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Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Happy Trails to Food

20 May 2012

In the mid-1800s, adventure and exploration beckoned as the American Pioneers trekked down paths and marked trails to new settlements on the other side of the country. Very much like these early pioneers, guests of Fort Wilderness travel down the winding paths and trails of this unique campground resort to get to not only Walt Disney World's theme parks, but to their cabins/camp, the trading post, recreation activities, and even food. Hungry guests are rewarded for their travels as they reach the end of their trail and find good ol' country cooking at the Trail's End Restaurant. For a Disney resort, this really is the wilderness.

Last week, my friends and I put on our pioneering shoes and prepped our bottoms for some good ol' pioneer bus riding. We were picking up our good friend Kayleigh (read her article all about her homeland) from her family's cabin on Heron Hollow and while exploring the settlement outpost, we stumbled upon our trail's end with an unplanned breakfast.

We were hungry, but not down for an expensive Disney sit-down buffet, so we were checking out the tiny Quick Service counter, which was part of Trail's End Restaurant. A small selection of breakfast sandwiches and usual continental breakfast pastries were available, but nothing too fancy. We were then greeted by Kit, the manager of the restaurant and he invited us to dine at the buffet. Our very own author, Brent Dodge, asked to check it out before we decided and Kit graciously obliged and let us explore. The restaurant's buffet was smaller than most found on Disney property, but still featured delicious food, sure to please hungry pioneers. While looking, Kit mentioned the best part: the buffet is only $15.99 plus applicable discounts to those in our party! We rushed to the hostess stand before you could say "sold!"

The restaurant was not busy, so our seater Josephine was able to get our name in and seat us within minutes. She was so welcoming and excited to have us dine at the restaurant, happily posing as I took pictures of the seating area. The dining room and buffet are themed excellently, inside a log walled building with log beams across the ceiling and wooden tables and chairs that seemed to have been made right at Fort Wilderness. A very rustic setting, the restaurant fits well with the wilderness theme of the resort. The theming continues right into the buffet line where the walls are decorated with country kitchen ware, cast iron skillets, and shelves of canned goods, sacks of flour, and other supplies. On the actual buffet, dishes are presented in modern, but still thematic metal skillets. I think one of the best touches to make it a truly wilderness experience is that instead of ceramic, institutional plates one usually finds at buffets, Trail's End has you dine with authentic metal camping plates and handled metal soup bowls.

These metal plates were made in NJ!

What's that in thebackground?

Before rushing to the buffet line, our server Edsel came by for our drink orders and after round one at the buffet, our drinks were delivered in Mason Jars! The service from Edsel, Josephine, and Kit was excellent and itself could be considered as part of the theming of the restaurant. One could get the feeling that the cast really felt like they belonged and enjoyed their jobs immensely. Brent remarked that we felt like we were getting some good ol' country cooking at a place where everyone is your friend. That feeling was contagious as neighboring diners chatted with us and recounted stories of Disney park adventures.

The setting, the atmosphere, and the vibrancy of the restaurant was only the start, as the food was the real star. While not as a wide selection as the other Disney buffets, everything at Trail's End was delicious and filling, making for a hearty breakfast indeed. There was the expected Mickey Waffles, French toast sticks, and traditional breakfast pastries as well as a cold breakfast bar with fruit, yogurt, and cereals. The hot line offered some interesting country fixins like the Country Benedict, a biscuit with barbecued pulled pork, a fried egg, and a cheesy sauce. Also homemade grits, oatmeal and two different kinds of hash brown potatoes helped add to the country menu. Breakfast Pizza, a sort of sausage egg and cheese omelet, and banana walnut syrup were other interesting features.

Hidden Mickey Monday Alex fills her metal bowl with delicious grits

Mickey Waffles, a must for every Disney breakfast

Country Benedict, a biscuit with barbecued pulled pork, a fried egg, and a cheesy sauce

Breakfast Pizza, French Toast Sticks, scrambled eggs, hash browns, Mickey waffle with Banana Walnut syrup

The food was a delicious way to start up the day's adventures and it was a real treat to be in a setting so inviting, welcoming, and warm. The country hospitality was ever present and one of the many reasons to come back here. Trail's End also serves a la carte lunch and dinner, so hopefully in the future, we'll be journeying back through the forests of Fort Wilderness for a hearty serving of the pioneer past.


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