You should go watch. Alot of places may sound like mcdojos, advanced fee's/special programs, some are actually done in good faith. Karate and Aikido are different in approach to combat and philosophe. You won't hear anyone yelling while practising nor should punch/kick be countered with punch/kick. Believe you me, it is effective but in order to get to that point takes time and is ultimately up to you.http://www.aikidofaq.com
spells it out for ya in plain english.
About what to stay away from, I'd say if you know the term mcdojo you should have atleast some understanding of what it entails. What you should look for is a dojo that has an atmostphere which you feel you could practise in, also a sensei whom you see teaching in a way in which you believe you will learn. Perhaps you could also post the dojo you guys are going too, someone here may have attended.