Everyone knows that San Diego Comic Con is one of the biggest entertainment events in the world. People from all countries come to see the news from their favorite HQs, Series and Movies and exactly for this reason the event, which has a frantic schedule, is also packed.
In 2017 the Thunder Wave covered this wonderful event and we could see that, no matter how much you think you know about Comic Con, you’re never fully prepared for it. So we decided to take the opportunity to go through all the possible experiences and tell everything that the fans who are intending to go need to know to make the most of this wonderful event.
The San Diego Comic Con starts long before the event, with preparation for the trip. From the purchase of tickets to accommodation, everything is a bit complicated at this time of year in the city. Therefore, we will try to help as much as possible in these preparations.
Purchase of tickets
This is, of course, the first step and one of the most complicated parts. Because it has a very large flow, tickets are gone in a few hours and therefore it takes a huge dedication to get yours. First, it is necessary to have a Member Id valid on the SDCC website (which you can do on here) and expect to open the sale, which will be notified in advance. You need to keep an eye on it, because if you are not online at the time you start selling, you will not be able to buy. If he succeeds, he will enter an area called “Waiting room”, where on a first-come, first-served basis, buyers are redirected to the purchase pages and finally (or not) have given a ticket. It is interesting to remember that generally, when there is a withdrawal or a batch is opened, there is a second chance to enter the same process. Anyone who has been in any year has the advantage of entering the pre-registration and buy your ticket before the general public.
This part is a bit logical, but it is worth reinforcing. With the exception of the complicated purchase of tickets, accommodation is the most difficult part of the trip. Demand increases a lot at the time of the event and, in addition to rising prices, reservations run out quickly. That is why it is advisable to guarantee your reservation once you are sure that you will go to the SDCC. The organization of Con releases in advance a list of partner hotels with special vacancies for SDCC participants, it is an interesting option, although they are a little more expensive, but it is necessary to be attentive as reservations also end quickly.
Tip: Many people book these hotels and then free up spaces to share rooms. It is possible to follow in forums on the internet and even in Facebook groups, but be careful, especially if you are alone, as they are still unknown and there is little care in these cases.
Amazingly, this is the easy part. There are several buses provided by SDCC (sponsored by NBC, this year) that go through the main hotels in the entire city, at no cost. Just look at the map and you will find one close to where you are staying, if you are not one of the participating hotels. Many people even use this bus to walk around the city!
In addition to this transport, there is the train that stops at the door of the San Diego Convention Center, Uber is not expensive and, in most cases, you can reach it on foot - about 20 minutes walk in a relatively more distant hotel.
Arriving at Comic Con
Finally, the part everyone has been waiting for! Upon arriving at the Convention Center, prepare for a long queue. Because there are a lot of people, everything ends up becoming a queue, even to get your Badge. If you have the chance to catch in advance, it is indicated, as it will save you a lot of queues. Do not forget that everyone is entitled to the initial package, with a bag and some treats.
Tip: It is possible to enter the convention center before the start time of the Comic Con, but no activity is possible. If you enter before, you will wait in another queue for the desired panel or to enter the Exhibition Hall, which is where all the stands are.
This deserves special attention. Owner of the most popular panels in Comic Con, O Hall H it is the most disputed and has a differentiated queuing system. Who wants to see the attractions of this place (where Marvel presents its news, for example), usually camp in the queue for the next day.
But here's the thing, we decided to check the queue and go through the whole experience and found that it is much more complex than just getting in line and waiting all night. The next day's queue usually starts the morning before, where you have to spend the day to ensure an interesting spot. This queue is short, but when it arrives at 7:30 pm, it is closed and a bracelet is distributed to those present, without this bracelet it is not possible to access either the queue or the Hall H the next day. After this process, the line walks to a covered place where the participants can occupy their space - which cannot be modified - and prepare to sleep there. It is possible to get out of line to use the bathroom, buy a coffee, go for a walk (be careful with your personal belongings!) And everything you need, but it is always necessary to have the bracelet and be back at 7 am, when everything should be saved and the queue ready to walk again.
Tip: Many people set up relay groups for these queues, where they organize shifts for each person in the queue. Some stay in the day, others sleep and so on. It is interesting and you can make the most of the convention in this way, however it is necessary to be aware of the times, it is essential to be in the correct place at 7:30 pm for the closing of the queue and 7:00 am on the day of the desired panel.
These are not that complicated, but that doesn't mean they are easy! There are some, like the Ballroom 20, which are almost as popular as the Hall H so the queue can get huge at times - but there are times when there is no queue at all. Several small rooms have smaller panels, which are also very interesting and usually have short lines, but it depends on the moment. For example, the dashboard Ducktales, with the presence of David Tennant, was shown in one of these smaller rooms and the line even went around the convention center! In other cases, it is possible to just enter, without going through lines.
Dicona: All queues are updated on Twitter, users usually post how they are progressing using hashtags. Follow up using #nomedohalldesired or following twitter profiles with the name of Hall (Ballroom 20 and Hall H are the main ones, just enter and search for these users).
Never stop and split lines!
This is the most interesting detail of San Diego Comic Coneven though they have a long queue, they are always very organized and never block the way. This is because there is a super organized process where the queues cannot pass a certain point, when they pass they are divided to another place where one of the staffs he is commanding until the line at the door and that floor take the place. To make it clearer, I will give you an example of how it works in Exhibition Hall, where a booth often creates a huge queue. In these cases, the queue cannot be longer than one lap in the stand extension, when overtaken, it is split to one of the places in front of the cafes at the end of the pavilion, where staffs organize and take the public to the Stand when the time comes. In this way, no corridor is blocked and whoever wants to pass does not face problems. Wonderful, right?
Using the same logic as free runners, there is a very strict policy about stopping halfway. You are not allowed to go in the middle of the hall for anything! If you stop to take a picture or see something in the middle of the passage, quickly a security guard appears to keep you moving. The result is that even though we have more than 10,000 people at a time in these places, we never get stuck anywhere for lack of space to walk.
Autographs and special activities
Autographs are on the official schedule, but generally nobody knows how to get it. This is because each company provides in a way, either after an activity at a stand, either after a panel or in a separate queue. To know it is always necessary to follow the social networks of each company, where it is disclosed how to get to the autograph queue (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram ... they use several networks for this!). In fact, always stay tuned in all networks, some surprise activities are reported there.
SDCC has it all, great panels, incredible stands, the best cosplays and even activities that don’t need Bagde! That's right, during the con the whole city of San Diego is dominated by the nerdy atmosphere and many companies provide activities on the streets around the Convention Center. They are generally interactive and some do not ask for a ticket, but be prepared to wait in line under the California sun. Ah, remember that some of these activities are paid.
Stay tuned to the hotels too, the Hyatt, Houston and Onmi that are next to the convention center are home to several official SDCC activities.
Free Gifts, Free Gifts, Free Gifts!
Of course, there is a lot of distribution of gifts! They usually take place at the stands, where at different times they distribute something new. However, you have to walk around them all the time to catch one of those moments, if you really want to come home full of things. Activities also generate gifts.
Some panels also distribute some gifts, but in this case the system is different. At the beginning of the panel, a ticket is distributed to all participants, which must be exchanged at the hotel informed on the screen (always read the warnings!), This year it was at Hyatt. There are directions and several staffs helping.
Enjoy San Diego!
San Diego is a beautiful city, especially during Comic Con, where all streets are dominated by pop culture references. If you have the opportunity, get to know this beautiful city better and visit the beaches, parks and zoo as well.