For the longest time, at least on my server, people have grown incredibly "anti-social". Tight cliques & special "rl buddy" guilds have sprung up and it makes it practically impossible for most to break in and be part of the action.
I hope the below paragraph is helpful to you. I have no knowledge of the particular situations you've been in, but I think this is likely to be relevant. If not, feel free to ignore it as it doesn't address your question.
I am pretty sure there are still welcoming social guilds on every server. If you've been unlucky so far, it doesn't mean that there aren't others worth trying still around. Many guilds that run events that require a certain level of skill (raiding/RBGing etc.) will be unwilling to take someone they haven't played with before as mistakes that person makes impact on the whole group. Also, guilds where many of the members address each other by their first names and talk about what's going on in their real life, but don't do the same with you may well just not know you well enough yet. It's possible they know each other in real life, chat on the guild TS/Mumble/Vent or they just play together a lot. It may take time for you to get to know them but it by no means suggests that they are intentionally unfriendly.
It has become a horrible chore just to try & get basic gear. So I spend my time doing dailies for gold. Yes it is slow but for now it's the only way. This gold helps me get my dream pets.
If making gold is your sole aim, I would suggest looking through a variety of the free AH-based gold making guides and from this develop your trading strategy. Configure AH add-ons to your liking and then buy/sell as your strategy advises. Be careful about risking too much gold and be sure to not put too much money into one commodity. On high pop servers this is particularly rewarding, but even on low pop this is likely to be significantly faster than dailies.
For example is it true many pets will no longer be available?
I am not aware of any pets being removed from the game on WoD launch. I am not certain about the Thundering Serpent Hatchling, but people seem to think it will be available for purchase from guilds that have already done the Challenge Modes
. The Thundering Serpent Hatchling will only be obtainable from the new BM AH as of WoD (edit due to new information).
What materials do any of you suggest I should start saving. Windwool? Garden grown veggies & fruit? etc.....
Windwool - might be worth stockpiling. People who are levelling will want it and may be unwilling to wait for the farm on other chars. More importantly, Hexweave Bags (30 slot) take 10 days to make each, so there should still be some demand for Royal Satchels, albeit diminished. It's a bit of a gamble as royal satchel-makers are likely to grab Windwool from their farm along the way to the silken fields, but historically each expansion's cloth prices have usually significantly increased during the subsequent expansion.
Farm produce - probably not worth it. There is nothing made from it that will be useful in the next expansion, so will only be used by achievement hunters and possibly levellers. They may well introduce ways of avoiding/minimising the Pandaria mats used in levelling cooking.