Comic Con 2009 has been cited for an attendance of at least 125,000—probably more. Once again, now in 2010 this event has sold out well ahead of time. But, if you’re into costuming, comics, media entertainment, collecting (everything under the sun), this is one event you’ve probably planned your whole year around and bought your tickets early. So, now what?
Crowds! Get ready for a mass of human bodies. You will, at some point, be cursing the laws that keep you from using a cattle prod while you’re there. As Kevin Taylor, a long time participant of Comic Con put it:
Bring a lot of patience, and most important: even though it should be justified to choke the crap out of the 30th person with a backpack that pushes into you in less than 30 minutes, it still ain’t legal.
If you want to get around while you’re there, move around the dealer’s room, literally. Eyeball where you want to get to, step outside the dealer’s room and head in that direction before you jump back into the fray. Getting across the dealer’s room; that’s where that “patience” thing comes in to play.
Dennis Hanon, who has been attending Comic Con for over a decade as a pro, recommends these tips:
- Carry a bottle, canteen or cup. These can be worked into most costumes; Dennis wears a hydration pack under his, hiding the drinking tube as part of his Klingon uniform. Remember, this event takes place in late July here in sunny San Diego and it’s going to be hot.
- If you go in costume, make certain to sit down and rest at least once an hour. Look for areas with lots of air circulation less frequented than most, such as minor program rooms or up at the sails where they have blowers. Don’t count on the air conditioning to save you; there are thousands of bodies in there throwing off heat.
- Go over your program well ahead of time and mark the shows you want to see. Remember to take into account the lines will be longer and the wait will be longer for the bigger shows and star appearances.
- It’s easier to pack your own food, and this works well if you’ve managed to park in the convention center lot. Anything you can nosh on that doesn’t require refrigeration will work, and this way you avoid fighting the crowds looking for affordable eateries outside the convention center, and it’s a lot cheaper than the pricey convenience food inside.
If you’ve booked a hotel room nearby, then you’ve covered a lot of the above tips. Use that room for more than a place to change or have a party; use it as your oasis from the heat, crowds and fatigued feet. Most important; valet.
For the rest who can’t book a room and are driving in, plan to get up early. The convention center lot last year was full between six and seven in the morning after opening at five. If you can’t get into that lot, there are many lots open in the downtown area. Keep your eyes peeled as some businesses open their private lots up for parking. They all come with a fee, so bring money. Catch a pedicab, that way you’ll save that energy you would have spent walking on important things, like searching out that perfect action figure to complete your collection.
For the first time, Comic Con is offering pre-paid parking permits. Thursday 7/22, Friday 7/23 and Saturday 7/24 are sold out as of this writing 6/18. Please see this related article:
Comic Con pre-paid parking permits.
If you are planning on treasure hunting, try to do so when you are not in costume. Walking around Comic Con in a good costume is a slow, laborious process in which you take one or two steps before you are stopped for a photo shoot, then one or two steps more before it happens again. For some people, this is the whole point of Comic Con, but if you’re also a collector, you’ll want to move more freely.
Remember, Comic Con is a big, hairy event—but perfectly survivable and thrillingly enjoyable if you just know a few of the above short-cuts.
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