yeah I hated it my first year but I didn't mind it as much this year. I guess you just gotta go in with low expectations and know that you might not be able to do/see everything on your list. I feel I learned a lot from my first time there.
For instance, If you're gonna go to something that might be popular, get in line at least an hour early. On day1 I went to an autograph session I had a ticket for half an hour early and still got turned away, but went an hour early the next day and just barely got in.
Travisemo007, regarding the autograph system. You gotta remember that these are people doing these autographs by hand, people who can get tired. There's a reason why their autographs are so coveted. I was extremely disappointed I couldn't get Zun's autograph on one of my figs last year, but because of that I learned about the ticket system and what not. There's a LOT of stuff they don't tell you about on the AX site or on the app or whatever. You HAVE to ask staff members plenty of questions. I tried figuring things out as I went along my first year and finding things myself, ended up seeing/doing almost nothing and couldn't even buy anything because the hall closed before I got there.
Neet-one has the right idea. This was my sixth year going and while planning it out I already knew half of what I wanted to attend was not going to happen, sucks but that is the expectations you kinda have to have. That and hope the upper management staff pulls their heads out of their asses and surprise you with competence and have things run smoothly. Some years this happens, most of the time it doesn't. My advice would be to take solace in being around others that enjoy the same content as you. I got turned away from Yui Horie's panel when I was 54th of the 50 general attendees allowed in. Disappointing, yes, but I got to enjoy talking to others that were fans of her for a few hours in the burning, unforgiving sunlight and made a few new friends in the process.
A small solution to the autograph system would be to divide it based on time of the day instead of grouping them all into one line. Have a morning signing line and an afternoon signing line. Kinda sucks for people to stand in line for so long they miss the session altogether before even getting a chance for a ticket for it. Not to mention that is a bad message to leave for the guests themselves if they get a bad turnout for their autographs because of organization problems. Can lead to many of them feeling like they are not valued enough to return.
My major gripe with how AX is handled is the lack of feedback we can give them now that the forums were removed from their website. It was a great place to actually have discussions with staff about how things can be handled and understand how much control they have over those situations to find out if attendees' suggestions are even viable or not. Also the forums there were mainly used to help those connect with others to find and share hotel space to cut cost and get to know each other prior. I had plenty of room in my hotel and would have loved to give others a chance to attend the con that couldn't due to financial or booking circumstances.