I think it's pretty clear that your development environment and mine differ pretty widely -- which is why you can go from a development build to a release in a couple of hours, and I cannot.
At my previous job, I was the only web developer. I was also the only 24/7 support person, and the only internal support persion. I also got the opportunity to bounce ideas off the CTO, and have him bounce ideas off me. My test persion was actually working full-time on Production and I had to schedule a few hours for her to get time to test a build (development sometimes -- milestone and release always).
But I also strongly believe that it's important for software to released as a 'slightly used' version, rather than something fresh and hot from the repository and the QA department. That may be a result of the staffing available to me, but it makes more sense to me to bang around a release for a few days, and then say, "Well, no show-stoppers in the last few days -- let's release!"