Journey Down the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: It’s More Than Just Gorillas!

by | Sep 27, 2021 | Animal Kingdom, WDW Blog

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Have you seen the sign for the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail at the exit of the Kilimanjaro Safaris and wondered whether it was worth the 15 minutes to explore the trail? My take: Absolutely.

In fact, there are several reasons I recommend taking the time to enjoy the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail experience on your next Disney visit.

Not Everything Has to Be Go-Go-Go

I think we all feel the urge to pack as much into our Disney trip as possible to raise the return on investment on our, let’s face it, super expensive vacation

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It’s important to take it easy on your Disney World vacation, sometimes. Photo by Mike Billick

But what about slowing down and contributing to the stockpile of simpler memories?

Sometimes, there is just so much sensory stimulation going on with the ride experiences that our young kids (or even us, uh, not-so-young folks) can get overloaded. That’s why it’s important to take a breather in between rides and enjoy the beautiful scenery, educational opportunities, and animal observatories that the trail has to offer.

There is a lot to discover, on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, and if you allow the time to do so, you won’t regret it. Plus, it’s only 15 minutes of your park day.

3 Tips for Tackling Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Here are three tips to enhance your experience on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail:

1. Always Look Up and Down

Disney is notorious for its impeccable theming. Some of the best decor at Disney isn’t found at eye level.

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Spot these animal tracks on the ground of Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Photo by Ilana Robinson

On the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, you can find animal tracks along the trail floor, as well as beautiful displays of artwork on the ceilings of buildings you walk in and out of as you meander down the pathway.

2. Ask Questions

Cast Members are scattered about numerous locations throughout the trail, in addition to the Wilderness Explorer stations. You can learn so much, and feel more connected to the animals and habitats, just by asking simple questions.

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The CMs love to answer questions. Photo by Ilana Robinson

Trust me, the Cast Members love to tell you about the animals.

3. Read the Fine Print

The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is more than just looking at animals. In fact, if you actually read about the exhibits, it might feel like information overload.

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There’s so much good stuff to read on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Photo by Ilana Robinson

But it’s worth it.

Slow down and take the time to read the posters containing information about the animals you see, and learn something new!  Show your kids that educational experiences can be fun too.

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More to read. Photo by Ilana Robinson

You Can Plan When to Be at the Right Place at the Right Time

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Wait around for that magical moment. Photo by Laurie Sapp

As always, timing is key. While randomly catching fun animal moments can be exciting, it may be easier to control your luck via the observation points on the trail.

When you’re riding the safari, it’s sometimes a hit-or-miss experience because the trucks cannot stay stationary for too long. That issue doesn’t exist on the trails.

If you want to observe the animals for longer, you can just stay. I have seen a meerkat protecting its lair (actually quite cute), monkeys climbing bridges, birds feeding and building nests, hippos doing donut spins in the water, and a baby gorilla wrestling with her mom (quite possibly the cutest sight ever)—all because I waited around for the right moment. 

While there isn’t a perfect time to visit, it does help to have a bit of insider information on the trail.

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When to Visit Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

First, the trail closes at 6:30 PM currently, but typically about 1 hour before dusk.

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Take note of opening and closing times. Photo by Ilana Robinson

Second, the gorillas are most active between 9 and 11 AM.

All of the gorillas go inside for the day at around 4:30-5:00 PM because baby gorilla Ada (10 weeks) needs indoor bonding time with her family. This will likely change as she gets older, but future baby gorilla will likely cause the same disappearance.

Third, if you head to the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail at park open or park close, there will be significantly less foot traffic, and you may actually have the entire trail to yourself

Not Just Gorillas

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You’ll spot other primates on the trail. Photo by Cliff Wang

Yes, the attraction is named the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, but it houses many different animals, not just the gorillas.

You can find monkeys, a bird atrium (complete with a screened in area so they can fly freely), fish, meerkats, hippos, giraffes, zebras, and more.  

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Stop in to see the birds. Photo by Ilana Robinson

Plus, the path itself is beautiful and offers many spots that are the perfect backdrop for photographs—whether selfies or a family photograph. And on those sunny days, it’s a nice shady escape (though air conditioning may be the better option).

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail: A Must-Do

The next time you go for a Safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, don’t just turn right and make your way toward Everest or Pandora. Instead, turn left and head down the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail for a bit more laid-back fun.

Trust me, you’ll love it.

Not sure if you’re going? You can just get more information about a potential Disney vacation.

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Written by Ilana Robinson

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Ilana Robinson is a published writer, photographer, seamstress, and former attorney, who practiced law in the Greater NYC area for 10 years before relocating to Orlando with her family. She is a WDW Annual Passholder and dreams of visiting every single Disney Park worldwide. Follow along on her Disney adventures on Instagram and TikTok.
Ilana Robinson

Written by Ilana Robinson

Ilana Robinson is a published writer, photographer, seamstress, and former attorney, who practiced law in the Greater NYC area for 10 years before relocating to Orlando with her family. She is a WDW Annual Passholder and dreams of visiting every single Disney Park worldwide. Follow along on her Disney adventures on Instagram and TikTok.