OMG! As prepared as we thought we were to attend our first ComicCon event, we weren’t prepared at all for the sheer magnitude of the conference. The best advice I can give anyone wanting to attend ComicCon is to make sure you plan to go for more than one day. If possible, plan to attend the entire conference. This will also allow you to thoroughly peruse the nearly 200-page Events Guide. Failing that, you need to make sure you check out everything on the conference website the day before you’re scheduled to attend.
Before I go any further, here’s the link on Flickr for the pictures we took.
And for those of you who don’t have a clue what ComicCon is, here’s the link to that site. This is a conference that focuses on the science fiction/fantasy/paranormal genre in the entertainment industry (comic books, movies, TV shows, books, art). To say it is a big conference means little until you actually see it with your own eyes. The conference literally takes over San Diego during its run.
Here are some tips for those tempted to attend:
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet nonstop all day.
- Take water (although there are plenty of places within the exhibit area that sell drinks and snacks).
- Make sure you have an extra large tote bag. The huge bags the conference passed out broke within an hour. They weren’t designed to handle more than five pounds, despite the fact these bags were at least four feet deep and two feet wide.
- Plan your attack in advance and make sure everyone in your party is aware of your agenda. If you’re separated, make sure you’ve got a place to meet up.
- Take a tube for posters.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…
We took our time going to all the exhibit booths and not only got freebies, but also managed to have some very interesting conversations with the vendors. There seemed to be a lot of steampunkers there. Several roamed the conference and were ready at the blink of an eye to put on little shows for you.
Many costumes were abundant throughout the conference and it was difficult to tell who were dressed for the heck of it and who was working. I suspect those who shifted into “posing” mode at the sight of camera were the pros, and they did their job very well as you can see from the photos.
We attended on Friday – Star Wars Day – and weren’t disappointed in the multitude of Star Wars items displayed. A diorama of the Hoth Planet occupied my husband for a while. He photographed every inch of it. Ditto with the display of light sabers “through the ages.”
The only celebrity I met was R2D2. There were so many things to pack into one day that I really didn’t want to spend my time waiting in line for autographs or the scheduled events in the meeting rooms (and those lines were long). And remember that tip about comfortable shoes? Well, the ones I thought would work (the ones that have never failed me) gave out on me. And, silly me, I’d forgotten I had a different pair in the van. Oh well…live and learn.
One caution regarding children... Sometimes you can find yourself in questionable content areas. The kids might not even notice since there's so much to see. It's also very crowded (Sat being the busiest day). But Sun is Kids' Day. Still crowded but geared toward the children.
We took all the goodies we got and split them into different bags (we received several different small tote bags). After taking what we’d gotten for ourselves, the remainder was divided to give to our two young grandsons and our oldest son (their dad). There wasn’t one toy in any of it, but when those three got those bags, you would have thought they’d gotten gold. It looked like Christmas in our house with stuff scattered all over the living room.
I’m already planning for next year, if we decide to go again. I’m dissecting this year’s guide so I have my game plan ready. Maybe we’ll even be able to get the whole family there. It’d be fun to watch the excitement on the faces of grandsons and son as they experience it firsthand.
Where We Stayed In San Diego:
Hotels sell out fast in the downtown area near the Convention Center. When I say fast I mean they sell out by February. We were fortunate to find a Holiday Inn Express on the northeast end of Mission Bay that was less than fifteen miles from the Convention Center. Our accommodations were nice and the staff very courteous and helpful. Holiday Inn offers free breakfast as well – coffee, tea, juice, milk, cereal, fruit, pastry, eggs/omelets, and bacon/sausage. They served a French roast coffee I really enjoyed.
Despite the free breakfast (fresh coffee was definitely appreciated) we wanted to make sure we really fueled up for the day. We knew a hearty breakfast would see us through until dinner. We found a really good restaurant on Garnet Street called The Broken Yolk. They serve huge breakfasts at reasonable prices. They are only opened for breakfast and lunch. For dinner we splurged at World Famous on Pacific Beach Blvd. This seafood restaurant was right on the beach. We had a window seat to the Pacific Ocean where we watched dolphins dip through the water right behind a line of surfers. Dinner was a little pricey, but it was sooooo worth it! Valet parking – save yourself the hassle and let them find a place to park your vehicle.
I’ll end with saying that San Diego has always been one of my favorite cities. Having ComicCon there just gives me another reason to visit.