Flame Tree Barbecue

Jack Spence Masthead

I have eaten at every Disney restaurant at Walt Disney World multiple times. And I will continue to rotate where I dine when visiting the parks and hotels. I do this not only because I like variety, but it also helps me keep current on changes and updates that are constantly occurring around property. However, I still have my favorite eateries that I return to again and again. At the Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue is one of the spots that I visit often.

Flame Tree Barbecue

Flame Tree Barbecue is an outdoor restaurant that is located on the east side of Discovery Island, near the entrance to Dinoland U.S.A. The front of the building is bathed in shades of orange and turquoise with other festive colors thrown in for good measure. A number of whimsical animals adorn the exterior.

Exterior Animals

Exterior Animals

Exterior Animals

Exterior Animals

Exterior Animals

On slow days, guests can simply walk up to any of the several registers and order their meals. On busier days, a single-line arrangement will be implemented to help speed up the queue and alleviate that inevitable “picking the wrong line” situation.

Single Line

The register to the far left is designated for use by those traveling in wheelchairs (but anyone can use it). There is even a special window on the side of the building to facilitate easier food pick-up.

Special Window

Like all Disney counter service restaurants, Flame Tree Barbecue features large, overhead menus and each register handles two lines.

Menus and Registers

Don’t arrive at Flame Tree Barbecue expecting the traditional flavors you might encounter at chain BBQ restaurants. The meat smoking process and the seasonings are unique and offer a different experience than can be had at many other establishments. In fact, at one time, Disney posted a sign informing guests that their meat smoking process caused the meat to have a pinkish color, but not to worry, it was thoroughly cooked.

The big draw here is the BBQed ribs and chicken. These can be ordered separately or as a combo meal. These selections are accompanied with sides of baked beans and coleslaw.


Combo Plate

The side dishes have changed various times over the years. When I first started eating here, Disney offered a half cob of corn. I really liked this selection, but alas, it was discontinued. Disney claimed that they were not able to maintain quality and the corn was often served soggy. I never experienced this problem, but I guess others did.

Although I don’t have a picture of it, the pulled-pork sandwich served here is also quite tasty.

For an additional charge you can order a side of French fries or onion rings. I highly recommend the onion rings. They are wonderful – unhealthy for you – but wonderful.

Onion Rings

But for those of you who wish to eat healthy, Flame Tree Barbecue offers several options. The Smoked Turkey Breast sandwich is a good bet. Its generous portion of meat is topped with a cranberry mayonnaise and served with a fresh fruit side.

Turkey Sandwich

The Barbecued Chicken Salad is also a nice choice. This bowl of mixed greens is full of slivers of barbecued chicken – a bite of meat on every fork. The dressing is light and the BBQ flavor doesn’t overpower. This is a refreshing choice on a hot day.

Barbecued Chicken Salad

But for me, the best healthy option is the Fruit Plate. This selection features slices and chunks of seasonal fruit served with honey yogurt. It’s natural and it’s good. To my knowledge, no other counter-service restaurant at WDW serves anything comparable to this attractive and tasty plate.

Fruit Plate

Flame Tree Barbecue is open for lunch and dinner. To see the complete menu, click here.

Once you have your food, it’s time to find a table. At Flame Tree Barbecue, the seating area has been divided into a number of small sections. Many of these are beneath colorful pavilions, each surrounded by lush foliage.




Each pavilion has a condiment stand where you can pick up napkins, tableware, BBQ sauce and other necessities. This arrangement is nice as it allows you to first find a table, then return for those extras needed for your meal.

Condiment Stand

One of the most popular pavilions sits waterside and offers a spectacular view of Expedition: Everest. With every bite, you can hear the screams of delight as intrepid explorers careen down the mountain.

Waterside Pavilion

View of Everest

Flame Tree Barbecue also offers one of the most serene and tranquil seating options in all of WDW. Here, tables surround a reflection pool that is filled with animal sculptures and a few real creatures as well. I can’t begin to describe how wonderful this spot is. When dining here, you feel miles away from the hubbub and the masses.

