The reason I say get a cheap hotel is because there is plenty to do at Disney. Spend as little time at the hotel as possible. Ours didn't have a free breakfast but it had a shuttle to Disney which saved us $14/day. Parking is expensive.
Lesson #8-LET THE KIDS DICTATE. THIS TRIP IS FOR THEM:)
LESSON #9 - CHARACTERS!!!
Let's talk about the characters. See as many as you can. That is the kids' favorite part. After all they are the REAL characters. We bought cheap Mickey Mouse journals from Walmart before we left so we didn't have to spend a fortune on the autograph books at Disney and we had plenty of pages for all the characters. The autograph books at the park don't have many pages to fill.
Another thing is grab a map and location for the characters. I thought they'd just be walking around but they're not. They have certain locations and lines:)
Lesson #10 - SEE ALL THE SHOWS, PARADES, AND FIREWORKS
Brett and I would split off to get good seats and it was worth it. You are up close and personal to all the characters and it really is so magical. The kids loved sitting through all of the shows.
Plus it gives you a chance to rest your feet.
Lesson #11 - SET A LIMIT ON HOW MUCH TO SPEND ON SOUVENIERS
I let my kids have $50/each. Unfortunately this isn't much but it is way too easy to overspend on all the fun stuff. I gave them 50 one dollar bills before we left and if they were naughty (my girls have been fighting like mad lately) they'd have to give me $1 at a time. Aly ended up with the least, 41; Jane had 46 and Tobe had 48.
Tobe had eyeballed some Cars 2 and Toy Story toys earlier in the day but we didn't want to carry them around all day. So we told him (in Tobe terms) that we had to ride 10 rides before we could go get his loot. He asked, "Do we have to start at number 1?" It about killed him but he lasted and was so excited to spend his money.