the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Lunch

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.

Sign

Atmosphere

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.

Fort Wilderness Restaurants

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.

Front Porch 2

Picnic Tables on Porch

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?”

Entrance

Theming

Theming

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!

Seating

Seating

Bar Area Seating

Eats

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!

Buffet Area

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!!

Click for Larger Image

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.

Salad

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.

Chicken and Waffles

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!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

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.

Cheese grits

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.

Wilderness S'mores

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.

Sticky Bun Dessert

Close up of the sticky bun

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!!

Burger with sweet potato fries

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?

Take Out Menu

Buffet and Take Out area

Overall

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!

Other Posts You May Enjoy:

23 Comments

  1. Pudge the Fish says:

    Happy Birthday DFB! This article is a great example why this website is such a success. Great, unpretentious writing and drool-inducing photos like the picture of that sundae. WOW!

    Wishing you many more years of success! Thank you.

  2. Kimberly says:

    We haven’t been to Trail’s End for lunch yet and after reading this review, it’s going on the plan pronto!

  3. Sara says:

    Happy blogiversary!!!! Yay for 2 years of fabulous Disney food reporting!! :D

    Trail’s End looks pretty awesome, I must say. I am a big fan of pulled pork, and that s’mores dessert looks great!

  4. Sarah says:

    I love the presentation of the Sticky Bun Sundae! Congrats on two years, and here’s to many more!

  5. Marion says:

    Great article! I’m going to bring a group there next month to enjoy the lunch. You really helped me make that decision with your details and photos. I love the BLOG and I read it every day. Keep up the good work. Thank you so much for your time and effort. It is much appreciated.

  6. Emma Godbold says:

    Ventured over to the Trail End dinner buffet for the first time in December. The venue and food selection was ‘rustic’ and basic, but if you want lots of comfort food in a very relaxed atmosphere then this is the place to visit! Thanks for the review of the lunch menu, looks like a slightly more structured dining option at lunchtimes and one I might try out if I want a break from the parks; especially as I now know how to get back to my home resort (oh boy, it was disorientating in the dark!!).

    Congrats on the two years AJ, sorry it took me a while to discover you and your wonderful blog!! ;)

  7. Sassagoula Billy says:

    I’ve always wanted to check out Trail’s End, so thanks for the lovely review! :) The fried green tomatoes sound delish.

    But I must say, that Sticky Bun dessert looks like something out of the dearly departed website, thisiswhyyourefat. I’m all for over the top desserts, but that looks ridiculous!

  8. We had breakfast at Trails End a few years ago and loved it! Soooo going back for the chicken and waffles! Great pictures! Thanks for sharing your visit! :)

    Happy Blogaversary!

  9. [rich] says:

    Happy Blogday :-D Thanks for all the work you put in – a great way to have some Disney magic when I’m sat in the cold over in the UK.

  10. vanessa says:

    This was a wonderful review and Happy Blogirthday? HAHA Chad and I always go to the breakfast and it’s our favorite breakfast on property. We were actually wondering when you were going to do a review on it’s al la carte menu! I’d love to try the catfish if we go next time. =D

  11. Disneylovinfam7 says:

    Congrats on 2 years! I’ve only been reading a short time, but I love stopping by every day. Great review, thanks for all the photos and descriptions. Keep it up!!

  12. AJ says:

    Pudge — Thank you! And thank you for everything you’ve contributed to the blog. Your insights and scoops are much appreciated.

    Kimberly — Let me know what you think!

    Sara — Thanks! Hope you get to sample the s’mores dessert; we really enjoyed it!

    Sarah — Thank you for all of your contributions!! Getting to know you has been such a wonderful part of writing this blog!

    Marion — Thank you so much for the kind words! Let me know how the trip to Trail’s End goes!

    Emma — Yes indeed! Disorienting to be sure! I like the boat options best… trying to figure out the internal bus system can be tough for me. Re: the blog — SO glad to have met you!

    Billy — Ha! Most of what I eat on this blog could be a banner ad on that website! ;-)

    Jennifer — Awesome! Thank you for the well wishes!

    Rich — Always great to see you pop up in the comments! Reminds me to head over to flickr to see what you’ve been doing these days!

  13. Alan says:

    Two years – imagine that! I’ve been with the blog about half that time but looking at it each morning is like saying hello to an old friend.

    The menu at The Trail’s End is impressive. They have taken simple entrees and kicked them up with interesting ingredients and side dishes. The meals are familiar so non-adventurous eaters will order them but then will discover some new flavors. Kudos to whomever put this menu together.

  14. [rich] says:

    Cheers :-) I’ll draw you up a little food based picture if you’d like – any preferences?

  15. Josh says:

    Wow, that is a campy cabin restaurant if I can say so myself. Reminds me of a South Dakota restaurant we went to a few years back, and with s’mores too! (except they had a fire you could make them on)

    Really a great variety in the menu so you aren’t just stuck eating beans and a burger. I definitely need to try Chicken and Waffles just to say I have tried it… looks great!

  16. Christina says:

    Happy, happy Blogoversary! Hope you are around for many more! Those chicken and waffles just had me singing, which ended up with some strange looks from my Hubby!!

  17. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I have yet to be close enough to the Trail’s End to consider eating there. Is it really worth the trip from the MK? That could mean up to a full hour and a half for lunch.

  18. Heather says:

    Wow! The lunch menu looks great–better than the options on the buffet at dinner for sure! I may have to try and squeeze this one in soon!

  19. Donald says:

    Wow!

    Thank you so much for the amazing review. The picture of the s’mores alone was enough for me to book a lunch here. I’m thinking of getting the berry salad or the fried green tomato entree – the chicken and waffles look great, but I don’t think I could handle that and the dessert!

    Can’t wait to have lunch here in about a week!

  20. AJ says:

    Donald — Glad to help! Let us know how you like it!

    Alan and Christina — Thank you for your kind words! I consider myself lucky to have “met” both of you.

    Rich — I’ll have to think of a good subject!

  21. Pete says:

    I was at Disneyworld in July 2010. We came across the trailsend when we were looking for a fishin excursion.
    We had breakfast and came back for supper. I have never had such good food in my life!
    The buffet was awesome! As a Canadian, I would like to say how much I love America and Americans! I met Americans from all over and they are so wonderful!
    If you go to the Trailsend, you will not leave unsatisfied.
    Go to the Mickey Mouse barbecue!!!!!!! INCREDIBLE!!
    GOD BLESS AMERICA and send a new pres.

  22. Donald says:

    So I went to lunch at Trail’s End a few days ago. I ordered the berry salad with chicken, which was a little too sweet for a salad IMO. Next time I would get one of the more savory entrees (the fried green tomatoes sound amazing).

    The wilderness s’mores were really interesting. I was surprised by how light the chocolate mousse was. It was definitely a different take on a s’more, but very good.

    It was a very tranquil lunch, and the food was a lot more interesting than expected. I would definitely go back!

  23. ShaeLee says:

    Do they still have the fried chicken and waffles for dinner or lunch? I know that I read it’s become a buffet, but my husband LOVES fried chicken and waffles!!

Leave a Reply

Current month ye@r day *