Some of us can remember our first experience at SDCC: paying 10 bucks at the window for a ticket, the smell of moldy worn carpet, the expectant looks on creator’s faces as they sit at their brown folding table, and sitting front row to listen to some guy make his spiel about why spotting blacks will never catch on as an art form in the 21st century. OK, ok, maybe that was my first experience that I share with a few others. What’s unfathomable now is that little preparing was needed during those lackadaisical days, other than bringing a backpack, a pocket full of money, and a bargaining game face.
My oh my, how things have changed. After a 10 year lapse of judgment in which I followed a guy around the world, I came home to So Cal with an overwhelming need for my comic book roots. I knew Comic Con had changed, but I never thought I would have a first-timer experience once again! Yes, last year I was a born-again SDCC virgin. But wowee! After SDCC had his way with me, I came out his thoroughly used mistress. And as any good mistress will tell you, I made sure I learned all about Master and what to expect from him next time.
SDCC has become a mega-beast in all of his transmedia glory, in which preparing and planning is not only essential, it is necessity to survive it. Starting in February, when I was graced with the foreknowledge of entry to SDCC, I started to tweet tips of knowledge that SDCC 2012 had bestowed upon me. As the number of tip tweets grew, many people asked me to write them out because backtracking tweets can be a pain in the hindquarters – aka laziness. These tips will be updated as I learn more lessons. Follow me @alimadusana or Jeremy @jeremyshane as we navigate SDCC 2013 and tweet happenings for The Outhouse. If you have a tip you want me to add to the never-ending list, hit me up on twitter @AlimaDusana or send me a message to ~Alima~ at The Outhouse!
1. Stay at a hotel inland or south of Downtown that is close to a trolley station. The trolley will drop you off right across the street from the convention center. The best part? There is no need to pay for parking at most trolley parking lots, and you don't have to fight traffic.
1.5 For the more experienced SDCC goer, @DickComicCon tweeted: Just sleep in the Hall H line.
2. Verizon sucks, and most likely a lot of other carriers will too. Unless you're using data very early or late, 3g/4g/wireless won't work. Switch it off and save your battery for calls and pictures.
3. The Convention center cranks the AC at night to make it not so stuffy and hot when it is at full capacity, but in the morning it's FREEZING. Dress in layers if you get cold easy. And ladies, unless you want your picture taken by creepazoids, make sure the bra is slightly padded.
4. Use the Coat Check to store stuff. Think of it as an extra closet. It’s cheap if you use it right!
- A. Bring a cooler of food and drinks to save of buying expensive convention food.
- B. Bring extra boards and poster canisters
- C. Blankets, pillow, jacket for Line H.
- D. Costuming and change of clothes.
5. Badges are your lifeline to all things SDCC. Protect it by bringing a strong safety pin to reinforce your badge to your lanyard or self. If it’s stolen or lost, it'll cost you about 80 bucks to replace it.
6. If you are getting signatures, bring a silver sharpie for dark backgrounds, black for light backgrounds, or bring lots of colors to coordinate with the art.
7. When claustrophobia attacks and you need a breather, take a stroll or grab the cooler from the Coat Check to have a picnic at Embarcadero Marina Park South located right behind the convention center. It’s on the water with lots of scenery.
8. If you are in the Convention Center and in need of a quick drink without long lines, go upstairs to the carts near the main meeting rooms.
9. 1st timers, there is life outside the Convention Center! Go across the street and check out stations on Harbor St. SDCC related. Freebies!
10. Go to The Old Spaghetti Factory if you are going to try a restaurant. This is not so much a tip, but a great food experience. Make sure to leave time and room free spumoni at the end of your meal. PLUS, they have a gluten free menu and pasta! Go across the street from CC and head down 5th Ave, one block on the right. 275 5th Avenue San Diego CA 92101 US 619.233.4323 http://www.osf.com/
11. Do you want to cosplay? Security requires badges on at all times. Make room for it on your costume in a location that is easily removable for pictures.
12. STUDY the program, make a list of what you want to do and see, and then prioritize. Use the Comic Con scheduler to help and see what overlaps. Commit! http://www.comic-con.org/cci/my-schedule
13. Another Cosplay tip. Go to http://www.welovecolors.com/ for leotards, tights, fishnets, leggings, gloves in every color!
14. San Diego waterside has two temps: hot by day, and frigid at night. When the sun goes down it can get cold on the water. Bring a jacket. Remember you can store it at Coat Check.
15. Unless you are a photog, bring a decent point-&-shoot camera. SLR's are a pain (sometimes literally) to carry and phone quality pictures are not great to process.
