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

It’s been a while since I’ve slept in a camper, cabin, or tent, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Trail’s End Restaurant!

Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, the down-home spot is one of my favorites for many reasons — but delicious food and reasonable prices top the list.

While I love lunch and dinner at Trail’s End, I hadn’t visited for breakfast before, so I decided it was time to do just that on a recent trip.

Atmosphere

Getting to Trail’s End is half the adventure. It’s located waaaay at the back of the resort, in the area known as the Settlement.

Now, wait. To be fair, adventure is kind of a generous word. It’s actually kind of a pain to get here. Maybe that’s why I like it so much — it’s rarely too packed!

If you’re coming here via bus from a theme park, or via your own car, you’ll park way up at the front of Fort Wilderness and have to take some internal buses to get back to the Settlement. That’s why I prefer to get to Trail’s End and the other Fort Wilderness restaurants via boat from Magic Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge, or the Contemporary — much less intensive on the travel end, and more enjoyable as well.

On this morning we took the bus, so we had some sight-seeing to do on our way from the bus stop back to Trail’s End… .

Welcome to the Settlement!

It’s not uncommon to see horses at Fort Wilderness, where there are carriage and wagon rides available.

Ft. Wilderness Activities

Pioneer Hall shares space with our destination. I love this place! It looks like a giant log cabin. The surrounding by tall pines and live oaks dripping in Spanish moss really give it the feeling of a pioneer settlement.

Pioneer Hall

Pioneer Hall is home to several popular destinations at Fort Wilderness. You’ll find Mickey’s Backyard BBQ close by. But it’s also where you’ll head for an evening of down home fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!

Pioneer Hall -- Up Close

Just past the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue venue, you’ll find our destination for the morning — Trail’s End table-service restaurant. This location shares a building with Crockett’s Tavern, the local watering hole and a great little place to enjoy an adult beverage, or nosh on snacks like chicken wings, pizza, or nachos.

Crockett's Tavern Sign

But it was time to head in for our early morning ADR, so we made for the entrance. The restaurant is surrounded by low, wraparound porches, which are often being used by Fort Wildernessers to sit a spell.

Trail's End Outside

The friendly and classic sign greets you as you check in.

Trail's End Restaurant Sign

Everything about Trail’s End is seriously laid back. You are supposed to relax and slow down here. Make time for a game of checkers. Go ahead. You know you want to. (And check out the not so Hidden Mickeys on the chairs.)

Checkers on the Porch

Come on in, beckons the welcome mat. (Well, technically, it’s saying “Howdy” to you as you leave. But we won’t nitpick.)

There Is, Indeed, a Welcome Mat

Tables and chairs carry the same rustic themeing as the post and beam construction. But chairs are generous and cushioned, making for comfy seating.

Seating

In true outhouse fashion, you’ll have to go back outside to use the restrooms! (They’re shared with Hoop Dee Doo.)

Restrooms Sign

While we’ve heard raves about both breakfast and dinner, it’s lunch here that I’ve come to love. If you haven’t had the chance to take in an a la carte lunch at Trail’s End, I heartily suggest that you add it to your list as soon as possible. The food is absolutely delicious, and unbelievably inexpensive (by Disney standards, anyway).

Yes, I’ve had the warm sticky bun sundae; and yes, it’s lovely.

A la Carte Lunch Menu

But we were here for breakfast on this fine morning! Both breakfast and dinner are all-you-care-to-eat, buffet style; and the set up is extensive.

Breads and Toaster on the Buffet

The buffets are decorated with antique kitchen equipment, and you’ll find cast iron and old-fashioned pantry items displayed nearby.

Fruit Buffet Set Up

There’s a lot to choose from! So be sure to take a walking tour of all they have to offer before you start filling your plate.

Buffet Traffic Pattern

Time to take a tour of the breakfast set up so that you can see it for yourself!

Eats

Trail’s End Restaurant offers a particularly hearty breakfast spread with lots of inventive, country-style favorites. But there are also some surprisingly light and healthy options, too. Let’s have a look around at what they have on hand for you here.

To Begin: Create Your Own Yogurt Parfait, Moonshine, and Fruit

I am a big fan of yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit for breakfast. So I was really excited to try out first hand the Create Your Own Parfait Bar that we told you about a while back!

Create Your Own Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt Parfait Bar

You’ll find some really delicious options here for customizing your parfait. Choose from Vanilla or Blueberry Yogurt in mason jars.

These weren’t refilled as often as I’d hoped they would be, and I was glad to get the last blueberry yogurt that I saw for the rest of the day! Moral of the story? If you see a flavor you’d prefer, grab it!

Jars of Yogurt for Parfaits

Then go ahead and add Fresh Berries, Citrus Quinoa Salad, and Granola for even more flavor.

Fresh Berries and Citrus Quinoa Salad

The granola was definitely more of a muesli type than a baked granola with yummy oat clusters, by the way — so be prepared.

Granola Mix

You’ll also find jars full of “Moonshine” on the bar. The deep orange-colored juice tastes suspiciously like the Jungle Juice you’ll find at Boma and Tusker House. And I’m fine with that!

