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Flame Tree Barbecue: Lunch With a View

Flame Tree Barbecue has long been a favorite counter-service location in the Animal Kingdom Theme Park for Disney World guests.

Flame Tree not only offers incredible value and an interesting atmosphere, it also has one of the best views in Disney World!

Atmosphere
Found in Animal Kingdom Theme Park’s Discovery Island section, right next to the entrance to Dinoland, you’ll find a long, flat, open-design building that usually has several lines of Disney guests sticking out of it and snaking back to the main thoroughfare.

Flame Tree Barbecue Queue Line

Jump into one of those lines and use the time to take in the interesting decor around you. Disney isn’t known to drop details, and they even keep the theme through the counter-service lines.

Flame Tree Barbecue Decor

Once you order your food, however, the real fun begins. Now you get to take your tray and start winding through the seating area to find a table. What’s that? You can’t find the seating area? Sure you can — it’s that big jungle to your left!

The foliage is thick here, folks, and seating pavilions and beautiful design elements like ponds and sculptures jump out at you from behind every tree branch. But here’s a tip — keep walking down toward the water. Once you get to the water’s edge, you’ll find seating with a killer view of Disney World’s newest mountain — Expedition Everest. And if you happen to score these seats on a not-too-crowded day, it can be an incredible peaceful experience to simply sit, relax, take in the view, and have some good eats.

Expedition Everest View from Waterside Pavilion

But — the thing I have to mention, which is also the thing that makes me kind of love the Flame Tree Barbecue — is that whole animals-eating-other-animals thing they’ve got going on. I did a whole Disney Food Blog post about it last year, because it’s just that creepy-cool.

Circle of Life Theme

Eats
So whaddya get to eat in such an interesting fast food restaurant? Being a barbecue joint, the big-ticket items on the menu include chicken, a pulled pork sandwich, and a slab of St. Louis ribs. You can also get a smoked turkey breast sandwich and a barbecue chicken salad. Side orders include coleslaw, beans, french fries, and onion rings.

Menu -- Click for Larger Image

We were feeling rather pork-y (ha ha!) on our recent visit, so we sampled the ribs and the pulled pork sandwich. (Don’t forget to visit the sauce islands in the middle of the pavilions to get extra ketchup and barbecue sauce!) We also got an order of fries to split, and I made the horrible decision to get a Key Lime Mousse dessert — more on that later.

Sauces

The ribs were great, as far as I’m concerned. I’m not a rib-connoisseur, however, so you St. Louis folks will have to chime in here with your thoughts!

Ribs with Beans and Barbecue Sauce

Coleslaw

On the pulled pork sandwich, I wasn’t expecting much. Pulled pork never seems to be flavorful (read: fatty) enough for me, so I figured it would be bland. But, in truth, it was quite good, and I’d get it again on my next visit. With the addition of some extra barbecue sauce — even better.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Fries

Now, the Key Lime Mousse…seriously, Disney, what is that green stuff on the top?! It looks like green hair gel, and I couldn’t really figure out what it was supposed to taste like. It’s decor-gone-wrong, I think, and ended up making me not enjoy a dish I think I would have had it been sans hair gel.

Key Lime Mousse Top Down

Key Lime Mousse Side-Angle

(Interestingly, the same thing happened to me with a bread pudding at Goofy’s Kitchen the following week — why are we putting gelatinous toppings on things that are just fine without them?!)

Overall
The gorgeous view, excellent quick-service food, and that wacky “circle of life” theme make Flame Tree Barbecue tops in my book. There aren’t too many counter-service eateries that I genuinely look forward to, but this is one of the few. Kudos to you Flame Tree! I’ll be back!

Oh yes, I forgot to mention — they give each guest one of these “warning” cards! Don’t feed the animals…

Remember...

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27 Comments

  1. The food, the view, the decorations, the atmosphere – Flame Tree is the total package for a great counter-service experience. Thanks, AJ for bringing back a few days of memories.

  2. Becca says:

    We visited Flame Tree Barbecue for the first time in September, having grown a little bored of Yak & Yeti Local for a QS lunch. It was great! Those beans are fab – why don’t we put barbecuey nomminess in our baked beans?