16. Take no prisoners! Stake your claim in line and hold tight! Many people will stand beside you and ask questions in order to cut. Use Vulcan grip sparingly, or better yet, inform the security.
17. Cosplay - Remember, you'll have pictures taken from ALL angles. Check your backside & undersides in addition to your front. Trust me.
18. Are you bringing comic books to get signed? Use colored post-it tabs that resemble the Press color the creator represents and stick them on the plastic sleeves. Write down the times and booth numbers ahead of time on the note and organize them in order. This saves a lot of time!
19. Many famous creators have ticketed drawings for signatures. Check your program’s Autograph Schedules section to see if/when they are holding drawings. They can be an hour before or up to a day before.
20. Unless you are planning on buying tons of toys, bring a small bag/backpack to carry your SDCC swag bag on the 1st day. It really is a pain to maneuver. Or check it into Coat Check!
21. You'll have better luck finding an outlet to charge a device in a bathroom than the lobby. OR as Kilted Jedi @KiltedJedi01 tipped to me: bring a power strip to recharge cell phone/ laptops. You can always plug in with others and make new friends :)
22. If you are a toy person or a mega buyer of items, there is a FedEx in the Convention Center that will box and ship your items. Be sure to check prices vs. the USPS down 1st st.
23. - Y'all have heard to wear good shoes. To add: wear PRE con shoes that have been tried out first. NEVER wear brand new shoes.
24. Panels and Events are not only in the Convention Center. Next door at the Hilton Bayfront, in the Indigo room, are some really great panels. Wear your badge.
25. Go Paperless! If you have a smartphone and want to collect contacts, download a business card app that lets you take pictures and organize the cards. This makes it a lot easier to store and arrange.
26. Some yummies for the boozers hitting the nightlife. http://www.dickslastresort.com/domains/sandiego/ … / https://www.facebook.com/ALTITUDESkyLounge … / http://www.207sd.com/#/home / http://www.barbasic.com
27. HAND SANITIZER. PLEASE. Louis Pasteur was on to something. Google Nightmare Bacteria. Now think 130,000 people in a very packed environment. PLEASE.
28. Get your SDCC merchandise fast! They go first before all else! Be prepared to stand in a long line. To find the end, look for a person holding “End of Line” sign. PS. The standard lanyards when you check in are the sponsor's lanyard, not the SDCC lanyard.
29. You will NOT go to Hell for attending SDCC no matter what the religious nuts on the corner shout! Just laugh and be merry. Consider it a right of passage.
30. Found this site: http://sketchprices.com for artist's prices. Might be helpful to some with budgeting before Con.
31. Shop around if you have time. There are MANY MANY stores. One might be a better discount than another. And if it’s not a hot item, Sunday is sales day.
32. Ticktacks, Orbit, HubbaBubba, ... bring something to keep dragon breath down to minimum, and keep lots of extra on hand to "share".
33. There are usually some great sponsored food carts outside. Last year History Channel had the Cross Country Cookout trailer. That was some good BBQ! It pays to walk around outside!
34. Did you drink too much at an after-party and don't want to smell like it the next day? Steam hard in the bathroom (or sauna at hotel), workout for 20 minutes, and scrub well in the shower.
35. Parents: Last year strollers were not allowed in program/panel rooms. Stroller parking at the room is 1st come 1st serve and not monitored. Make sure you bring with you anything you don’t want stolen.
36. - The best placed to meet your group is 2nd floor to the right facing the building. The lobby is always packed. Make sure to coordinate times because cell service can be sketchy.
37. If it's warm out and you're craving tasty icy goodness, go down 5th street to Chocolat Cremerie for great gelato.
38. As with most Cons, Sunday's are sale days! Get something fun or new at a discount, but don't wait till the last for must haves.
39. Have younglings? Visit the Children's Park across the street, northbound. There is a pond with ducks, jungle gyms, play areas. Best of all? IT’S FREE
40. Need a grocery store? Ralph's market: Go down 1st Ave to Market. It's on the right. Con Shuttles also make a run by it as well.
41. SUNBLOCK. I relearned for the nth time, even 20 min outside when it's a little overcast and breezy, you will burn in the San Diego sun!!
42. Be sure to look up inside the Convention Center and at bars. Lots of things are going on above your head more than you realize, and celebrities are known to gallivant in higher altitudes in the private areas.
43. This is a blanket and blowup pillow that can be useful for long lines. I have it in pink and I love it! http://www.walmart.com/ip/ful-Fleece-Blanket-and-Pillow-Combo/22955726 …
44. Major crowds give you anxiety? Look into getting GABA and B vitamin for a natural way to handle it. They can be found at many vitamins shops.