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

Oh. I forgot to mention. When you receive your meal, you will find a small card on your tray asking you to refrain from feeding the animals.

Do Not Feed the Animals

As any of my regular readers know, I become annoyed when I hear people say that the Animal Kingdom is a half-day park. Anyone eating near the reflecting pond at Flame Tree Barbecue should be inclined to spend at least a half hour here consuming their meal, maybe more. This area is extremely beautiful and peaceful and should be savored, not quickly scanned as you devour your food.

Now it’s time to discuss the overall theming of Flame Tree Barbecue. The sign out front should give you a clue. Can you figure it out by examining the next picture?

Flame Tree Sign

Above you see a gator catching his lunch. Well, that’s the theme of Flame Tree Barbecue – Predator and Prey.

Each of the pavilions reveals this theme in a lighthearted fashion. Although done in a way that won’t put off young children or those who are skittish about nature, the message is obvious once you notice it. Let’s take a look at the pavilions, one by one, to see what I’m talking about.

In this first pavilion we find owls hungrily surveying a colony of rabbits on the building’s support posts. On the nearby windsocks we see a rabbit scurrying into its hole as the owl swoops in for the kill. Even the lampposts that illuminate the entire dining area feature owls and bunnies.

Owls and Bunnies

Owls and Bunnies

Owls and Bunnies

Next we have spiders searching for butterflies.

Spiders and Butterflies

Spiders and Butterflies

Spiders and Butterflies

At another pavilion we have eagles looking for everyone’s favorite creature, the snake.

Eagles and Snakes

Eagles and Snakes

Eagles and Snakes

This next pavilion demonstrates that with the exception of those at the top of the food chain, all creatures can be both predator and prey. Here we find snakes in control as they pursue mice.

Snakes and Mice

Snakes and Mice

Snakes and Mice

Snakes and Mice

At our waterside pavilion we have crocks munching on fish.

Crocks and Fish

Crocks and Fish

Next we find an anteater using his sticky tongue to gobble up a nest of ants.

Anteater and Ants

Anteater and Ants

Anteater and Ants

I’m not sure what this next creature is – maybe an eel. At any rate, she seems to have a penchant for crab. Don’t worry; Sebastian is nowhere to be seen. On second thought, maybe we should worry – Sebastian is nowhere to be seen.

Eel and Crabs

Eel and Crabs

Eel and Crabs

Even the tables and chairs continue this Predator and Prey theme.



I find it interesting that at a restaurant that specializes in pork products features a statue of a cat-like creature capturing a pig. I enjoy the irony.

Cat & Pig

Personally, I think the Predator and Prey theming of Flame Tree Barbecue offers parents a wonderful opportunity to teach young children about nature. The depictions here are cartoonish so should not be threatening to little ones. After all, unless you’ve ordered the Fruit Plate, by eating here, you are demonstrating that humans are at the top of the food chain.

I like Flame Tree Barbecue a lot. I enjoy the food and I appreciate the atmosphere. However, this restaurant offers no indoor seating. If it’s really cold or really hot outside, you might want to try another of my favorite Animal Kingdom restaurants, Pizzafari. But if the weather is nice, this is a wonderful spot for good food and a pleasant atmosphere.

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44 Replies to “Flame Tree Barbecue”

  1. We visited Flame Tree Barbeque our past trip and it did not disappoint. the only problem we had was my 8-year-old cousin. He’s still considered a child with the dining plan (which we had) and the meal was way too small for him. Then again, he did choose a single chicken leg.
    Animal Kingdom has always been a half-day park for my family and I can’t change that. But soon I’ll be traveling without them and I will be able to enjoy it.

  2. We were at Animal Kingdom a few weeks ago and enjoyed Flame Tree for the first time (Pizzafari had ruled). Was GREAT! Loved the pulled pork and salad. In future notes, please do mention the birds…in open air, and with tons of them perching above, well, you do run the risk. PS: we enjoyed Flame Tree so much that we went back on our second day at Animal Kingdom. It’s this family’s favorite!

