I have to agree that the con is outgrowing the hotel. It seems more and more cramped every year, and is lessening my enjoyment each time. I love seeing that the con is growing, but not when you're rubbing elbows everywhere you go. That said, I still enjoyed it this year, and the staff was as friendly and helpful as ever. Generally. I noticed that there were a few bad apples in there (whose number also seems to grow), and it seems like some of them even ruined one of the previous poster's experience.
My biggest gripe though is the badge situation. I don't mind that there are so many restricted areas now. It's to be expected. However, I don't see the justification for the $50 price tag. I hate to compare ALA to anything, but Expo, a far larger convention, has a very similar price tag (at least before the spikes). The experiences are very different, of course, with ALA having that smaller and more personal feel. Nonetheless, it's still a significant cost, especially for many of the cosplayers who ONLY used it to get access to the pool. I'm not saying the price should be lowered, because I'm sure there's many reasons for the high price. What I do feel, though, is that there should be different kinds of badges offered for different people at different prices.
For instance, those who want the full experience will pay the full price. Cosplayers, however, can get a Cosplayer's badge that gives them access to only the pool, and perhaps Masquerade as well, for a reduced cost. Then, maybe there can also be badges for people who want access to just the Dealer's Hall and Artist Alley, also at a reduced cost. I know of many people who avoided ALA this year because they didn't want to pay the $50, and I'm sure having different options for the badges would lure them back.
So, in summary, I think a bigger venue and different options for badges would be nice.
What ALA did right is what ALA does right every year: awesome cosplay repair, places to sit and rest, free water, the con suite, helpful staff, and unobtrusive peace bonding.