Trail’s End Lunch Goes From Buffet to a la Carte

Everyone’s favorite inexpensive buffet is making a change. Starting Sunday, August 27th, 2010, Fort Wilderness’ Trail’s End Restaurant will be serving a la Carte items for lunch instead of a buffet (on a trial basis). Menu items could include chili, fried chicken and waffles, sautéed catfish, grilled pork chop, spicy grilled shrimp and andouille sausage, Wilderness s’mores and a warm sticky bun sundae.

Breakfast and dinner remain buffet-style through the trial period.

Source: WDWMagic


  1. says

    Ugh, why?! Didn’t they learn from the last attempt to change lunch here? Couple years ago Disney tried to change the buffet to a cold buffet only (sandwiches and such) and it backfired badly.

    I hope this “trial” fails miserably because the lunch here was great (as is the other meals) and I do not want a la carte option instead.

  2. Tim Sampson says

    I almost freaked when I saw the headline. Then I calmed down. A bit. We are eating dinner there tomorrow night.
    As Hochberg said, why do they keep trying to mess with this formula? Are they really doing that badly financially that they have to do away with a nice, affordable buffet?

  3. says

    Wow, I’m going to guess that this isn’t going to last very long.

    Why do they always have to pair Chicken and Waffles? It’s just carbs on top of carbs plus whatever chicken has.

  4. Galloping Gourmand says

    Wow. That’s kind of inexplicable on the surface. While I have never been there general concencus is that it’s a very good buffet at a great price. The only drawback is that it’s a little bit out of the way.

    There has to be a reason for the change. Say what you will about their choices but Disney doesn’t do things for no reason. Is it possible that they are not making enough money? Is a buffet not enough to get people in the parks to make the trip out? Is there a new chef trying to make a mark? We can assume that there is some kind of economic decision behind this. Any theories out there?

  5. Jessica says

    I really hope this idea doesn’t spill over to dinner. That’s one of our favorite WDW dinner buffets! Oh yeah, breakfast there is an excellent buffet too.

  6. says

    Matt — Seriously? A cold buffet? Gross. Who would pay for that?

    Tim — How was dinner?

    Josh — Chicken and waffles = yum ;-)

    Vance — When’s your next trip? Maybe it’ll be all just a forgotten nightmare by then ;-)

    GG — I like the theory about the new chef… you’re such a thinker.

    Jessica — Agreed!

  7. Heather says

    I’m guessing the reason for this is lack of traffic at lunch time. If the buffet isn’t busy at lunch then the items on the buffet are not as fresh as they could be! If items aren’t fresh than the restaurant ends up with complaints. Fried chicken gets soggy if it sits too long. Salads also start to wilt–Yuck! I work in a restaurant that has a buffet breakfast and if it’s a slow morning things are not yummy by the time we turn over to a la cart lunch.

  8. says

    As someone who’s stayed at Fort Wilderness many times in the past, I think this is a great idea. There aren’t many food options at FtW and if you’re doing a non-park day or two, having basically the same buffet at lunch and dinner gets old. We’re going to be at a Wilderness cabin in November and hope to try out the new lunch then.

  9. Galloping Gourmand says

    Heather – I had never thought of that as a buffet issue, but you are right. To keep up the quality you have to have a fairly steady turnover, and if the crowd isn’t heavy enough you may end up with low quality or throwing out a lot of food. Has anyone had this issue at Trail’s End? Everything I hear on the Podcasts (WDWRadio and WDWToday) tells me it’s a good buffet. That might mean they are tossing a lot of food.

    Carla – Good point. I actually think that might have a lot to do with it! Trail’s End really serves the campground. They could be getting guest surveys back about the lack of choice. Choice at a buffet is different than choice at a meal. At buffets you load your plate with everything instead of thinking “hmm, I might be back. Better save that tasty looking ham for tomorrow.”

  10. says

    I think there are ups and downs to this. Will be interesting to see menu’s and reviews.. the buffet was one of the best down there, and I have a hard time seeing this do better. Guess we will see

  11. Dottie says

    I’m sooo disapointed,,it would have been my first time at the lunch buffet which I have heard so many good things about. How long is the trial period ?

  12. says

    Heather — The thought of soggy fried chicken is pretty unappetizing, I have to say! ;-)

    Carla — Thanks for your insight! You’ll have to tell us what you think of the new lunch service!

    Mark — We’ll find out, eh? At least they’re keeping the breakfast and dinner buffets for now; I know the buffets at Trail’s End have always been popular.

    Dottie — :-( Not sure how long the trial will go on. Might just be made permanent if it’s successful…

  13. Rose Murray says

    A couple years ago we ate the buffet breakfast and they changed to lunch while we were there and my husband thought that was the greatest thing EVER! Guess that won’t be happening again!

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