A week ago, I was attending day one of Dragon Con. Take me back!!! Since it ended, I’ve spent the week battling the infamous Con Crud and wishing I was at Dragon Con still, instead of back in the real world.
This was my first year attending Dragon Con, and it is unlike any other convention I’ve been to, in that it truly is for the fans. That, and the cosplay was out of this world! At times Dragon Con felt similar in size to San Diego Comic-Con, with over 80,000 people in attendance. The vibe, however, was completely different. Dragon Con is spread throughout downtown Atlanta in a few GORGEOUS hotels for panels, and AmericasMart for the vendors.
Unlike San Diego Comic-Con, attendees can’t camp out in panels all day to see the select few big ones. The panel rooms clear between every panel at Dragon Con and I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. It was nice not having to wake up at the crack of dawn every day to get in line at 5am just to see a panel you’re interested in at 4pm, wasting the whole day.
My only critique, for future years, is there needs to be more consistency between volunteers on when exactly people can line up before a panel and how to handle that.
For example, on Saturday at the Hyatt a group of friends and I were told that we could line up either 90 minutes prior to the panel, or as soon as the panel prior to ours let people in the room. Then, on Sunday at the Westin, we were told they didn’t “do things like the Hyatt” and we could only line up 60 minutes prior. There shouldn’t be inconsistencies in the rules at the same convention just because a panel is in a different hotel. It leads to unnecessary confusion.
One thing I loved about Dragon Con was how in keeping the “fan theme” going, they had numerous fan panels spread throughout the weekend. Whether or not there were any celebrity guests from the show, there was a separate panel for the fans to get together with other fans and moderators to discuss their thoughts on the show. It was an amazing way to meet other fans of shows you were into and make new friends!
Overall, the traffic flow of Dragon Con was very manageable due to the convention being laid out in different hotels. It never felt like you were about to be trampled in the vendor area, like I have felt many times at San Diego Comic-Con. And I walked out of the weekend with a huge group of new friends and many, many amazing memories!
I would definitely recommend Dragon Con to anyone on the East Coast or who is looking for a different experience from San Diego Comic-Con, but on a similar scale.