San Diego Comic-Con, the grand-daddy of comic conventions, is less than three months away, which means one of two things: 1) You’re on track to the best frakkin week of your year, or 2). You’re frakked. Sorry to put so bluntly, but a butt-load of preparation and work goes into Comic-Con. Here at Con Guy, we put together a Survival Guide: The 10 Things You Need To Know To Save Your @$$. Watch the show here (you’ll laugh, we promise). Also, you can read the complete article after the video. [Note: Special thanks to the artist of the Supernatural art: You can find it here.]
SURVIVORS GUIDE: 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO SAVE YOUR @$$
- ACE Parking manages most major parking lots in downtown San Diego, all within walking (or ricksha) distance to the Convention Center. The lottery for Ace Parking begins Apr. 25. They will respond to all entries by Apr. 27. To register for the lottery, send an email to email@example.com.
- There are a number of parking lots dotting the downtown landscape that will take drive-ups. You can expect to pay about $20-$25/day.
- Uber: Our friends over the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog have a cool offer: Use the code SDCCUBLOG for $20 off your first Uber ride at the Con.
- Hop the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner into town, then use the local Metrolink to get around.
HOTELS/SLEEPING: Hotelpocalypse 2016 (the Hotel Sale) has come and gone. All downtown hotels are taken, but there are plenty of rooms outside of downtown, such as Mission Valley, Coronado, and up north of the city. Even thought the hotel sale is done, many of the rooms will be released a little later, so be paying attention to the Comic Con Hotel Room site.
- Friends of Comic-Con: This is a great site to discuss every aspect of our Con-going experience, but it’s especially helpful to find rooms. They have room swaps. Join the site and enjoy.
- Hotel sites: The old standbys are still good. We’ve used them the past few years, and never been let down. Hotels.com, Trivago.com, Expedia.com. They all have plenty of rooms available right now — even some downtown if you want to pay out the wazoo.
- Airbnb: Rent out someone’s apartment or home during your Comic-con week. Many locals are more-than-happy to rent out their places. Buyer beware, though. Airbnb has gotten a bad rap in some instances, but it’s usually an awesome deal with some awesome locations.
- Campout: We’ll talk about this more later on No. 7, but just know: camping out in line for either Hall-H or Ballroom 20 is always an option.
PLAN YOUR DAY: Grab the Program Guide and circle your choices of panels, signings, and events, because Comic-con is not a lazy-man’s game. Wandering around is fun, but if you want to make sure you get the most out of your Con, have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C for each day, each hour.
- The Program Guide will be released approximately 2 weeks prior to the Con online.
- Anticipate the more popular panels — you can always determine which panels will suck up more of your day. Use the Comic Con App to help you see which panels have the most interest. You can program in your schedule and see how many guests are planning to attend the same panel. Avoid the panels that are super over-packed. Don’t waste your time.
- Follow your favorite Twitter sites (including OURS). We’ll keep you up-to-date on what’s happening during the con.
- Our advice: Seek out Exclusive and Collectibles on the first day, do panels on Friday and Saturday, and hit the floor for the sales on Sunday.
EATING: The food at the Convention Center is expensive and soaked in grease. Feel free to clog your arteries and empty your wallets. OR, pack some healthy snacks, bring water, and plan for meals outside the convention center. Check out these two Downtown San Diego Restaurant Guides:
KEEP YOUR PHONE/IPAD CHARGED: If you’re phone dies, you’re screwed. Why? Because that’s how you keep up with your group-members. That’s how you follow the twitter feeds that keep you informed of the up-to-date changes. That’s how you sign up for special parties and events. That’s how you take the photos of all the awesome Cosplay. Here are some tips:
- Bring portable battery chargers. You’ll need them.
- Know where the wall sockets are located. They’re popular.
- Charge-up in one of the many Charging Lounges located outside the convention center in many of the offsites. Some are actually located on the floor.
- Use FUEL ROD. Their located at the Convention Center. Go to their site and read up. These are life-savers.KNOW ABOUT WATING IN LINES. Half (or more) of your weekend will be spent in line. Don’t complain — it’s just how it is. Learn now to do it right.
- RFID Badges: Each convention-goer will have a radio chip in their badge. You MUST MUST MUST tap-in and tap-out where-ever the RFID badge scanners are located. Don’t forget this. If you forget to tap-out, your badge might be flagged and you’ll be sent back to the help desk, wasting valuable time. They first used these badges at WonderCon. Expect some delays on registration, and then some problems on Thursday. After that, things should be figured out, but whatever you do: TAP-IN and TAP-OUT.
