Here comes Wondercon! It starts tomorrow! Are you ready? Violet has broken down some tips and tricks to survive the weekend if it is your first time. From remembering your confirmation email to parking strategies, you will find some valuable information here! Check it out after the jump!
Wondercon, which takes place at the Anaheim Convention Center, is this weekend, Friday, March 29 through Sunday, March 31! Are you ready?
1. Buy your badges now if you haven’t already done so. Not sure why you waited so long, considering that 3-Day badges and Saturday badges are already sold out, and it’s possible that Friday and Sunday badges may sell out ahead of time as well. But if you haven’t bought them yet, save yourself some time and heartache, and buy them online right now. Besides, it costs less to buy them online than on site anyway.
2. Remember to print out your confirmation email, and bring it with you when you pick up your badge! Make sure you have the barcode, because they will need to scan it. They CANNOT scan the barcode from your smart phone or tablet. For some email programs, it will print out onto two pages, so make sure you bring both pages.
3. Know where to park. If you went to Wondercon last year, you’ll know how much of a nightmare parking was. That’s because there were at least two other events going on in at the convention center in addition to Wondercon, which led to on-site parking filling up very early. However, this year it looks like Wondercon is the only event at the convention center (according to the calendar on the convention center’s website), so parking will probably go a little more smoothly this year. If on site parking, which is $12, does fill up (or if you’re a Disneyland Annual Pass holder with free parking and want to save money), you can park at the Disneyland Toy Story Lot located at Harbor Blvd and Convention Way, just South of Katella Ave. You may access a map of the Anaheim Convention Center parking here: http://www.comic-con.org/sites/default/files/forms/wca2013_acc_parkingmap.pdf
A third option if those lots are full is the parking garage at Gardenwalk, located on Disney Way, just off of Harbor Blvd. Try to park as close to Katella as possible so that you can minimize your walk to the convention center.
4. Make a plan. Then make a Plan B. Considering the sell out crowds this year, it is entirely possible that you may not make it into your first choice of panels. Just in case, you should always have a back up plan.
5. Get there early. This is how to make sure that you do get into your first choice of panels. Be aware that they do not clear out rooms between panels, and many people sit through panels that they do not care about just so that they can ensure that they make it into the panel that they do care about. The question then becomes, how early should I get in line? That depends, and there is no clear answer. Last year at Wondercon, we went only on Saturday. The room setup was a little different last year, and the main room was the Ballroom on the 3rd floor, which held about 3,800 people, while this year the main room is the Arena, which can hold about 8,700 people. Last year we got in line for the Ballroom an hour before the first panel started, and our group of four was able to get seats together in the middle section about 12 rows back. I’m not saying that if you get in line an hour early this year you’re guaranteed that great of a seat, especially not on Saturday, since it’s sold out. Last year Wondercon was not sold out on any day, nor did the 3-day badges sell out. We would recommend getting in line 2 hours early this year. But we still cannot guarantee that will get you into your panel of choice, it’s up to your own discretion how much time you want to spend in line to make sure you get to see that panel.
Also note that on Saturday, there is a 5K in the area of Angel Stadium that starts at 7:00am. Although the route of the run does not cross paths in the immediate area of the convention center, if you’re planning on taking CA-57 to get to the convention center, it looks like you might not be able to take the Katella exit. If you’re planning on exiting at Katella from I-5, it looks like that exit should be open. However, traffic around the convention center may get congested due to the road closures in the vicinity, so plan accordingly and give yourself even more extra time that day.
6. Bring your own snacks and drinks. Not only is convention center food expensive (I think it was $10 for a personal pizza and $4 for a soda last year), but you might get stuck in back-to-back panels all day and not have time to go out and buy any food. The convention center staff doesn’t check your bags, so they don’t care, or at least won’t know, how much food you bring in. We just went out and bought apples, bananas, peanuts, almonds, wheat thins, granola bars, and Gatorade today in preparation for this weekend. We’ll also be making some peanut butter sandwiches. No overpriced convention food for us this year!
7. Have fun! We know it can be stressful at times attending a crowded convention, but remember why you’re there — to have fun! Even if you don’t get into your first choice panel, there’s always something going on at Wondercon, with a wide variety of panels to choose from, and you can always explore the Exhibit Hall.