A friend of ours is going to take her kids to Disney and it reminded me that I had written down some notes regarding the Disney experience a few years ago. I dug them up and thought I might write them down here, for future reference. I use to visit Disney somewhat often and although I haven't been in a few years, I'd think most, if not all, of these suggestions would still be useful.
Monorail: You can ride in the front of the monorail. Only 4 people are allowed at at time. You just need to ask the attendant on the platform before boarding and if they can, they will arrange it. The view is much better from up front because you can see all around the car since there is no other car in front of it. It's worth the effort.
Check the times of shows/parades ahead of time so you can plan around them.
Parades: To get a good seat, you have to find a spot 45 min. to an hour ahead of schedule. Buy some snacks to eat/drink while waiting. This is even an ideal time to "picnic" if it's around meal time. If it's hot, plan ahead and look for a shaded spot. Sitting on the curb is allowed and directly in front of the castle is ideal.
Characters: If you are taking kids this is a lot of fun, pick up a WDW autograph book (only $6.59 if you buy ahead using this link http://www.disneystore.com//autograph-books-pens-stationery-home-decor-official-walt-disney-world-resort-autograph-book/mp/1254585/1000357/?CMP=KNC-DSSBingShop) or as soon as you enter the park. Some of the best places to see/hug/meet characters are on Main Street, Fantasy Land and at Character meals*. Take the book everywhere with you and make a game out of it, encouraging the kids to keep an eye out for characters to meet. There will be characters at Epcot and MGM also. Keep the camera at the ready.
*Character Meals: These can be arranged at any gift shop. Ask a cashier if they can help you reserve a character meal and they will dial the reservation# for you and hand you the phone. You will need to do this early for any meal the same day or you can make it for the next day. Breakfast for example would be easier if you arrange the day before. You will need to know - where you want to eat, what time and how many will be in your party. Here are the locations I know about and have tried,
The Liberty Tree in Liberty Square - Terrific character dinner. It "used" to cost $19.95/adult and $9.95/child. It's all you can eat and served family style.
Cinderella's Castle and the Polynesian Luau - are both very pricey and fill up quickly.
The Contemporary - has a breakfast with Chef Mickey. It "was" the same price at the Liberty Tree but served buffet style. The buffet is huge but of course you will have to leave the table, with the kids, to get your food. Still very worth it and there will be a lot of characters there.
Epcot: If you plan on doing the countries and also want to do Future World remember:
1. A number of Future World attractions close at 7.
2. Buy a passport as soon as you get to the first country, or before and have each country stamp it. Let the kids take the passport up to an attendant in each shop and they will not only stamp it for them but will also write a personal message in that country's language.
Shopping: There are some bargains to be found at Disney. you will have to look carefully. There won't be many sales typically, maybe 1 rack for every 2 - 3 stores and the items may all be in just one or two sizes but they are there. Happy shopping.
Mail: Send postcards home/back to your childs class, from Disney (inside the park) and it will receive a Disney postmark. This is a fun piece of memorbilia that will be waiting for you when you get back. Don't forget to take your address book so you can send one to everyone.
Whenever you enter a park chec,k the map for special events/parades/shows and locations/times (each month at Disney brings a new schedule) so you can plan accordingly.
So there you go, hope it's all still useful information, most importantly, leave the stress at the gate and have a wonderful time, Disney is truly magical ;).