45. 7-Eleven is on 9th near J street. Slurpee's, money services, fresh donuts and coffee, and lot's more available! https://www.7-eleven.com
46. Have an extra day for fun? The Coronado bridge(big blue one) is free on Sundays or any other day for carpoolers. Check out the historic Hotel Del Coronado. It’s swims in history, has a basement shopping area, is somewhat a museum, and has an art gallery. Plus the beach view is gorgeous! Be sure to scoop up some pirate sand as a souvenir.
47. Taking the trolley? Check out the multi day passes which are a lot cheaper than one way. http://www.sdmts.com/fares.asp
48. Don't forget to check out the side area next to the Hilton Bay. Last year there was a great set up of the Batmobiles.
49. Get to know the SD Convention Center (SDCC, ha!) floor plan beforehand http://www.visitsandiego.com/exhibitors/floorplans.cfm …
50. If you are more of a USPS type of person, Horton Plaza has a post office. Mind the hours and it is closed Sunday.
51. Use a large carabiner to carry multiple swag bags or small ones to clip bags to a backpack. I like this one from Home Depot, or they have them at Do-It Center too http://www.homedepot.com/p/Workforce-HangAlls-Carabiner-51121/100522297#.UbPiO5z9WSo …
52. Ladies - DO NOT give the guy with the shirt "Free Hugs" a hug. It’s not free!! He will want to follow you around as payment. Leave him be!
53. A lot of the "experiences" surrounding SDCC that are usually reserved for press are opened at a later time for public. Just ask
54. Rent a bike to explore downtown. Stayclassybikes.com will deliver the bike to the hotel, along with a helmet, Ulock, pump, pedals. If you are staying at a hotel, when you are done, leave the bike with the lobby and they will come get it. http://stayclassybikes.com/rates.php THEY REQUIRE RESERVATIONS.
55. Safeguard your registration papers in a Ziploc bag because I've heard many stories of shampoo, water, rum, etc. ruining them. BTBSTS
56. @Jeremyshane tweeted about making sure you are aware of your bags and strollers when inside the convention so as not to hit anyone.
@bleujay27 tipped: B kind to those of us in wheelchairs!! Every year I get bowled over and pushed aside :(
58. For my friends with physical disabilities wanting to experience the beach, it's FREE to rent manual or motorized beach chairs at some beaches. Reserve fast! http://www.sandiego.org/articles/accessible/beach-wheelchairs-san-diego-beaches.aspx …
59. Persons with a disability should go to http://www.access-sandiego.org/ to find out important info how to best experience SD
60. Bringing a furry child? The North Beach Dog Run is located on Coronado Island off of Ocean Blvd. at Sunset Park next to the U.S. Naval Station. LEASH FREE!
61. BEER. GOOD BEER. Beer tasting at L street off of 14th. http://missionbrewery.com
62. Medication: Airlines require them be in their original bottles. If you are going carry a couple pills on you, be sure to carry a prescription label on you, otherwise you can be arrested for possession. Pharmacy can give you extra labels.
63. Traveling with medication laws. http://www.iamat.org/blog/index.cfm/2012/7/20/What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Travelling-With-Medications …
64. Does heat get to you? Take a hanky. It’ll help in stuffy conference rooms, and PLEASE wipe hand them before shaking anyone elses.
65. ChanceBoren tipped: Park at Qualcomm stadium and enjoy the trolley right to the front door. It’s a great way to start and finish each day.
@PJKittyTipped: Order or print up business cards with your social media contact info to give to people you meet in lines so they can friend you
@KiltedJedi01 Tipped : Get inflatable chairs w/ small pump to stay overnight in the hall h line. There light and fold up nicely in a backpack.
68. HNutz says: Be courteous. Don't be the guy who wants a full long box signed and wants it signed NOW. - Angela's note: Some artists don't mind if you drop off some to be signed and come back a day or two later to pick them up. Many prefer it.
69. HNutz says: It's probably better now, what with everyone having smartphones, iPads, etc but if you want art of a pretty specific costume or obscure character, the artist may require reference material.
70. Deodorant! I know it seems like common sense to wear it, but like HNutz said, reapply as needed. There is a fine line between funk and pheromones.
@drzarrontips: It’s often faster to go outside when going from one end of the main hall to the other rather than fighting the gridlock
72. TEST your bags NOW of everything you plan to carry around SDCC! Remember it will most likely get heavier by 30-60%!!
73. This one is inspired by a tweet by
@Thevfrye74 : Check your camera, it's settings, lenses and batteries! Get to know it before Con
@Thevfrye74 tipped also: You should also add make sure you got clean panties..no one likes Victoria when her secret is not a good one.. lol!