Two previous studies, Martin et al. (J. Exp. Psychol. Anim. Behav. Process. 23 (1997) 183) and Dudchenko et al. (J. Exp. Psychol. Anim. Behav. Process. 23 (1997) 194), report that, compared to non-disoriented controls, rats disoriented before testing were disrupted in their ability to learn the location of a goal on a dry radial-arm maze task, but that both groups learned at the same rate in the Morris water maze. However, the radial-arm maze task was much more difficult than the water maze. In the current set of experiments, we examined the performance of control and disoriented rats on more comparable dry land and water maze tasks. Compared to non-disoriented rats, rats that were disoriented before testing were significantly impaired in locating a goal in a circular dry arena, but not a water tank. The results constrain theoretical explanations for the differential effects of disorientation on different spatial tasks.