Flame Tree Barbecue

by on June 29, 2011 40 Comments

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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!

Here we are after another yummy meal at Flame Tree. Photo by Doug Uhlig

How about you?  What do you think of Flame Tree Barbecue?  Let me know how much you love it or hate in the comments!

Posted on June 29, 2011

40 Responses to “Flame Tree Barbecue”

  • We ate there last summer. Can’t believe we hadn’t eaten there before!
    The food was good and there is ample seating! We will definitely be eating there this summer!

  • I love to do an early lunch at Flamtree (right when they open…the only time there is NO line!) and head over to one of the tables by the water. It feels more like a TS meal because it’s so relaxing, and the food is delicious.

  • Always a must for us on every trip. In addition to the great entrees, we the think the onion rings are some of the best anywhere. They have some type of seasoning that gives them some extra flavor. Flame Tree accepts Tables in Wonderland as well.

  • I would LOVE the try this place, it sounds amazing! The only problem is we generally go in the summer and it is always sweltering outside! If there is a design flaw at Animal Kingdom I think it’s the lack of indoor A/C dining at QS. I can’t see sitting outside to eat in that heat. Maybe one day we’ll make it there in one of the cooler months!

    • We ate there last summer and it wasn’t too hot for eating outside.

    • I can understand your hesitation for sure. The seating areas are very well shaded so it isn’t as bad as it sounds. You could always swing by and see what you think before you purchase your food. I hope you get to try it!

  • Great review, Kristen. We’ve never eaten at Flame Tree, but will certainly be adding it to the list for our next trip! We’ll be ordering those onion rings, too!

  • Our family LOVES Flame Tree and make sure to go every time we are in Animal Kingdom. My husband and I can share the chicken meal, since it is way too much for one person. We really enjoy sitting at the table area down by the water, but it makes it hard to get back to the attractions when it is sooo relaxing down there 🙂

  • TOTALLY agree! LOVE Flame Tree Barbecue! We ate there several years ago when we went to the World in September. We went all the way down to the waterside to eat and it was just heavenly! The food is terrific and the seating is plentiful & just a perfect setting! Great recommendation that I whole-heartedly agree with, Kristen!

  • One of my fave counter service eateries, just disappointed they have taken key lime pie off the menu and replaced it with the mousse. I spent a year looking forward to that pie! 🙂

  • Flametree BBQ saved me on my last trip to WDW. We had the free dining quick service meal plan and after 4 days of counter service food, my body was craving something healthy. So I ordered the fruit plate (which I recall almost $10(!!)) and I felt like a whole new person. I also stole one of my husbands ribs and they were delicious. We enjoyed sitting and relaxing by the water. So peaceful! My only negative would be the price. If we hadn’t had free dining, there is no way I would have paid almost $10 for 5 pieces of fruit. That being said, with the dining plan or Tables of Wonderland, we’ll definitely be back!

    • Thanks for the comment, Laura! I always crave something healthy after a couple days in the parks. The fruit plate always looks really nice, but $10 does seem a bit steep. I’m glad you liked Flame Tree!

  • So far, this has been our favorite quick service meal at Disney World. We always go for an early lunch right when they open and get a table down on the water. I could sit there forever. And my kids love it because they watch people go down Everest over and over again.

  • This is the only counter service restaurant we actually look forward to at WDW! We split an order of ribs and order a side of onion rings to go along. It’s more than enough for two.

    It is also one of my favorite places to take photographs. On one trip, we spent about three hours (mid-afternoon) having a late lunch and taking picture after picture of the reflecting pool, the river and it’s water lilies, and Expedition Everest. It’s one of my favorite places in the Animal Kingdom.

