San Diego Comic Con: What to Expect & How to Prepare

Hello friends! It’s mid July and guess what is around the corner…

SAN DIEGO COMIC CON

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If you are reading this article it probably means that you have landed yourself the golden ticket, the elusive San Diego Comic Con badge! So you got lucky and are probably wondering why after all these years of trying you were able to get a badge. Well congratulations, as long as you make sure to set your alarm the morning of preregistration, you are set for life… or hopefully at least a few years.

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A few years back I was able to get badges on my first try. Keep in mind this was BEFORE they figured out how to stop you from getting in the virtual line from various browsers and computers. So I got up two hours before regular registration and had three computers going with two browsers open on each. This was the year everyone was complaining about the email link not working. Yes, my email link did not work either. My solution? Copy and paste the link into the browsers (I was amazed at the amount of people I read about online who just kept retrying the link). Sure enough, about an hour of waiting and then presto – I had our badges! I did not get a Saturday badge but I got one the following year during preregistration. I have yet to get a 4 day badge with preview night but one day I SHALL because surely preview night is the best.

COMIC CON: EXPECTATIONS

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1) Expect tons of people, many lines and LOTS of waiting.

I took that photo as I was in line waiting to get inside the convention center Thursday morning last year.  There will be two different lines to get in. One line is for those without badges and another line for those who already have their badges. My recommendation to anyone going to SDCC with either a 4 day badge or a Thursday badge would be to arrive on Wednesday and do early badge pick up at the Town & Country Hotel. Since everytime I’ve gone I’ve picked up my badge early I have no idea what the line is like to get your badges. The line you see in the photo was maybe five minutes tops. I’m at the end of the line and we entered right under the “C” sign. Once you are in the convention there will be lines for exclusives, autographs, panels, etc.

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2) Expect that Hall H will not be worth it… Most of the time.

Or at least it hasn’t been for me. That picture is the Hall H line from a few years ago. The reality is most of those people in that line have been in it for many, many hours… in the freezing cold all night long.  Last year the line went way beyond that and started to literally wrap around the convention and harbor.  So when I say Hall H is not worth it, I MEAN that it’s not worth it for everyone. Last year when Game of Thrones had a panel I decided I was going to camp out over night. When the reality of camping outside all night long after being on the convention floor all day came, I decided that Game of Thrones was not actually worth it.  The next day I went to the midway point in the line and asked someone how long they had been in line.  She had been in line TWELVE hours waiting for the GoT panel. Yikes. Good thing I hadn’t wasted my night. Instead I had fun in San Diego. I’m sure one day a panel will come along that will make it all worth it OR the stars will align and there will be a shorter line for a less popular panel that I still want to see. Don’t give up on your Hall H dreams because of pessimistic me over here.

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3) Expect scantily clad women cosplayers & the overwhelming scent of B.O.

Let me start off by saying I love cosplay. I myself don’t cosplay but I love seeing all the amazing work people do on their costumes and I really love it when they get fully into character. BUT with cosplay comes lots of nearly naked women. One time while I was in the Ballroom 20 line there was a slave Leia in front of me and the girl just did NOT fit into the nearly-nothing costume and she was really sweaty and kept bending over in front of me. I got grazed by her damp skin too many times and clearly I am still not over it.  I went to a Joss Whedon panel two years ago and he talked about the subject in depth and I thought what he said on it made perfect sense. I’ll save that for another time though. Just because I wouldn’t choose to dress like that in front of hundreds of thousands (and potentially millions via the internet) I don’t judge them for it. Would I prefer it if there weren’t half naked bodies everywhere? Probably, but such is life.

As for the overwhelming smell of body order, be prepared. It’s the weirdest thing. You will be walking along having a nice time on the convention floor and then all of a sudden BAM! You will literally run into a wall of nasty, all-consuming body order. Just move away. Fast. If you don’t, it will grab hold of you like a stick of Secret and follow you everywhere.

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4) Expect so see celebrities… just maybe not the one’s you plan on.

I know, I know. Comic Con is not meant to be a celebrity fish bowl and it’s really NOT for me. That’s not why I go and if they stopped going, I still would. However, there is nothing quite like seeing Alexander Skarsgard in the flesh in all his full glory or hearing Aaron Paul say “Yeah Bitch” live. I’m still sad I didn’t get to go to the GoT panel but I did walk by all the cast. In my picture above I had been moved out of the way by security but I got to see the whole cast about 10 feet away so that was really cool. The first comic con I went to the person I went with actually saw Joss Whedon walking around chatting with people in line at 2 am.  My favorite experience though had to be meeting iJustine. She’s so sweet and is one of my role models!

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COMIC CON: PREPARATION & HELPFUL TIPS

1) My first recommendation would be to look at the complete schedule on the SDCC website and prioritize the panels you want to see and put in your notes the time and location of each. I’ve heard the app is pretty handy as well. Also, take a look at the exclusives and figure out which ones you want (in order) in case they start running out.. which the big ones will.  In fact, chances are vendors snatched them all up on preview night. If you want Hasbro exclusives you should search an article specifically for how to get those because from what I’ve heard it’s been a nightmare.  You have to get a ticket ahead of time and not just show up at the booth. I usually get Entertainment Earth which is usually pretty simple and just consists of standing in a line.

2) Regarding panels, I naively thought that I would be able to bounce around different locations for panels the first year that I went.  Now I usually just pick a day to attend all the panels in one room. Once your in you might as well stay in. Ironically, some of my favorite panels that I’ve ever been to are the ones that I had no idea what they were going to be.

3) If you are staying at a hotel that doesn’t have access to the shuttle, drive over to one that does and park there. Don’t even waste time trying to park at the convention center or downtown. It’s so easy to just find somewhere to park near a shuttle and take that.

4) I definitely recommend picking a day just to walk to floor and not worry about getting into panels or rushing to get exclusives and just to enjoy the show floor! Also, the good news is they have a Starbucks. The line is long (of coarse!) but it’s worth it because at some point you are going to get tired and grumpy like I do.

5) Most of all… HAVE FUN! Comic Con is always so much fun and as much as you plan, often the best times happen with the unexpected. So go enjoy.

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Thanks for reading! I will be posting an article later this week about what I’m looking forward to specifically for San Diego Comic Con 2014.

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