I like to think I’m a one-of-a-kind girl in this world, and I suppose I am, but on many levels I’m just you’re average girl next door. Can I still say that? Maybe I’m too old to call myself a “girl”? I don’t know… in any case, I drink Starbucks, shop at Sephora, eat lots of chocolate and peanut butter, know all the words to Taylor Swift songs, wear printed leggings, watch reality TV, read young adult trilogies, stalk people on Facebook, love yoga, babies, tacos, zulily and Justin Timberlake and I’m certain all of those things make me an average girl. I’m also certain that the average girl might need a survival guide when attending Comic Con.
I love Disney, Harry Potter, Hunger Games and few superhero movies. I also love dressing up, people watching, excitement and traveling. All of these are found at Comic Con, but there’s a hell of a lot more stuff that doesn’t exactly scream “Hilarie”. My first Comic Con experience taught me how to navigate the crowds, find the good stuff, stay fueled, avoid the crazies and all with a baby no less. If you’re planning on attending Comic Con (or any large convention/festival/exp/black Friday) you may want to read on and then save this survival list for future references.
1. Dress the part. I LOVE looking at everyone in their cosplay outfits at Comic Con. From the incredible super-expensive realistic costumes to the train wreck obviously-made-the-night-before outfits, it is FANTASTIC. I may be impressed or disgusted, either way I am entertained and I love love LOVE people watching and trying to find costumes that I actually recognize. I am not quite brave or fanatical enough to don a full-on costume, but I had fun wearing some themed accessories and shirts. I had Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and Hunger Games themed days. (All of which will have reviews and giveaways soon!)
2. Pack healthy snacks and water. Comic Con sells mostly junk, mostly disgusting junk. I waited in line for about 7 years to get chinese vegetables with tofu and rice that was definitely the most disgusting chinese food I have ever had. There were a couple of smoothie stands that were decent, but also wildly overpriced. I highly recommend packing granola, nuts, fruit and lots of water!
3. Learn the layout. There are not maps given out a Comic Con and the map on the app is useless and impossible to read. The best thing to do is to get there early, walk around, learn the layout and don’t be afraid to ask the employees for directions. Locate the bathrooms in the furthest locations (those will be the cleanest and least crowded), find the rooms for the panels you plan to attend, locate the Starbucks inside and outside (it is probably faster to leave and walk to the nearest Starbucks than it is to wait in the mile-long line inside) and take advantage of the press room if you’re lucky enough to score a press pass.
4. Don’t be shy. People at Comic Con will run you over and never look back if you let them. Speak up, say excuse me, make your way through the crowd, ask directions, talk to people who have similar interests, take peoples’ photos, share tips, move fast and don’t worry…everyone looks crazy.
5. Arrive early. On opening day the line to get in is insane. We were fortunate enough to have a press pass and able to use a separate entrance. Otherwise, we never would have made it to the Disney panel in time. At the Disney panel we won tickets to see an early viewing of Big Hero 6, but missed it because they ran out of seats and we didn’t get their early enough to get any. When The Walking Dead had a panel we tried to line up over an hour before it started and were still too late. If there is something you REALLY want to see, arrive EARLY.
6. Make a plan. Comic Con has an app that enables you to view and select any panels, autograph signings and events you like. The ones you select are saved in your profile and sends it reminders to your phone all day so that you don’t miss anything. It’s pretty handy. There is so so much to see and do that it’s beyond necessary to plan in advance. Even with planning, I still missed out on a few things I would have like to seen.
7. Bring chargers. Between snapping photos, updating your status, tweeting the latest news and using Google maps your phone is going to die fast. Bring your charger and even something to power your charger if you can.
8. Expect assholes. They’re everywhere, unfortunately. Do your best to ignore them. When that fails, drink more coffee. Or, maybe be extra nice to other people…which brings me to my next and final tip.
9. Don’t be an asshole. It will be very attempting to join them. You will want to run over everyone’s toes with your stroller, throw some elbows and shout “are you kidding me!?!?”Don’t give into temptation. Do the opposite to counteract their behavior. Let someone get in front of you. Help someone up, pick up the pamphlet that person dropped, show patience, kindness and compassion. I promise it feels better than joining the other team.
That’s it. Now you just gotta find some nerdy convention to sing up for, or maybe a local festival to attend! Either way, you should probably start planning your outfit.