It's a friendly celebration. Islam really isn't a religion of extreme emotions, though, and generally the gatherings and just meet-and-greet type affairs. There are no heavy or sad celebrations, although the fasting of Ramadan is a time of being rather somber and holy, as is Al-Hajj for those who make the Pilgramage to Mecca (and Medina, and Taif).
I was born in the States and have lived here the plurality of my life, but have spent Eid Ul-Fitr here (in Indiana) as well as in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman. In all of the above locations, it's not a time of revelry by any means, but a time of giving thanks to God. The Eid Ul-Fitr prayers last five or so minutes (most prayer sessions, in general, are quite short -- all the obligatory ones clock in at well under 10 minutes), although it generally is followed by a lecture in which we're implored to do good and give thanks. The prayer is communual, but like all other prayers, only the leader (Imam) recites out load.
Usually, you'll meet with your brethren and exchange hugs; many people will invite you to drop by and visit their homes for tea and sweets. On Eid Ul-Fitr, children are often given a few small gifts, though the holiday lacks the commercialism associated with Christmas. No one's forcing you to visit or invite others, though it's generally considered polite to do so.
My ex-roomate, who was from Malaysia (and also President of the Muslim Students Association on campus), was more apt to go for the Indonesian-style "partying", although even that was limited to hanging around with friends and family, singing songs, staying up through the night eating, etc.
Nitpick/background: Eid Ul-Fitr is a much better Romanized spelling than Idul Fitr, given that "Eid" roughly translates to "celebration" or "festival" and is a word in and of itself, with "Ul" meaning "of", and "Fitr" meaning the breaking of the fast. Eid Ul-Adha is the other Islamic holiday -- the "Festival of Sacrifice", commemorating Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, at the command of God. Eid Ul-Adha takes place at the end of the month of Al-Hajj (the Pilgrimage).
Hope that helps!
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