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Guest Review: Trail’s End Dinner Buffet at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Howdy! Today we’re rustling up some dinner grub at the Trail’s End Restaurant courtesy of guest author Daniel Staten. Don’t forget this restaurant for breakfast and lunch too. Let’s dig in…

The atmosphere at Walt Disney World changes often. With the seasons come new decorations and with the decades come new attractions.

There are a few places at Walt Disney World, however, that evoke a sense of nostalgia while providing a fun environment and novelty. Trail’s End Buffet at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground is one of those places.

Traveling to Fort Wilderness, and Atmosphere

Nestled far away from the hustle of the Magic Kingdom, Trail’s End feels uniquely Disney. It’s very low-maintenance and rustic.

Trails End Sign

Should you decide to dine at Trail’s End, prepare by factoring in additional travel time to the restaurant. If you arrive by bus or car, plan on an extra 30 minutes from the time you pass through the front gates of the resort.

Trail's End Outside

Trail’s End Outside

Due to the expanse of Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort, a separate inter-resort bus system shuttles guests to and from the main entrance to where Trail’s End is situated.

If you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom during the day and plan to eat at Trail’s End, you have the option of taking a boat. As a veteran Walt Disney World vacationer, I was taken by surprise and was even late to my reservation at Trail’s End due to the unanticipated transportation.

Seating at Trail's End

Seating at Trail’s End

Once you arrive, the tall trees and relaxed atmosphere reminded me of a family reunion, where the details aren’t fussy and the food is plentiful.

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

Eats

For dinner, Trail’s End offers a buffet with several unique and fun options. The selection of meat, sides, and desserts is sure to please families and large groups. In addition, Southerners take note: this is one of the only places at Walt Disney World were you can order traditional sweet tea. At the end of my vacation, I had been tea-free for a week and was certainly experiencing cravings!

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

The buffet area is smaller than newer restaurants like Boma, however we never found it cramped, and this was on a Friday night where we waited about 20 minutes after our Advance Dining Reservation time.

Several items on the buffet proved to be particularly popular, including the fried chicken and BBQ ribs.

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

One of the best things about Trail’s End was the unique dishes that

fuse comfort food with buffet standbys, like the cornbread salad. It was a composed salad with lots of green vegetables, a kick of something spicy, and ranch dressing. It was topped with crumbles of Trail’s End’s famous sweet corn bread.

Cornbread Salad

Cornbread Salad

Corn Bread

Corn Bread

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Salad Fixins

Salad Fixins

Salad selections

Salad selections

Pasta with cannellini bean sauce was delicious and had a great wine flavor throughout.

Pasta with cannellini bean sauce

Pasta with cannellini bean sauce

Pasta options

Pasta options

Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Pasta with Marinara Sauce

As far as carbs go, the redskin mashed potatoes were also stellar.

If you’d rather dress potatoes yourself, the baked potato bar is right up your alley. Pick a salted baked potato, top it with barbecued pulled pork, butter, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives — or any combination of those!

Baked Potato Bar

Baked Potato Bar

Baked Potato and Barbecued Pulled Pork

Baked Potato and Barbecued Pulled Pork

Baked Potatoes

Baked Potatoes

Barbecued Pulled Pork

Barbecued Pulled Pork

There were two types of meats being carved fresh, a sausage and beef. The latter was a little too rare for my taste, but I’m told if you make a request, they’ll be happy to cook it to your liking.

Beef and Sausage on the carving board

Beef and Sausage on the carving board

Sauces

Sauces

Salmon

Salmon

Shrimp

Shrimp

Veggies

Veggies

Dessert was the most overwhelming part of the meal. I can always make room for dessert, but at Trail’s End, my skills were put to the test!

On the night we visited, there was a very rich chocolate cake, banana pudding, red velvet cake, various cookies, and warm, iron skillet peach cobbler. If that wasn’t enough, you can make any of those a la mode with the soft-serve ice cream machine!

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Banana Pudding and Cookies

Banana Pudding and Cookies

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

We were celebrating a birthday during our visit, and our waitress got the entire restaurant involved and brought out a delicious serving of strawberry shortcake, which I’m assuming was from the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, situated next door.

After the meal, we walked around the restaurant and the attached Crockett’s Tavern, marveling at the animal heads mounted to the wall. If you’re adventurous, you might even discover a full sized bear!

Crockett's Tavern

Crockett’s Tavern

 

Bear at Crockett's Tavern

Bear at Crockett’s Tavern

If you time your reservation right, you may have the opportunity to view Wishes from the boat dock at Ft. Wilderness. They even pipe in the soundtrack! It was a new and unique way to see the fireworks.

