So what I don't know at this time is:
- Is there a safe way to rename all existing instances of a widget? I assume it will require a SQL statement or OpenAccess command to update the database.
- Is there a way to determine all the pages a widget is used on? (we have 250 pages, and I don't relish the thought of manually checking/testing each one)
- Is there a safe way to remove all existing instances of a widget? Let's say I have a widget called "Really Bad Idea - CPU hog" that was used on 200 of my pages. Can I pull it without a lot of manual work? I assume this one is challenging as page changes generally need to be 'published'. And I'm not sure how pulling it will affect old page revisions. (Thankfully my widget is more along the lines of "really ugly menu" ;-)
In any case, I appreciate comments to this thread to help the general understanding of long term widget maintenance. Regardless, I'll be updating it as I find out the answers.