  3. I, too, am one who has eaten at Flame Tree on several occasions and has NEVER been disappointed. We also enjoy the pavilion with the view of Everest and our favorite seems to be the rib and chix combo plate as well (with an order of rings to share!).

    Must tell you that if you DON’T want to wait for the taste til you return that Recipes.com has both the dry rub AND the sauce…have perfected BOTH and get a taste of AK more than just a couple times a year!!!

  4. Another great post Jack! I never noticed the theming either & we’ve eaten there a couple times on previous trips. I agree that the pavilion on the water is a great spot.

    It’s not just the birds that are an issue. When we were at AK a year ago, we were in line for the safari and noticed something very odd. We were right by where parents leave their strollers and there was a squirrel up on a stroller and he pulled out a can of something (chips or nut maybe), tossed it to the ground, and proceeded to open it & have a snack.

  5. Jack,
    Another great article! My family loves this restaurant. We always end up sitting in the building with the view of Everest. It was nice to “see” the other buildings. I have never noticed the theme beyond it being “animals.” So thank you for enlightening me! 🙂

    When I am at WDW, part of the fun for me is to see people experiencing it for the first time. Flame Tree is one of those places that “first timers” are surprised with. When they walk around the corner after getting their food, they think they are just going to have another fast food BBQ experience and then the pixie dust falls and they are in awe of their surroundings. It truly is a hidden gem.

    Thanks again for a great article!

  6. It would be nice if they had more than just fresh fruit and yogurt as a vegetarian option there. ~.~

    Jack’s Comment:

    I’m sure if you ask, they can leave the chicken out of the salad. That would give you another option.

  7. like all above never noticed the themes meaning of the pavillons , bring back the corn on the cob. BUT sadly flame tree is getting WAY TO $$$$. your still the man {blogger} jack.

  8. We sure love Flame Tree, but on our last trip we weren’t able to fit it in. We’ve all spent the last year commmenting on the fact that we haven’t had any Flame Tree BBQ in 2 years! We’re headed down next month and it is solidly on our agenda!!

  9. We found this restaurant on our 2010 trip to the World. It was refreshing break from the usual quick meal of a burger and chicken strips. We enjoyed the decorations all around us as we ate our meals and our little one managed to make a friend while we ate too. Looking forward to eating there again on our June 2013 trip.

  10. I always enjoy eating at Flame Tree, although finding seating seems to quite often be an issue, its so popular! I agree Animal Kingdom is not a ‘half day’ park, I love spending the day here and taking in all the sights the park has to offer, its just beautiful, and checking out the often overlooked animal areas. That’s what is great about Animal Kingdom, the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the extraordinary atmosphere. I love extra magic evening hours at Ak (which I don’t think they offer anymore?), the park is a whole different experience at night, I loved it!!

  11. I was there back in September and until reading this today, had not noticed the “predator and prey” themeing. I hope to go back sometime this year and will definitely be on the lookout for it. I’m going to try the fruit plate also.

  12. Our family loves Flame Tree! We also enjoy the lakeside seating…but I will forewarn those that while they don’t want you feeding the ducks/birds, those animals can be pesky. A couple years ago, we had a couple persistent ducks, one of which bit my behind while I was sitting on my chair! The snap bite did not hurt, but boy was I surprised. It was a good laugh, but know the animals have other plans, other than watching you eat. So be forewarned! And guard your lunch or dinner!! And maybe your backside too!!!

  13. We also love this place. This past Dec. while eating, unfortunatly a bird did his business right on top of a lady’s head sitting right next to us so we got up and moved under cover so beware of where you sit. So in Feb. and in the future we will not be sitting under the trees.

  14. I never realized all those details you’ve captured. I can’t wait to return so I can look around. There is nothing better than the Fruit Plate on a hot day. I refreshes and recharges!

