Preparation: Bought tickets from Costco for a discounted price and booked a hotel on the same property as Disneyland.
General opinion: Great experience! Super fun, got to see and do everything that we wanted to do .
Dining: Lots of great places to eat, whether you want fine dining or a more economic experience. Always friendly staff, always wanting to take care of your needs. Prices start around $5 for a burger, $3 for a drink at cafeteria style places, to $50+ for dinners at upscale places.
Commute: Get a hotel on the same property as Disney, or within walking distance. Parking is a pain and expensive, and you'll be walking all day anyway, an extra mile to and from the park won't hurt you.
Lodge: Stay within walking distance of the park. There are plenty of hotels within a mile that are $100 a night or less. We stayed at a Holiday Inn on the same property as Disney and it was a great choice.
Things I wish I had known before: Always, always, always get there early, go to all the rides you want to go on, and get the FastPass tickets. They save you literally hours from waiting in lines, plus you can plan your day out so that you're always riding what you want.