Closing in on WonderCon 2013/15 tips for the weekend

Sorry for the short hiatus on posts for those of you following me, but I am in college and my school work comes first! Just got done with Midterms in time to prepare for WonderCon 2013!!

WonderCon 2012 was the first time I attended a WonderCon event, and I loved it!
WonderCon, held in Anaheim, CA, is a part of CCI, (Comic Con International), which also owns SDCC (San Diego Comic Con) and ApeCon in San Francisco.
[I have not been to ApeCon (yet)].
So, WonderCon is pretty much a scaled size of SDCC, and for those who have not been to SDCC, here is a comparison in number of attendees: SDCC usually hosts 120-140 thousand guests, while WonderCon has just reached about 50,000 guests last year. So it is about 1/3 the size, but still growing!

WonderCon tries to stick to the Comic Book Convention roots by focusing on comic books more than pop culture & media; but, as SDCC grew out of the Comic Book shell, so is WonderCon.
WonderCon has panels throughout the whole weekend, from opening to close. They also have a lot of similar events as SDCC, just in a smaller scale. As far as the guest list goes, we probably won’t be seeing Robert Downey Jr. in an Iron Man Suit, but notable guests like Ray Park (Darth Maul, Toad, GI Joe) Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) Jim Lee (DC Comics) Guillermo Del Torro (Pacific Rim, HellBoy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Hobbit) Lilly Collins (The Blind Side) Lou Ferrigno (Original Hulk TV Series) Larry Thomas (The Soup Nazi in Seinfeld) and more are scheduled to appear for WonderCon 2013!
From WonderCon 2012, I had the privilege of meeting Ray Park, Peter Mayhew, Lou Ferrigno, Sara Underwood (Former Playboy model, Former co-host of G4 tv’s Attack of the Show) and The Amazing Race Contestants Kynt & Vyxin. Many, or should I say, the majority of guests charge for autographs and photos, but you have to consider they are retired and still need some sort of income!
Autographs range from $10 to as many as you want, to $20 each autographed item, even upwards of $50. Some, like when I met Sara Underwood, gave free autographs and photos becasue she was a part of the G4 booth… now that G4 canceled AOTS, who knows if we will see any of the cast members again! 😦

The great thing about conventions, especially WonderCon, is the abundance of vendors! A good portion of the convention floor is designated to vendors, then a part for Artists (Artist Alley), an Autograph area, and various locations for people like G4 or Sony, to the 501st Legion and Trekkies, etc.
Artist’s Alley is a place for all artists, writers, and up-&-coming Comic Book Creators, selling their work to hopefully one day get fame and fortune! All kinds of artists and styles are present, it is sure you will find at least one thing you like.

The autograph or special guest area is where the guests I named above hangout at their own tables, but it’s not a surprise to see them get back with old friends and wander the floors!

And the vendors; everyone from Bongo Comics, DC Entertainment, Dark Horse, eFX, Kotobukiya, and smaller, private vendors line the exhibit halls to sell and promote their newest collectibles! Other smaller vendors may have local comic book shops, or private sellers selling you their collections or inventory of stashed geekdom!

Across the 3-day weekend, outside the convention area are also offers and events; I have not read up on many of these yet, but know that Disneyland, DownTown Disney, Movie Theatres, and a few restaurants offer discounts with your visible attendance badge.
You never know what you will find!

Here are a few tips for the Con:

1)Dress light. Even if it is cold and rainy outside, do not bundle up with layers! The show floor gets crowded and hot! One less sweaty body will be great! With that being said, wear comfortable shoes! Walking shoes would be best, as the whole day will be walking and standing! From lines, to panels, to just walking around the floor, you are always on your feet!

2) Pack water and snacks! Food in the convention is always expensive; I recommend a hearty breakfast, or something to hold you for a few hours, leave the convention for lunch at a local eatery, and the same with dinner. But with all the walking and excitement, you will get hungry or want something to munch on and a drink; pack granola bars, nuts, fruits, and plenty of water!

