Hard Drive was completely dead. Unable to repair the disk.
Extremely well! The instructions were very detailed with an excellent number of images. I followed the instructions carefully, and now I'm back up and running with a 1TB hard drive that is WAYYYY faster than my original 500GB drive was. iFixit saved me from spending $1500 on a new MacMini, which I was just about to do! Couldn't be happier. :-)
I was a little nervous about the possibility of needing to get the startup files installed on my new disk after I installed the replacement hard drive. Wasn't sure what do do with the partitioning of the disk and all that setup. Apple made things easier by allowing a startup connection to my existing wifi network, and then it downloaded the needed startup files. It took several hours but the restore completely worked. Then I updated my OS to OS X El Capitan and re-installed all my necessary drivers (printer/scanner, etc). Thanks to my iCloud Photos, all those were easily restored too. And it's a good thing, because attempting to use my Time Machine restore option failed! That part, I was pretty upset about. Always good to have a second backup option. And fortunately I'd done this a couple weeks prior to my system crash.