Just got back from Disney myself.
And I must say that my experience seems to be the exact opposite of David.
We flew, (cashed in miles) no way I'm driving from NY with the kids....We did not touch our checked bags going or coming from the airport which was nice. On time transport and very easy to do coming and going. All courtesy of Disney.
We stayed in Animal Kingdom Lodge, with views from the balcony of the animals. Kids loved seeing zebras, giraffes etc right from our room. Got the character shaped towels, wonderful staff everywhere, very clean.
We got a special that was a buy 4 nights get 3 free so we could not go wrong.
We did the dining plan, snacks and all. We got a deal here as well, my wife managed to get upgraded from 2 meals per person to 3 for $100...Don't know how but who's to argue.
The 20% tip is suggested, unless you are dining with 6 or more and then it is automatically included. Which David hit that magic 6 number. We were 4. We ended up not using all the meals due to eating some late breakfasts. But all told we saved a good bit of money based on what we would have spent if we did cash and carry.
The real nice thing with the snack plan is when the kids wanted ice cream or a water, all we had to do was give them our card and any cart or snack shop.
There are also some sit down style restaurants that fit the dining plan, but they are few and far between.
The buses were good, running pretty much every 20 minutes and even sending 2 buses at the same time if a crowd was gathering.
I also noticed the lighting and tho my wife thinks I need to seek help for my Christmas light addiction.....I still took some pics.
I was not lucky enough to find anyone to chat up about the lights (perhaps that was a good thing as my wife may have had a problem with discussing "work" on vacation!!!)
But as David said the blinking lights in the trees were different than anything I had seen and gave a cool look, although they need to add some lights to account for growth, many trees seemd to only be lit 1/2 way into the canopy.
The lights in the parks and on bus terminals must last a lot longer than the ones we use and I agree with David it is something to look into if you are not using LED's. I think I saw 3 bulbs that were out and if David's numbers hold as to total lights....either Disney is way on top of replacements or they just dont burn out.
Other than that I defer to David and Trevor as I dont have any further info on the lights other than personal observations. I must say that I am trying to figure out how to get down while the Christmas Lights are still up because that has to be something to see.