P & J’s Southern Takeout is the counter service side of Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness in Walt Disney World. The restaurant is basically a to-go option if you don’t want to do the full buffet. This review features food photos from P & J’s Southern Takeout, along with thoughts on dining here.
I have mixed feelings about P & J’s Southern Takeout. On the one hand, there’s fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese, which is 75% of my recommended dietary intake. On the other hand, it’s Fort Wilderness’ main counter service restaurant, and is pretty small/limited relative to the size of the resort.
Part of me wonders if P & J’s Southern Takeout is not a fully-fledged counter service restaurant is simply because there isn’t demand for it at Fort Wilderness. A lot of guests either have RVs with kitchens or cabins with kitchens, and can prepare their own meals. (We dined here during our recent stay in the new cabins at Fort Wilderness, so this includes us, but we had no desire to cook for ourselves.)
Then again, there’s sufficient demand to sustain a buffet and two dinner shows (albeit at least partially from guests staying elsewhere), so it seems unlikely there is no demand to justify a full size counter service restaurant.
To this point, the week after our visit, Fort Wilderness added a food truck to its dining lineup…but maybe that’s the best solution given the spread-out nature of the campground.
We usually start these Walt Disney World restaurant reviews with thoughts on ambiance, but this is a takeout spot (hence the name), so there isn’t really any. I guess just imagine the inside of your RV, cabin, or wherever you plan on eating your food.
To that end, P & J’s has as lackluster or spectacular ambiance as wherever you decide to eat the food. Maybe you’ll eat it on a boat to Magic Kingdom, making it Walt Disney World’s first on-boat restaurant. Perhaps you’ll eat it in a rocking chair outside the restaurant.
Maybe you’ll choose to dine while in a “gallery” housing Walt Disney World’s artistic masterwork created by Unknown Imagineer: Confused Sexy Cowboys in Wooded Area #1. Actually, scratch that (GET IT?!) since the location of said art is not exactly sanitary.
Being super-ambitious, we instead opted for a nearby picnic table…
In case you’ve never been outside, that’s what a picnic table looks like. Truly majestic.
Joking aside, eating on these picnic tables was a really pleasant experience. There was plenty of shade thanks to the trees, and it was a nice day.
If you have any sense, you’re going to order the Lone Rider or the Giddyap and Go, both of which are the fried chicken options. The former offers 2 pieces of fried chicken whereas the latter is 8 pieces. Each include cornbread and 2 sides: coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, or mashed potatoes. Only a fool would order coleslaw.
Pictured above is an archival photo of chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese from Trail’s End. Also pictured are ribs. Just pretend those are not there. Below is an archival photo of corn bread from Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue.
They suggest the Giddyap and Go is a family option due to it having 8 pieces, but they also say the Mezzo Metro pizza at Via Napoli serves 3-5 people and 20 piece chicken nuggets are “not safe to eat by yourself, you’ll get sick again, Tom!” To them, I say: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. 😉
In any case, the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and mac & cheese from Trail’s End are all glorious. Seriously, three of the best items on the buffet. As counter service options, these represent exceptional value–some of the best in all of Walt Disney World, in my opinion.
However, for the sake of research, I ordered the Cowboy Sandwich. Normally, when I say “for the sake of research” here, it’s a tongue in cheek kinda thing regarding a “sacrifice” I made that was actually awesome. In this case, this really was a sacrifice since I didn’t get fried chicken, so you owe me big time.
If you’re allergic to fried chicken, this sandwich is a solid option. Generous portions of salami, ham, and turkey on focaccia bread with olive tapenade, lettuce, aïoli, and provolone cheese. I could’ve used a bit more dressing, but otherwise, it was a strong sandwich (and fairly priced).
Sarah made the ultimate sacrifice here, ordering the Chuckwagon Wrap. It’s ironic that this is served in a “sun-dried wrap” because it tastes like this wrap was literally dried in the sun. Do not order this.
Overall, it’s disappointing that Fort Wilderness is such a large resort and only has this one counter service spot (not even a restaurant) with an incredibly limited menu. Ultimately, I’m pretty forgiving of this, though, since the main menu items are what I consider to be the best things on the buffet at Trail’s End. If you have a few people with smaller appetites, or you just want to save some money, ordering the Giddyap and Go is a great alternative to doing the full buffet. It’s a fraction of the cost and is also an easy option if you want some fried chicken goodness but don’t want to sit down for a 4-hour meal (what, that’s not how long you camp out at a buffet?!) at Trail’s End.
What do you think of P & J’s Southern Takeout? Even if you haven’t ordered something from here, but have tried the fried chicken at Trail’s End, what are your thoughts? Do you wish Fort Wilderness had more in the way of counter service food? Have any favorite menu items here aside from the fried chicken? Share your thoughts in the comments!