There is zero reason to get a Wii U without a gamepad. I believe you need one in order to set it up, but that's the primary selling point of the console. I am not sure if the power brick will work between Wii and Wii U, either.
Otherwise, your Wii peripherals will work. You can use any HDMI cable, Wiimote, and the sensor bar is the same.
Being an adult doesn't mean you have to know what you're doing. It just means you have to look like you know what you're doing.