While the Hotel itself was bigger, the convention area was not. The Dealer's room and Artist alley especially suffered because of this. Compared with last year's venue the space they were given was ridiculous considering the amount of traffic that would going through. It was absurd that you couldn't stop to browse without possibly holding up traffic.
Even the lobby was pretty bad, what with the spontaneous dance numbers that would break out on one side, the games set up on the other, and it really being the only area where people could get pictures without fear of totally blocking traffic. If I was going to sum up the whole con with one word it would be "cramped".
Trying to get to the floors above was a headache. Between the congestion around the elevators which never came and were always packed ( I heard elevators got sunk because of the amount of people trying to get on) and the only set of escalators which stopped running at one point (expected I know), it was a wonder anyone got where they needed to go. And yes the fact that the DJ was placed right off the escalator which was also right near the main hall where the big events took place did not help the situation.
The quickest and sometimes only way to get down from above if you weren't too high up was to use the stairwells to get back down. However, the space was tight and the steps were precarious, especially with people going up and down passed you. This was not a issue for me since I had flat boots on but I imagine it might have been a problem for other people with less forgiving footwear and cumbersome costumes.
Also, I understand and appreciate the security, but being stuck in entrances because security is waiting for two or more people to retrieve their badges from wherever it is on their person was annoying after the first couple of times. While alone this would not have been a horrible thing, it overall added to the congestion and feeling of being packed on top of each other.
I don't know about the timing or spacing of the panels since I didn't even try getting to them after I missed a few because I couldn't get to/find them. I did notice that because the panel rooms were so close together that the waiting lines would merge together at which point it became confusing where the lines began and which line was waiting for what. I didn't even bother trying to get in line for autographs even though I very much would have liked to. Also the lack of descriptions on panels did not help matters.
Some of the events were placed in rooms that were too small for the amount people who be there and thus the con funk was pretty bad. For example the sleeping samurai and gaming rooms became unbearable after not to long.
Dealing with all the homeless people was a little unerving, especially when you are in costume and carrying around your bags and prop.
Having to deal with rude unknowledgeable staff.
The things I did enjoy about the venue was the outside location. There was plenty of parking places aside from the one for the hotel. Also, there were plenty of places to eat nearby and the food trucks outside were a great place to grab something. The outside entertainment was also a plus and a nice break from the stuffy confines of the hotel ( I agree Robbykun, the interior did seem a little more warm then expected, thank god I had my fan). I also enjoyed that there were a lot of great locations for cosplay photoshoots that were within a short walking distance.
I was also happy to see a wider variation among the vendors, as compared to last year where it seemed like the majority of the vendors were carrying more or less the exact same merchandise. And even though I did not get a chance to see any of the guests, I did think they had a great lineup of people. I am still crying over not getting Matt Mercer's or Johnny Yong Bosch's autograph.
The Hotel was impressive and overall it was a good con, though not great. For me the highlights of the convention were the people I meet/hung out with. Despite the low points, I will still be back next year if I can make it.
However,I do feel that they should try to find another venue either in Houston or back in the Woodlands for next year with a hotel/convention center combination to accommodate for the amount of guests, special attendees, and events that are being held. While the Hyatt had a lot going for it, there were just to many issues that don't have any sort of fix.
Anime Matsuri 2013
Anime Overload 2013
Last edited by A14jojo : 04-02-2013 at 11:46 PM.