Being a Californian, I feel it my duty to patronize Disneyland from time to time, and as I've done so frequently since I was little, it's a duty I enjoy. Here are some great things I learned on my most recent trip:
1. It's better with a year-round pass. I never thought I'd be that type of person to have a pass, but since I'm planning on going back at least once this year, and since it's cheaper to buy a year pass than two separate tickets (and since elegyrl has a pass and helped to, ahem, "sponsor" my pass), I did it. Besides the obvious advantage of not paying an admission fee every time, it saves money on food (or at least covers the taxes) and, depending on the membership level, merchandise as well. Plus, since I can come and go whenever I want, I don't feel bad for not staying the whole time in order to get my money's worth.
2. It's better with a wheelchair. If you don't have an injured member of your party, it may be worthwhile to injure someone, at least for the Disneyland park (not so much California Adventure): you get to board from the exit, which usually cuts line-waiting time to next-to-nothing. And then you are already sitting in the car when you go past the non-handicapped people and you just know they're all thinking, "Why are they on the ride already? Why do I have to wait for them?" California Adventure has unfortunately built all of their rides to be wheelchair accessible, so a wheelchair does not hold the same great advantage there.
3. Don't go at times you know will be crazy busy. I have several "blackout" dates on my membership, which is just fine with me, because those indicate days on which I would become overly frustrated by crowds and noise and people. I'm generally frustrated by crowds and noise and people anyway, but given it's Disneyland, I try to make allowances (and take lots of Ibuprofen or Tylenol).
4. Bring your own food/drinks. Or, if you don't, expect to pay about 3-5 times more than you would like to spend for food. Since they know you don't want to leave the park to eat, they milk you for every penny: a whole pizza in California Adventure is $32 (and it's not even really great pizza either, kind of lukewarm and burnt on the bottom and soggy in the middle), a medium soda is $2.69 (I didn't even bother to ask about refills, but I could probably guess), and a churro is $3 (although the churro, in my opinion, is worth it).
Here is the $8.99 fish and chips at the Golden Horseshoe Restaurant in Frontierland:
Although it looks like a pitifully small amount of food, especially for nine bucks, I would have preferred 1/2 the food at 1/5 the price.
At least they haven't yet figured out how to charge for use of the bathrooms...
5. Keep in mind that Disneyland is all about awing and amazing you, so everything you see is fake. Even the flying fish. This is especially good to remember if you are gullible and are hanging out with people who like to make fun jokes, like telling you that the flying fish in the pond show up every couple seconds in the exact same spot--isn't that amazing? Yes, yes it is. The sad part is I think I've fallen for that same trick before.
6. If you ask the workers, they will give you hints or tell you flat out where the hidden Mickeys are on the rides. If you're unfamiliar with a ride, it's best to go on it a couple times before trying to look for minute details, but it can be fun to notice the little touches. And if the workers don't know where to find a Mickey, elegyrl might--she took pictures of quite a few.
Those are all the main points--I could mention other ones like "wear comfortable clothing" and "get a good night's sleep", but then I'd start sounding like a guidebook, when really, I'm just a Californian.