Howdy, y’all!! Time for some vittles over at Trail’s End in Disney World’s Fort Wilderness (finally). Can you believe I’ve been writing this blog for TWO YEARS (Happy Birthday to us!) and haven’t gotten my own review of Trail’s End on here?! Anyway, time to change all that.
We headed over to Fort Wilderness via a beautiful boat ride a couple of weeks ago with the aim of sampling the a la carte lunch. I’d heard good and bad reviews, so I was definitely intrigued — especially since I’d only had Trail’s End’s breakfast buffet prior to this visit.
Fort Wilderness is one of the earliest “resorts” at Disney World, and offers cabins for camping as well as tent and RV rental spots. Trail’s End is one of the resort’s year-round, full-service dining locations, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Up until a few months ago, all were buffets. In a test that’s seemed to have stuck, Trail’s End began serving lunch from a menu last year.
The laid-back, country-style feel of the place has a bit of a “Cracker Barrel” air to it for those of you who have been to one of those chain restaurants. The picnic tables and rocking chairs on the front porch are often filled with folks dining on take-out from Trail’s End or enjoying a beer from Crockett’s Tavern, which is connected to Trail’s End.
Once you walk inside the restaurant, you’re greeted with…wood. There’s wood everywhere. Walls, tables, chairs, ceiling, bar. And random additions to the decor make you simultaneously wonder, “Where in the world did that come from?” and “Where can I get one?”
And it feels very comfortable inside as well. Like any campground worth its salt, the dining locations have a very familial, familiar feel to them — as though you’re about to run into good neighbors who vacation at the same time you do every year. Kids run through in wet bathing suits. Moms and Dads stop in to fill up their refillable mugs. Grandmas relax on the restaurant’s front porch with a good book. It’s just a fun and relaxing place to be!
While Trail’s End is usually a buffet for breakfast and dinner, we were there during lunch, so the buffet area was shut down. But you can see from the photo below that the buffets look almost like old prairie furniture! Kind of fun! We also love that you get to use metal plates like you do over at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue!
When we finally took the time to check out the menu, we were actually pretty impressed. Um…corn and chive hush puppies? Yum. And take a look at the description for the vegetarian fried green tomatoes? Looks fantastic!!
Of course, how could I pass up the Fried Chicken and Waffles?!??! And we also ordered the Barbecue Pulled Pork sandwich with corn-bacon coleslaw, pickled green tomatoes, and house-made chips as well as a mixed greens salad and a side of cheese grits with andouille sausage.
The salad came out first, and it was lovely. Just look at all of that color! Of course, that’s as healthy as we got for the rest of the meal, but it was delicious.
The chicken and waffles came out on a huge platter, the butter melting beautifully on the waffles! I hope I captured it well enough to give you the idea. It was the kind of meal you just want to stare at for a while before you dig in — savoring the fact that you actually get to eat it! Sigh.
The fried chicken was quite good. As you can probably guess, it tasted a lot like the chicken you get over at Hoop Dee Doo, so if you like that, you’ll like this. The waffles were delicious as well, though I was wishing my stomach was twice its size so that I could eat more of them.
The BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich had so many flavors going on! While I’m not sure if I’d get this or the burger on the next visit, this is definitely a contender — especially if you like green tomatoes!
The cheese grits were…I hate to say it…a bit of a disappointment. We wanted strong, full-flavored cheese taste, and it just wasn’t there. Next time I’ll have to bring a hunk of Black Diamond cheddar and a cheese grater. The andouille sausage was a fun addition, though.
And for dessert, we couldn’t decide between these two, so we just had to get both, of course: The Wilderness S’more and the Warm Sticky Bun Sundae. I mean, how do you choose?! The first thing that struck us about these desserts was, again, the fanciness of them. They were beautiful! But that didn’t stop us for long. As soon as the photos were taken we dug right in.
We tried the s’mores dessert first — dark chocolate mousse piled between graham crackers and topped with toasted marshmallows and chocolate syrup. This was much better than I anticipated! While I’ve been a little down on all-chocolate desserts, this one was light, tasty, and included enough different flavors that I wasn’t overwhelmed with the dark chocolate. I was very grateful to note that the graham crackers had just been placed in the dessert before it had been brought out, so they were still very crunchy and not soggy. The addition of the toasted marshmallows was a great garnish.
Then we moved on to the warm sticky bun sundae. Woah Nellie! A freshly baked sticky bun covered in ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce and a pile of whipped cream? Divine. Absolutely divine. We, of course, asked for extra caramel sauce on the side so we could continue to replenish the supply as we ate through the sundae.
Now, I’d been checking out what our neighbors at the table next to us were ordering, of course, and they’d received their Angus Chuck Bacon Cheeseburgers with sweet potato fries. So of course I asked if I could take a photo. They were kind enough to let me do so! Hopefully they’re reading! Thanks!!
And if you’re staying at Fort Wilderness or just want the magic to go, there’s a great take-out menu posted on the wall over by the take-out entrance to the restaurant. Wouldn’t it be nice to grab take-out from Trail’s End, head over to the Fort Wilderness beach, and watch the Wishes fireworks?
I really enjoyed our lunch at Trail’s End. The menu items were surprising in complexity (compared to what we expected), and I think they did a great job of creating a list of dishes that incorporated fun, “country dining” ingredients while still offering a lot of flavor and interesting combinations. The desserts were delicious as well. While I do enjoy the buffet at Trail’s End, there are certainly several items on their lunch menu that I want to return and sample!
Another consideration when dining at Trail’s End is location. Fort Wilderness is, comparatively, not easy to get to. The internal bus system makes it tough to get around if you’re not used to it. Our advice is to take a boat from the Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, or the Contemporary resort to get to Trail’s End.
What do you think about Trail’s End? Let us know in the comments section below!