A Guide to San Diego Comic Con

Waiting 22 hours outside with a thousand other women to gain entry into the one-hour Twilight panel with the lead actors. (Don’t judge!) Sitting so close to my favorite singer, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance, that I could see his fingers shake as he poured himself a glass of water. Following a mysterious tweet that led to a nondescript building transformed into the set of Alice in Wonderland.

Comic Con is full of win, there’s no denying that. Around 150,000 geeks, otakus, cosplayers, fanboys, fangirls, celebrities, and spectators from around the world descend upon the convention center for four glorious days of nerding out. Here are some tips to make your SDCC experience a rousing success. Get ready.

Advance Booking
I am assuming you’ve bought your 4-day pass already. If not and you want to go, do so now! It always sells out. I decided to go to Comic Con in November. The convention is in July. And half the lodgings available were already fully booked. Comic Con’s website has opening dates for their affiliated hotels. But if you’re going to reserve a dorm bed at a hostel or a room in a hotel not on their list, do so as soon as possible. Everything fills up and being in walking distance/free hotel shuttle distance is ideal.

Preparation for Panels
Plan everything you want to see in advance. Then, plan backups in case what you want to see is canceled or filled up. And be ready to wait. At Comic Con, that’s the nature of the game. If the panel you want to see is at 2pm, get there at noon or earlier. Yes, you’ll sit through panels you’re probably not interested in, but you will lay claim to prime seating and might get an unexpected surprise (like Johnny Depp showing up, true story). 

The food in the convention center is unhealthy, expensive, and generally mediocre. Prepare by bringing along a small bag with some water, snacks, and energy drinks. When you need to eat properly, walk several minutes away as the nearby restaurant prices are highly inflated.

Comfortable Shoes + Layers
Unless you’re in costume, do not dress cute. This is not the time. There’s a lot of walking so comfortable shoes is a given. Wear close-toed shoes as people will step on your feet. The panels are generally very cold, while it’s roasting hot outside. Bring a light jacket to take on and off. 

Bathe + Deodorant
Comic Con is really freaking exciting. But unfortunately, people tend to get lax in the cleanliness department. This creates a swell of body funk that is almost unbearable. To prevent adding to the problem, bathe daily and apply deodorant often.

Buy later + Sketches
The show floor, where the shopping is done, covers roughly half a million square feet. You’re like a kid in the biggest candy store, ever. It’s easy to want to run in there and impulsively buy whatever you fancy. Wait. If it’s not a super-rare-gotta-have-it-now-item, prices drop on Sunday afternoon, as vendors want to rid themselves of as much product as possible. Also, think about getting a one-of-a-kind sketch from a favorite artist or from an unknown. It’s a cool item you can’t get anywhere else.