A character meal is a must for any family with small children, group of young women, or party of brawny men who are secure enough in their sexuality to hug someone wearing a big fake head. In all character dining locations, costumed characters move from table to table, posing for pictures, knocking over glasses with their bulky hands, and generally having a great time at your expense. And as a show of good manners, they won't talk whether or not your mouth is full.
Chernabog's Kitchen Disneyland Hotel R3, I, S, $$
Chef Chernabog and his wacky staff of damned souls torment you as you enjoy the buffet of flame-broiled favorites until the man in charge says you've had enough. Every half hour, kids are given candles and paraded around the dining room singing "Ave Maria" until Chernabog explodes from the kitchen and sends them scattering.
Club 33 Breakfast Disneyland R4, P, $$$$$
Join tuxedo-dressed Mickey for the finest breakfast imaginable. The buffet includes caviar, fresh-caught salmon lox, and Mickey-shaped imported Belgian waffles. Tickets include park admission, but are available only to members and through con artists on eBay.
Mickey's Yacht Club Disney California Adventure R, N, $$
On the site of the former Ariel's Grotto (formerly Who's Afraid of Wolfgang Puck), Mickey's Yacht Club is the most recently renamed restaurant in Disney California Adventure. It features food, food for kids, and Disney characters in sailor suits (Donald Duck, Mickey as Steamboat Willie, Captain Hook, etc.) Note that the fish tank from which kids could pick and name their main course is no longer available, due to the hysterics of a few emotionally unstable customers.
PC Grill Breakfast Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel R2, G, M, $$
Dine on organic vegan fare without fear of being offended by anything in this perfectly politically correct venue. While you eat, enjoy the antics of "wenches" whose job it is to chase away pirates trying to steal your food.
Storyteller's Cafe Breakfast Disney's Grand Californian Hotel R2, G, T, $$
Join Pocahontas for a meal in this rustically themed restaurant, and see her shed a tear for each strip of bacon you take from the generous breakfast buffet.
With a little advance notice you can have a Disney character of your choice accompany the delivery of a room-service meal to your room. It's a little pricy, but what are a few extra zeros on the bill compared to the smile on your child's face? (Note to single men and bachelor parties: Alice in Wonderland and all Disney princesses carry mace. Note to ladies: Tarzan doesn't.)
B = Costumed characters may bite
F = Don't feed the giant squirrels
G = May cause feelings of guilt
I = Some entrees are hot enough to cause injury
M = Menu may be revised at any time as items fall in and out of favor
N = Gentle rocking motion may cause nausea
P = Secret password ("Eisner bites") required
R = Reservations recommended
R2 = Reservations required
R3 = Reservations demanded and require a contract signed in blood
R4 = Reservations absolutely essential but impossible to get
S = Sulfur smell may bother some guests
T = Thanksgiving dinner available 24/7
X = Special topless character show available after 10 p.m. (adults only)