  • We loooove Flame Tree, and always eat there when we are at AK. Last December we were there on a super cold day when most sane people stayed home. We were standing in front of Flame Tree trying to psych ourselves up to order and eat out in the cold when a cast member overheard us. She joined our conversation with a great suggestion to buy our food at Flame Tree and ask them to cover it with foil. She then suggested we take it down to Pizzafari to eat inside. I was worried that we would displace the Pizzafari guests, but she pointed out that it was early for lunch, and the park was “empty” because of the record cold. It all worked out, because my 5 year old decided that he wanted pizza. I didn’t feel guilty about it since we ordered our drinks (HOT chocolate!) and his pizza at Pizzafari. Warming up helped us get back to touring so that we could finish up the things on our to-do list, and we were finishing up our lunch by the time other people started to trickle in.

    We think it is GREAT that Flame Tree takes Tables in Wonderland.

    • That’s an interesting tidbit. I guess it makes sense to head over to Pizzafari. I’ve eaten outside in December there with my jacket and scarf on and never thought about migrating elsewhere. Thanks for the idea!

  • by BRENDA CREMA on June 29, 2011, at 11:12 pm EST

    We also love Flame Tree- always eat there on our day at AK. My husband & I usually go in the Fall, so crowds have not been a problem, but I am going on a “girl trip” July 15-20 this year with my sisters, Mom, & daughter. Will it be crazy crowded if we try to eat lunch at 11:15, or do we have to go earlier?? Any suggestions? I have never ventured “down to the water” – Is it easire to get a table there or harder?? Really feeling a little worried about the crowds (& heat) on this July trip, so any comments would be appreciated!

    • It opens at 11 so I would try to get there as close to 11 as possible. I’ve been at super busy times of the year and have never had to wait if I’m there right when they open. If you’ve been up touring since early in the morning, you’re ready for lunch at 11 anyway. It’s also not very hard to get a table by the water because you have to walk by a lot of other tables to get there and most people don’t even know they exist. Good luck and have fun!

    • I think a lot of people don’t realize just how many seating areas there are for Flame Tree. I’m assuming the further ones (like the ones by the water) are less populated. I think as long as you got there fairly close to opening you should be in good shape. If you are worried about crowds, you should definitely try to use touring plans! Have a great trip!

  • Flame Tree is my favorite place at AK as well. The BBQ was as good as our local joint.

  • by Aaron Newton on June 30, 2011, at 8:24 am EST

    Haven’t been there since 2006 when, after waiting in line for about 30 minutes, my wife took a bite of her pulled pork sandwhich and got a mouthfull of fat. Personally I can chalk it up to being pulled pork – it happens. My wife on the other hand was grossed out, and couldn’t eat any more. Sadly, we’ve not been back since.

  • Love the food, but I wish they would do something about the birds which stalk your food in the table area. It’s creepy, and as someone who really doesn’t like our avian friends all that much, it can make the eating a bit stressful.

    I do however, wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the pulled pork and onion rings they are great. FTB also makes a good key lime pie for dessert that my son likes.

    • I never thought about the birds, but I can understand your concern. I’m not sure what they can do about the situation either. Hopefully the yummy food outweighs your bird concerns. Thanks for the comment!

  • After reading UG2011 and checking out the menu online we decided to dine at this wonderful eatery. We are a family of four, two adults a six year old and three year old. We split two half chicken dinners. We asked for extra plates and our meal was excellent. The birds helped keep the kids entertained during dinner and sitting by the water was very relaxing for all of us. We later returned to see if the BBQ sauce was sold in bottles for take home. The manager told us no. She then proceeded to take our email address and sent us our own copy of the the wonderful BBQ sauce. Excellent service!!!
    Look forward to our next meal!

  • I’m totally with ya, Kristen! My mouth is watering right now just thinking of the delicious chicken and ribs! My very favorite counter service spot in all of WDW!

  • I know I’m way behind in replying to this post, but I have a question. In my experience, the dining area for Flame Tree has been occupied by some really annoying ducks, as well as other various birds. They pester you for your food! Has there been any movement toward removing the pests?

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the food at FTBBQ! In fact, it’s going to be our first meal when we get to Disney in just over a week.

    • The birds are still around. They didn’t really bother us last time we were there. They were around and waiting for a handout, but they didn’t get obnoxious or aggressive with us in any way. it’s still one of our favorite places in the AK.