Adventures Through San Diego Comic Con
My Friday Schedule for SDCCI 2014
What to Bring to SDCCI
What to pack
Layers of Clothing
Scented lotion/ baby cologne
Sun Protective Gear
Before SDCCI 2014
I have been attending San Diego Comic Con since I was 12 years old, buying passes before making the decision to volunteer every year. Although I have attended nearly a dozen Comic-Cons, I still contained a lot more excitement than I was willing to admit because the convention changes greatly from one year to the next. I knew that the pop-culture centric convention would hold more surprises and updates than anyone could foresee and I prepared accordingly.
Two weeks before Comic-Con, the San Diego Comic Con website posts the panel and event schedule and the unofficial San Diego Comic Con Blog is my go-to site for extra information about Comic-Con. With some research, I planned out my trip to the 2014 Comic-Con and decided the most time-efficient way to visit all of the panels, booths, exhibits, and restaurants as possible. Furthermore, since I decided to volunteer for the convention this year, I had to block out three hours of time that would disturb my schedule the least.
The evening before Comic-Con, I downloaded the San Diego Comic Con International app and ensured that I had Twitter, a QR scanner, and EBay on my iPhone. I also packed a backpack with sandwiches, Be Kind bars, water, gum, markers, pens, paper, sunblock, sunglasses, a hat, and a jacket. I packed the food for three reasons:
- I have allergies to gluten and chicken, making it difficult for me to order food at many restaurants.
The food inside the convention center is overpriced, taking a page out of the notorious pricing techniques of amusement parks.
While running around the convention center, there may not be enough time to buy a proper mid-day meal, especially with the ubiquitous long lines.
The sunblock, hat, and sunglasses are all measures for waiting in the line outside of the convention center and for traipsing around San Diego's famous gaslamp area during the sunshine-filled summer.
With my schedule prepared, bag packed, and overfilling excitement, my Comic Con 2014 adventure began on the day of Preview Night.
Balance Near the Ocean
Day 0 of SDCCI 2014
Preview Night is the soft-opening that occurs every year for San Diego Comic-Con. Only the exhibit floor is open on Preview Night, although many of the exhibitors do not begin selling a number of their Comic-Con exclusives until the next day. Furthermore, with a less crowded exhibit floor, a savvy consumer could gather information about any unannounced events for the franchises that they care the most about.
The morning before Preview Night, I had a pre-convention volunteer assignment scheduled at the exhibitor check-in stalls at the San Diego Convention Center. I arrived at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina Hotel half-an-hour before my assignment and checked in at the relocated volunteer tables, which were inside the convention center lobby during SDCCI 2013. I plopped down in the cordoned waiting area, pulled out a book, and eavesdropped on my fellow volunteers. I tuned into the various conversations around me, listening for tips, tricks, and unknown events, because I prefer to gather information before I begin participating in the conversations.
While waiting, I learn more about the internal workings of SDCCI, including how the autograph lottery works, which involves waiting in the correct line and racing to the Sails Pavilion on the second floor of the San Diego Convention Center to find the right line again in order to have an opportunity to pull a ticket from a hat that may grant you the opportunity to win the bracelet that will guarantee you to receive an autograph from the star at the appointed time. I heard stories of the dreaded lines at Hall H, nicknamed Hall Hell. Hall H seats around 6,500 people and is the largest panel venue at SDCCI, boasting panels from Marvel, DC, Lionsgate, and more. Although there is a lack of intimacy at Hall H, the opportunity to learn more about an upcoming release and view never-before-seen previews lures many a fan to wait in line for Hall H. Those around me also spoke of free Subway Friday due to Subways partnership with Community and of the rumors surrounding upcoming panels.
Finally, a Comic-Con International staff member led a group of volunteers that included me through the hotel and into the San Diego Convention Center. I and three others assisted with filing, handing out bags, and preparing the lanyards for the exhibitors as they checked in and began setting up their booths. Here, I befriended many of my fellow volunteers and we swapped stories and shared information as we worked. Furthermore, working at exhibitor check-in allowed me to place faces to the booths making it a little easier for me to navigate the exhibit floor.
After my shift, I walked over to Seaport Village and spent the afternoon enjoying the San Diego sun and ocean. Seaport Village includes many unique and amazing boutique stores, walking distance from the San Diego Convention Center. I watched many of the street performances (my favorite being the man who stacks and balances towers of rocks) and ate some ice cream before walking back to the convention for Preview Night.
This year, Preview Night involved more people, where the exhibit floor was nearly as crowded as a normal day, with rivers of people pouring through the convention center. Since most of the SDCCI exclusives were not being sold that night, I took advantage of all of the swag the exhibitors gave out. Picking up full books (both normal copies and advanced reader copies), reusable bags, buttons, and awesome and unique Comic-Con items like the flasks and shot glasses being given out by the Starz Outlander booth.
By the end of the night, I walked towards the USS Midway, a retired aircraft carrier and now museum moored just past Seaport Village and saw that there was a concert occurring on deck. San Diego Comic Con International really has taken over Downtown San Diego!
