This will be my third MIX conference - but the first time as a Microsoft employee and honestly it is truly one of the best in the industry.  Everybody is feeling the recession - but like you - many of us are finding a way to cut in other areas to make to Vegas.  MIX09 is the really to me the premier web developmet conference  - by developers and for developers.  Microsoft typically has something up its sleeve to announce that even employees like me are not aware of.  For those great partners who we work with in the Communication and Media sector - look forward to learning, socializing and just enjoying the new technology. I would not be surprised if there was some mention of Internet Explorer 8 and the partners who have embraced this technology and likely a few sessions on Silverlight. 

Don't forget to visit the keynotes each morning - you will want to get there early- even though the room is enormous - it fills up quickly.