Dragon Con 2015 – Survival Guide
Dragon Con is a HUGE event. On Saturday this year they predicted ~100,000 people flooded the street to view the parade. With that being said, you have to realize that 50,000 people all want to do the same things you want to do. Do not be alarmed. These people are for the most part very cool. You occasionally have to make concessions because there are that many people there. Choose alternate routes to your destination, select some alternate panels to go to (see below for more details), go to the Vendor show multiple times and take it in chunks.
If you see someone in a costume and you want their picture that’s fine. However, don’t put your own wants above theirs. If they are running to catch up with someone or they just took all their gear off try not to ask them to put all that crap back on. You will probably catch them again. Especially if they have a bad ass costume.
You’ll read online everywhere that people always recommend grabbing some people and splitting a room. I’m here to debunk that (no pun intended). I highly recommend if you have the cash flow to book a room by yourself or with your significant other. This year we had 5 to a room and it was borderline miserable. Two problems arise when you pack that many people into such small quarters. The first is that you play A Game of Thrones with the bathroom, each taking control for a very small time. The second is that people come in and out at all hours of the night. So if you are trying to make that 10 o’clock panel and attempting to get real rest you will easily see your dilemma.
Many of you will say, “But Kaytal that’s part of a Con…” To that I say Bullsh***. I come to enjoy the Con and if that means I have to go to bed early one night then I will get that sleep.
TL;DR: Book you’re own room if you can afford it and you will be a happy congoer.
The past years I’ve gone with larger and larger groups and let me tell you it is harder the more people that are with you. I know that sounds like common sense but many of you out there will believe that because all of your friends have the same interest you can all go to the same panels and eat the same food and love each other. This is probably true in the sanctity of your own home. However, at a CON you realize that your interests variations that are normally so small they are indistinguishable at home are massive chasms of fandom that separate factions. Make your own schedule and do your own thing. You’ll thank yourself later. You can’t really talk much in panels anyway. Just meet up at lunch or dinner, play some board games or find some other way to meet up.
TL;DR: Do your own thing and do not try to do everything with everyone in your group.
The name says it all, or does it? When going to any Con you have to make choices. Do I go to the Patrick Stewart panel where I have to get there 3 hours early to get a spot in line or do I skip him and go to three costuming panels in its place? I cannot answer these for you but I just wanted to make you very aware of the types of issues you will face. In marketing this is called Opportunity Costs. The cost of going to the Patrick Stewart panel is three costuming panels. You need to ask yourself what you will get more out of. This year we went to 3 bigger panels and had to wait in line ~2 hours each for them. Due to this I spent about 6 hours waiting in line to go to panels. I could have used that time differently but I felt I got my hours worth because the panels I went to where HILARIOUS!!!
Secondly, while we are talking about panels. Have backup panels. Have backups for your backups. My friend Nikk literally schedules everything at the CON he’d be slightly interested in. This causes him to have scheduling conflicts all day. However, he is one of the happiest congoers I’ve ever seen. He always has something to do and if he doesn’t feel like doing something he just doesn’t. This is the best attitude to have at the CON. If you don’t get into that Patrick Stewart panel fret not because there are 100s of things to do probably at the same time.
TL;DR: Make prepared choices and have backups for your backups when scheduling.
Downtown Atlanta has lots of really good food places. The past years cons I’ve gone to the food court for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. However, this year we mixed it up a very small amount and went to Hooters. It was awesome, there was seating and it wasn’t much more expensive than the food court. I highly recommend giving the restaurants around the CON a chance instead of just defaulting to the food court.
Pack the following list at least:
- Advil (Ibuprofen) as it is an anti-inflammatory not a blood thinner like Tylenol
- GasX – You will be eating and drinking things that you probably don’t normally eat
- Fiber or Laxatives – This is in case you get travelers stomach
- Pepto (Bismuth) – For the morning after your drunken stupor
- Alka Seltzor – Also for the morning after a drunken stupor
Things of Note to bring with you
- Water and Gatorade
- Snacks (We brought Trail Mix and Beef Jerky) Protein is a plus
- Enough clothes to wear that if you do not wear costumes any days you’ll still have enough clothes. The reason I say that is because some days something may happen to where you do not want to wear a costume even though you planned too.
- a couple of easily packable board games (Zombie Dice, Cards against Humanity, Red Dragon Inn)
- Energy Drinks and Beer/Alcohol