***Apologies in advance for the wordy post!***
For those of you that are currently following my blog, you know that I traveled to San Diego a few weeks ago for their annual Comic Con. This was my 7th year in attendance, and I decided to finally make some changes to my usual Con routine. With the exception of the first year, my itinerary has included Preview Night, which occurs on Wednesday, before SDCC starts for the general public the following day. This gives collectors and anyone else interested a chance to check out the exhibit hall to get a first look at the booths and exclusive items being offered that year. Regardless of what your level is with collecting, Preview Night is a golden opportunity to get whatever you want in advance. Of course, that’s if you can get in for it. Much of the group that I’ve gone to SDCC with has been fortunate enough to get that day during registration, myself included.
One part of Comic Con that I’ve always taken part in was watching panels. It was much easier back then to simply get in line early morning of the day you wanted to watch them, but it has changed drastically since then. One of the popular panel venues, Hall H, recently started a wristband system last year in order for attendees to secure a spot inside the area for the panel day they wanted if they received one. The wristbands are allotted by color and letter to determine 1) your place in the line to get into the hall, and 2) how good your chances are that you will get in for the first panel of the day, which would depend on the color/letter of the wristband received. This year, friends of mine that were interested in Hall H had the option of either staying in line overnight after getting their wristbands, or coming back in the line before a designated time frame the next morning before the hall opened. Of course, you needed to have at least a few people in that line in order to secure your spot. This is where team work comes in, even more so if you happen to have a small group that wants to watch panels. I decided to avoid them altogether this year since I’ve done everything involved in the panel process for several years straight.
My goal for this year was to check out more off site events. As Comic Con got closer, I listed at least 2 that I’d be interested in attending each day. Most of them were free, although there were a few paid ones I had in mind just in case. Here’s how this year’s SDCC panned out for me with those changes.
Day 0 – Preview Night
Despite a delayed flight on Tuesday, my friend and I were still able to get into San Diego late afternoon/early evening and get together with other members of our group for a pre-SDCC meeting. Here we discussed what our plans were for Preview Night, and if we needed to collaborate to help others with certain exclusives. A few of them were at the Convention Center around 5:00 am to secure a place in line. Yep, that’s how we roll! I met up with them before 7, then went back and forth to my hotel room and other places throughout the day while others in our group joined us. Mind you this was the first of several occasions my group and I lined up during the event. Once we were upstairs and got our badges at registration, it was off to another line to get into the exhibit hall for Preview Night.
Once we were settled in our positions, we waited a few more hours before the exhibit hall opened. This was a 12+ hour day of waiting and buying things for a few of us. For anyone who happens to be a newcomer to SDCC and also happens to be attending Preview Night, here are a few things you should remember:
1. Make a list of the items you want to buy.
2. Know the booth numbers of the vendors selling said items, and use the exhibit hall map from the CCI website or the map from the event guide given to you after receiving your badge to get an idea of where you need to go first.
3. Have your funds ready! If you plan to use a credit/debit card, it’s best to alert your banks prior to SDCC so that you don’t get any decline errors when charging for several transactions. Otherwise play it safe and bring cash for everything, if not a few things.
4. If for any reason others not attending SDCC request for you to purchase items for them, Preview Night or throughout the remainder of Con, have them either give you the funds in advance or forward them to you via PayPal or VenMo to help save yourselves some time. If any item you pick up happens to be large/heavy, don’t hesitate to ask that they add a little extra, especially if you plan to ship everything back home. It’s very likely that they won’t mind since you’re putting in effort to help them aside from yourself.
I managed to acquire a few items that I had my eye on, which allowed me to focus more on other things the following day.
Once my full day of lining up and waiting came to a close, the friends I was rooming with for the weekend and I had a late dinner, then transported ourselves along with Preview Night purchases in tow to our hotel. Lucky for them, they got to sleep in the room that night while I took a shower, changed, and got picked up by another friend to head back to the Convention Center. Yep, more lining up! I got there before 3am the next morning. Such is my Con life. You can add the hashtag #LineCon to the start of my list of other things SDCC is known as from my perspective.
This is basically how my group and I prepare ourselves for the Con madness. Trust me when I say it does get better from here, as you shall see in Part 2.