Convention Talk Stuff

Lessons From My First DragonCon Experience


So on Sunday I went to my first DragonCon in downtown Atlanta.  This annual 4-day event brings together many people who loves anything geeky or nerdy.  And boy, was the hotels packed!  Here’s a long video of the 2013 DragonCon parade!

While there, I got to attend a William Shatner panel, and he was telling many stories about his past TV and movie roles.  His interview with Rush Limbaugh was quite interesting! Another funny part was when he was talking about how he would prank Leonard Nemoy by chaining his bike at a fire hydrant then placing his bike way up in the ceiling before going on a lunch break.  The whole room was laughing!

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Although the crowds were super heavy, the hotel staff and the DragonCon volunteers were excellent!  The volunteers were quick to check us in for our day passes, of course we also filled out the paperwork ahead of time so all they had to do was scan the QR code!  The volunteers were also channeling the crowds to the panels quickly and easily.  And they were also checking our badges often!  The hotel staff was refilling the water stations quickly and were moving the crowds around quickly as well.

So after attending my first ever DragonCon, I have come up with some great tips so I can improve my visit for 2014.

1. Learn the layout of the hotels!  We never got a schedule and map guide because they were out, I went on Sunday.  So before DragonCon 2014, I need to learn the layouts of all the hotels, where the floors lead you too, and where the skybridges take you too.  When the rain came on Sunday, the crowds inside were crazy.  The hotel security was blocking off access to some floors which were upsetting some people.

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2. Bring your own snacks!  My only meal for the entire day was a biscuit and hashbrowns from Hardee’s.  By mid afternoon, my energy was gone and I was feeling kind of down.  No, I did not spend any money because I have unemployed for 26 months now.  I kept a hotel plastic cup for water but that was also not enough.  Next year I plan on bringing my backpack to keep some handy snacks and some water bottles.  The Peachtree Mall food court had no seating at all and it was crowded!

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3. Memorize the schedules before I go.  Since they were out of schedules, I had to take a picture of an oversized sign featuring all the panels on Sunday.  Next year, I need to learn the schedules online and plan on where I want to go.  I don’t want to rely on DragonCon volunteers to tell me where to go.  Most of the time, they don’t know what the schedule is in the next hotel.

4. Bring two cameras!  I took my DSLR camera to take pictures and I also tried to take some videos, but that was not going to happen.  So for next year, I need to use my DSLR camera for pictures only and take another HD camera for videos.  I also need to bring a better lens with better zoom technology.  I need to do this so that way I will not have to drag around my computer with me all day long to upload stuff.  A better camera would have resulted in a better William Shatner picture!

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5.  I need to be there more than one day!  Being there on Sunday was not enough!  I got to see most of the features like the art show, artist room, costume voting, and the vendor area, which was too crowed!  I wished I had the money to buy something in the vendor room like from We Love Fine.  Going to DragonCon for one day is like disrespecting your geek and nerd heritage.  You need to be there for multiple days to take the costume pictures, see some panels, and enjoy the DragonCon experience.  Plus, I could get a hotel room at DragonCon, DragonCon TV does show some of the bigger panels!

So I am going to leave you with some pictures I took from DragonCon 2013.  Hopefully next year, I can use the Geek Alabama blog to bring more coverage of DragonCon 2014.  Could I go next year and cosplay?  We shall see!  I saw plenty of Adventure Time and My Little Pony t-shirts and costumes.  Adventure Time makes sense because Cartoon Network is headquarted in Atlanta.  I am also not surprised about the My Little Pony stuff, that show has a huge fan base.

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4 replies »

  1. ConSuite. 2nd Floor Hyatt. Free food, soda, and coffee. Open 24 hours. Seriously. They rotate things like fresh Krispy Kremes, hotdogs, chili, and sandwiches. FREE. Free I tell you.

  2. If you have a smart phone, be sure to download the Dragon*Con app. It has the hotel layouts, the schedules, guests, etc.