SDCCI Exhibit Floor
San Diego Convention Center
Where San Diego Comic Con International is held yearly.
San Diego Comic Con International has taken over this hotel, which holds the Nintendo Lounge and volunteer check-in desks during the convention.
This hotel holds the fulfillment room for SDCCI and the Xbox Lounge during the convention.
During SDCCI 2014, this hotel hosts panels in its Indigo Ballroom and the area outside it holds many interactive exhibits.
Petco Park hosted many events associated with SDCCI, including concerts, laser tag, and obstacle runs.
Attendance at SDCCI
Would you like to attend SDCCI?
Teen Wolf SDCCI 2014
Day 1 of SDCCI
I began the morning with a 9:30 AM volunteering shift as Line Management for Hall H. I arrived late, but managed to arrive in my rightful spot after much confusion over the seeming disappearance of the 23 other people volunteering with me. I stood outside of the Hall H line and directed people in the proper direction while answering general questions for convention attendees. Oddly enough, people started asking me where they should line up for the panels tomorrow at 11 in the morning, 24 hours before the panel would begin and 22 hours before SDCCI would begin letting badge holders into Hall H.
After volunteering, I fell in line at Ballroom 20 so that I may attend the Teen Wolf and Hannibal panels. I stood in line for an hour before entering the room a few seconds after the panel started. Fortunately for me and all other Teen Wolf fans out there, the previous panel was Community and only a small percentage of that fan base would care about Teen Wolf as well. Furthermore, SDCCI placed many tents over the lines to protect the attendees from the sun rays.
Watching the Teen Wolf panel was entertaining, because each member of the cast brought all of their personality to the panel and acted accordingly. There were many jokes and adorable moments. The Hannibal panel proved noteworthy in solidifying the fact that a third season of Hannibal is in production!
After viewing the panels, I wandered the upper floor of the San Diego Convention Center and bumped into an autograph signing that included many of my favorite authors! I took advantage of said signing to buy some books to complete my collection and receive some autographs while conversing with the authors. I had too much fun and I did not even realize that it was going to occur.
In line for the author signings, I met mother and son veteran attendees who invited me to camp out with them in the Hall H line for the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones panels the next day. Having never camped out for Comic-Con, even after all of my years, I accepted and met them on the lawn outside after attending one more panel. Overall, day one of SDCCI proved to busy to be placed on paper. I am exhausted just thinking about it!
Teen Wolf Panel 2014 at SDCCI
Day 2 of SDCCI
Camping out at Hall H was an experience that I am not sure I will ever really do again. After passing out the Toucan bracelets to prevent line jumping the next day, everyone simply settled down for the all night vigil. People lay sprawled out along the lawn in the people corral that was meant to maintain order. Many slept in sleeping bags and curled up into various camping chairs, looking comfortable even while standing in line. Others spent the night playing cards and swapping stories. At four in the morning, SDCCI began condensing the Hall H line. Three hours later, the Hall H line condensed again as people began to be loaded into the three chutes. More waiting occurred and two hours later, I stepped into Hall H ready for my day of sitting through panels.
It was a celebration! All of the security guards gave high fives and volunteers gave out tickets to all of the people walking into Hall H. I found my seat and found a comfortable position, which involved pulling off my shoes and wrapping myself in a blanket. I also ate my breakfast. After some time, the first program of the day began. The first panel involved a number of interesting and beautiful animated films. The second panel was The Walking Dead and the third panel was Game of Thrones. I spent an entire day watching those amazing panels and the experience was well worth the wait.
There was only a small amount of time left in the day, so I walked over to the Hyatt and spent my time demoing games in the Xbox Lounge. Besides, in my sleep-deprived state, I did not want to make any complicated decisions.
Day 3 of SDCCI
I arrived in the early afternoon on Day 3 due to a dental appointment I had that morning. I decided to spend the day walking around the exterior of the San Diego Convention Center. I fell in line for the Gotham Zip Line and it was quite enjoyable to ride down the 130 ft zip line. Afterwards, I picked up an inflatable donut and some blue cotton candy from the booths regarding the Simpsons.
I ended the day by visiting Nerd HQ in Petco Park and enjoying my time conversing about television shows and Netflix.
Day 4 of SDCCI
I had an early volunteering assignment, standing in line for disabled attendees so that I may win the lottery and give them the opportunity to receive autographs from the cast and crew of their favorite shows. My shift ended before the exhibit hall opened, so I waited in line for entry into the San Diego Convention Center.
Once in the exhibit hall, I ran around, picking up some swag and falling in line for a number of SDCCI exclusives, taking advantage of the discounting that occurs on the last day of the convention, because the exhibitors do not want to travel with too much of their own stock. Afterwards, I ran outside so that I can attempt the Assassins Creed parkour obstacle course.
And that was the end of SDCCI 2014. Although, I am exhausted from the experience, I am eagerly awaiting and planning for SDCCI 2015!