This isn’t complete and is just a copy/paste from the Google Doc I made to give to my other con-going friends that are DragonCon noobs. Feel free to comment and give me more to put in the doc for future DragonCon noobs! Also feel free to make fun of me and any mistakes I made. Have fun at DragonCon and look for the Crimson Bastards running around Saturday, Sunday and Monday wearing our logo tshirts running some D&D gaming sessions on the 3rd floor of the Hilton.
Josh’s Guide to Dragon*Con
1. Con Funk: There will be some small percentage of people that have a cold or otherwise some kind of germs. So your best bet is to not touch any or few handrails as possible. Use your elbows to hold open doors etc. Push elevator buttons with your knuckles, etc.
I don’t really worry too much about it and just wash my hands before AND after I use the bathroom.
2. Battle Plan: Use the PDF print out of the schedule they will have (or already have?) on the website to plan all the events and panels you want to see. You could just circle all the ones you want in that schedule after you print it so you’ll have a good idea of where you’ll be going each day. Try to make it to each thing 30 minutes ahead of time because the good stuff like the Back to Future panel last year had a line that went around the hotel and down 3 floors!!!! Also you will get lost trying to find these panels because it will just say Hilton Ballroom 3. So every hotel will have a dragoncon information booth right by the entrance so you can ask for directions. Use these as much as possible. It’s their job! The walk of fame is a giant room on the side of one of the hotel lobbies lined with tables and tv/movie stars. Expect to pay about $30-60 per autograph including some sort of picture or poster they sign. Usually about $20 or so for them to sign something you own and bring to them. Some of the more popular and current stars get bigger lines than others. It can be sad to see some of the TV or movie stars sitting alone behind their table with not a single person lined up to get their autograph. Don’t be afraid to just walk up and have a conversation with them! It’s things like that that make dragoncon unique! Where else can you go and just talk about stuff with movie and TV stars? I’m guessing any of these *cons but hey this one is within driving distance for me.
3. Food and Water: Stay hydrated! Bring your own water bottle around with you if possible! People pass out from heat/dehydration every single year because they eat once a day and drink mt dew and red bull without a single drop of water. I usually bring a refillable water bottle and a carabiner to hook the bottle to me somehow. I’ll keep a big bottle of gatorade in the hotel room or car to refill the bottle at times. Eat all three meals if possible and don’t ever overeat. You will hate yourself because you’ll be walking several miles a day to go between all the hotels. You’ll want to use your first bit of free time there to get to know where the skybridges are (2nd floor mostly) that go between all the hotels and Peachtree center (the big mall in the middle downtown) as that will be key to getting around. These bridges can get completely crowded at the busiest times.
4. Lots of People: During the busy hours of 10 am to 4 pm the skybridges and halls and hotel lobbies can get shoulder to shoulder crowded. This makes some people angry but I just go with the flow and get to where I’m going whenever I get there. So it’s really important to leave early to your panels and events. If you have a crazy costume with parts that hang way out there’s a good chance it will get pulled or broken accidentally so make sure it’s reinforced really well.
5. Costumes: There are certain times on certain days when large groups of cosplayers will take group photos. Usually the superheroes have a day and time and the video game characters have a day and time. I have yet to figure out where they post this to figure out when and where because I want to be in the video game one if there is one. I’ll probably only wear my costume on Saturday. It’s much easier to walk around in all that heat in normal shorts and a tshirt. Plus not having to keep track of my sword and shield is helpful.
6. The Parade: Everyone usually waits in line at the marriott for the bus to take you to the starting point of the parade. But it’s actually not that far of a walk and you usually get there faster since the bus is always stuck in traffic. I put a google map on the files section of the yahoo parade page that shows where to start. Then just go down the line looking for your assigned section. It does a lot of starting and stopping so make sure to pay attention to the people in front of you! Don’t pose too much for the cameras on the sides and waving to the kids (there will be lots of families and kids) like I did and run headlong into the person in front of you! It’s only a mile long but you will be crazy hot and tired afterwards. Make sure to tell your significant other or friends to be waiting at the end with water or gatorade because you will need it! Especially if you have a heavy/thick costume trapping in all your heat.