Moonshine

If you prefer Whole Fruit, there’s an assortment of that as well.

Whole Fruit

There are also some cut, ready to eat fruit options as well Cottage Cheese.

Honeydew Melon

Citrus Salad

Cottage Cheese

To Continue: Cereal, Bread, and Other Cold Offerings

Prefer some carb power to get your day going? There are plenty of options in that category as well! Start out with assorted Sliced Bread for toasting, as well as Bagels.

Assorted Sliced Breads

Assorted Bagels

There’s a toaster located nearby for your convenience.

Toaster

Many toppings are available for your bread and bagels, including Jelly, Marmalade, Butter, and two kinds of Cream Cheese.

Grape Jelly and Orange Marmalade

Citrus Cream Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Butter

There’s even Smoked Salmon.

Smoked Salmon

Freshly baked Corn and Blueberry Muffins are served right out of muffin tins for a rustic touch. And how much do I love that I can get their killer cornbread for breakfast?!?

Corn Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

There are also some more decadent bread offerings, like Doughnut Holes, plus Croissants and Fruit Danish.

Doughnut Holes

Croissants, Chocolate Croissants, and Fruit Danish

But the “Keeps Me Awake At Night Dreaming About It” Award goes to these incredible Warm Pecan Cinnamon Buns! These are totally unique to Trail’s End, and they’re a show-stopper. These were CONSTANTLY being depleted while I was there, so, again, be sure to keep an eye on when they’re being refilled.

They’re swimming in a rich, buttery sauce, so it behooves you to get up there early so you can steal as much sauce as possible. I’m just sayin’. Early bird gets the butter.

Warm Pecan Cinnamon Buns

Cereal lovers will also find some options, and milk is available for you right on the bar. This is super convenient, since you often have to ask your server for milk at many Disney buffets.

Cereal Bar with Milk

I love the old fashioned cookie jars!

Breakfast Cereal Options -- Up Close

Cheese Grits accompany Gravy and Oatmeal in that “hot stuff that’s kind of cereal and kind of side dish” area that all Disney buffets seem to have.

Cheese Grits and Oatmeal

There’s also Brown Sugar for dressing up your oatmeal a bit.

Brown Sugar

Main Dishes and Side Dishes

And now we get to the main dishes and sides. And there are many to choose from! I hope you came very hungry!

If you’re an egg lover, there are plenty of ways for you to enjoy your favorite breakfast food. Scrambled Egg fans can choose from Plain, or a dressed up Veggie Frittata.

Scrambled Eggs

Just a note about the eggs on the morning I visited: they were NOT being refilled very quickly, and there was a huge back-up waiting for eggs. Seriously. A massive line at the buffet. Overall, the service here wasn’t the best, so keep an eye on the dishes you want to eat and grab ‘em as soon as they’re refilled!

Veggie Frittata

Trail’s End also offers two wonderful varieties of Eggs Benedict. Choose from a traditional version, featuring Canadian Bacon. Or try something with down home flavor: Country Benedict with Pulled Pork! No joke!

Country Benedicts with Pulled Pork and Canadian Bacon

Breakfast Pizza with Eggs, Cheese, and Veggies is also available.

Breakfast Pizza

The meat team is represented by Bacon and Sausage. And really, isn’t there something beautiful about a skillet piled that high with bacon??

Bacon

Link Sausage

Potatoes come in two versions: diced with herb and pepper garnish; or shredded.

Breakfast Potatoes

Hash Browns

And any down home breakfast would not be complete without Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. My husband was a happy man.

Biscuits and Gravy

Some Sweet Endings

A Disney breakfast buffet almost always means one thing to me: Mickey Waffles! Where cute and delicious meet.

You can choose Plain or Chocolate Chip here — but note that the chocolate chip version is really just plain with chips sprinkled on, not baked in.

Plain Mickey Waffles

Chocolate Chip Mickey Waffles

Chocolate Chip Mickey Waffles -- Up Close

Thick-sliced Texas Toast also makes for some hearty French Toast Sticks.

French Toast Sticks

And, of course, there’s plenty of Syrup for you to top your waffles and French toast.

Syrup for Waffles and French Toast

There was also a very pretty Blueberry Bread Pudding the day I visited. Ah, Disney. How I love you and your “breakfast needs dessert, too!” philosophy.

Blueberry Bread Pudding

So, what did I have? Ah, glad you asked! I stocked up on proteins — eggs, sausage, etc. — since I had a long day of park eating ahead of me.

But no way was I passing up that delicious AND relatively healthy Yogurt Parfait Bar. I topped my Blueberry Yogurt with more berries, plus a sprinkle of granola, for a fresh, light breakfast starter.

My Yogurt Parfait

But then it was Mickey Waffle time! The butter and syrup made the tiny waffle even more delicious, mixed with the melty chocolate chips. (Too much butter, ya think?)

My Mickey Waffle with Butter!

And I simply had to sample that Warm Pecan Cinnamon Bun! Super gooey and delicious.

