Some Knott's tips:
I posted this about a year ago and have made a couple of updates.
Bring some frozen water bottles because beverages are even more expensive than they are at our beloved Disneyland. UPDATE: we were told by a Knott's CM that any window serving beverages would be happy to give us glasses of ice water, and we found this to be true.
Go on the improved yet classic log ride first. It'll have long lines at least till September 2013 weekdays.
Ride the Pony Express second and if no crowd is there yet and the employees will let you stay on, ride it around twice. (It's so short, it should take everyone around twice--then it's a very good ride.)
Ride the train; beware of robbers.
Ride the Stagecoach.
The bumper cars are not too slow for 10-year-olds and their parents, but it's closed during Scary Farm season.
Ride Windseeker in the day and again at night during Disneyland's fireworks. Maybe don't drink a lot before going on in case you get stuck 300 feet up for three hours. Kidding, sort of. If you are a man or a boy, be careful getting in and out of your seat. You'll see.
In my opinion, Mystery Lodge has aged surprisingly well.
If it's hot and you see the western stunt show in the outdoor theatre, sit in a covered wagon or--if they're full--sit in the spash area near the stage.
If there is an extreme wheels stunt show, see it as early in the summer as possible. The athletes are amazing, but they are not actors and are unable to fake their enthusiasm as the summer moves into July and August.
See the saloon show in the summer. They have two funny can-can dancers in the show during the summer that might make you miss Disney's Golden and Diamond Horseshoe Revues.
Jaguar is a great, first, big coaster for kids.
Accelerator is a nice, last, big coaster for aging adults.
Here's a controversial suggestion I only recommend for holders of Knott's (reasonably priced!) Season Passes who live within an hour of Knott's:
save on parking by making shorter, more frequent visits. You may park for free for three hours close to (and SE of) the park entrance just past TGIF. So come for the first three hours, then drive away for a better, more reasonably priced lunch (Souplantation, Mimi's) on your way to the beach or a movie in Downtown Disney (with AMC tickets from Costco), and maybe return to Knott's for three more hours later in the day for its shows and less crowded attractions.
Knott's Season Pass might be the best theme park deal in S. Cal.
Return for Christmas and enjoy the small stage shows in Birdcage Theater. My daughter enjoyed the Christmas parade where guest kid marchers (who had rehearsed) added a charming small town-like feel. Snoopy on Ice shows have ranged from good to excellent.
Season passes don't include the phenomonal, transcendent Halloween Scary Farm , which you must experience. (Visit that in late Sept. for shorter lines and fresher monsters.) The Hanging is an insightful chronicle of our times; stand in the "slash area" near the stage. I wouldn't bring kids under 13 even though my daughter loved Universal's House of Horrors when she was 7.
Hope some of the tips are helpful!
Please add more.