I survived my first Comic-Con and am living to tell tales. Here are my observations from my experience.
- To get a pass or not to get a pass – After having been too late to the game to purchase my own pass, then miraculously getting one and then only to lose said highly-coveted pass on the FIRST day, I can honestly say that you really don’t need a pass to enjoy the magic that is Comic-Con. Or, at least I didn’t. No, this is not an Aesop’s The Fox and the Grapes fable. I have been lucky enough to venture into both realms, the haves and the have-nots. The truly hard core Comic-Con fans need the pass in order to attend, or at least the chance to attend, the numerous panels and opportunity to purchase exclusive memorabilia. However, the most popular of both of these activities also require immeasurable patience for standing in line! It’s worst than lines at an amusement park! Without the pass, you can still see many of the amazing cosplay characters roaming around. There are also many activations outside of the convention center to partake in. Additionally, the entire Petco Field, normally crowded with baseball fans, and surrounding fields and parking lots had a plethora of activations and displays to entertain those who don’t have passes. (You can read about my two favorite pass-free friendly activations in my previous post, Top 4 Comic-Con Experiences.)
- One day or four days - Obviously, if you can stay all four days, do so. Comic-Con is THAT huge! It literally takes over the entire downtown of San Diego. Restaurants cater to Comic-Con goers by having their servers and staff don superhero and cartoon t-shirts, or costumes, even. Some shows may even take over the entire restaurant with their marketing. (Like my friend’s show, Witches of East End, did at the Tipsy Crow, as I previously posted, Witches of East End Comic-Con Party.) However, if you could only do one day, that day should be Saturday, hands down. It is the most crowded day since everyone is off work. This was the day that I saw the most cosplay.
- Day and night - Comic-Con is not just for the day, there are plenty of activities, namely parties, at night as well. Some shows may not have a booth but instead opt for other ways to engage with their fans. You may be there for fun but this is work for your favorite shows. They are trying to maximize their interactions and engagements with you, their loyal fans, so that you will help they spread the word about the show. Additionally, they are also courting other businesses, especially media, to better promote their brand and ratings. This is best done with parties for networking and engagement purposes. So be sure to check out your favorite show’s website to get on their Comic-Con party guest list.
- Where to stay - I happened to stay on Coronado Island, 2 miles from downtown San Diego, this time. Would I stay here again next time? Honest answer is that it would depend on several factors. a) Transportation, if it’s not an issue, then yes. Otherwise, if I’m trying to save money from having to take cabs this would not be my option. Even if I had a rental car, this probably wouldn’t be my option either because parking would be a big issue. b) Time, if I am only here for one day, definitely NOT a consideration. You would lose most of your precious time figuring out how to get back and forth and then lose your precious time getting back and forth. c) Relaxation, if you need down time and a buffer from the Comic-Con frantic energy, definitely consider staying in Coronado. It offers an escape from Comic-Con participants and madness. That’s not to say that you won’t run into any as there were celebrities, show staff and general admission guests all the way out here.
That pretty much sums up my Comic-Con wisdom from this adventure. I hope it help you with planning your next, or first, Comic-Con experience.