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Unread 09-08-2012, 06:03 PM   #16
Shuichi_Huggler
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I actually have a lot of complaints about Dragon*Con, my 20th convention. Not to say that I didn't have a good time, because I did, but there was a lot of bad that went along with that.

First, some good stuff:

- Overall, the actual hotel staff were really helpful and amiable. There were a few times when I felt disoriented and they were able to point me in the right direction.
- I was expecting a much longer wait to get an autograph from Gillian Anderson, but I stood maybe 10 minutes in line, so that was run efficiently.
- The restaurant in one of the hotels (cannot remember which), Sway, was delicious and the waiters and waitresses were great despite being surrounded by a bunch of weirdos.
- We saw Megan Jean and the KFB and they were phenomenal; it was nice that we could just plop down and watch.
- I got to meet Steven Yeun, who turned out to be a very nice guy, and was very polite and friendly.
- I found some pretty cool stuff in the vendor's rooms.
- The artist alley was amazing. I think I found the highest quality artwork there than I have at any other convention.

Now, for the not-too-good:

- Some of the convention staff were rude -- Rather than organizing things better, they would yell at people to move. One person actually hit my fiancee with some paper as she was getting off the escalator, telling her to hurry up. It wasn't for a lack of trying. The hotels were so congested that we literally could not move most of the time.

- The convention was very unorganized. We would try to attend a panel but when we got to the location listed on the program, we were told a line was forming in a completely different location. We tried to attend the masquerade on Sunday. I asked a man at the information desk where the line for it would be, and he told me to ask the 'guys with headsets' who were in front of the door for the event. I did, and I was told that if I wanted to get in line for the masquerade, I should come back at around 6:30 or 7 and a line would be forming. He said there were people already lining up but that they weren't supposed to be so staff was going to kick them out and form a new line.

I took his advice, but when we returned the same people were still in line. We waited to see if a new line was going to form, but after about 45 minutes nothing had happened. I went over to a different guy sitting in front of the door and asked where I should line up for the masquerade. He informed me that the "unofficial official line" was out the door and down the street, and that they were just going to use that one. A few minutes later a lady came up the escalator and started yelling at everyone to 'get up and leave the area.' I was very tempted to just stay put, because why follow the staff's rules if they were going around breaking them themselves?

Apparently there was either a severe lack of communication or no one cared about the attendees who were actually trying to do what they were told to do. It's no wonder people at the con got away with whatever they wanted, since they were used to staff just letting them slide when they themselves had messed up in organizing these events. I have never attended a convention this unprofessional before. I know that may sound silly, but of the 19 other cons I've been too, they at least knew how to organize things so they weren't a total disaster.

- It has simply gotten too big for 5 hotels, although they are trying to shove it in. I have no idea why they sold so many badges when there obviously was not enough space for all those people. As I said before, the majority of Friday and Saturday I could barely move. It made wearing my cosplay nearly impossible, because I was carrying a large prop that kept getting bumped because no one could help it. As cosplaying is the main reason I go to conventions, that put a severe damper on the whole thing. To make things worse, although it was bad organization that allowed all these people to attend, the attendees were the ones being lectured and yelled at for just trying to get where they were going or take a rest after moving through a crowd so thick they couldn't breathe.

Last edited by Shuichi_Huggler : 09-08-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 10:06 AM   #17
supergeekgirl
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I had no problem with the way they formed the lines in other areas as long as someone was near the door of the room to tell you. The line setup in the Westin worked great for the big Whedon panels. I went to several and was only confused for a moment about why our line was put three floors away. When I got to the room where they queued us, it all made perfect sense. Also, I didn't have any problem just walking into the fan panels. Guest panels, yeah, some were entirely full. Some of the big events as well, but overall, this year they had put the bigger stuff in bigger rooms and alleviated the issues we had last year of standing in line for an hour for a fan panel just to get in the room. In fact, I ended up walking right into the Sylvester McCoy panels partway through, and even the Adam West/Burt Ward panels had plenty of room.