    I would love to know where your favourite pulled pork sandwich is, AJ! Disney or otherwise. We’re huge fans of the stuff – I was so disappointed at Hard Rock CafĂ© in Dubai because they substitute lamb for pork – just doesn’t work!

  3. Aubrey says:

    On the last day of our honeymoon we raced to Animal Kingdom JUST so we could ride Everest and eat at Flame Tree BBQ before we hopped on our flight…yum!!!

  4. James (Disneynorth) says:

    Flame Tree is great! I really enjoyed the Pulled Pork sandwich last time i was there. The sides are also very good.

    Although, the last time we were there, I believe I had the Key Lime PIE, which was pretty good (for quick service). I don’t remember it being a mousse…

  5. TechyDad says:

    That warning card is actually part of a set that you can get if you go to the Animal Kingdom guest relations center and ask for the Timon and Pumba safety guide. It comes with 15 cards, a pamphlet and a coloring book. It’s great for kids. (I have a photo of it on my blog on this post: http://www.techydad.com/?p=1682 )

  6. Great review AJ. While I personally prefer Restaurantosaurus for counter service (free drink refills anyone?), Flame Tree is still a solid choice.

  7. Karen Rice says:

    LLLOVVVVE Flame Tree BBQ! It’s a must whenever we visit AK…

    I am hungry just looking at the pictures. Plus, I can smell the delicious smells…..yum. Wish I was there!

    Thanks, AJ!!

  8. Sarah says:

    The pulled pork definitely looks like it needed an extra healthy helping of barbecue sauce. The mousse does look like it has a squirt of Dep on top! Ew…

  9. Morgan says:

    Mmm, I love Flame Tree! Their onion rings are really tasty. I wish they would bring back the corn on the cob.

  10. Angie says:

    I really enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich from Flame Tree, and the fact that there were three different BBQ sauces to choose from. One of my companions got the turkey sandwich and did not care for it at all.

  11. Stephanie says:

    ::Sigh:: That is were I really want to be today. One of the pavilions back there is my favorite spot in the whole park. (I’m not giving away my secret seat!) It’s always so peaceful and I have the best memory of sitting there for over an hour w/ my husband and my daughter on her first trip. She was sound asleep in her stroller and we just sat and enjoyed the view and one another’s company.

  12. Stephanie says:

    *where…I can spell…really.

  13. John Grigas says:

    Sounds like a spot to grab an appetizer while we’re there in June. I’m thinking that we grab a fruit plate and a couple safari ambers and try to get a seat with a view! Has anyone seen the Fruit Plate? Would it be a nice snack for 2 while resting the feet?

    (Am I kidding myself . . . will it be onion rings instead of a fruit plate?)

  14. Elisabeth says:

    It seems they are putting that gelatinous stuff on top of so many desserts at AK. We experienced the exact same thing at Restaurantosaurus with the cheesecake, and there has never been a cheesecake I didn’t like. Once I scraped off the goo, it was good, but getting there was a major hassle.

    I have never been to Flame Tree, but I think I can con my group into venturing over to that section of the park this go-round…it seems we never spend any time in that area except to go to Dinosaur! and eat Restaurantosaurus.

    So the question is…since you are in Texas and all. Does it compare to TX BBQ in any way?

  15. Beth says:

    We ate at Flame Tree two days ago, and I couldn’t figure out what that goo was. We didn’t order the dessert, but someone at the next table had it and she kept looking at it funny. Flame Tree is always our first choice at AK.

  16. Tim says:

    Mmmm, Flame Tree Barbecue is by far my favourite quick service restaurant in Walt Disney World! I love their ribs and their baked beans, and they have great barbecue sauce to boot!

    I wonder if the gel on the top of the desserts is a method of preserving the mousse underneath so that it can’t react with the air. That seems like something they would do for mass-produced desserts like that so that they’ll have a longer shelf-life.

  17. chris says:

    As a former Floridian, I rarely order anything “key lime” from a restaurant unless it’s from a small, homey type of place, preferably “Florida Cracker” style. That thing just looks scary.

