We just got back from Phoenix ComicCon, and this will have been our third time attending. So since we have a a few visits, and have tried out different things here are our 10 tips for thriving at Phoenix Comiccon 2016 edition.
Tip 1: Book the Hyatt, Renaissance or Sheraton hotel.
These hotels are not cheap, and you need to book early so they do not sell out, but it is so worth it! All three of these hotels are easy walking distance which in the Phoenix heat and in costume it is so nice to be that close. We stayed just a little further away our first year, and we didn’t even dress up yet, but trying to take the light rail back and forth at strange times and with the huge crowds is no fun. So far every year even friends of mine that live in Phoenix end up staying with us, beating the traffic and the heat is so nice. As an added bonus the hotels are just fun – most of the people you see in the bar or elevator are all dressed up and excited. Several years in a row events were at the hotels, and it is great to be in that atmosphere all the time.
Tip 2: Bring a bag.
Even if you think you will not need it, and swear that you are not going to buy anything you will probably want to carry a bag. Maybe for a water bottle, or if you want the guidebook with you. Even more than that though, we end up getting some free give away items, and lots of business cards and promo pages so that we can remember an artist or item and look it up later. I would not want to carry all that with me all day, so i stick a card in my bag and then forget about it until I get home.
Tip 3: Good Shoes.
Good looking, cos play shoes are not usually the most comfortable things, and for a Halloween or casual event that is alright, but at con you will be standing / walking ALL DAY. If you really want the cute, perfect shoes for you outfit, bring an extra pair so that half way through the day you can change into something that does not make your feet feel like they are bleeding.
Tip 4: If you have a Nintendo DS bring it!
Max and I both have a DS, and I never play mine. It sits in a drawer and I forget I have it all year. However, at con you can do the street pass – which is really cool. I like to play all the street pass games when I have the people, but even just seeing how eveyone dresses up the avatar, what the greetings are and what state people are from is a fun little break from the action of con. We like to find a seat and take 5 while we let in the 10 people that we have. Pretty much as soon as we let in those 10 (which is the MAX number) we will have more waiting at the door. Kind of a fun way to pass the time and to still learn a bit about the people around yo.
Tip 5: Buy early and get the full event.
I buy tickets the day they are on sale, and the full event is $50. Not super cheap, but that price will skyrocket later on. If you get the full event and are local or going to be in town the whole time – go get your badge on Thursday. Get a parking spot too. I skipped all the lines on Thursday, and had no wait to get my badge. We got to park at the hotel, and when my friends came in the next day even Valet was full. Even if you don’t use it, having the option for the full event lets you skip the lines.
Tip 6: Buy the shows you know you want in advance.
This year was SO MUCH better than last year for this, but we go to the Burlesque show every year, and most years try to buy at the door. What a nightmare! These events are also getting more popular and they will sell out, so if you know for sure that you want to go buy in advance and save yourself the headache of fighting the crowd and trying to get things sorted out. The same goes for any celebrity photo or autograph. (Also the autograph table only takes cash if you do try to buy it in person.)
Tip 7: Don’t buy anything you don’t have to have until Sunday.
If you really want to buy an item or a book, and will be really, really sad if it is gone and you missed it – of course get it. However Max and I have a policy that if we are on the fence we wait, and if by Sunday we still want it, have not forgotten then we go look. This also works in our favor because a good amount of items go on sale towards the end of Sunday. Vendors have to pack up and go home, and many of them would much prefer to have a lighter load after a tiring few days.
Tip 8: Don’t Rely on your Cell
You go down two escalators to get to the exhibitor hall, and cell service is spotty at best. Sometimes I was able to get calls just fine, and other times I would get a bunch of missed messages when I finally went back upstairs. So if you were supposed to hear from or find someone keep in mind that it may be your service.
Tip 9: Exhibitor Hall Opens at 4pm on Thurs and 10:30 other days
So plan ahead, for at least an hour before the doors open there is a large group that begins to gather and wait outside the doors, and once everything is open there is a mad rush inside. We usually wait until about an hour after the hall officially opens so that we can skip the pushing and just get straight inside to walking around.
Tip 10: Ask people for a photo if you like the outfit.
There will be so many things that you want to remember, and if you see something you like don’t take a photo without permission (perhaps unless they are already posing and ok with photos) but just ask. Most people that are really dressed up are expecting / hoping for this and will be happy to stop for a moment. Sometimes I will joke about the people that are all decked out since they do not make it more than a few steps without being stopped and I can not imagine they get to see much – but that can be fun too. On the chance that someone is busy, or says no RESPECT THAT. These are people that are just here trying to have a good time too and they may be in a hurry or just not in the mood. I had a friend who was overheating and in pain from shoes just trying to get back to the room, and not everyone seemed to pleased when she turned down a photo.