Inside the Ride

Inside Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Animal KingdomDisney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has a plethora of activities going on this week surrounding its 15th anniversary, but if you are visiting the Disney theme park for the “Party for the Planet,” there are still some of the main attractions that you don’t want to miss.

One of those attractions, the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, transports guests from the heart of Central Florida on a self-guided tour into a sprawling five-acre diverse forest in the Africa section of the theme park. Amidst the winding paths that feature authentic African flora and fauna, guests will experience up-close encounters with animals in re-creations of their natural habitats; at each observation station, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about both the animals and the worldwide conservation efforts that are taking place to help protect them.

During your hike, which is almost a fourth of a mile and wheelchair accessible, be on the lookout for exotic wildlife such as the African Bullfrog, Black-and-White Colobus Monkey, Western Lowland Gorilla, Nile Hippopotamus, Stanley Crane, Meerkat (anyone remember Timon?), Naked Mole Rat, Emerald Starling, Kenyan Sand Boa, Gunther’s Dik-dik and Pygmy Geese. The most popular stops along the way are the African grasslands exhibit, the colony that houses the Naked Mole Rats, an underwater hippo viewing area and the gorilla exhibit, where only a pane of glass separates guests from the “stars” of the trail, the silverback Western Lowland Gorillas. 

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail also features the Pangani Forest Conservation School and Wildlife Sanctuary. Highlights include the Endangered Animal Rehabilitation Center, home to the Colobus Monkeys, along with an array of lizards, tarantulas, mice and snakes. This area of the park also includes an outdoor aviary, home to free-flying African birds (guides will help you identify the birds as they swoop past you).

The meaning of Pangani is “place of enchantment,” and this couldn’t be a more accurate description of this family-friendly and educational attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. To see this, and all of the other attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort, for yourself, simply look for discounted Walt Disney World ® tickets right here on Orlando Fun Tickets.