Warm Pecan Cinnamon Bun -- On My Plate

I loved every single bite of this amazing treat.

Overall

My thoughts about Trail’s End are short, sweet, and to the point: Get There. I have eaten at pretty much every breakfast buffet at Disney. And Trail’s End is up there as a favorite. There is a huge variety of offerings that include some delicious and unique dishes. But the astounding thing truly is the price. Far less than comparable breakfast buffets, you simply can’t go wrong.

There are a few cons, of course. Like I mentioned, the service was pretty atrocious here on the morning I visited. Dishes weren’t being refilled regularly on the buffet, so there was lots of waiting around to get what you wanted. And my server kept trying to take my dishes before I was finished with them. This made for lots of keeping one eye on the buffet to see when things were refilled and one eye on my meal to be sure it wasn’t being whisked away. Pretty tense!!

And sure, there are no characters, so you might miss out on that piece of the experience.

But, overall, for value and food quality, it’s hard to beat Trail’s End Restaurant.

Is Trail’s End a favorite stop for you and yours? Tell us about your experience there in comments below!

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15 Comments

  1. Rune says:

    We visited Trail’s End on a Sunday evening for dinner in order to see us through extra magic hours. It was kind of a ‘wild card’ pick and we absolutely loved it. Everything was good (apart from the carved beef which was a tad fatty / chewy) and I think I ate my own weight in that cornbread too! The hardest thing about eating here is trying to leave room for dessert!

    Really want to try in for lunch and breakfast now too

  2. Catherine says:

    We LOVE this place for lunch, so I may have to hop on over earlier than usual for this yummy breakfast !! Looks awesome !!

  3. Betsy says:

    I love this place. One of the things that makes it so great is how it’s off the beaten path, hence overlooked. I would pretty much only eat here when staying at FW or Wilderness Lodge, but I’ve always wondered why they don’t make it a character meal for at least one meal. Disney could totally cash in. It could even be the perfect place for a Woody’s Roundup/Toy Story themed meal…

    Don’t get me wrong I love this place the way it is, I’m just surprised Disney hasn’t tried to do more with it to bring in the bucks.

  4. Matt says:

    Ate here for the first time this past January, and can not believe after all the times I have stayed in Fort Wilderness I had never tried it. Great breakfast buffet, and you don’t have to deal with characters making the rounds. Great scenery with all the trees and the water in the distance! This should be a destination for any and all Disney fans looking for a great relaxing meal.

  5. Jessica says:

    How much is the breakfast buffet?

  6. Jym says:

    Jessica, the price is $18 ($11 for kids), off peak.

    I can’t really get behind this location for breakfast. For a family of four, that’s $70 for breakfast. The food is fine; the service is slow and with the exception of the salmon and the fritter, there’s not really anything there that you won’t find at the Hampton Inn’s free breakfast.

    I am a big advocate of the Trail’s End lunch (non-buffet) and the dinner buffet.

  7. CanadiansLoveWDW says:

    WOW .. this looks awesome and after my most recent trip to the world we have decided to eat more big breakfasts and smaller dinners .. just works better with kids. and the Country Benedict with Pulled Pork looks amazing… must get recipe for that…

  8. Beverly says:

    We have to eat at Trails End on every visit!!! My husband is addicted to the pulled pork. It was actually a side dish one time we went years ago. Now it seems it’s only available on the Eggs Benedict. Hubby always asks if he could please get a scoop with his breakfast!

  9. Jacky says:

    Never seen Mickey chocolate chips waffles. Looks like the chocolate chips were sprinkled on top?

  10. Angela says:

    Don’t forget~ if you go to Fort Wilderness from Thanksgiving to New Years, the campers decorate their campsites and it is very festive! Quite a nice wander.
    We have been to the Trail’s End for dinner, but we will need to try breakfast!

  11. Laura says:

    Does anyone know how much the dinner buffet is?
    Thanks!

  12. Beth says:

    We enjoyed the breakfast buffet there yesterday. We didn’t realize we got a Disney Visa discount. That made it even better.

  13. carol schmelter says:

    we are visiting in 8 days and going to eat a breakfast and a dinner buffet at Trails end…how do you get a discount with a disney visa…sounds great..thanks, carol

  14. Joe says:

    Going for the first time on February 9th for the dinner buffet! Reading all these reviews and it sounds pretty good! There’s also a passholder discount (which I found out after making reservations)!

  15. Janice Smith says:

    We had read this review and tried to eat there with a reservation in early Dec 2013. We parked, took the bus and arrived pretty much on time and checked in with the TWO hostesses.

    We waited. We waited. We asked why groups arriving after us with later reservations were being seated. We asked to speak to a manager.

    We were a famished group of 6 including 2 kids. We were never given a real reason why we waited except for vague guesses by the hostesses. No one ever checked really.

    The men in the group did get to speak to a manager inside the restaurant. Somehow our group was not entered into the queue for a table! We waited over ONE hour. We were offered choices at that point.

    But…we are so glad that we left. We had a fabulous lunch at Beaches and Cream without that long of a wait.

    I will Never go back to Trails End…EVER!

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