FI and I are Disney obsessed, we go every year! Each park is beautiful and fun in its own way. Things to know – Magic Kingdom is dry – no alcohol at ALL, but still fun! All of the other parks serve alcohol. Prices in the parks are typical vacation expensive prices ($9 for a burger, $3 for water, etc). If you want to “hop” between parks during the day, your ticket is like $30 more expensive. If you don’t hop, i do suggest making a dining reservation for lunch, because that’s a long time to spend in 1 park.
With 4 parks and only 8 hours you may not want to do a sit down meal due to time contraints. If you do, this site allears.net has all menus with prices, as well as a lot of other useful info. I think AAA gets ticket discounts, so if you’re a member you might want to buy them before you go. Buying them ahead of time will save you time once you’re there anyway.
MK is a ton of fun, some good places to grab a meal or snack are Pecos Bill and Aloha Isle. Aloha Isle serves pineapple/vanilla swirl dolewhip and pineapple floats – something you can only get at Disney and a few other places in the US. Check out youtube for videos of people trying to pack it to fly it home – it’s THAT good. For a quick breakfast the bakery on Main St is great! I have a massive sweet tooth so the candy store on Main Street is a must for me.
Great attractions in MK – Mickey’s Philharmagic, Buzz Lightyear space ranger spin, Pirates, Space, Splash and Big Thunder Mountains, Haunted Mansion, etc. I would avoid the little race car thing – the whole line and ride is in the sun, and the cars are really slow. Peter Pan is great, Small World is an aquired taste, Winnie the Pooh you can probably skip and not miss anything. Teacups – super fun.
You can reach EPCOT from the MK by taking the monorail. EPCOT and Hollywood studios are so close to one another you can walk or take a boat between the two parks. They are separated by the Boardwalk, which has an ESPN Zone and some restaurants and shops. World Showcase in EPCOT is a great place to grab a beer or a snack/quick lunch at one (or a few) of the countries. Future World in EPCOT has Soarin -one of the BEST rides. If you want a full service meal, Coral Reef is lovely, and if you make a reservation and say it’s your honeymoon, you will probably get a better table!
Hollywood has Rockin Roller Coaster (aerosmith roller coaster, tons of fun), the Great Movie Ride,Star Tours, and Toy Story Mania (HUGELY popular, usually has a super long line) and Tower of Terror.
Animal Kingdom is great as well, but a little off the beaten path, so you probably will not have time for that one.
I would either just figure out what rides/things you want to see and start at that park as lines get crazy…
OR just start at MK (have to see the castle after all, right?) and then take the monorail to EPCOT to mosey around, have lunch and then if you have time go to Hollywood. Usually if you hit up MK right when it opens, you can bounce around to a few rides before it gets crazy busy, and be on your way out by 11 or 12.
EPCOT has a bunch of rides that never get super long lines (usually a long line at Soarin, but totally worth it). I feel like you go to EPCOT more for the countries than the rides. The rides are fun/cute but other than Soarin and maybe Test Track, they’re not among the best rides in the 4 parks.
With Hollywood, the really popular rides get crazy lines, but there are tons of others to go on.
The more popular attractions in every park will get lines up to and over 60 minutes as the day progresses, but there’s plenty to do and see in each park. I would avoid the Hall of Presidents (magic kingdom) and any type of educational movie (EPCOT) at all costs – they are usually long, boring, and some require standing the whole time.
We are not parade people, so I have no tips on those.
For sure wear sneakers – you can walk like 10 miles easy in 1 day. Also camera and sunblock, and you can bring in water, snacks, etc. They check your bag before you enter the park, but they don’t care if you bring that stuff in – just make sure it’s not too heavy to carry.
I think 2 parks in 8 hours is doable, 3 might be a stretch (Assuming only counter service meals/snacks). Just 1 seems like too much time in 1 park.
The place is designed to not be seen in 1 day, so I’d just figure out what interests the two of you most and see/do that, and not worry about seeing everyting or a ton of stuff, because there’s always more to see at Disney!