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Sunday Brunch

September 11th, 2011

Before we begin this article, I'd like to take a moment to remember the men, women, children, families, Americans, and human beings affected by the events of 10 years ago. Today we think of not only those we lost and their families directly involved in the tragedy in New York City, but the people affected by the repercussions of the event: the local heroes who prevented further tragedies and saved those in peril, the transportation industry workforce who kept travelers safe, the brave men and women who went to war, and so many more. We remember them today and remember what it means to be American. Thank you.

Searching the Sites of Sunday Brunch: Flame Tree Barbecue
11 September 2011

Dining in the Disney theme parks is always more than just satisfying hungry bellies and rumbly tumblies. The Imagineers make every eatery, from the simple snack stands to the fun counter service restaurants to the lavish table service restaurants, a complete and unique dining experience. Some restaurants are themed better than others, but each includes elements to transport you to some other place, time, and imagination. As promised, we continue to explore the Flame Tree Barbecue for its uniquely themed dining environment. If you haven't read last week's (September 4th) article or wish to be reminded of the 'Ferocious Feast at the Flame Tree,' scroll down and read all about the delicious barbecue menu.

With the counter of this counter service restaurant clearly visible from the walkways of Discovery Island, one may subconsciously wonder where they are supposed to feast on the marvelous food the restaurant has to offer. Jungle explorers and adventurous diners alike must discover for themselves the seating areas for Flame Tree, smartly tucked away among the great towering trees of the jungle forests of the Animal Kingdom.

While already fully immersed in the wild jungle atmosphere that is the Animal Kingdom theme park, it is hard to believe one can be thrust deeper into the forest at the Flame Tree Barbecue's dining area. Somehow, the landscaping of the area manages to shield guests away from the high energy hustle and bustle of the main walkways from Discovery Island to Dinoland, U.S.A. and Asia.

The dining pavilions reminded me of the covered dining areas popular in public town parks, camp grounds, amusement and theme parks of the latter half of the 20th century. From a practical point of view, the Flame Tree Barbecue offers dining pavilions with plenty of individual tables and chairs adaptable for any size family or group, though the Flame Tree's dining areas are all the more unique by its artistic design. To the casual guest, the pavilions are decorated with fun and colorful animals, though the more observant guest may notice the morbidly humorous theme of predator and prey. With many tables scattered under the trees and clustered by walkways, those nestled in the pavilions will get a kick out of the seven different animal pairs, representing wild predators from all over the world. Let's take a journey through the Flame Tree jungle:

First, the main building, as previously described, is decorated with Snakes and mice, mongooses and lizards, owls and rabbits, and what I recently noticed: Bats and bugs, including moths, butterflies, and other winged insects.

After receiving your food, further down the pathway you find a helpful sign, indicating there's plenty of space to sit and enjoy your barbecue.

The lanterns along the pathway and throughout the pavilions portray the owl and rabbit theme (though they are rarely used since the park closes typically before sundown).

The area provides plenty of seating for those who wish to dine under the natural canopy of trees.

For the more domestic, the wildly decorated pavilions provide practical shade and shelter and endless entertainment with the highly detailed woodwork decorating the pillars and beams. The predator and prey theme can easily be depicted with lions, tigers, and bears, though when touring the area, I noticed Imagineeers chose less obvious animals in some instances.

The owl and the rabbit

The snake and the mouse; This pavilion was particularly gruesome with the wide eyed mouse practically inside the snake's mouth. This pavilion also features a large cloth, kite like snake encircling half of the structure as seen in the bottom photograph.

The Spider spies its insect prey!

The eagle claws the serpent.

Crocodile gobbles a fish.

The anteater anticipates an ant filled meal.

The eel consumes a crab!

Additionally, the predator prey theme is seen in other decorative elements around the area such as this totem of grizzly bear with fish and this lamppost of a turtle and a snail.

One of my favorite things about Flame Tree Barbecue is the blatantly obvious postings that you should not be feeding the wildlife that wander the area.

In addition to sparrows, ducks and squirrels, the Walt Disney World resort is home to crows and dozens and dozens of white ibis, those long legged white birds with very long orange beaks. These animals wander the parks and their numbers seem to be invasive because guests keep feeding them their food! Not only is this dangerous interaction for the guests, but feeding animals human food is dangerous for their health and also makes them dependent on such food sources rather than searching for food in their natural diets. One of the worst things I saw was a flock of sparrows picking at a dropped piece of chicken.

Disney tries very hard to make sure guests do not continue this horrid habit and at Flame Tree Barbecue, they make especially extra efforts since the wild animals are so abundant. When receiving their food, guests also get some of the Timon and Pumbaa Safety Tips cards, specifically the one about not feeding the animals.

The irony of this picture is that the Safety Tip is pictured in front of a messy table with food scraps being picked on by crows. The party sitting here left all of their trash and food waste behind, right on the table.

As I was writing this article, I was trying to understand the connection of the theme of the Flame Tree Barbecue with its name. Flame Tree most likely alludes to the fact that barbecued foods are cooked over a flame caused by firewood. Though upon further thinking I realized that the predator prey theme fits with the flame tree'Flames devour trees! Trees are definitely not considered to be prey, but just as the snake engulfs a mouse or a crocodile devours a fish, flames consume trees in forest fires or in barbecue pits just as the predator consumes its prey.

For those less attracted for the predator/prey decorations, the rather secluded dining area also boasts tranquil and serene atmosphere and some terrific views of the Asia land in the park. I'd also have to say, that for a counter service restaurant, it has some of the best views and settings in all of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Mickey Salutes America Image Source:


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