  15. We also love Flame Tree and try to eat there every time we have a chance. On our first visit a bird bit my daughter’s finger…she was not hurt, though quite shocked! My husband and I remember the restaurant for the food but my kids remember it for THAT bird. It has taught her to keep her hands on the table during meal time, that’s for sure!

  16. When we go to the Animal Kingdom we always eat lunch early at the Flame Tree because the smell wafting as we pass is irresistable! Love that place! We must sit at the first tables we see, because I never saw or sat at the pavilion that highlights Everest. Sounds perfect.

  17. Once again you have reminded me to look up when I am in the parks. We’ve eaten there every trip but I’ve never noticed the ceilings of the pavilions.

  18. One of my most favorite memories of trips to Walt Disney World is the day I ate at the Flame Tree in the middle of a major downpour. Life could not get much better than that. Great food, beautful surroundings, and away from the crowds. I can understand how that some may not see the signs for the paths to the table areas.

  19. Jack-

    Thanx for another blog where, though my family has eaten there many times, you’ve shown me something we have missed. I apparently take my left handed tendencies and veer left around the building and stay left. I never thought about it, but now that I do, I just seem to do it every time! So we’ve never seen the area with the view of Everest. Next time, I will let my wife lead the way!

    One of the problems we find at many eateries, most but not all, is that the salads already have their dressing applied. My wife stays away from any and all dressings & condiments. The fruit plate is what she always gets at Flame Tree and is never disappointed! She is always pleased with the quality & the taste. What is so hard for them to have the fruit sent to more than one establishment? What? at Disney do the fruit deliveries always goes to the left like I do when setting out? Maybe the truck driver has never seen MK?

    Once again, I wish to say thank you for your tireless efforts of bringing “the world” into focus. Even though I just came in from -1 degrees outside, it warms me up better than hot chocolate. Keep the lights on and the door open, less than 5 weeks to our next trip.


    Jack’s Comment:

    All of the pavilions are to the left side of the main building. To find the “Everest” pavilion, you need to take the path on the right that hugs the main building.

    As for the salads, just ask for the dressing on the side. They should be able to accommodate this request at ANY Disney restaurant. It might take a minute or two longer, but not much.

  20. When I was at WDW a few years ago, we had the onion rings at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and those blew us away. It sounds like maybe they are using the same recipe at this place.

    That fruit plate looked wonderful! With as health-conscious as eveyone is these days, I’m surprised that one cannot find such offerings at counter-service restaurants in each park! That would be a great treat to cool off with on hot days. Do you have any thoughts on that?

    Jack’s Comment:

    Over the last decade or so, Disney has tried to offer healthy options at all of their table and counter service restaurants. They also strive to make each menu somewhat unique so guests will have a different experience at each location. But I am surprised that this fruit plate, or some variation of it, is not available in other locations.

  21. Hi Jack! I have eaten at almost every WDW dining establishment. However, this is one I have missed. I look forward to trying it out in the future. The food looks wonderful and the theming looks like it’s a lot of fun, very vibrant.
    On a side note…Have you eaten at Narcoossee’s lately? I haven’t been there since 2010, and I’m hoping the food is still delicious ( I know the atmosphere should be)?

    Jack’s Comment:

    I have not eaten at Narcoossee’s in several years. I cannot give you any firsthand information. But I have a friend who eats here often and he still loves the place. I hope this helps.

  22. Jack,

    Great article about my AK favorite. I had never noticed the theme in the pavillions; very nice.

    The food is very good, especially for a table service offering. I’d take the Flame Tree ribs over those at Whispering Canyon every time. It is also great that Flame Tree is one of the few table service places that takes the Tables in Wonderland card. With the TIW 20% and no auto-gratuity added, the prices quickly approach “real world” levels. Good food, great setting and fair prices? That’s a combo that is all too difficult to find at WDW.

