How do you mean finicky? Please provide details.
As for the demo for Encounters and Celestial Reloaded, both are using WP 3.6.1 now and their front pages are using the Widgetkit slideshow, so there shouldn’t be any issues. I didn’t notice anything unusual (hopefully there isn’t).
Well, I’m using it on a Preference site and I had uninstall and reinstall after this last WP update. I know it was WidgetKit because I tried each plugin one at a time and that’s the one that was messing things up. The WidgetKit itself wasn’t working and also shifted all the remaining content on the page when I used it as a slider in the Showcase widget. I did finally get that to work.
I’ve got a different Encounters site and I’ve tried installing and uninstalling WidgetKit at least three times now and it doesn’t seem to install properly (not fully) the user interface for the plugin is all messed up and not usable. Plus (I don’t know for sure this was the cause, but it is only a problem when the WidgetKit is activated) but almost all of the widgets are showing on the website. All the Widgets available on the front page, for example. PS it makes no difference if I install it via the WordPress interface or via FTP.
Odd… really should be working because I’m running Widgetkit 1.4.6 on WP 3.6.1 as well. Shouldn’t matter really what theme either. So everything was fine before you updated to WP 3.6.1 then it went crazy? Is it possible to contact me with a login for your admin? If so, is it ok also if I create a couple slides or at least a new slideshow with some sample images to test?
So far even with my local test site, I have not experienced any issues. However, if for some reason Widgetkit still is not working 100%, it’s optional for the theme which means you can always try other plugins, and yes, if you decided to try the LayerSlider, you could do that, but does come with a slight learning curve. But also note that this one is also optional but it is a paid $15 plugin. Of course, you still have a lot of other sliders you can try that are free too.