The only other convention I really have to compare ComicCon to is BlizzCon, and of course ComicCon is on a completely different scale size-wise. There are some key similarities, though: lines for everything, people who sit and wait through panels to get good seats for the awesome stuff, and day before badge pick-up. With that being said, I will commence my review of the badge pick-up process (uncensored! lol).
We arrived in the city of San Diego a little before 5. Since we had a late start from Las Vegas (it’s what happens when you’re up ’til 3 something in the morning the night before), we decided to go straight to the satellite location to pick up badges and check in afterwards. The Hotel Circle exit already had a huge line of cars from the freeway, so we waited there for a good 20 or 30 minutes. Was already not thrilled. Finally got off the exit; Nikki and I decided to dash out of the car and walk down to the line so Kyle (my fiancé) and Chris (Nikki’s friend but all of ours now!) could find parking. We saw people walking from all over. We dashed the block or so from the freeway exit to the Town & Country Convention Center, following people at first but finding signs that proved much more helpful. Got a spot in line behind the building and groaned, but the line moved impressively fast. The boys caught up with us shortly after.
Waiting outside in the line was not bad at all as the weather was grand and everyone was in good spirits. We overheard some very upbeat conversations and it put all of us in a better, more ComicCon-like mood. It seemed like no time at all before we got inside. This is where it got a little miserable. The first little while inside was not bad since we were by the door and the cool breeze was still slightly present, but the further in we got in line the hotter – and smellier – it got. It was definitely not pleasant. There were also no easily accessible bathrooms that we could find. One plus was they had a concessions cart set up with popcorn, chips, soda, water, pastries and some other goodies. I thought that was considerate as well as a decent way to make money. Nikki and I pretty much regret not buying a Pocket Chair (As Seen on TV) but we managed. We chatted, rocked back and forth, and people-watched. They definitely could have had the A/C turned up or more doors open to let a breeze come through. There was at least comic book music playing which was funny.
After 2 or so hours of that, we were finally ushered across a large hallway, through a tiny hallway which hid the bathrooms (but there was no time to use them), and into a small room with a lot of tables, printers, and people. This was extremely disorganized; people just kind of went wherever. The first row of tables was organized well by one of the staff but the second row was terrible. I ended up being the last one to get my badge because there was no order to it. Getting the badge itself was painless; I am not sure why some people were so much slower to get theirs than others. I had my printed out in a couple of minutes. I picked up a lanyard from a separate person, then was quickly ushered over to the WB bags. Apparently they had let people choose their bags before, but now we got shafted and were given whatever they had. One of the staff even had his bags turned the other way so you couldn’t see the print that was on it. Another staff gave us our con book then we were ushered out into a hallway where we were told we could not stand around but I had to stop and get my things together – I was not about to lose my Drivers’ License or debit card because they rushed us.
Overall, I do think they could have improved several things, such as the A/C in the convention center, perhaps having an easily accessible restroom area, and definitely fixing the chaos once you actually get inside. Have definitive lines for people to stand in, like they do for roller coasters. I would even suggest the area be a tad larger to accommodate for that, or let in less people. For the most part, though, a convention of this caliber is focusing on other parts of the convention (understandably) so it is what it is. It’s not terrible, but bring a book, portable chair, and I would even say a fan. Or cold water. Or whatever it takes to keep cool and sane. And please spray down with Febreeze or something before you come in! (We sure did.)
Chan’s Camera Rating: 6 cameras out of 10 — A little better than average, but still not a great experience.