-Bag checks went faster than anyone could have hoped. Even during peak on saturday there was no more than a 10 minute wait from what I saw to get in and out of the convention. Very well run.
-The video game room and artists' alley were both in well-situated spots. Artists' alley for once had ample space for everyone to move around without massive crowding, which has been a problem every single year but this one.
-The crowds in general were a lot more manageable. I don't know what caused this but it seemed like there were a lot less people about. My theory is either the lack of dance chased a lot of folks off or having more space open in the sheraton (there was more space, right? I don't remember us having the third floor last year) for live gaming and whatnot helped give the crowds a place to be.
-The formal was fantastic. I loved the dance lessons, I loved the music, I loved the fact that the ballroom demonstrations and lessons gave the older crowd something non-anime to enjoy. I saw quite a few parents at that event and I'm sure it was a plus for them.
-The game room was fantastically run by the wonderful folks over at NGA. I had a good time up there for the limited time I was up there and everything ran smoothly. I think the chairs to signify the line in front of the DDR machine (something that always draws a huge crowd) was brilliant.
-The live gaming room was impressively stocked and my boyfriend really enjoyed it.
-Staff didn't seem to know what was going on. When asking when a panel would be opening, I got an 'I don't know' response from a staff member SITTING OUTSIDE THE PANEL ROOM. I realize that you guys got 60 new staffmembers this year and are beefing up your training but if the money for it exists staff need to have headsets and need to know what's happening when.
-Lots of confused-looking volunteers wandering around the convention center, wanting to break up crowds, and generally just doing a bad job of it. I think this was touched upon elsewhere but the volunteers, again, some of them seemed afraid of their own shadow.
-Confusion before the formal dance as to buses and start times. The bus drivers didn't seem to know where they were going or who was getting on the bus, and initially had tried to point us to the hilton across the street. When this was sorted out, several people were let into the formal early (which may or may not have been castle staff's fault, not AB's).
-convention goers crowding around outside the doors to the Hynes in large groups that make it confusing to tell where the hell the line for bag checks start. People shouldn't be allowed to congregate there IMO, but this is a minor beef.
-Staff deviated from the programming books and several didn't seem to know when things closed or where they were despite it being clearly printed. I had originally gone to the republic ballroom (the correct location) for formal dance lessons, upon which I was told by staff that they were actually in the grand ballroom. I was subsequently told by different people that they started at two, started at three, were in the republic, were in the grand ballroom, were in the castle, were in the republic again, and 'I don't know' before eventually being redirected by a wonderful member of the executive committee (I believe it was Tuan Pham) to the correct place and subsequently told to follow what's in the programming book despite what else I heard. (you are awesome by the way, dude, so when you see this, give yourself a pat on the back) This happened again with several other panels to a much lesser extent.
-People lined up for panels WAY before a half hour before they started. It meant I had to waste 1-3 hours in line for a few things. If I'm mistaken and this is not actually a rule, this was annoying but not actually a beef. If it is a rule, why were people allowed to line up far before the published time that it was okay to line up?
So in general, AB was a good time, but there are definitely some improvements to be made. I may or may not be back next year. But overall I had an enjoyable weekend despite a few hiccups that can probably be fixed.