1. Stay On Property, at a Disney Resort
On-property Disney resorts are fantastic and at the value end can have prices that beat some of the alternatives you may be considering. We've had great times at value and deluxe resorts alike, and are especially big fans of Pop Century, Boardwalk, Yacht & Beach, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. This isn't a simple geographic distinction. The theming, quality, and experience at the Disney resorts is a part of your Walt Disney World experience.
2. Book Your Advance Dining Reservations
Like the resorts, Disney restaurants are an important part of the Walt Disney World experience. Be sure to book your reservations (or ADRs) as soon as possible (up to 180 days in advance), and keep your eyes on slots you can't get immediately, as they may open up.
3. Pay Attention to Discounts and Deals
You can check the active deals that Disney is offering on hotels, tickets, and packages by visiting their site here. For tickets, you'll want to know all of your discount options, but usually you can get deals on Undercover Tourist. For hotels, check Hotels.com and Undercover Tourist.
4. Master Fastpass+
We have written about this multiple times, but you'll want to master the Fastpass+ system. Disney's advance ride-booking system isn't perfect (you'll sometimes wind up waiting up to 15 minutes, rides will break down, and so on), but it is still a great system for keeping you out of lines all day. At the very least, we'd suggest this simple strategy: book your Fastpasses between 11AM and 5PM. Lines will be longest during this time. Before 11, you'll arrive at rope drop, get some rides in quickly, and enjoy a morning snack, then you're smooth sailing for the early afternoon.
5. Learn Your Transportation Options
How do you get around Disney World? You probably think bus or monorail, and you'd be right, but still missing two important means of transit, and a third worth considering. Between Disney parks and hotels, you'll usually be utilizing one of the following four means of transportation: walking, taking the bus, taking the monorail, or riding a boat.
The fifth option to consider is Uber. Take the time to research which means of transportation go where, as it will help you in scheduling your days and in choosing a hotel. For example, know that the deluxe hotels (almost) all have a means of transportation to a park other than the bus. The sole exception to this is Animal Kingdom Lodge, which requires a bus to access any park.