Well, as many of you know, I had the opportunity to go to Comic-Con International: San Diego this past Thursday! Though I was only there for one day, let me tell you, it was an EXPERIENCE. Upon arriving to the San Diego Convention Center, it’s no surprise why so many people attend this event every year. What originally was limited to the inside of the Convention Center has now poured out into the streets with advertisements and attractions galore. You could easily spend one day of the four-day exhibition outside alone. I had a very limited window to explore the main floor and panels given the fact that I was there for work, but I think for anyone interested in attending Comic-Con, these are things you need to know [in no particular order]:
1. If you can avoid driving, please do that. Coming from L.A., there is a 2-hour, 45 minute train that goes to Downtown San Diego from Union Station. To give you an idea, of how bad the traffic was, our Uber was four minutes away on our map and it took him 45 minutes to pick us up.
2. Bring water. My bag wasn’t checked at the door so I’m not sure if snacks are permitted or not, but if you find out that they are beforehand, bring those too.
3. Be prepared for lines. For EVERYTHING. You thought there wouldn’t be a line for a Spongebob exhibit? Guess what, there is. Sometimes you can find a random bathroom that doesn’t have a line, but you should expect a line for that as well.
4. Bring cash if you plan on buying anything. Most vendors take card, but cash is just easier. Think of it like a market.
5. You will not be able to do/attend everything you want to do. Make a list of things you want to do or see beforehand and then pick which ones are do or die because those are the ones you’ll have to wait around all day for. Sometimes you get lucky though!
6. GET A GUIDE. Or download their app. You will definitely need one to navigate that place.
7. Invest in a portable charger or if you have a phone that allows you to switch batteries, bring a spare. The wifi is spotty and taking pictures and/or video is just a recipe for a dead phone.
8. If there’s a major panel you want to go to (i.e. The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, or Star Wars this year), your entire day will be spent in that panel room. These are not things you can pop in the line for an hour ahead of time. People camp out for these things and once the panel is full, even if you didn’t come for the big panel and just the random one at 2:00, you will not be able to get in.
9. All in all, plan, plan, plan. Think of it as if you can’t survive a day at an amusement park with overpriced food, long lines, a lot of walking, and human traffic comprised of sweaty people, Comic Con is not the place for you.
Overall, it was a great day. We were able to briefly attend a couple of panels, look at some cool stuff that was on the floor, including our own network’s exhibit for TNT’s The Last Ship which included a virtual reality simulator, and we handled press stuff on the latter half with The Last Ship. After we finished our press room, we grabbed dinner and caught the train back home. I wish I could have stayed for the weekend (not working, of course), but I’m glad to say I got a glimpse into what this amazing event has to offer should I have to opportunity to attend again.
“It’s a great time to be a fan” – Heath Corson