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Guest Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Join me in welcoming back guest author Julie B.!

She returns with a review of Trail’s End Restaurant in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The journey to this restaurant is part of the experience, right?!

Howdy folks! Even though we’re on vacation, sometimes you just want the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground brings all the happiness of home to its dinner buffet.

Remember, this spot is a little distant from some parks and resorts. You can reach Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness by taking a boat from Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge; or by taking a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to Fort Wilderness. Note that if you take a bus, you’ll have to transfer to the Fort Wilderness internal bus system to get to Trail’s End. (DFB recommends taking a boat if possible — so much easier.)

Trail's End Sign

Atmosphere

Trail’s End is a cute little restaurant, featuring the theme of a cabin in the woods. It blends perfectly with the campground!

Welcome Mat

The walls are adorned with the best of the outdoors and the back country. Large wooden beams finish setting the scene for your meal in the wilderness.

Holiday Decor

Dining Room

On the lower level (just down a small half-flight of stairs), Trail’s End is also home to Crockett’s Tavern.

The bar is themed the same way as the restaurant and even features a 6-foot-tall (taller?) bear!

Wilderness Decor

Eats

Trail’s End has an all-you-can-eat buffet of the best comfort foods out there. I’m talking mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, and all the fixings!

Buffet Area

The first section of the buffet is the cold salad bar.

Salad

Here they have salad mix, Caesar salad, tomato mozzarella salad, marinated cucumbers, and peel-and-eat shrimp.

Salad Bar

They also have amazing croutons! There’s an addicting combo of salty seasonings and a little hint of sweetness (Paprika? Sugar? I couldn’t put my finger on it, but either way, you definitely want to try these!).

Croutons

The next station starts on the main course- mixed vegetables, corn, honey-glazed carrots, green beans, mac and cheese, and tomato pasta (note: on a second visit the vegetables were a little different, so options may vary).

Vegetables

Next up: mashed potatoes (with skins), gravy, maple salmon, baked chicken, fried chicken, and ribs.

Beyond that is a carving station that rotates meat choices. Options often include sausage, baked ham, or brisket.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken

Ribs

Make sure to save a little extra space for the last section of the buffet: the baked potato bar!

They’ve got every topping imaginable, from your standard sour cream, cheese, bacon, and chives, to more unique toppings like salsa and pulled pork! But I was most eager to try the big skillet of corn bread at this station!

Corn Bread and Baked Potatoes

Baked Potato Toppings Bar

Baked Potato with Toppings

Phew! Exhausting list of foods isn’t it?

The best thing about a buffet, though, is that you have the power to customize your meal. And in my goal to review as many foods as possible, I tried them all! Now that’s my idea of a customized meal- some of everything!

Plate from Buffet Choices

Salad is, well, salad. Try a little (croutons!) but save room for the rest.

Standouts of the night were the ribs and pulled pork (I’m a sucker for anything smoked and smothered in BBQ sauce). The salmon was also an unexpected treat! The maple topping was wonderfully sweet and the salmon was a really good quality. Plus, it was deboned, which always scores points when I order fish.

As excited as I was for the corn bread, I found it a bit dry and bland. Definitely grab some butter or enjoy this with your pulled pork for some added flavor.

After all the stick-to-your-ribs entrees, make sure to save some room for dessert. There’s a soft serve machine, warm apple cobbler, pecan bars, fruit, cookies, bread pudding, and red velvet cake.

Pecan Bars

Bread Pudding

Red Velvet Cake

Most were fun, but nothing to write home about. Since this is a buffet though, play around and get creative! I topped my apple cobbler with vanilla soft serve and caramel sauce. Yum!

Apple Cobbler

Or grab a banana, top it with ice cream, strawberry sauce, and chocolate sauce, and you’ve got a banana split!

Ice Cream Toppings

Overall

Trail’s End is a great option for the whole family! With classic foods that everyone knows and loves, even the pickiest of eaters will find something tasty.

It’s not gourmet, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s the type of meal that makes you want to cozy up in a blanket by a fire and watch the stars (after dinner be sure to check out Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along at Meadow’s Trading Post).

The whole evening is a break from the hustle and bustle of a normal Disney resort and lets you settle in to the comforts of home cooking.

Has your family dined at Trail’s end? How did it compare to other Disney buffet meals? Let us know in the comments!

