So the Mrs. and I were planing a sort Disney trip, wrapped around a conference. The conference was the primary focus of our trip, but we decided to toss in a day at the Magic Kingdom, and a day a Epcot. The schedule was arrive late Thursday night (23:30 EST), MK on Friday, Epcot Sat, Conference Sun, Conference Mon - Departing 1600 on Monday.

The conference has been suddenly canceled and the air-fare cost more to change than we paid for it. So, we are going to Disney. Now that this was mostly about the conference and not about "Going to Disney" I have done no research. So, I was up for some quick tips from you guys.

Hotel. 2 Professionals from California. Love travel, fly, vacation all the time. What hotels should we be looking at? We don't have kids, and we don't like your kids. ;-) Disney resort, or off the property? What about Downtown Disney. Anything under $500 a night is fine....

What do the hotels include? We are stuck with the dates, can we get a "package" like 3 nights and a 2 day pass for X Dollars?

The Animal Kingdom resort actually looks awesome, can you see Zebras and Giraffes from the room?

If you stay at the Epcot resorts (like Swan and Dolphin) do you take the rental car to the Magic Kingdom? The Monorail? Do I even need a rental car if I stay at a WDW resort?

With the late departure on Monday, should I just consider that a lay by the pool day? Or should I try to hit a park? 3 Day Ticket or 4 day ticket? Park Hopper ?

Thanks for any insight you can give on this, J