    I’ll trust your BBQ assesment since you live in a state famous for BBQ. I’ve been avoiding AK for a while, but my youngest son is crazy about animals so this might just sweeten the deal and get me over there. For the children. Haha.

  18. chris says:

    Tim, I don’t think you’d have to do that for a mousse type of dessert, as they tend to have enough fat in them that the shelf life is pretty long. Plus, they probably add chemicals which keep them from forming a crust and separating.

    Now I’m just even more mortified.

  19. AJ says:

    Bruce — My pleasure! It’s always fun to talk about a delicious restaurant!

    Becca — My favorite pulled pork sandwich…well, is it fair for me to say I LOVE the carnitas quesadilla at my local Chipotle restaurant? ;-) Seriously, though, I really liked the Flame Tree pork sandwich. Once you add barbecue sauce, it’s delicious, but the pork alone was actually very flavorful.

    Aubrey — You guys sound like us! :-)

    DisneyNorth — Yeah…pie might have been better…this stuff was just weird.

    Techydad — Thanks for the info! I figured it was part of a pack, but didn’t know where you could get them!

    Matt — Maybe I’ll have to pit Flame Tree against Restaurantosaurus in a blog post soon!

    Karen — I know! It’s really a unique counter-service restaurant in WDW. Kudos to the Imagineers.

    Sarah — Ha!! Dep!! Exactly!!

    Morgan — Ooh…corn on the cob. That would have been nice.

    Angie — Wait, what? I didn’t see three different sauces! Will check that out next time!

    Stephanie — That sounds pretty much idyllic. Thanks for the peaceful story in the middle of a hectic day.

    John — I’ve got a facebook comment that says the fruit plate is a favorite! Maybe…fruit plate AND onion rings…?

    Elisabeth — I’ve only been living in Texas for short while, so I’m not a barbecue expert (read: snob) yet. But I will say that I liked these ribs as much as any I’ve had in Texas!

    Beth — Yeah…the goo was weird. I’d love to hear from someone who buys that and just digs right in!

    Tim and Chris — Good thoughts on the goo. It’s just downright strange, and encountering the same type of treatment on two desserts in Disney World and Disneyland makes me think it’s a “trend.” Ick.

  20. Nate says:

    I agree completely. The way I usually feel about most Counter Service at Disney is “Well, if I have to…” The burgers? Blech. The Hot Dogs? Ok. The sandwiches? Usually too dry for me. But thank Goodness for Flame Tree BBQ.

    I consider myself as somewhat of a Rib connoisseur – and I think the FTBBQ ribs are delicious. And not because they are the only ribs around. These are much better than most of the table service ribs Disney offers. Smokey, just meaty enough, a wonderful dry rub. MMM! Just thinking about them is causing me to salivate a little…

  21. Lillian C. says:

    Oh, this is our favorite quick-service place we eat at when we go to the Animal Kingdom. I love the ribs and all the options one has to sit and eat and it is quiet and relaxing. Just watch out about sitting underneath any trees while eating outdoors at Animal Kingdom…. We almost got bird poop over our food once sitting underneath a tree (missed our food by inches, YIKES). We looked up and there were about 4 birds hanging out…..

  22. Nate says:

    The birds nearby are a drawback, I agree.

  23. Joseph says:

    Just got hired to this restaraunt today…glad to see its a popular destination and maybe I’ll see some of you there! If I ever aquire any pull lol I will remove the hair gel.

  24. Peggy says:

    Love the Flame Tree … It’s the BEST! Looking forward to Sept. 2013

  25. Kathie Price says:

    Flame Tree is always a MUST every time we go to Disneyworld! Ribs are great, chicken just a little dry but stillvery tasty and would order it again. Pork sandwitch is has so much meat I order an extra bun and have TWO ample sandwitches! Sides aregood, the beans are amazing!

  26. Laura Harris says:

    Can anyone please tell me if Flame tree takes the dining plan with a quick service, table service and snack? I would love to try the ribs!

  27. AJ says:

    Laura — Flame Tree Takes Dining Plan with quick service. :-)

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