Dragon Con 2015

Dragon Con 2015

Thursday – Pre Game

So, Dragon Con has descended upon Atlanta once again for 2015. While we arrived here on Thursday for Pre-Registration the actual official events did not happen until Friday.

Thursday was actually pretty uneventful, yet fun. We left Southaven, MS at a little after 6:00am stopped in Fulton, MS at around 8:00am for breakfast, and made it to Atlanta by around 2:00pm. We were met in Atlanta, GA by the normal Atlantian Traffic problem, but fortunately we didn’t hit the worst part.
After navigating downtown for a minute we arrived at our hotel, the Westin (Peachtree Plaza). This is the first year we were staying in an actual Con-Hotel and we were super stoked. The line to Valet/Self-Park your car was a little crazy as it wrapped around the hotel, but it moved quite quickly. We checked into our room and took the elevator 48 floors up.

It was breath-taking. Much better than the year prior where all we could see from our window was the building across the street and the room was slightly smaller than our guest bedroom but with two queen beds, a console for a TV, mini-fridge, and bathroom shoved in it. This also housed 4 of us. Whereas, this year we only accommodated ourselves (Lainey and me).

Great! We’ve made it to Atlanta, Got checked into our rooms, unpacked, now it’s time for Registration. So if you can remember being a young child and being told you’re going to the zoo this is that feeling when you pull into the parking lot and see the animal statues. I was elated.

We ventured off to the Sheraton where the pre-registration is held every year to pick-up our badges. One of the reasons we leave so early on Thursday to get to Atlanta so early is because Pre-Registration normally runs from 10:00am to 9:00pm. However, they typically capped the line around 8:30pm and in years past we have cut it very close. Every year we get here a little earlier.

The line moved quickly not quite as quickly as last year but still pretty quick. We were out of registration by 4:30pm. This point every year we typically try to get the gang altogether and have dinner as it is pretty hard to do that at any other time during the Con. We called our friend Nikk who was coming form Murfreesboro and Mandy and Anthony that live right here in Georgia (just south of Atlanta, lucky dogs). Nikk was being heavily delayed by traffic and his hotel was actually in Midtown not Downtown. Mandy and Anthony coming from the south got lucky getting to Downtown but had difficulties parking.

Everyone finally met up around 5:00pm and we went to a restaurant called Tin Lizzy’s recommended by the native Georgians (Mandy and Anthony, or Manthony as they will now be called). Typically when I travel I like to eat at local places that aren’t chains. However, during the Con you cannot afford that luxury. I don’t know if this was a chain but it was Awesome! Jenna at Harvest would have loved it because it’s a taco shop. They were almost street tacos but not quite. It only took about 45 mins to seat 11 people which I thought was pretty good for the unofficial first night of Dragon Con. I had two Buffalo Shrimp tacos and Lainey had two vegetarian tacos. They were perfect.

We wrapped up the first night by going to the Hilton’s basement or “The Dungeon” and playing a friendly game of Cards Against Humanity. The characters for the Dragon Con weekend are:

  • Stephen – The White Knight
  • Jenny – The Warlock
  • Jacob – Stephen’s 15 y/o brother and the Rookie
  • Bobby – The Bard
  • Nikk – The Shadow Priest
  • Casey – Doesn’t even play this game because he’s playing FFXIV
  • Robbie – The Grand Maester
  • Mandy – The Hunter
  • Anthony – The Game Master
  • Lainey – The Lovable Rogue
  • Me – Master of Ceremonies

The stage is set the characters are cast.  Dragon Con weekend has begun.

Friday Frenzy

And our story officially begins.  We awoke to our alarms at promptly 7:00am to hit the snooze.  Then at approximately 7:08am we actually woke up to begin getting ready.  Friday was couple’s costume day for Lainey and I.  We dressed up as Ravi and Liv Moore from iZombie.  Of course, Lainey pulled no stops and knocked her costume out of the park.

Friday was insane for panels.  I had overbooked so many.  The items I had booked were everything from “How to write a story in an Hour” to “Adult Origami”.  Unfortunately, there is just not time enough in the day for everything.  We ended up actually going to “How to write a story in an Hour”, “For Survival: 4 Hours Later”, “World of Warcraft Costume Contest”, & “The Great Hair, Beard, and Moustache Competition.”  Our friends were able to go to the “Adult Origami” and brought back their pieces of Art. 

The “World of Warcraft Costume Contest” was absolutely amazing this year.  I remember I had gone to this a few years ago and it was ok.  It was kind of small and the costumes were neat but all very homemade looking.  This year, however, the costumes nearly all looked professionally done.  While I didn’t fully agree with the choice of the winner I was happy to hear that most contestants won an award of some type. 

I don’t typically go to off the wall panels like “The Great Hair, Beard and Moustache Competition”.  However, this year I thought, “Hey I have a beard I’d like to see what I’d be up against if I competed.”  Boy am I glad I did not compete.  These guys (and a gal) brought their “A” game.  In this one there were also multiple winners and I was glad because I could not see how anyone would have been able to chose only one.

At this point, night had fallen.  Dragon Con is somewhat notorious for those of us privileged enough to consume Alcoholic beverages legally.  Some of my favorite times have been just getting sloshed and breaking out in a random dance party on a random floor with random people that have a “Boombox”.  This night was no different. 

Saturday Madness

Saturday was insane as it always is.  I purposely didn’t fill my schedule with panels because Saturday is a no-holds-bar free-for-all to get anywhere and do anything.  Saturday is the day of the Parade and because of that the typical con numbers grow to obscene amounts.  This year we were in a con hotel and I was grateful for that.  We got up early, Lainey got all dolled up in her Clara costume, and we left to get a spot about 2 hours before the parade began.