- DON’T BREAK IN LINE. There’s no surer way to piss off everyone around you than to cut in line in front of them. Sure, you can save space for a few friends, but BE NICE and BE CONSIDERATE. Don’t pull a dozen friends in line in front of everyone else behind you who’ve also been waiting for hours.
- Become friends with those around you. Lines are the best spots for meeting new friends. It’s actually “a thing” at Comic-Con. Meet. Exchange emails. Repeat.
- Bring podcasts/books to pass the time.HALL-H/BALLROOM 20: It’s a rite of passage: waiting in the Hall-H line; getting into Hall-H and seeing stuff that blows your mind. And then realizing that waiting in line for Hall-H has taken up your entire weekend. Hall-H holds a little over 6,500 crazy fans. Ballroom 20 a little less. Both rooms, though, will ALWAYS have lines snaking outside. Both rooms have become magnets for overnight campers. Here are things to consider:
- Get a wrist-band for the Hall-H panel. These are normally distributed at night. If you get one, you’re guaranteed entrance into Hall-H as long as you return by a certain time in the morning (somewhere between 7 and 8). Someone from your party needs to keep you place in line, though. Good luck.
- No tents allowed, but you can bring a blanket/sleeping bag and a pillow. Bring snacks, games, and other things to pass the time with your “Hall-H community.” Many people consider camping out for Hall-H to be one of the best experiences of the Con….more power to ya.
- Expect surprises. Usually, Hall-H and Ballroom 20 campers can expect middle-of-the-night surprises….such as Misha Collins visiting with pizza. Or Zack Snyder showing up in the Batmobile.
EXCLUSIVES / COLLECTIBLES: Thursday is your day for Exclusives. Of course, exclusives are available all weekend long, but Thursday is the gold standard of exclusives. We’ll have expanded coverage of exclusives, but here are a couple tips:
- Follow the Twitter feeds of your favorite collectibles dealers/manufacturers, including the SDCC Unofficial Blog, Toy Hype USA, Awesome Toy Blog, and others. We’ll have ongoing Exclusive coverage here and on our Con Guy Comic-Con Prep Show on the PopcornTalk network.
- Exclusives are almost always announced on social media.
- Have cash. It’s much easier to make deals with cash.
- Search online — exclusives are many times offered online (even on Toys R Us).
OFFSITES / OUTSIDE EVENTS / PARTIES (on overview): This is a BIG topic for many convention-goers, and we’re going to dive into this extensively as the weeks go by, but just know this: You won’t be invited to most parties. Get over it, because there are some parties you CAN go to. Perhaps one of the best resources for seeing a list of the outside events is the blog Outside Comic Con. They may not get you into all the parties, but they’re the best at listing all the events that are happening outside the convention center all over downtown San Diego. Here are a few:
- NERD HQ, hosted by Zach Levi. This is the biggest, bestest, funnest after-party around. It also hosts daytime panels and events. Basically, it’s a mini-comic con all to itself. Be following their website and twitter. When tickets go on sale, they’re gone in a flash. But don’t worry. The party is free and open to everyone!
- NERDIST Conival / Geek & Sundry / Cool Girls: Last year, the Chris Hardwick and Felicia Day and Amy Poehler extravaganza set up shop in Petco Park. And although no firm details are yet available, be watching their website for info. Hardwick has announced two stand-up comedy shows and two tapings of the Nerdist podcast, so we know that the Prom King of the Con is on-the-ground. Plan for more details soon. We’ll keep you completely up-to-date.
- HOP-CON 4.0 at the Stone Brewery and tasting room is gonna be an awesome event. Get your tickets now.
- That’s just a few of the events. We’ll post a complete events guide and party guide as we get closer. We’ll also be devoting an entire episode of the Con Guy Comic-Con Prep Show to the parties….get ready to party!COSLAY: Of course, we HAVE to talk about cosplay…..San Diego Comic-Con is probably the Homecoming Dance of Cosplay events…it’s the big enchilada. The Super Bowl. Soooo, what should you know?
- The Masquerade: If you plan to compete in the famous Masquerade, you need to apply now. An audience of 3,900 fills the San Diego Convention Center’s Ballroom 20, and an overflow audience of over 2,000 more people watch the show on large projection screens in the nearby Sails Pavilion and other ballrooms.
- San Diego Comic-Con is CROWDED. Unlike some of the other conventions, such as WonderCon, where space is plentiful and elaborate cosplays are the norm, San Diego is shoulder-to-shoulder the entire time. So keep that in mind when planning your cosplay.
- Cosplay Does Not Equal Consent: Don’t be a creep. Keep you hands to yourself.
- Photos: Ask, and be polite, if you want to take photos. And before you put your arm around a cosplayer for the photo, please ask.
- Don’t pay for photos. That’s cheesy.
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