Any links in this post to a merchant may contain an affiliate link, which means that if you click on that link and then buy something, I may earn a commission from it. However, all opinions in this link are 100% mine and 100% honest. If I didn't believe in a particular product, I wouldn't recommend it to you.
Flame Tree BBQ is a counter service restaurant in Animal Kingdom. It is, by far, the best counter service eatery on property. For us, where we are going to eat in Animal Kingdom is a no-brainer: we are going to Flame Tree. We don’t even think about other options. Here is my review of Flame Tree BBQ.
Flame Tree BBQ is a uniquely designed restaurant. It is comprised of a pavilion where you order and receive your food, and several other open-air pavilions that serve as seating areas. The theme of the restaurant is predator and prey. The theme is presented in an artistic, yet subtle manner with lots of colorful details throughout. Each of the dining pavilions is covered by a wooden roof that has a different predator/prey relationship carved into or painted on the wood. At one pavilion, you will see lines of ants with anteaters nearby. Another pavilion features rabbits and owls. A third location is decorated with eagles and snakes. It may take a while to notice the theme, but once you do, it becomes very obvious.
The restaurant has a very quaint and tranquil feel to it due to the small dining pavilions being tucked into the natural environment. Several of the pavilions have water views, with either the river or reflecting pools nearby. Even for people who aren’t into nature, you can’t help but feel a connection to your surroundings while dining here. Of course, the ducks and birds that linger close by waiting on a bite to eat also help with this feeling of being close to nature! The birds are not usually aggressive enough to disturb your lunch.
As I said above, Flame Tree BBQ is located in Animal Kingdom. It is conveniently located on Discovery Island in the center of the park. You will pass the front of the restaurant on the main pathway that crosses through the center of Discovery Island as you head to Dinoland USA. The seating pavilions are tucked away down little paths. They are not readily visible when you order your food. However, if you will wander down one of the paths, you will be rewarded with an amazing view while dining.
It is a bit of a pain to walk so far to sit when you are holding a tray full of food. Even so, I actually like that the seating areas are spread out. Not only does this create a sense of coziness, but it also allows you to get away from some of the hustle and bustle of the park. It gives you a chance to have a quiet meal in a beautiful setting.
It’s pretty obvious from the name of the restaurant that they serve barbecue. In addition to smoked chicken and ribs, the menu also includes a pulled pork sandwich, onion rings, and a watermelon salad. Side dishes include baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread. The children’s menu offers a hot dog, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chicken sandwich, and a baked drumstick. For dessert, the choices are chocolate or lime mousse. The meats are juicy and flavorful. The cornbread is delicious. The lime mousse is light, creamy, and refreshing. The food at Flame Tree is close to table service quality and quantity at counter service prices.
Other than the birds, the only entertainment at Flame Tree is provided by a very unlikely source. That source is the riders on Expedition Everest. You will find one of the seating pavilions right on the edge of the river, directly across from Everest. While eating in this location, you can hear the screams coming from those currently on the ride. Beyond that, there is no entertainment at the restaurant. Neither you nor your kids will notice the lack of entertainment, though, because the surroundings are so beautiful. It’s a great place for your kids to look up from their screens and notice the outside world around them.
Disney Dining Plan/Cost
You can use your Disney Dining Plan at Flame Tree BBQ. It is one counter service credit per person. This is a great use of your counter service credits for a couple of reasons. First, you get a ton of food. You will not walk away hungry from this one. Most of the time, I am not able to finish my meal because there is so much food. Secondly, this is the only place on Disney World property where you can get ribs for a counter service credit. If you are paying out of pocket, you can expect to pay between $8-20 per adult meal.
In conclusion, Flame Tree BBQ is one of the best restaurants on property. It gets my vote for the best counter service joint in all of Disney World. It is a great value for your money or dining credits. Here, you get a ton of delicious food that is different from the standard theme park fare you usually see. The theme is presented in a playful way that doesn’t take away from your enjoyment of your meal. The small seating pavilions are nestled into the lush environment with peaceful water features scattered about. We have eaten here at least once on every trip and have never had a bad meal. We love Flame Tree BBQ. I highly recommend eating here if you find yourself in Animal Kingdom near lunch or dinner time. I hope you have enjoyed this review of Flame Tree BBQ. Happy travels and have a magical day!