Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with Chef TJ

Chef TJ Vegan Experience at Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

UPDATE: Chef TJ is no longer working at Trail’s End. He has moved over to Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. To see what you can expect dining at Trail’s End without Chef TJ see this post: Vegan at Trail’s End at Disney’s Ft Wilderness Resort {without Chef TJ} and to see what he is cooking up over at Cape May Cafe see this post: What’s Vegan at Disney’s Cape May Cafe with Chef TJ at the Beach Club?

I’ve been waiting over a year to write about the Chef TJ Experience! This gentleman is nothing short of the pinnacle of cast excellence and has been working for the company for many, many years.

If you have been vegan for any length of time and/or have a food allergy, there is no doubt in my mind that you have already heard about the phenomenon that is Chef TJ at Trail’s End Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

TJ has been delighting guests with his infectious smile and inventive special dietary cuisine and word has spread like wildfire across the internet about the dining experience he brings to his guests.

As a Walt Disney World local, and honorary, card carrying “Chef TJ Fan Club” Member, I’ve had the pleasure of sampling almost all of the dishes in his repertoire.

Last night I donned my official Fan Club Tee (available here) and made my way to back to Trail’s End Restaurant nestled along the shores of Bay Lake for another memorable meal.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

Trail’s End Restaurant Decor

Trail’s End Restaurant has a rustic, wild west feel with stone accents, wooden walls, furniture and exposed beams.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

The buffet here fits the theme. You’re going to find Southern down-home fare which doesn’t necessarily translate to a ton of vegan options, but what is lacking on the buffet is more than made up for with Chef TJ’s secret courses.

Trail’s End Chef TJ Vegan Food Courses

Depending on the night, and how busy he is, you can expect between six and eight additional plates of vegan food, including his coveted dessert tower.

Chef will start by walking you over to the buffet and pointing out the items that are vegan that evening. This usually includes a selection of salads, fruit, vegetables and baked potatoes.  But let me put a disclaimer in here and caution you not to fill up on the buffet. You need to pace yourself! The real showstoppers will be coming from the back of the kitchen and hand delivered to you by TJ.

Chef’s dinner service can take around two hours, so if you’re dining with non-vegans be sure to tell them to pace themselves accordingly with their self service as well.

Last night I composed a small starter plate off of the buffet that included a marinated mushrooms salad, cucumber salad, and heart of palm and arugula salad.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

The first plate that I received from the chef was a marinated artichoke heart salad with teriyaki onions and fresh sprigs of thyme.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

I’ve been treated to an alternate salad on a previous visit that consisted of dressed greens, carrots, beets, green beans and potato chips.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ

Next up was something completely new to me, and something that my server said he had never seen the chef deliver to a table before. What you have here is a grilled pineapple slice topped with barbecued jackfruit and a drizzle of sweet and sour sauce.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - BBQ Jackfruit

This was followed up by my absolute favorite thing the chef makes. Deep fried potato and pea samosas with curry ketchup  and a balsamic drizzle. I could literally eat my weight in these things and this was the only plate that I polished off completely.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Samosas

During cooler months (if there is such a thing in Central Florida) chef will bring out a soup course. In the past I have tried his vegetable soup, cream of broccoli soup and cream of mushroom.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Soups

Another show stopper is the smoked watermelon and tomato salad that is delivered to your table on a plate with a glass veil. You lift the veil and the smoke dissipates revealing a beautifully stacked salad.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Smoked Watermelon

I had to share the next offering with my husband. It’s that good. Deep fried corn on the cob sprinkled with seasoning and plated with sweet and sour and balsamic drizzle.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Fried Corn

This was followed by a pile of nachos topped with Chef TJ’s house-made vegan nacho cheese sauce, baked beans, fried onions and jalapeños and vegan Beyond Meat beef crumbles.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Nachos

The main entrée arrived and I immediately asked for a to-go box. This consisted of a base of rice, cabbage and carrots in a luscious sauce topped with a grilled tomato, onion, and portobello mushroom cap. Surrounding the plate was grilled squash and zucchini as well as deep fried cubes of tofu. The entire dish is plated with more of that sauce, sweet and sour and balsamic.

An Epic Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant Dinner at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground with Chef TJ - Nachos

Desert is a towering glory of fresh fruit, vegan ice cream sandwiches, vegan cookies, vegan cake, scoops of vegan ice cream and is topped with cotton candy and drizzled with chocolate syrup tableside.

Vegan Food Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort with Chef TJ - Dessert Tower

My photos and words cannot do Chef TJ dinner service justice. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself. And I hope that you get to do that very soon.

Planning a trip to Trail’s End soon or just want to show your love for chef TJ? Click the photo below to order your own “Chef TJ Fan Club” Tee.

Disney’s Chef TJ Fan Club Tee Shirt

2 Comments

  • Holy cow what a feast. I’ll be sure to visit Trail’s End on our next trip to WDW. Thank you Amanda, I’m so loving this website.

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