yeah I always find it baffling when the people who made it in a profession that really interests them then start bitching about how shitty it is, and Anno is pretty much the same from what I have read.
I agree you are right about Anno mostly, the difference could be that he himself was already an otaku, which led him to pursue that passion in the first place, hence lot of obvious in your face otaku fanservice (don't know how much of a say other gainax members had in the production, or how much of the sexy latex suit idea came from the designer Sadamoto), but I think it is funny that Miyazaki probably also influenced Anno while taking him under his wings, apparently he took Anno's tape player during their work together but also gifted him a moped, which could mean that Gendo himself can be seen as Miyazaki.
Hmm I wouldn't compare Ghibli movies to Disney really, for example early Disney productions often adapted already existing fairy tales (and rewriting them for happy endings), there was always a clear line between good and evil (Scar was bad and deserved to die, no matter his circumstances), and as far as I know Disney movies seemed more a team effort as a whole.
As you wrote Miyazaki used lot of different gritty themes in his movies, he always provides plausible explanations for both sides of the conflicts, and most important he seemed to write a lot of the stories by himself without adapting from anywhere (except Kiki I believe? Even there he only took the character and wrote his own story), which is what I wanted to say originally: I think Miyazaki's movies are telling much more about himself than Disney movies tell about Walt Disney.
In what way exactly Miyazaki admires all his beautiful/strong female leads, I don't know, only that they are a big part of his escapism, which lead my to my statement.
Oh I really need to rewatch Ponyo, I only saw it once when it came out a long time ago
In my country conventions also get bigger every year which also gets more stressful,
still I liked browsing the bazar full of merchandise, even if they are mostly too expensive compared to online.