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11 Comments

  1. Sean says:

    Absolutely LOVE Trail’s End. It’s become a must do for our family every year. It’s so nice to be able to get on that boat from the Magic Kingdom and just escape the insanity for a little while. Always great service (on our honeymoon, we were made to stand and recreate our first kiss to the rest of the guests while they introduced us as man and wife!) and the food is always fresh and satisfying.

    And what a value!

  2. Jamie in Jax says:

    The chicken looks FAB! How much did this cost per person?

  3. Sean says:

    I love Trail’s End been going there for close to 20 years. Definitely will be hitting it again on our next trip.

  4. Theresa says:

    When I visited WDW in October of 2012.. I was very excited to try Trail’s End. After reading this post.. I am not sure if I was at the same restaurant. The food did not look nearly as good as what you posted. The meat itself was sorta tasty.. just covered in gross crystalized fat. The sides were a little dried out.. especially the baked potatoes. Nothing looked or tasted fresh.. it had the appearance of dried out food dying under a heat lamp. The dessert bar looked like a bomb went off. There were hardly any desserts. The apple pie tasted like dirt. I had better ice cream at an awful Chinese buffet. With that said, I swore off this place… but I don’t know.. maybe it’s because I was there at 8pm on a Sunday. Maybe I should check this place out again…

  5. Brenda says:

    We went in Oct for breakfast and really liked it. My husband liked it so much he wants to go back every time we visit WDW. I personally thought it was a great value for $15.99 including drink. My daughter got her fill of Mickey waffles, which she never had before, and she still talks about them. I liked the variety with items like pulled pork eggs benedict and a fritatta. We didn’t even have to make reservations, we just walked up and waited maybe ten minutes and were seated.

  6. Carol says:

    Wondering if anyone has done Trail’s End for Thanksgiving?

  7. Karen says:

    It’s true, Trail’s End is by no means a gourmet meal, I think timing is the key to eating here. I am not a big fan of the buffet dinner, mainly because the quality is hit-or-miss. I AM a big fan of the fried chicken! I have been known to make a special trip over there just to order a “to-go” bucket and take it back to my resort (it’s also good cold and can be used to elevate a basic salad from your resort’s quick service location). I have found that is is way better to go to Trail’s End for Lunch. When I went they had fried chicken and waffles (Dee-LICIOUS! Although I noticed that it is no longer on the menu- boooo). My friend had the Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Andouille Sausage (it comes with the best Cheese Grits!). We were so full that we in the Rocking Chairs listening to the Banjo Music and the breeze in the trees and just didn’t want to move. I don’t go there often, but sometimes you just get a craving for comfort food.

  8. Chris says:

    My partner and I went to Trails End for breakfast in October and we drove over from Port Orleans Riverside. It was a bit confusing when we arrived at FW because (to us, at least) the way to get to Trails End wasn’t completely clear. After finding out in Reception, we were en route.

    The food was somewhere between good and ok. I think because its always marketed as good wholesome traditional family food, I was maybe expecting too much and coupled with the journey, it wasn’t as fabulous as I was hoping for.

    Having said that, the food was tasty, the service was good and it’s such a cute restaurant that if I could get a boat next time, I’d definitely give it another go. If only for the sausages and eggs. Yummy.

  9. Charles B says:

    Dinner prices are around $25/pp for adults. Generally cheaper than the other buffets on property. I love the fried chicken, and try to visit at least every other trip. We discovered this place after a visit to the Hoop-de-doo next door, and found that they serve from the same kitchen. So same yummy fried chicken, without the cost of the show.

  10. wpgminnie says:

    Our family went for Super Bowl Sunday Brunch at Trail’s End at 10 am.
    We drove from the Beach Club to Wilderness Lodge, then walked over to Fort Wilderness.
    Food and service was great, -the pulled pork eggs benedict is the best food item
    at WDW. After eating way too much, we took the boat to the Magic Kingdom.
    After our visit to the Kingdom, we took the boat back to Wilderness!!! What
    an amazing Disney Day!!! We did not eat until the game at 6:30 pm!

  11. venessa says:

    Pulled pork, Pecan Bars, Salmon and baked poe bar was the only thing I enjoyed when we tried it for the first time last year Jan. Everything else was just ok. The salmon was what surprised me the most too! The maple really gives it a good taste. Breakfast at Trails though, is a whole other amazing treat. NOM!

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