Planning the first trip in a *long* time to DL April 15-21, 2006 (spring break) with two granddaughters in tow (ages 8 and 12; they've never been there). We know it's the heaviest crowd time (Easter is April 16), but one of the girls can't afford to miss any school, and might have to go to summer school, so spring break seems like the best option. I've been searching the Forum for newbie suggestions (thanks for the FASTPASS info and the abbreviations thread). I'd very much appreciate any hints and clues you experienced folk are willing to share.
We booked through AAA and will stay at Disneyland Hotel (Standard View room). We have 5-day ParkHopper passes we intend to use April 16-20; the 15th and 21st are travel days, so we won't have whole days in Anaheim for those two. (Hoping to squeeze a visit to Universal Studios into one of the travel days; we're flying into and out of LAX since none of the closer airports had flights available.) I think we get one character breakfast and one character lunch with the package; no clue about when would be best to use them, or where, although we've had recommended the Goofy breakfast and Ariel lunch. I've ordered from Amazon the Birnbaum guide and the Unofficial Guide to DL, plus the 101 Secrets & Tributes book; none has arrived yet.
I'm vaguely aware that we can book reservations for meals 60 days in advance and for Fantasmic! 30 days in advance, but don't have much of an idea of where to request seating (can you do that in advance?), or where to eat when, other than a friend's insistance that we order the Monte Cristo sandwich at Blue Bayou. I want to be prepared to make good choices when I call in February and March. One of the threads seems to say that Pirates of the Caribbean will be down for remodeling while we're there, so a water seat in Blue Bayou doesn't seem to be as much of a must-do this trip, and I'm certainly willing to be wrong about that.
My sincere apologies if I've missed obvious threads that answer precisely all these questions. Pointers appreciated. Thanks in advance!