Overall

Trail’s End is great for families or those visiting in large groups. It’s a single table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, a glass of sweet tea, and a piece of fried chicken, Trail’s End won’t let you down.

Have you ventured to Trail’s End? What’s your favorite dinner buffet at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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20 Comments

  1. fubr says:

    Wow, that chocolate cake…. wow.

  2. Dona Coffey says:

    This is one of our favorite places to eat. We went there with 11 people last time and it was our most relaxed meal of the entire trip. We have never had a bad meal there.

  3. Kerry says:

    It all looks good, but I’m not so fond of the shrimp with the feet still on. lol

  4. Ed Adams says:

    We used to stay at Fort Wilderness when the kids were little. Trails End is still one of our favorite restaurants. We last visited WDW in February and made a trip to Trails End. It’s not that out of the way and the food/atmosphere is great. On our prior visit in 2012 we did the Hoop-de-do review which is right next to Trails End and the food is similar. Great times.

  5. Laura says:

    We are preparing for our third trip to Disney, staying AGAIN at the Cabins at Ft. Wilderness. We won’t even consider staying anywhere else … after a day braving crowds and all the stimulation of the parks, there’s nothing better to us than relaxing in our own cabin out in the woods! We have eaten at Trail’s End several times and it never fails to please us. It’s not the Ritz Carlton folks, but it’s reliably good, with a great variety of foods, and the price is reasonable for Disney. If you are staying in Ft. Wilderness it’s a no-brainer, go enjoy the eats at Trail’s End!

  6. Michele says:

    One of our favorites we try to eat there a few times during our stay. Good variety of foods.

  7. Harry Gephart says:

    The best place to eat on the property. If you do breakfasts, I really recommend that you ask for Ken, or as we call him Mr. Happy. He’s always there taking care of your party, and if you’re kije ys and go quite often, he actually remembers your names. He’s tge best and really shows what Disney hospitality entails

  8. Angelina says:

    Definitely looks like a comfortable down home kind of place!!! I’d be interested to see the how that salmon tasted…

  9. Carter says:

    I ate here again recently, it was even better than I remembered. I think its the best value on Disney property, especially when you’re using Tables in Wonderland. I would issue one warning…make sure you work up a good appetite before going. Although it may be smaller than some buffets, all of the food is heavy and filling.

  10. Rochelle says:

    One of my families favorite restaurants! We love both the breakfast and dinner buffets. The salmon is my favorite and also as mentioned above, Ken is our favorite server. When you ask him how he is he always replies with ‘Fantastic’! And yes go with a big appetite.

  11. Tom says:

    The salmon is very good, I usually get 2-3 servings when I go to The Trails End

  12. Danny says:

    There’s NO way I’ll around a hotel filled with hunting memorabilia, no matter how tasty the food is. Sorry, but it’s not for me.

  13. Keith says:

    Ah, buffet food at its finest….none of that looks even remotely appetizing.

  14. Kris says:

    Trail’s End is one of my families favorites and a must do for us! We spent the first 15 years of my life as Ft. Wilderness guest’s and it brings back those memories every time I go there. The horse barn, petting zoo, Meadow’s Pool, Chip and Dale sing along. The Fried Chicken at Trail’s End is the same mouth-watering fried chicken served at the Hoop De Doo! (another family favorite that thankfully hasn’t changed much over the years.) The value is one of the best on Disney property and the food and atmosphere are down home comfort. I recommend it to anyone that wants a great meal at a good price!

  15. Rune says:

    Love, loved, LOVED this place when we visited for dinner with my adult daughter on Sunday night in September last, and the boat ride over from MK really added to the anticipation and made it special. Staff were efficient and friendly and the food was simple and delicious. I’m a sucker for good ‘homey’ feel food and this was lovely, especially the mashed potatoes (what do they put in those things) and the cornbread (yum!) Barely had room for dessert but it’s hard to say no when it all looks so good and as a result we ate w-a-y too much, goodness knows how we rolled / waddled back to the boat dock afterwards. Two thumbs up for Trails End, hoping to get back there on our early summer trip.

  16. fubr says:

    Danny, what’s the difference between the cruelty of hunting and the cruelty of eating meat?

  17. Ken Alegre says:

    This is one of the places I want to try one of these days!

  18. Mike says:

    Looks delicious! Too bad I don’t see any baked beans though….

  19. Amy says:

    Mike, it looks like two pots of beans there in front of the beef and sausage carving station. There are several things there I would try, but I would have to say the cleanliness of the various food stations looks like some messy people had just gone through the line. With my Mom having food allergies, I always worry about a buffet type meal.

  20. Stefanie says:

    When you go to the take out window for chicken, is this where they get your food from the buffet?

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