11/17/13 Update: Menu updated and items added.
Although Flame Tree is prominent, it is still in sort of a quirky location in Discovery Island. Right now, I’m standing with my back to it. If I were to turn around, it would be directly in front of us on the left side, which is also the walkway into DinoLand from Discovery Island.
Food Type: Barbecue.
Dining Plan: One Quick Service or One Snack.
Discount: Flame Tree Barbecue accepts the Tables in Wonderland Card for a 20% discount and does not tack on an 18% gratuity.
Unique Items: The menu is not necessarily unique, but the food is uniquely better than just about every other quick service on property.
- Flame Tree’s barbecue is the best Disney has to offer. Fresher, smokier, and more meaty than you’ll find at Fairfax Fare or Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
- High quality ingredients and preparation.
- The Baked Chicken Drumstick is a nice, unique choice for kids.
- Two can easily share a hearty entree and the fruit plate for a healthier meal.
- Vast outdoor seating with a beautiful view of the gardens of Expedition Everest.
- Service is friendly and surprisingly fast considering preparation is a little more complicated.
- Birds descend on the outdoor-only seating area like a clip out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.” Seriously, there are birds everywhere, especially if there are (and there will be) people feeding them. Have someone watch the food if another is headed for condiments.
- Fries or onion rings are extra.
- While most seating is covered, it’s still outdoors. It does feel cooler than Yak & Yeti with the fans and ceilings and you won’t get wet if it’s raining.
- It usually closes at least an hour before the rest of the Park. Check your Times Guide if you’re planning dinner.
Value: Excellent. Most of the entrées are big enough to share, especially considering how many other goodies can be found around the Park for those who aren’t stuffed from lunch. An entrée, drink, and dessert cost as much as $19, making this an excellent value on the Dining Plan as well.
Reputation: This is one of the best counter service outlets in any of the Disney Parks. All of the barbecue options taste good and the portions are large. The fresh fruit plate is a nice addition to any meal as well. There really isn’t much else to say. If you’re looking for a single counter service in the Animal Kingdom, I would look up this place first and then stop looking.
Ribs and Chicken Combo with Baked Beans and Coleslaw:
This is a nice sample of both the chicken and ribs. The ribs are better in my opinion, but the chicken may be a healthier choice. I would have a picture of the full slab of ribs, but it was the one day my camera battery died. If I was going to eat one thing at Animal Kingdom, it’d be the Half Slab or Ribs, but this combo is a wise choice too and a little more expensive if you’re looking to order the most expensive items with the Disney Dining Plan. The beans are surprisingly good and the coleslaw is probably fine, though your author doesn’t care for it in general.
Smoked Turkey Breast with Cranberry Mayonnaise and Fresh Fruit:
This sandwich was surprisingly bland for something described as “served on sunflower bread with cranberry mayonnaise with fresh fruit.” I was expecting more of a pronounced cranberry flavor, but there wasn’t much flavor at all, either from the mayo or the turkey itself. I usually order the pork sandwich or ribs, but was in the mood for something cold and a touch “lighter.” I don’t think I’ll be returning to this sandwich any time soon. On the plus side, the slice of melon was fresh.
Smoked Chicken Salad:
Animal Kingdom salads have impressed in recent memory, though the new-ish BLT Salad at Restaurantosaurus wasn’t much to write home about. This one is full of stuff – lettuce, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, cheese, corn, tortilla strips, carrots, cabbage, and the same barbecued chicken you’d get if you purchased a chicken entree.
Mixed up and missing one bite because I know how much you like half-eaten food pix. This one was chock-full of barbecued chicken, to the point where it seemed like there was as much chicken in the salad as one of the $10.49 1/2 Chicken entrees. I thought the beans were a bit superfluous, but they add a bit of protein. They’re otherwise bland with just a bit of salad dressing drizzled on top. There’s a subtle barbecue flavor, but it’s complementary rather than overpowering. The corn, carrots, and fresh lettuce provide a nice contrasting crunch to the chewier beans and chicken.
Onion Ring Basket:
I know I shouldn’t say this, but the Onion Rings are among the best quick service values at Walt Disney World. The rings are freshly fried, piping hot, and piled high. There’s onion in there, but it isn’t overwhelming. I’d charge that they’re as good, if not better, than the onion rings you’d receive at 50′s Prime Time or Sci-Fi and at half the price, you get a larger portion.
Mandarin Orange Vodka Lemonade:
It tasted strongly of cheap vodka, resulting in this website’s highest recommendation. It’s not the most refreshing cocktail, but it packs a punch.
This one is pictured at Yak & Yeti. Safari Amber is a decent red/amber ale brewed by Anheuser-Busch, though it’s the same specialty ale Budweiser shops to a number of restaurants and theme parks. It is above average for Animal Kingdom and a more robust option than the usual Bud Light.
Flame Tree Barbecue features tables with an amazing view of the water and Expedition Everest in the background as well as a great number of tables that sit in otherwise pleasant surroundings. The downsides are that all tables are outside and birds are common in the area thanks to food scraps and feeding. Arrive around 11am in order to snag a table near the water or eat between 3pm and 4:30pm to have a better chance. Luckily, Flame Tree has a ton of tables spread out amongst several different areas.
You won’t find anything too exciting at Flame Tree’s condiment bars. I recommend trying the barbecue without adding additional “sweet and spicy barbecue sauce” first. You can always slather it on afterward.