I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve got 12 nights at BWV and 3 night’s at Vero Beach. So here’s my response. In my experience in Oct and Jan I think Disney transportation/walking for DHS and EPC are better than parking. You certainly won’t save any time by parking at AK or MK so no need for a car unless you plan to go offsite or spend a lot of time at DS or BB as I know their bus service isn’t as frequent and is shared. I have booked a rental at the Disney Car Care Center (Disney Car Care
1000 Car Care Dr
Orlando, FL, United States 32830) and they will pick you up from a theme park or hotel and take you to the rental car location (it’s Enterprise). So we’re going to do a half day in AK our last day and after lunch I’ll have them pick us up at the hotel (so we can go get our bags) and we’ll head out to Vero Beach.
Yes the Mitsukoshi is open in Japan. I just bought my hubby a ton of Naruto stuff in Jan.
Magical Express was not a frustrating nightmare for me in Jan. It was very smooth.
Yes you can drive to Vero Beach in 2 hours so I’m sure there are tons of other beaches on the other coast as well you can drive to and back in the same day if you choose.
Edit: I will add you might want a rental car if you plan to eat at resorts besides the Epcot ones. But one way I am avoiding this is we’re doing earlier dinners such as a 6:30pm at California Grill so I can still catch the bus back to my hotel from Magic Kingdom after and I have a 6pm at Sanaa on my Animal Kingdom day. My plan here is to take the AKL bus from AK to AKL and then take the AKL bus to Epcot after dinner since it’s open till 9pm and just walk through Epcot back to my hotel since we have park hoppers. Maybe we’ll ride something on the way too