Before Downtown Disney offered innumerable menu choices, the Disneyland Hotel served up its own assortment of enjoyable restaurants.  My favorite was the cult-classic Monorail Cafe.  If you are unfamiliar with the Monorail Cafe, it was an up-beat diner situated across from the Monorail station.  However, one of my favorite Disneyland Hotel memories was at Stromboli’s Ristorante.  Stromboli’s replaced the Cafe Villa Verde and was housed in the “rotunda,” where Goofy’s Kitchen now resides.

During dinner, the characters from Pinocchio would visit your table, while you dined on quite yummy Italian fare –  that actually came from a menu, not a buffet! ;-)  My family loves Italian and we were excited for a character meal with some of the more obscure Disney characters.

For whatever reason, my grandmother – who was only in her 70s at that time – could not remember that Pinocchio’s father’s name was Geppetto… she was quite certain that his name was, in fact, Giuseppe.  Throughout the planning stages of our trip it became our family joke that we were going to have dinner with Giuseppe… but the real fun came when we actually met our friend Giuseppe.

It would appear that dear, old Giuseppe had imbibed in an adult beverage or two before coming to work that day… on his way to our table he ran smack into the light hanging over the table next to us!  With the restaurant being fairly empty that evening, Giuseppe felt he could spend a little extra time at our table, weaving between my mom, my grandma, and me, and otherwise entertaining us with his “antics.”  Now, I must say that I am not accusing Disney or any of its cast of any wrong-doing that evening at Stromboli’s… perhaps Giuseppe was just a very exuberant character, I don’t know… but I do know that he was quite the entertainer.

Since the closing of Stromboli’s in 1999, during the Disneyland Hotel’s major overhaul, my family has had some great meals at Goofy’s Kitchen and we always find the characters to be quite engaging.  However, never have we had another meal quite like our dinner at Stromboli’s, and, every now and then, we throw in a Giuseppe joke at dinner and bust out in uncontrollable laughter.

© 2010, Rays of Disneyland. All rights reserved.

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