  23. Another interesting blog, Jack.

    We went to the Flame Tree once, and it was closed! Our fault – we didn’t realize that AK closes earlier than the other parks. I too thought it looked like a glorified food cart – because it was closed we had no idea of the pavillions beyond. Now when we go back in 2014 I’ll make it a priority to eat here – I love pulled pork.
    Keep up the good work.

    Your Friend,


  24. The pavilions are also a great place to wait out a Florida rainstorm. There’s something rather lovely about the rain hammering down all around while you’re safely dry undercover while the lush greenery and animal statues makes it almost feel as if you’re in a Far East rainforest.

  25. Thanks for another wonderful blog. I love the attention to detail and the backstory you bring to each of the blogs. I am hoping I remember to look for all of these details when we dine there next. I haven’t been to Flame Tree for years. I keep meaning to go there, but then we always end up not going. I am hoping we can make it there on the trip this year!

  26. Our family has always been fans of Flame Tree as well. Somehow, we never have made it to the tables by the reflecting pool. Something to try on our next trip…
    Thanks for the interesting blog, Jack.

    P.S. We miss the corn on the cob, too!

  27. Only been to AK once and my wife went to Flame Tree on a whim. So glad we did! The food was great and we sat in a pavilion over looking a lake with a clear view of Everest in the background.

    Great blog as always! Thanks Jack

  28. This is our absolute FAVORITE AK restaurant!

    However, they since changed the Barbecue Chicken Salad and when I had the new one when we were there in September I was less than enthused. It is still good, but has too many flavors going on in it.

    We love “discovering” all the pavilions hiding in the foliage. My daughter likes to pretend we are eating in the rainforest. I have some great pictures of the water, and you’re right how peaceful it is Jack. My son and I sat and relaxed while my mom took my daughter to see “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.”

  29. Hi Jack,

    Flame Tree is a must on every trip…the food is great. My 16 yr old gets the fruit plate every time since she doesn’t eat much meat.


  30. Another nice post Jack. I thought whispering canyon had the best ribs on property, but then they went and changed something, so imho, Flame Tree now has the best ribs. Miss the cornbread muffin that used to come with the rib platter

  31. Jack,
    We just ate here about two weeks ago. It is one of my husband’s favorite places to eat at WDW. I love the seating area. I did notice the animals but somehow missed the predator-prey detail. Thank you for pointing that out. I look forward to your blogs!

  32. Jack,

    I share your frustration with people claiming that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a half-day Park. When ever I hear this I like to say, “Then you haven’t really ‘seen’ Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was there on opening day, and there weren’t near the attractions and things to see as there are today, and it wasn’t a “half-day Park” back then.

    I had company from California this past November, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the favorite park. There was one extra day to be spent, and that day was spent at Animal Kingdom.

    On that second day, we at at Flame Tree Barbecue. What a treat. Not only the food, but the dining pavilions. We settled in at the lakeside pavilion with the fantastic view of Expedition: Everest. There was no hurry in dining, and we even hung out there after our food was finished. This is a great respite from the push and shove near popular attractions.

    Although we noticed the animal carvings and paintings, we never made the predator / pray connection. Now I feel dumb. Will have to go back and take more 3D photos.

    Oh, and those onion rings!! I though food had no calories at Disney! °o°


  33. I have only seen one of the covered pavillions are they all in about the same area? or do you take little paths to get to them? Guess I need to look closer next time.

    Jack’s Answer:

    The dining area for Flame Tree BBQ is huge. The pavilions are scattered all around the reflecting pond, each with one or two paths leading to them. I’m surprised you didn’t see them. They’re hard to miss.

  34. Thanks for another wonderful blog post. I love all the hidden secrets and design of Animal Kingdom. I never knew about the predator and prey theme at Flame Tree. I’m a homeschooling mom and of course I’m always looking for ways to sneak in some learning while we tour. I will definitely be taking the kids through Flame Tree on our next trip and pointing all of this out to them. Thanks again for keeping it fun and fresh!

