LaBretonne2002 we were in WDW in March and that was the first timethat we used Pal Mickey. We have three granddaughters and they just fell in love with the little guy! they took turns carrying him. Mickey tells jokes,and as you pass by certian attractions, he tells you about it. Mickey tells also when the parades are about to start and many other helpful things. the only problem we had was that he didn't talk too loud and so he had to be held close to the ear to hear. However, the twins share everything and so this was not a major problem. we didn't bring him home this trip as there was not enough room but on our next trip we intend to make room!!
As for the resturants, there are so many to choose from. check out allearenet.com. the reviews and menus there should help alot. we use this one alot. As for Charactor meals, our favorites were the Crystal Palace with Pooh and the gang at the Magic Kingdom for breakfast and Chef Mickey's at the Contempory for Dinner. Excellent atmosphere and food!! alot of attention from the charactors!!!!!
the Birnbaum Kids by Kids is a favorite of our "little princess" who just turned 12 this month. she got alot out of it and told us things as we came upon them. ie, hidden mickeys and resturants etc.
when we first arrive and it is too late to go to the parks and waste a full days pass, we usually get on a bus and go to the TTC and then get on the monorail and ride. it gets the magic really going!!! gives you a hint of what is to come. take a bus and go to another hotel and check it out. I don't know if this helps you or not but these are some of the things we thought might help you.
Have a magical time!! We are very envious!!!!!!