3) Bring a backpack! Where do you think you will be storing all your food?
What about all the comics, toys, and collectibles? Sure, some things might be too big, but ask vendors to hold items for you until the end of the day. Kotobukiya last year held items for 3 hour periods until you returned, guaranteeing you that item. But for others, it will be a pain to have a dozen small bags. You might end up with one or two extra large bags, but condense your purchases and make a stop to your hotel room to drop things off. Also consider bringing a poster tube(s) if you collect posters or artwork to safely store and carry your items.

4) Refresh yourself! Whether it be using the bathroom, returning to the hotel room, or getting a breath of fresh air, you need rest! The convention will be all day and for three days! Just make sure you don’t miss any panels!

5) I mentioned Rest in #4….so get some sleep! The night before the first day, get plenty of rest; although there might be events at night after the convention, plan accordingly to get plenty of sleep! You do not always have to rush in when the doors open for WonderCon; there are not 3 hour lines unless waiting for a panel or special guest. Plan Accordingly!

6) Bring Cash!!! (and ATM cards!!) Many vendors charge a fee for credit cards, so have plenty of cash, or plenty in your ATM account! Those fees might not seem like much at first, but they sure will add up! Cash also lets you barter more and better negotiate prices.

7) Splurge yourself! Whether you attend one Con or multiple a year, just think: There is only one (1) WonderCon per year! Live a little and think of it as Christmas in Spring!

8) Cameras! Charge and bring plenty of memory! For those of you planning on bringing cameras, charge them and recharge them! You’d be surprised how fast they die, snapping photos all day and leaving it on for hours at a time! And for those who take a thousand photos to edit later, (like myself) bring plenty of gigabytes. Even plan on bringing separate ones for videos, photos, or certain events/characters.

9) Cell Phones! Charge those as well! You will constantly be snapping photos, using the internet, texting, and using Social Media during the weekend.

10) Twitter! Facebook! For those of you on Twitter and Facebook, check in on the people, places, and events all day! Set notifications to alert you when a new post is generated, because you never know what you will find, who you will see, or what you could win! Many many vendors like to have contests during the Convention times and you have to rush before all the other Geeks and Nerds get there!

11) Set a schedule! Just as I said to plan accordingly for resting, you must plan and set your times for any panels/events you want to attend! For the panels during the convention you think will be popular, stop by a few hours early and every so often to check the line to get in; only a limited number of seats are available! And check with the special guests & autograph areas, some of the guests are only there at certain times, or could leave unexpectedly!

12) Do your research! For those of you new to collecting, or even current collectors, do research on your interests! I am a huge Star Wars FanBoy and collector; so I am always online checking prices of toys, statues, novelties, and other collectibles to know how to compare them at the Conventions. Some vendors use this as an opportunity to cheat and make a quick buck, instead of being a true provider to the Collector Community! Stock up on research to at least have an idea of how much an item should be, or even how rare/valuable an item is! Even if it is not about the money, or for resale, would you really want to be cheated?

13) Have a map. Not good at finding your way around or forgetting where a certain vendor or artist was? Print the map off of WonderCon’s website to navigate your way through the Convention Floor!

14) Explore the area! The great thing about Conventions is having the opportunity to visit and explore the surrounding city! Especially out of towner’s, this is a great chance to see the sights! Take a break and walk Down Town Disney; visit a pier, smell the ocean breeze! Visit local comic shops or shops that suit your interests! Meet new people and always ask around, you are bound to run into locals who know the area and can direct you to a hot spot.

15) Business Cards? Business Cards! I have not done this yet, but believe it is time for me to really get my word out there! Business Cards seemed like an odd tip for me when I attended SDCC2011, my very first Comic Con; but it makes sense; you will not always have time to write down or punch in phone numbers, Twitter Handles, Websites, etc. Business Cards a simple and fast way to share contact information! Pull out a card, hand it to someone, and instant possible friend!

 

Hope you all have enjoyed the read and find my tips useful! This is the first time I have created a tips-list for a convention, by taking into account my experiences as well as others.

If anyone has any questions, concerns, or discussions, please feel completely free to contact me over twitter @Jahilianaire or emailing me at Earth2Geek@gmail.com

Hope to see you at the convention!