We will be leaving for Disney 2 days after Thanksgiving. Park hopper is good if you want to visit two different parks in the same day. There's a lot to see in each park, so if its your first time going, one park a day will keep you busy and on your toes.
If you are staying on the property, you can purchase a meal package. I highly recommend this. Food is EXPENSIVE to say the very least. This will help you pre pay for some of your meals (Includes one counter service meal(good for a Lunch) and one sit down meal (good for dinner) and one snack for EACH DAY) and you can even use them for Character meals(where there's Characters mingle around while you eat, KIDS LOVE IT). So then you would only have to worry about Breakfast (cheapest meal of the day. JUST A IDEA... Also make sure you book the Character meals before going, makes it much easier because these are crowded.
Also if on property, make sure to check when each park opens early for people staying on property. They will have different parks, different days, that will open like a hour early or close a hour late ONLY for those staying on property.
My only experience is staying at a hotel on the property, don't know any good tips for staying off the propery.
HAVE FUN!!!!! Im 27 and my husband is 34 and we are more excited then our kids! LoL