So it's been a month since D*C 2010 ended and I have some things to update for anyone planning for 2011.
1. Registration - The first big issue is one that practically everyone has to deal with: picking up your badge at registration. Despite starting at 10am Thursday instead of the previous 4pm, lines were still long. I waited 2.5 hours myself but have heard horror stories of nearly twice that long. Naturally, people complained, and the powers that be listened. They have stated that a new system will be in place next year. It'll utilize barcodes that scan your yellow postcard and each desk will now be able to print out badges (no more unbalanced alphabetical lines).
2. Security - There seemed to be more incidents involving rude behavior this year, whether that's inappropriate comments, disrespecting someone's personal space, or damaging property. I believe this resulted from a larger crowd. Many con-goers blame the increasing number of football fans and other non-con attendees. In an attempt to cut down on that, Marriott staff started checking for badges and controlled how many people entered the building at various access points. The hotels have also promised to do better next year, to check for badges before it gets too crowded and to have more staff available during the evening.
3. Ticket Prices - Pre-reg tickets have jumped in price by $10, and the final at the door price will be $120 instead of $100 like in years past. Perhaps this is also an attempt to keep the crowd from exploding.
4. Hotel Booking - The Hyatt and Marriott use a system called Passkey to book their rooms at the con rate price. I've never used it so I can't explain how it works, but many people who have used it would tell you it doesn't "work" at all. All I know is that the rooms all become available at a specific date and time, and having hundreds of folks trying to get multiple rooms at the same time will lead to a lot of frustration and unsatisfied people. Apparently, Passkey's customer service didn't exactly help matters.
My suggestion is to avoid that system until it has some kind of overhaul. Of course, this means you're left to booking at the Hilton, Sheraton, Westin, and all the overflow hotels in the area. I can personally recommend the Hilton since I've stayed there for multiple years in a row. They have excellent customer service, allow you to book almost a year ahead of con, and are "centrally" located to keep you close to everything but away from the craziness. The only downside is the one night deposit required at the time of booking. Current rates are around $200/night, which divides nicely among 4 people.