The one place that did give me issues was the Walk of Fame. It was just so much more crowded than last year, and the floor lines were entirely ignored. Lines were forming across the walkways, and the volunteers in there seemed at a loss on how to get everything organized (and even at a loss about which line went to which celebrity). Last year, that room was much less crowded and much more organized. Don't know what changed. More celebs in a smaller area or something? Less experienced volunteers? Don't know.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 02:45 PM   #18
TheFontBandit
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I should also add that registration was amazing this year. We went on Thursday afternoon and were pretty much in and out with no hassle, so extra kudos to those running reg!
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Unread 09-10-2012, 03:16 PM   #19
nathancarter
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We were in-and-out of registration on Friday afternoon in under five minutes. The longest part was me trying to dig my ID out of the pockets inside my costume, and then posing for a couple photos in the registration area. However, on Saturday morning there was a line out the door, down the block, around the corner... in the Atlanta heat.

On crowds: We went to two small panels, and got there about 45 minutes early for each one, so we had no problem getting in. I assumed ahead of time that the big giant panels and the celebrity areas wouldn't be a good investment of limited time, so we didn't even plan to go to those at all. I wanted to go to the parade, but we (read: she ) slept late - but after looking at the photos I'm not sad we missed it. Seems like there were some fantastic costumes, but the crowds along the parade route would have made it so hard to watch. We wanted to go to the burlesque show on Saturday night, but by the time we got back from the aquarium the line was already a mile long, and her feet were hurting, so we just went back to the hotel to sleep.

We walked to the aquarium and took the bus back. There was only one bus running at 11pm, and we got on the bus right in time to hit collegiate sportsball competition traffic, so we sat for a while. I feel bad for the people waiting for the bus after us.

Lessons learned:
1. Stay hydrated. I didn't do this on Friday and I felt it the whole weekend and on into Monday.
2. Start exercising for next year, TODAY. I don't need to lose weight, but I DO need to get in shape, both cardio and muscle tone - especially for carrying that heavy photo pack on Saturday.
3. Schedule my photo sessions better. It was my first time doing scheduled photoshoots at a con, and I spent a lot of time organizing/meeting/waiting/walking - and I missed a couple of other things because of it. Still, came away with a bunch of cool photos and met a lot of fantastic people, so I don't consider it a loss.
4. Stay closer to the con area. We stayed at the Airport Marriott, which was ten miles out. If we had stayed on site, we wouldn't have had to waste so much time doing the commute/park/walk. And, I could have kept going when she needed to rest. We got reservations for the Sheraton for next year already.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 04:47 PM   #20
supergeekgirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
We were in-and-out of registration on Friday afternoon in under five minutes. The longest part was me trying to dig my ID out of the pockets inside my costume, and then posing for a couple photos in the registration area. However, on Saturday morning there was a line out the door, down the block, around the corner... in the Atlanta heat.
I heard that, while pre-registration was just fine all weekend, at-con registration on Saturday had a horrendously long wait. I went in to pre-reg. on Thursday and got my badge in about a minute.
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Unread 09-28-2012, 01:17 PM   #21
beatdownboogie
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Had a great time as always.

My only wish was for the section of road where the parade ends to be shut down temporarily because people standing on that side of the road ended up seeing more car traffic than parade participants. It seemed like the crowd thought that section was going to be closed as the police had moved into the intersection but then the police only halted cars a couple times for a bigger float. I was just disappointed because I wanted to make a badass parade video this year and couldn't find an angle.
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Unread 09-28-2012, 04:17 PM   #22
supergeekgirl
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Originally Posted by beatdownboogie View Post
Had a great time as always.

My only wish was for the section of road where the parade ends to be shut down temporarily because people standing on that side of the road ended up seeing more car traffic than parade participants. It seemed like the crowd thought that section was going to be closed as the police had moved into the intersection but then the police only halted cars a couple times for a bigger float. I was just disappointed because I wanted to make a badass parade video this year and couldn't find an angle.
It was shut down last year. I don't know why it wasn't this year.
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