I'm not quite sure how Disney does it but from the moment you walk into any park you feel like an instant kid again. Trips to Disney as a kid were always fantasy like but here's a guide to living it up the adult way.
First things first, download the My Disney Experience app not the Disneyland app, rookie mistake. In the tech world we're in these days, the way to get the most out of your day at Disney World is to use this app. If you purchase your ticket before hand, download the app as soon as you do in order to get fastpasses. People literally book fastpasses up to 3 months before their trip. You'll realize how useful these passes are when you want to go on the Pandora ride and its a 4 hour wait (yeah it was literally 4 hours). This is how it works once you've connected your ticket. Your first time using the fastpasses you can get up to 3 and you have to use all 3 before you can get your next one (so choose wisely and pick times close to each other to knock them out). Once you've used ALL 3 you can get 1 pass at a time and you have an hour block for each pass AND the times can't over lap. Yeah, it's a lot of stipulations so play with it a little before you go if you have the chance.
Also, if you haven't been in years (like me) you now get a card when you enter in place of a paper ticket and you have to keep up with it the whole time (so put it somewhere safe or opt for the wristband that's $14.99). The card is also connected to the app so you will use the card to get through the fastpass lane, keep up with pictures from rides and a lot more.
Now lets get to the parks!
Magic Kingdom - The most magical of them all
There's a parade, a show on stage or people just singing and dancing around basically at all times. It's pretty great. If you only have time to go to one park, this is the one to go to. It has the most rides so you get the most bang for your buck and there's always a gorgeous and yes, magical firework show at the end of the day. Park hack: if you stay past the firework show ride lines are typically shorter! The great part about Magic Kingdom is that there's rides for everyone whether your a thrill seeker or a scaredy cat. You can't leave Magic Kingdom without riding these rides: Space Mountain, Mad Hatter's Tea party cups, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Laser game ride, Pirates of the Caribbean and of course Under the Sea with Little Mermaid.
Epcot - The adult park
I remember going to Epcot when I was younger and thinking it was so boring and educational. Now returning as an adult it just might be my second favorite right behind Magic Kingdom. Obviously as someone who loves to travel far more now than I did as a child, the whole environmental of Epcot gets me excited. While there aren't too many "experiences" there such as shows or parades, there's still a ton to do such as the Drinking Around the World. This is something you do on your own, its not an additional ticket (I'm not even sure if Disney created this).
When you enter the park Canada is to your right and Mexico is to your left. We chose to start in Mexico with margs and some amazing tacos! We skipped the drinks in Norway and headed to China where we had delicious potstickers. Next was Germany where we tried a flight of seasonal beers and and opted for a peach bellini in Italy. To be honest, America's area compared to other countries is kind of lame but the turkey legs were great. In Japan we tried sparkling sake (which I didn't even know was a thing) but skipped over drinking in Morocco and moved on to a Grand Marnier and Grey Goose Orange Slush from France. If you're a beer drinker, I would suggest going that route in the United Kingdom and finish off with some ice wine in Canada. This is honestly pretty fun, but please remember to stay hydrated with water and not do this on an empty stomach! There aren't as many rides at this park but you can't leave without riding these: Spaceship Earth, Soarin' and Mission Space.
Animal Kingdom - Not only for animal lovers
This park has its own kind of vibe. To me it feels a little calmer than the rest of the parks but that may be for the animals sake. Its truly a haven for the animals. There are some large birds that wonder throughout the park looking for scraps to eat but they don't really bother you. Now like I said before, if you can manage to get a fastpass for the Pandora ride GET IT. During my last trip, Animal Kingdom was the first park we hit in the morning. I mean literally there at 9am...it didn't matter. Since we didn't want to wait half our day in line we chose to explore other areas of the park. Again, the turkey legs in there are amazing. There's not as many rides here as Magic Kingdom and personally I wouldn't suggest it if you only have time for one park, but its a great place to start your day if you have a hopper pass. You can't leave Animal Kingdom without riding: Avatar Flight (ride it for me), Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, go on the safari and TriceraTop. (that's almost all the rides there btw)
Hollywood Studios - Stunningly gorgeous at night
You absolutely don't have to spend a whole day at this park, but if you have a hopper pass make this your last stop. You seriously feel like your walking down the boulevard in Cali. Toy Story Land is still pretty new there and what's really cool about it is you feel like you're the toy because everything else is so giant. What's also great about this park is the shows. I'm not talking about the parades and 10 minute shows that happen at Magic Kingdom but whole productions and they're amazing. This park also doesn't have that many rides but it does have one of the few roller coasters available at all the parks combined. You can't leave Hollywood Studios without riding: Rock 'n' Roller coaster, Tower of Terror and Slinky Dog Dash.
* I am a true thrill seeker. The bigger the ride the better, so most of my ride suggestions are on the more thrilling side but not all of them.
Have a magical time!