Desserts

REVIEW: The updated smoke stove and new mason jar desserts at Trail’s End Restaurant are a solid upgrade at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

REVIEW: The updated smoke stove and new mason jar desserts at Trail's End Restaurant are a solid upgrade at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

When the Trail’s End Restaurant reopened last year without its exclusive buffet, we found the experience quite satisfying and were happy with the dinner options. Now Fort Wilderness Restaurant has made some changes to their menu, so we hiked to check it out!

Menu

The Trail’s End family-style dinner is $29.99 per adult and $17.99 per child, plus tax and tip. The price is the same for the factory version.

Trail’s End Family Dinner

Skillet Cornbread

with honey butter (vegetable version available on request)

The cornbread is really nice and chewy. It’s not as good as the cornbread from “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” next door (which hasn’t reopened yet), but it’s still a pretty good example of cornbread. The only thing that would have made it better was if it was served hot.

Vegetable Breads

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The veggie breads were basically the same as the ones we had for breakfast but in different sizes. We had a whole cornbread loaf, with the same great cornbread flavor, but still a bit too dense.

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The shortbread-like muffins were warm this time, which made them more enjoyable. They were still very sweet but a bit too grainy in texture. The chilli spread that comes with the herbal plate is very oily and the oil seems to separate from the spread. The flavor is there, but the texture is weird and off-putting.

Chopped Salad

Mixed salad, grape tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, white cheddar and cornbread croutons with warm bacon vinaigrette (vegetarian version available on request)

This is a nice refreshing salad option. It comes with mixed greens, cucumber, red onion, white cheddar, and cornbread croutons with a bacon and apple cider dressing. You can definitely taste the apple cider in the dressing, but we really enjoyed it. It complements the salad quite well.

Vegetable Salad

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This is similar to the regular salad but without the cheese. The croutons were plant-based, and there was a more basic dressing (minus the bacon, of course). The croutons were very dense, chewy and overly sweet, but otherwise it was just as nice.

smoker stove

Smoked Pecan Breast, Smoked Chicken, Pulled Pork, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans, Buttered Corn on the Cob with Chipotle BBQ and Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce (vegetarian version available upon request)

The corn is well seasoned. It looked overcooked, but it wasn’t. Instead it had a nice crunch and a bit of charcoal to enhance the flavor. Potatoes had good flavor, but were cooked inconsistently. Some were perfect, and some were a little undercooked. Overall they were very nice.

The brisket was very oily but nice and tender. It’s a bit bland on its own, but it’s delicious with the added barbecue sauce.

The chicken is smoked and has good spices, but there is no salt on the chicken as is. However, once you add a little salt and barbecue sauce, it’s good. It was tender and moist, with a bit of crunch on the skin. The beloved fried chicken has also made a full return to the menu. Previously, you had to request its addition.

The green beans were al dente so depending on how you like your beans they are either perfectly cooked or undercooked. They had a nice garlic flavor and were very fresh.

The pulled pork is probably the biggest improvement, a welcome addition with a delicious smoky flavor.

Supplements for dinner

Peel-n-Eat Shrimp Boil – $8.99

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These are basic prawns to be shelled and eaten with old berry. You get a great portion for the price. They are a little small so you have to do more work, but it’s worth it.

Memphis-Rubbed Pork Ribs – $9.99

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These ribs are pretty mediocre. The crispy crust on the ribs is flavorful and the meat is tender, if a bit dry. They work well with BBQ sauce, but we expected a return to the original ribs at Trail’s End.

Cornbread Crusted Salmon — $7.99

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The salmon was very good, better than we expected. It comes with a breadcrumb crust in an adorable little skillet atop a pool of lobster andouille cream sauce. A little overcooked, but we enjoyed it. The shrimp also worked well in the sauce.

Herbal Smoker Stove

Beyond Italian Sausage, Gardein Chicken, BBQ Jackfruit, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob, and Chipotle BBQ Sauce

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We were pleasantly surprised with all the herbal choices on the board. The Beyond sausage was a very good Italian sausage served over a marinara sauce. We enjoyed that, but the Italian sausage from Trail’s End just doesn’t seem to fit.

The Gardein Chicken Patty is the same meatless chicken you’d get at the grocery store. It was fine, but nothing remarkable.

The potatoes were actually better on the herbal platter than the regular platter. These were all well cooked, unlike the usual dish where some were undercooked. The corn was good, crunchier than the regular skillet, but not as flavorful as there is no regular butter. The beans were a little more cooked than the regular skillet and had a good flavor.

The jackfruit BBQ was a nice approximation of pulled pork with BBQ sauce. The texture is a bit odd, but those familiar with jackfruit will know what to expect.

Mason jar dessert trio

Banana Pudding, Strong Chocolate Mousse and Candied Apple Tart

This new mason jar dessert trio replaces the previous Covered Wagon Sundae. A fourth flavor is also available for those who order the plant-based meal: the lemon-blueberry trifle.

The first was the candied apple pie dessert. With the color combination and the fact that we are in Pioneer Hall, we first assumed it was a strawberry shortcake. Sweet apple, whipped cream and cake crumbs are a nice combination that provides a great taste. The only problem is that it just can’t compete with the other two options on this plate!

In Fort Chocolate Mousse, the combination of roasted marshmallows and milk chocolate is a winner, making for a memorable s’more treat. It could use a layer of graham crackers to top it off, but it’s still excellent nonetheless.

As for the banana pudding? It may be in the conversation for the best dessert at a Walt Disney World table-service restaurant. The creamy whipped banana pudding is perfectly balanced with the whipped cream. There is a strong banana flavor up front with a sweet finish. Plus, the Nilla Wafer-esque bottom layer is a nice addition, we wish it was layered throughout. Be sure to mix it with the chocolate one for an amazing taste sensation!

Featured Cocktails

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Ole Smoky White Lightnin’ Moonshine and Peach Schnapps with Pineapple Cranberry Juice

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It tastes strange, almost floral. The different flavors of peach schnapps, pineapple juice and cranberry juice blend together and are not noticeable individually. It was just ok, but definitely not our favorite drink on the menu.

Strawberry Lightning

Ole Smoky Strawberry Moonshine, Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade, Wild Strawberry and Sprite®

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Strawberry Lightning is the perfect name for this drink. Strawberry is strong but fresh tasting (not artificial). It was sweet but not too much with a nice flavor. We didn’t really taste the alcohol (but we’re sure there is).

Lemonade from Davy

Ole Smoky White Lightnin’ Moonshine and Minute Maid® Premium Lemonade

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It tastes exactly like the description: Minute Maid bootleg lemonade and liquor. What you expect is what you get, and you can definitely taste the moonshine in this one.

Globally

Overall we were pleased to find that dinner was a much better experience than breakfast. The price is good enough for a family meal, and the add-ons give you a bit more variety beyond what comes in the pan. And these new changes improve the overall experience, but we still want the buffet to come back at some point.

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