We picked a fantastic spot where we could kind of see down two streets that the parade was traversing.  Additionally, there was a cafe right behind us so while Lainey and Robbie held our spots like Centurions we were able to grab breakfast and con-going cure-all, COFFEE. 

The parade, as always, is one of my favorite parts of Dragon Con.  This year was no different.  We had a great spot and everyone in the parade was excited and enthusiastic.  l the sun was a bit warm once it came over the buildings but there was a pleasant breeze every so often that cooled us down.  Once the parade neared its end we decided to split to beat everyone.  After some detouring 1 block away from the parade all was well. 

We then headed to a celebrity panel from the show Bitten on SyFy.  They did not disappoint.  Celebrity panels can be hit or miss sometimes.  Some panelists don’t have very good off screen personalities or the questions they are asked are by nervous 12 year olds who are just star struck being in the room with a person they’ve seen on TV. 

The Bitten cast had a great dynamic on stage.  Additionally the moderator, who has moderated panels that I’ve attended in years past, was an actual fan of the show.  She asked some very interesting questions that prompted some extremely interesting answers from the panelist.  This panel was also nice because it is a much more adult show and there were no young kids asking what their favorite color is.

After this we proceeded to what used to be my second favorite part of the con, the Vendor Show.  However, as I’ve become older and much more of a miser, I just don’t need an authentic replica of the U.S.S Starship Voyager complete with real action missiles or another adorable Pokemon (original series) coaster set.  I still enjoy going and seeing all the crazy pop culture stuff and for the second year in a row they moved it further away from the con.  I was in a better layout, but it was just as packed.  I escaped with only a $20 purchase at the Chessex table for a new set of dice because as they say, “You can never have too many dice.”

We were done with the vendors and we ran back to the room to drop off our newly acquired gear.  After taking a short breather we dove right back into the madness.  It was people watching time.  We headed over to the Marriott. 

It was madness in the best possible way.  100 different Deadpools, Mad Max crazies everywhere, stormtroopers, pokemon, you name it they cosplayed it.  We were fortunate enough to run into a Deadpool conga line headed downstairs to take a picture and had to wait 10 minutes for all of them to pass by.  We sat in what we call, “Our Spot.”  Low and behold Greyston Holt, one of the main characters from Bitten, walks by and Lainey was able to acquire a picture.  Needless to say she was giddy for the remainder of the con. After attempting to meet up with people and go to a few parties we were forced to call it an evening around 1:30am. 

Sunday Aftermath

Sunday morning, a day that only the mightiest of drinkers or minors great with any type of enthusiasm.  I, however, am neither but was able to ride out my con-high for free doses of adrenaline.  Lainey, on the other hand, was not so fortunate.  She has borrowed happiness from Sunday on Saturday night and the loan shark, the hangover, was here to collect his dues.  Casey and Robbie who had gotten in around 5:45am were still riding a buzz and were down to clown.

We headed out to grab breakfast and see what was left of Atlanta after the previous night.  We headed back to that bakery where we had eaten the day before.  Where there was a line of 20-25 people and not an empty seat in the house only 24 hours prior now sat a normal restaurant where we could walk right up to the counter, order, sit and receive our food.  It was a crazy comparison to make mentally.  After breakfast we headed to the Marriott just to make another crazy comparison. 

It was insane.  Chock it up to the hotel staff, but the place was clean and barren.  Where only 10 hours ago there was probably two-thousand people now stood barely twenty.  We walked around and enjoyed the temporary peacefulness.

Right around lunch time we headed back up to the room to see if Lainey was still amongst the living.  She was and while she wasn’t feeling great she wanted to get out and move around.  We went and grabbed some lunch at the food court, met up with everyone else, and said fare well to Stephen, Jenny and Jacob. 

We then had to go wait in line to get our picture made with Karen Gillian.  Robbie was super stoked about this and the picture came out great.  It took a little longer than I had hoped but still worked out. 

We then went back to the vendors to pick up some last minute items before they closed.  Afterwards, we met back up with as many people as we could and went to grab some pizza at Mellow Mushroom. 

Our friend Nikk, who was the reason I went to my first Dragon Con, highly recommended a puppet show for us to go to.  I know what you guys are thinking.  “Really? A puppet show?  Sounds lame.”  However, I did my research before and Reddit highly recommended it as well.  It started at midnight and the line was already wrapped halfway around the Hyatt. 

While sitting down in line, drunk people came by with their puppets and they were hilarious.  Our expectations rose with every passing felt character.  We entered the room, and we were excited. 

The puppet slam began.  The first one was funny-ish.  Then one came with these shadow puppets and it was AMAZING.  Then one came where he told the story of the Princess and the Frog as a “Swedish” person with only things found at IKEA.  This was funny.  However, pretty much everything else put us to sleep.

At one point a somewhat famous girl from “King of the Nerds” came on stage and began doing a puppet thing with her feet.  It was weird and I believe targeted to make her more popular on /r/feet.  The only thing interesting about that whole skit was when she fell of the stage.  We left shortly after that.

Last thing we did was take one last loop around the top of the Marriott.  Its always the most depressing time because even though the Con technically runs on Monday, no one really stays for anything. 

I had a great con and there was so much good about this year.  It kind of rekindled my love for Dragon Con from the year previous.  We are already working out plans for our next years costumes and trying our damnedest to stay in the Westin again.

There are two more articles in the series and I highly encourage you to keep reading because next I talk about the bad of the con.