Ace Comic Con took place in Glendale, Arizona at the Gila River Arena January 13-15, 2018. Ace Comic Con had recently held its first event in Long Island, New York in December 2017 featuring many big name DC movie stars. The Arizona event, on the other hand, boasted big name Marvel movie stars, such as Stan Lee, Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, and Tom Holland. Follow along as we tell you about our experience!
Our journey to Arizona began Friday afternoon at 3pm. Violet and I figured getting started earlier than 5pm would make the journey to Arizona a little easier, hoping to beat rush-hour traffic. Apparently we were wrong. Sadly, the traffic at 3pm leaving Orange County to the Inland Empire was pretty bad. So bad was the traffic that we really didn’t get much room to breathe until a couple hours into the trip. We managed to get to the area around 10:30pm (9:30pm PST), so the total hours on the road was about 6.5. I guess all in all, not that bad of a time driving all the way to Phoenix, Arizona, but it felt like it took forever.
Dinner at Cracker Barrel Was Not a Good Idea
Once in the area, Violet and I decided to stop off at Cracker Barrel. For those unfamiliar, Cracker Barrel is a Southern themed restaurant, with various wholesome foods, like fried chicken, country fried streak, catfish, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, etc. It has a very “old timey” feel to it, and we usually stop there on our trips out to Arizona, which we have at least once a year for the past few years.
Unfortunately, this proved to be a mistake. We reached our hotel and settled in for the night, figuring we would have a good night’s rest given we didn’t have to be up until late morning on Saturday.
Violet’s stomach though, had other plans. She woke up pretty early Saturday and wound up vomiting several times. Being a light sleeper, I woke up too, so we both didn’t get as much sleep as we thought we were going to get. Our only guess for Violet’s brief illness was the catfish she had at Cracker Barrel. That was the only food Violet and I didn’t have the same thing of (I despise any seafood).
Luckily by late morning Violet was feeling better, and we had the hotel breakfast (which turned out to be waffles and cinnamon rolls). Once we finished our breakfast, we went ahead and took another nap since we did not get a good night’s sleep.
Ace Comic Con Finally Begins
At about 10am, we made our way to Gila River Arena in Glendale, which was about 15 minutes away from our hotel. While events didn’t actually start till 12:30pm, we wanted to arrive early to ensure we didn’t encounter any issues. Also, for those unfamiliar with the Gila River Arena, it is a hockey arena, where the NHL’s Coyotes play.
Getting Into Some Trouble
After parking ($5), Violet and I made our way around the building to Gate 3, where Press checked in. On our way around, we walked by the VIP line, which was a fairly long line—longer than the General Admission line looked, which seemed odd, given the “VIP” status. But they did have an earlier check-in and entry time than GA, so that may explain it.
After going through bag check and the metal detector at Gate 3, since we were early, there seemed to be some confusion on how to handle Press. But we got our wristband. We made our way into the arena, and it seemed exhibitors were still setting up. When we had made our way about ¾ of the way around the mid level, Violet and I were approached by some of the staff, who informed us we shouldn’t be on the floor yet. She escorted us back to Gate 3, and we sat down in the corner for a while.
While sitting there Violet was going through Twitter, and we saw the craziness going down in Hawaii about the warning of missiles in coming. That was pretty scary to read about. We were pretty distracted by that for a while, until we saw the issue was a false alarm.
Things Seemed Delayed?
At 11:30am, Violet and I decided to look around again, as that was the official time for Press and General Admission to be allowed in. Strangely, General Admission had not been allowed in still. We tried to go find some seats on the lower level, where there was a sign for “Main Stage Seating” but we were stopped and told we couldn’t sit there. I guess it was reserved for VIPs only. We also checked into seeing if we could go upstairs to the area where General Admission would see the panels, but the usher there said it would not be opened until noon. So Violet and I milled about until noon, when we were finally allowed up. Strangely, General Admission had still not been let into the building. (Note: According to Legion of Sand, General Admission was not let in until 12:04pm.)
We made our way to the upper level sitting in the arena, which was basically completely empty, since General Admission had not been allowed in yet. The VIP sections down below were full though, as they waited for the Captain America panel to start. We took our seats in the front row of the balcony. People finally started trickling in for the General Admission seats, and by the time the panel was about to start at 12:30pm, the seating was mostly full.
Click here for our recap and photos of the Captain America panel featuring Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, and Anthony Mackie!