Hey folks, according to their media website, when one is referring to Dragon Con, it should be typed as such. Which means I'll be saying D*C for the rest of the journal XD So, there are going to be two sections to this little review. I will start with "The Bad". I like to end things on a positive note, so I'll save all the good stuff for the end of the journal. Of course, I will section it off, so you can just skip to whatever you'd like! Without further ado, here are my impressions from my first Dragon*Con!The Bad:
So, I'm not going to lie, I did have fun at D*C, but
overall, this con did not live up to the hype that I experienced coming into it. There are a number of reasons for this. Let's start with the most obvious, and something that isn't necessarily the con's fault at all: The cell reception is TERRIBLE. Absolutely atrocious. I stayed on the 39th floor of the Westin, and STILL had bad signal. We'd have to be right up against the window to even get 3G. I missed being able to see/hang out/photoshoot with so many people that I had intended to because of the fact that my phone was either searching for a signal, or drained of battery. VERY frustrating, especially considering my next opportunity to see anyone will now be Katsucon 2014. Now, let's talk about the convention itself. This is definitely NOT a convention to have a set schedule for. With SO many people in one space, on top of the fact that there is no main convention center, it's a series of hotels, you're really at the mercy of how fast the crowds can move through the escalators and up and down elevators. And, to be honest, that was really awful. It was slow and backed up. Particularly in the Marriott and Hyatt, where there was no way they weren't violating fire code. Honestly, I avoided those places during the back half of the weekend unless I absolutely had to be in there. Also, APPROPRIATE SIGNAGE! Seriously, there were so many points as a new con goer where I had NO IDEA where something was because the signs were so weirdly placed, or lacking. Frustrating to say the least. The dealers' room also was a HUGE disappointment to me. Three stories of booths, and so very little that I wanted to buy. I walked out of that place with tons of money in my pocket. Finally, the staff. They were really really nice for the most part, but absolutely clueless or helpless when it came to directing me towards places. I ended up just going to hotel staff by the end of the weekend because 8 times out of 10, they knew what I needed to know. The D*C staff were incredibly uninformed at times, or unable/unwilling to control the massive crowding/lines that were forming and cutting of foot traffic in the places they were stationed to control. I'm sorry, but for one of the largest conventions in the US, I was shocked by how unorganized this whole con seemed. There needs to be a better game plan in place because it just seemed like a cluster you-know-what. I've been told this year was an abnormal one for D*C. I guess I'll have to take people's word for it.
PS- The photoshoot locations are really kind of limited, tbh. Not the greatest con for photos, and all of the good spots are usually over-occupied with cosplayers and photogs trying to get good shots. I still got some AMAZING stuff though, and am excited for it.The Good:
Let's start with the biggest thing, IMO: The city of Atlanta! The restaurants and hotel staff were so nice, and accommodating and friendly, it was such a breath of fresh air. Hell, even the police officers I encountered were just downright friendly and pleasant to be around. Major props considering I've seen the reverse happen so many times (*cough*AnimeNEXT*cough*Otakon*cough*). Now then, the con did do an amazing job of booking a wide variety of guests, and the few that I got to encounter were absolutely wonderful. (Side note: I GOT TO MEET JOHN BARROWMAN IN THE WESTIN! HE IS THE NICEST GUY EVER!) I got to meet and work with a lot of amazing cosplayers, as well as many friends, so with who I haven't done work with in so long! The photoshoot locations were a bit slim, but I feel that we did an excellent job in working around that! Plus, this con was wonderful in that I got to hang out with so many of my friends at once. From my wonderful roomies (including ~LeapingLeigh
, and *FushichoCosplay
), to the many other friends I saw (*SoulFirePhotography
and so many others who I'm forgetting their DA handle names, as well as getting to meet and/or work with new people like ~RanaMary
, and *AlouetteCosplay
(who I met, but I didn't get to work with, but hopefully will change in the near future!). Seriously, good friends and good times really really really helped make this con so much better. Also, aside from the negatives I mentioned above, I did seriously like our hotel. The layout was pretty nice, and it had a lot of conveniences that I'm not used to. Good stuff. Also, THE ASPEN COMIC BOOTH. I was super thrilled to get to see them in person, and picked up the limited edition Definitive Volume of Fathom. They even signed that and my badge (which had Aspen Matthews on it!) for free!!! That was absolutely thrilling and one of the best parts of my weekend, hands down. I did get to hang out with a ton of friends in terms of being able to socialize (and yes, drink, it's Dragon*Con, people). Also, there was definitely some Cards Against Humanity and Magic the Gathering action thrown in!The Lowdown:
Couple of things. I honestly would not mind going back to Dragon*Con now that I know how things work. BUT, it's definitely important to know how they work, and I wish there was more information out there about certain things. If anyone wants to know more, ask me questions, I'll answer them to help spread the knowledge as I made a point of going all over the con. Next year, I will NOT be planning a photoshoot unless it's the only way to shoot a costume I really want to. I think being more fluid will help me in terms of flexibility and not running around and getting frustrated. I also will be purchasing a Mophie Juicepack of some kind for my phone so I can charge on the go without having to plug into a wall. Probably will also look into a Camelbak as well, as I definitely did not stay hydrated enough XD. Also, I will never, ever, EVERRRRRR drive down to Atlanta again. EVER. The drive down was a 20 hour affair due to multiple accidents, and the drive back was about 12. Absolutely not happening. I will fly or I will not go. Period. Traffic was just waaaay too crappy to deal with. (Funnily enough, the easiest parts of my drive were getting into and out of Atlanta).
So that pretty much wraps up my recounting! Dragon*Con was a fun convention for me, and I got to see a lot of people, but it definitely had its faults, and I was not nearly as impressed or mindblown as people were claiming I would be.
Did you go to Dragon*Con? Let me know how yours went in the comments!
...see you space cowboys...