ANIME USA 2005
This is really ... really ... a hard one for me to judge. On the one hand, programming was amazing. (I think this goes without saying - despite the fact that I just said it.) On the other ... there was a lot of disorganisation amongst the staff when it came to communication. At least, on my end.
I'd had a great deal of problems when it came to scheduling, table placement, etc. That is, I got very good treatment, but was rarely - if ever - informed of it so I could take advantage of it. This led to a lot of misunderstandings, missed events, etc. The phrase I heard most over the weekend was 'We haven't been able to find you.' Overall, it was just a lack of communication that I'm hoping gets fixed.
Despite that, when I did manage to find staff or vice-versa, they were very nice and accomodating.
Now that I've said something negative, let me say on the positive side that things were kept in hand very well. The staff had a tough job this year, in that bringing in big names like m.o.v.e. was bound to cause some chaos. Nonetheless, the concert itself was kept very orderly. No one was a big fan of the tickets, but for such a big deal, it was necessary - at least in the case of the concert proper.
The artists' alley was very nice, and even though the placement seemed out-of-the-way, there was a lot of nice through-traffic. On the communication side, I wasn't told coming in that I had a table out front, and didn't find it out until it was needed for something else. But this falls back on the earlier stuff. I sat with my publisher, and there was a lot of good exposure there.
The hotel itself, in addition to sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of Vienna (and thus making it nice and easy to find), is very, very nice. The number of floors made the crowdedness of the lifts a little more noticeable (we were up in the 20s somewhere), but despite that incredibly common con gripe, the hotel was gorgeous. A bit confusing to get around at first, until you realised that the pool was the centre of everything.
Good con overall - I'm still a bit unhappy with the lack of communication and disorganisation before the fact. I don't know as the pros outweigh that, but they definitely balance it evenly. I'm hoping very much that, despite the constant missing of people, I'll be invited back next year.