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When you are touring Walt Disney World on a budget one of the easiest ways to keep your wallet in check is to skip table service dining experiences for meals at counter service restaurants. But even if I’m not pinching my pennies, I usually find my way to Flame Tree Barbecue during my trip for an awesome lunch while touring Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This restaurant has to be my favorite quick service eatery in all of WDW so I thought I’d share a bit about it with the TouringPlans.com readers.
As I mentioned, Flame Tree is located in the Animal Kingdom. Guests can find it tucked in along the main walking paths of Discovery Island. The smell of the barbecue smoke entices guests to step up to the counter and order some smoked meat goodness. The ribs, chicken, and pulled pork are all seasoned with a dry rub and then smoked for hours to create a tasty treat for diners. There are a few other selections on the menu, but the main event is really the smoked meat offerings. For those of you who don’t eat meat, I’d give the fresh fruit plate a go. It always looks really nice, but I always wind up skipping it to enjoy my old favorites. Vegetarians can also opt for the barbecue chicken salad without the chicken. I usually go for the ribs or the pulled pork sandwich here. The ribs are delicious, but messy and huge so brace yourself if you order them. When I’m feeling a little less hungry I opt for the sandwich. I’m no barbecue expert, but this stuff is awesome. I can also highly recommend the onion rings to go along side whatever entree you select.
Prices at Flame Tree Barbecue may seem a bit steep, but it is way above average counter service fare. It is also still much cheaper than dining at a table service restaurant elsewhere in the park. Some meals may even be large enough to split among your friends or family, which would help cut down your cost. Kids meal are comparable to other kids meals around property, but they do not offer any of the unique flavors of the featured menu. If your kids are adventurous eaters, definitely consider sharing half a chicken or ribs with them rather than getting them their own meal.
According to the Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom the eating area was designed based on a a traditional Balinese water garden. There are several pavilions dotted around this area with groups of tables where guests can dine and relax. Each structure has been decorated with a pair of animals, representing predator and prey. Even the tables and chairs carry on this “Circle of Life” theme. You see, the tables have the prey animals and the tables are made to look like the prey animals. I really love the bright colors and carvings adorning the pavilions. The only negative thing about the set up is that is easy to lose your party since everything is so spread out. Make sure to stick together or use cell phones to fine each other should you get separated.
I love to head here when I’m not in a hurry. The queue can be a bit long, but it is worth the wait. With the sprawling pavilions housing tables, I prefer to head to one close to the water. They are further from the counter, so they are often quieter and you get an amazing view of Expedition Everest and the beautiful scenery Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer. I like to take a bit of time to enjoy my lunch or dinner and linger with friends while we enjoy our surroundings and chat about our adventures that day. I highly recommend stopping into to Flame Tree Barbecue for a satisfying meal and fun setting. 93% of Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World readers agree, giving it a thumbs up!
How about you? What do you think of Flame Tree Barbecue? Let me know how much you love it or hate in the comments!