I don't want this post to sound like a huge fanboy diatribe - as I can see the flaws in Alton as well as anyone else, but I think you have been a bit harsh to some extent. Whilst I think the whole forum would agree generally that the park is not as good as it used to be, if you used to visit all the time and then suddenly came to this modern Alton after a period of absence, there will always be a sense of rose tinted glasses with elements of the park...
The park's installations fell stagnant around the Rita/Spinball period when Tussauds had no money and ran out of ideas... Merlin have since come in, and although have had a slow start, are beginning to make progress with rides and attractions. Mutiny Bay and Cloud Cuckoo Land have been good re-themes. As have been the change to the Skyride and Monorail. The Sharkbait Reef SeaLife centre is one of the best in the country and Ice Age has been a great new show. Th13teen has turned out to be a fantastically fun family coaster and, despite its flaws, Sub Terra could still turn out to be a great addition to the park.
Although, yes, these have generally all been family additions - it shows how the park has been trying to make up for any perceived lack of family options that Alton may have had. It's always been a theme park for everyone, and all of the above changes have helped this. Now, Merlin can move on to a true thrill coaster in SW7 - and their work with The Swarm shows they are capable of great things in terms of coaster design and theme!
I agree that the parking charge is ridiculous, I believe it was originally intended for monorail running costs and car park improvements (as well as funding for the relief road) but none of this has really come to fruition. Again, the charge for entry has increased - but not by much each year, and barely anybody pays full price on the gates anyway. The country is flooded with 2-for-1s and the website provides reduced price tickets too. The gate price is not an issue really.
Fastrack is also, unfortunately, a way of life these days in the theme park industry. While we would all love for it to be free and Disney-style, it's not. And this is something that the whole industry deals with. It's not just an Alton thing, and it's not even a Merlin thing. Paying to skip a queue is a worldwide thing. While I do think it is annoying and unnecessary - it provides great income for parks and in my experience, has not ever really ruined the queueing experience on more than one or two occasions.
In my opinion, the staff are one of the best things about Towers - they are normally fantastically efficient and incredibly friendly. It's annoying when there are gaps on trains, but this does not happen all that often from experience as staff are normally great at queue management and station management.
Photos are priced ridiculously, I agree - but the prices for multi-buys (i.e. 2 for 10 or photopass) have remained the same. It's a case of up-selling, Merlin would rather you buy in bulk than buy little - hence why 5 extra donuts only cost a quid at donut stalls. So pricing has actually remained fairly consistent (although the value for money offered is simply perceived rather than real) - an example of cheaper costs would be Quenchers which have gone down in price by £2 since 2010!
As for food, you're probably one of the few people on here who are disappointed about the demise of the branded outlets. They lack the escapism that a theme park truly needs and cannot be controlled by park management. Pricing within them is actually pretty good value for money and the quality is very good - on park food is one of the things Alton does really well! It's much better having Merlin brands as quality and service can be controlled much easier. The fact Burger King charges bumped up service station prices is a prime example... Merlin cannot control their prices nor their staff, so if they were replaced by a Merlin brand, changes would be for the better - not to mention the fact that the restaurant would be themed xD
Rides is a tricky category, Nemesis seems to get better with age in many people's opinion, and Th13teen has been a fantastic addition. Although it is little more than a mine train with a freefall drop - that is what makes it great for families and thrills alike. It may not be forceful but it is fun. And to say it doesn't push boundaries is a bit harsh, it introduced a world class piece of technology that works fantastically and provides a great, new, on-ride experience for a coaster. It may not have pushed the boundaries in the right way for you, but it has certainly spawned a new genre of coaster around the world (Legoland Billund and BGW are using a Zierer version this year). Also, Sub-Terra - well, see the ST thread for my thoughts on that one! Haha!
I hope also that SW7 will put Alton on the map, but I really, really don't think it's as bad as been made out here. I know this probably just sounds like a rant from an Alton fanboy, but I really think there are a lot of positives to take from the park! Plus, this extremely long post has distracted me from Uni work - so thanks