It took three computers, but you were able to secure your badge for the famous annual San Diego Comic Con. What next? What should you expect upon arrival? Who’s going to be there? Did I pack my cape and cowl? Did Han really shoot first?
Here are five tips for surviving SDCC from a veteran attendee.
1. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING INTO, PLAN AHEAD AND BE COMMITTED
Is there that special shiny exclusive you must get your hands on? Want to be in the room when Marvel announces its next big blockbuster?
Comic Con is a pop culture playground for geeks and nerds alike, filled with all sorts of goodies to buy and exciting presentations.
For every exclusive sold and Hall H seat filled, remember that there are hundreds of other people on the outside looking in, wanting that same shiny exclusive or seat.
Whether you’re into panels or shopping, competition is high at Comic Con. Be prepared to wait in long lines, and sit in crowded auditoriums all day just to see your favorite stars.
Take a look ahead of time at panel schedules and the list of exclusive items and plan accordingly. And don’t be too disappointed if you’re not one of the lucky few who succeed in their endeavors.
2. TAKE BOTH CASH AND DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS
Shopping with plastic may seem like the most obvious choice in an environment such as SDCC, yet it has its flaws.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that your bank may see this surge of spending and find it unusual enough to put a security hold on your card. Card machines / swipers are not always the most consistent pieces of technology in the middle of a crowded shopping floor. Card use requires added taxes and fees for some vendors, and other vendors don’t accept cash at all.
Call your bank ahead of time and let them know that any “unusual” spending activity in San Diego is most likely you to avoid any annoying security issues. And go ahead and draw out some cash just to keep in your pocket. It makes some transactions quicker, easier, and in some cases, less expensive.
3. RESPECT “COSPLAYERS”
Cosplay is an art that requires time, effort, patience, talent, and often times a fair amount of money. Those who participate put their heart and souls to bring the characters that many convention goers love to life.
Don't ruin their dedication with a bad attitude.
Enjoy the art for what it is. Take photos, but only with the cosplayer’s permission. Do not touch or harass them. Keep rude comments to yourself.
Each and every cosplay is an expression of the individual and their tastes, styles and talents. They deserve to enjoy the convention just as much as you do.
4. TAKE EXTERNAL BATTERIES AND CHARGERS, BUT KEEP YOUR PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE ANYWAYS
Accept this now and you’ll be happier when you step into the convention center: you will have little to no reception while at the con.
If you’re going to drain your phone battery, do it taking photos and video of the amazing cosplays and things on display; not with trying to text and post to everyone back home.
Put your phone on low power or airplane mode, and immerse yourself in the con. Save the texting and social media for when you’re back at the hotel. Take tons of photos and videos, and if you do happen to run out of battery, have a charger handy.
5. BE CORDIAL, BE SAFE, AND HAVE FUN
First and foremost, everyone at SDCC is there to have fun and enjoy a genre of entertainment with thousands of like-minded people.
Make sure that with every panel and purchase, you maintain a level of respect so that no one’s time gets ruined.
Bargain with vendors, but don’t lowball. Look at everything that you want to look at, but don’t push, shove or cut your way in.
And please respect all those who choose to express themselves through Cosplay.
Have fun at the convention, and if you can, make sure that the person next to you has fun too.
ONE LAST HONORARY TIP
OK, so maybe despite your three computers running you didn’t get a badge to San Diego Comic Con.
While you won’t be able to enter the convention center, SDCC tends to engulf the entire Downtown San Diego area.
Bars, restaurants, and other venues in the Gaslamp area often participate in the festivities of Comic con even if they aren’t directly involved.
San Diego isn’t too far removed from Norwalk being just around a two hour drive down the 5 Freeway. Even without a badge to get into the con itself, the celebration outside is easily just as worth a day trip.
By Alex Dominguez | Follow him on Twitter here.