  35. Jack, the Flame Tree Barbecue is usually the only place we eat at in the Animal Kingdom. It’s a required lunch stop for us every time. I love the huge outdoor seating area, and you’re right that it’s one of the most tranquil places in the park. It’s also very good food and not that pricey. Nice job with the post!

  36. The onion rings at flame tree are soooo good!
    This is usually where I like to grab lunch when we are at AK. My wife wanders away to get a turkey leg but I have to have the pulled pork sandwich.

    I never really noticed the theming of the Restaurant. That is really neat! I’m going to have to check it out next time.

    As for the local bird life. They can get a little annoying. We were sitting in the pavilion enjoying lunch one day when my wife felt something picking at here leg. She looked down and a duck was snapping at her to get food. I couldn’t help but laugh as she chased it away.

  37. Hi Jack,
    We love this restaurant. I’ve never missed going here at least once during each trip. One of the coolest things happened here on one of our visits. We got to the restaurant early (around 11ish) and found a great seat down by the water. We were pretty much the only ones there. All of a sudden a pontoon boat of Disney characters came floating by us. It was our own personal water pageant and I felt super special. This is something that you just can’t plan and you wouldn’t want to.

    Jack’s Comment:

    The pontoon boat you saw was one of the boats that once circled Discovery Island when the park first opened. After the ride closed, Disney re-purposed the boats and now uses them for characters.

  38. We ate at Flame Tree for the first time on our last visit to DW this past October. We absolutely loved the food. My husband and children and I all agreed that this was the best lunch we ate the entire week. It was a nice break from the burgers. The seating was very nice and because the weather was so pleasant it was nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. The only complaint I had was the birds and all of their “mess” that was around. Even though we did not feed them they continued to come up and try to get food. I even saw one jump up on another table and try to take someones food. There was so much of their mess around we were worried about our food getting messed on. Other than that we really enjoyed the food. I think on our next visit we will eat here again and maybe try to find seating away from the birds!

  39. Jack, again you are my favorite Disney blogger. Usually you share information I knew or such details that require research or storytelling, but this time I feel so silly for never noticing the theming here. I’ve probably been to the Animal Kingdom three times, and get lunch here each time because its so delicious and not bad value. I don’t remember seeing the reflection area, but worse, I never picked up on the “graphic” images around! I feel silly for not noticing, but glad that my wife didn’t either because as an owner of pet rabbits she wouldn’t like being in the Owl pavilion. 🙂

  40. Ate there a week ago and cannot wait until my next Flame Tree meal! Ribs/Chicken Combo was PERFECT. Yes, the seating area is the best … relaxing, picturesque, and comfortable. No better counter service in all of WDW in my opinion.

  41. I love the food, but the local birds are nasty creatures! The last time we ate there, they wouldn’t stay away and took food right off of my kids plates.

    How can you enjoy Flame Tree if you are constantly fighting to keep the animals away?

    Jack’s Comment:

    The birds can get pushy. Which is why Disney is constantly asking people not to feed them. But people can’t resist so the problem will not go away. And this goes for not only Flame Tree, but many Disney outdoor restaurants.


  42. I have to confess that for years I had no idea you could sit anywhere near the Flame Tree BBQ. I always thought it was a glorified food “cart”.

    Having small children, the Pizzafari has been our standard fare for the last several years. My wife’s food allergy prompted her to pick her meal up at Flame Tree and then bring it to our table at Pizzafari so we were vaguely familiar with Flame Tree’s food and were always impressed.

    Two weeks ago we ate at the waterside pavilion you described for our first time and I agree, we easily spent an hour there and had a great time. I can sense that from now on anyone wanting pizza on our visits to Animal Kingdom will be bringing it to a table at Flame Tree!

    Thanks, as always, for the article. I wish I had known all of that a couple of weeks ago but I will look forward to noting all of those details next year.

  43. hey Jack
    Flame tree barbeque is always a stop when we visit Animal Kingdom. the food is great and the atmosphere is so cool when it comes to the animals that are shown. i like how the different pavilions showcase different animals. can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.