SDCC 2011: The Adventures of a Comic-Con N00b – Weds Night

I’ve known about the San Diego Comic-Con for years, but I’m not into comics so I never paid attention. Then one year I got an email (probably from Whedonopolis) talking about the awesome “Once More With Feeling” sing-a-long. That reason alone made it worth it to me to go. However, it’s been years since I received that email. The first time I wanted to go I saw the price and shied away. I thought it costed WAY too much. (I’m a n00b remember?)

Then came the year David Tenant came to SDCC (2009). I had missed seeing Buffy sing-a-longs AND The Doctor! After cringing over all the cool stuff I had missed, I was determined to go. Last year it sold out super-fast and I didn’t have the money, but this year it sold out even faster! I started moping some time in December about not getting to go this year. Until I was told by the kind folks here about the re-sale. 

That last hour, waiting to hit the refresh button until I got into the virtual waiting room, was torturous. But it was easy to get in and I got my email confirmation within 10 minutes. Next challenge: hotel arrangements. 

Even a n00b knows that EVERYWHERE is sold out. I lucked out in this department and got the last space as a roommate in a friend’s room. I’m gonna go ahead and say this is amazing-crazy luck and that you should arrange your accomodations well in advance. 

From the moment I received my confirmation I started asking people what to expect and the best way to go about things. Mostly because I’m a bit neurotic, but also because I don’t want to waste my time in once place while missing out on something awesome in another. 

What was the advice I’ve received? 1) Get a back-pack that’s comfortable and has lots of pockets to stash things. 2) Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking ALL DAY. 3) Visit the small rooms, not just the big stuff. 4) Bringing a collapsible chair isn’t a bad idea. 5) Bring lots of cash. 6) Bring water. and 7) Savor every moment. There was more, but these are the things I heard most often.

Next I had to make a choice. Costume or not? I eventually chose not to because I didn’t have time to put together something cool. But also I figure it will be hard enough navigating my way to the rooms and trying not to get crushed in the crowd, let alone having to try not to trip over a gown or remove fangs before eating. 

Now here’s where my neuroses come in handy. I’ve plotted out (as far as you can in a place you’ve never actually been) how I’ll be getting everywhere. I know the shuttles as well as alternate bus routes, I have maps, I know which panels I want to attend and where they are…  I’ve planned where and when I’ll be almost every minute. Which actually has served me well so far. Despite my dismal joke of a sense of direction, I was able to navigate my way to the satellite location where they were doing early registration and got my badge shortly before it closed. This means I will be going straight to the line to enter tomorrow morning instead of going through a massive line to register and then joining a massive line to enter. 

Now I must mention, as I do believe I would be remiss not to, that the registration line was terrifying. No dramatization. I, and others in line near me who had waited 30 minutes to get inside the building, gasped and “whoa”ed and “oh my god”ed. And despite the line flowing fairly quickly, it was so massive that it still took another hour and a half to get through it. Just in case you’re still missing how massive it was, there was a refreshment area, buffet style, with food and drinks you could purchase and rows of chairs beside the line. On the other side of the room, there were people sitting against the wall, typing on their laptops, watching shows/movies, charging their phones, and sometimes just taking a load off. There was also plenty of book reading. 

And now I’m sitting in my hotel room, my roommates away at Preview Night (which was unavailable in the resale), about to get some sleep before taking on the biggest and most awesome con in the world.

* I know there are Comic-Cons in other regions, but let’s face it, San Diego’s is the biggest and the one everyone assumes you’re talking about.
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Post Author: Chelsea Banks

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