus Dik-Dik
Gerenuk.jpg LowlandGorilla.jpg Meerkat.jpg
Gerenuk Lowland Gorilla Meerkat


The Bird Spotting Guide for the aviary.

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail also features an aviary where guests can spot free flying exotic birds. In order to help with their search, Bird Spotting Guides are available upon request. Some of the birds located inside the aviary include:

  • Bald Ibis
  • Blue Bellied Roller
  • Hammerkop
  • African Jacana
  • Taveta Golden Weaver
  • Blue-Breasted Kingfisher
  • Golden-breasted Starling
  • Pygmy Goose
  • Green Wood Hoopoe
  • Hottentot Teal
  • Brown-necked Parrot
  • Snowy-headed Robin Chat
  • Superb Starling
  • Olive Pigeon
  • Emerald Spotted Wood Dove
  • Purple Glossy Starling
  • African Green Pigeon

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • The genesis of the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail came after a team of Imagineers took a trip to Kenya [6].
  • A rock structure designed to look like Jafar from the Disney movie Aladdin can be found on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail [7].
  • Pangani is Swahili for "Place of enchantment" [7].
  • Lake Victoria Cichlid (an African fish) can also be found on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail[7].
  • The P.O. Box at Gorilla Falls is actually the number of writer Keven Brown's extension at Imagineering [6]


  1. https://d23.com/a-to-z/pangani-forest-exploration-trail/
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.nahtahzu.com/attractions/PFET.html
  3. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/pangani-forest-exploration-trail/news/27jul1998-'gorilla-falls-exploration-trail'-renamed-to-'pangani-forest-exploration-trail'.htm
  4. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/pangani-forest-exploration-trail/news/20may2016-pangani-forest-exploration-trail-returning-to-its-original-name.htm
  5. Joe Rohde shared this information on his Instagram account B-YcRK8HC6u/
  6. 6.0 6.1 Malmberg, Melody. The Making of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. New York: Hyperion, 1998. Print.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2009/12/pangani_forest_exploration_tra_1.html