Friday, August 1, 2014

Guide to San Diego Comic Con

I went to Comic Con this year in San Diego (pictures of people in costume are posted on my facebook account if you want to see) and I've gone every year for the past several years. It's a lot of fun. It's one giant nerd party, where you can buy nerdy things, go to panels about nerdy things, and see people in all kinds of costumes.

But there was a lot of things that I never knew were true about Comic Con until I went several times. I decided to share them with you (including how to get a pass), so you'll know more if you ever decide to go:

1. Getting a ticket to Comic Con is hard to do, but if you know all the steps and follow them, you can get one every time. This year and last year, my husband had a professional pass because he works in the video game industry, but we've also purchased tickets the other way.

What you have to do is sign up for the web-site that you purchase them on months before it's time to purchase. Then find out the exact date and time where you need to buy tickets. Set your alarm at least 10 minutes beforehand and start refreshing the page when it gets close to the time to buy tickets. They'll put you in a queue. Wait in the queue and then make sure you have the money to pay for your tickets in your bank account ahead of time and that you have your card on hand.

Even when you do this, you might not get four day passes. The tickets sell really fast! But you'll likely get something.

If you buy a four day pass, but don't want to go all four days, don't ever sell your ticket to someone else after you are done. People will try to buy them from you for a lot of money, but if you are caught selling your ticket to someone else, you get banned from Comic Con for life!

2. Parking is horrible. It's really difficult to find a place to park and once you do, you're probably going to pay anywhere from $40-$60. That's per day, by the way.

But if you park in the right parking garage, there will be people in passenger bikes willing to give you a ride to the convention and a ride back once you are done. You're also going to probably have to pay them, though. And their rates vary drastically and they won't tell you until you are already done with the ride.

One guy made me give him $40 plus a tip for less than a five minute ride back to the parking garage, while another guy only made me give him $5 for the exact same thing.

3. It's normal to ask people who are in costumes to pose for a picture for you. Just know, if you decide to go in costume (especially if you have an elaborate or unique costume), you might be posing for photos all day. You also might be interviewed by several news crews.

But the cool thing is, they have a special station where you can repair your costumes if they break. It has things like thread and needles for you to use.

4. There is no air conditioning. Everyone is sweating and smelly. Less clothes is usually better and bring extra deoderant and perfume!

5. There are special items called "Comic Con Exclusives" that you can only buy at Comic Con. They are usually really cool things.

If you want to buy one of these things, make sure you find out as much as possible about how to purchase it ahead of time. Some items are easy to get. Like, I got a Comic Con Mad Libs for free this year and there was no line. Other items, like the Magic Cards exclusive are very difficult. We tried to purchase it and found out that you needed to be lined up at the right place at 5:30 in the morning to be able to get a ticket that would allow you to purchase the item later and very few people received tickets.

It's better to either try to buy these things on preview night or on Thursday because sometimes they sell out before you can get there.

6. There is hardly any seating in Comic Con. Your legs are going to hurt and when you try to sit against the wall for a second, there are going to be people yelling at you to get up. This is also true when you try to sit down and eat.

7. Some panels are easy to get into. The informative ones are usually easy-the ones about how to write well and what goes into making a comic, things like that. But if you want to get into a panel with any famous actors or anything like that in it (like the Firefly panel for instance) or about big Comic book things (like the Marvel panel), then you need to start waiting for hours, potentially a day, ahead of time. People who got into the Marvel panel this year had to wait for thirty hours to get in.

8. Bring food with you to Comic Con. They have a few different types of food stands, like Starbucks and things, where the food is okay. But to get any actual meals, you need to go to the food stand which is run by the convention and the food is so awful and very expensive. It's not worth it.

9. It's very crowded inside Comic Con. There are always people shouting at you to keep moving because there's so many people that things easily become congested. This makes taking pictures difficult and you might be shouted at to stop taking a picture and keep moving. You also might be shoved forward when trying to view something if you are doing so inside a heavily congested area.