Just a few short weeks ago, I was a Con virgin…and I sacrificed myself to the Gods of MegaCon over Memorial Day weekend. You guys – this was a serious Con to attend as a newbie. I knew what I was in for, but I didn’t really know what I was in for. I guess they don’t call it the Beast of the Southeast for nothing. Thankfully, I didn’t have to brave this alone. I gathered the Geek Girl Squad (Karen, Liz, and Jess) and we ventured to the Orange County Convention Center for an awesome time at MegaCon 2016.
I wasn’t able to attend MegaCon 2016 on Thursday or Friday, but I did make almost a full day out of it on Saturday and was there for a while on Sunday, too. To be honest, I didn’t really plan anything out in regards to panels, Q&A’s, etc. I had a few things that I knew I would like to attend if I could, but I didn’t want to miss out on any random unplanned fun either, so I just decided to go with the flow. I also found it hard to really narrow down what I wanted to do. There was so much going on at all times that it was difficult to decide exactly what I wanted to see and do. I guess you can say I felt overwhelmed by all of the options.
Although I imagined myself rocking some awesome cosplay, I decided that some jeans, converse, and a trusty Jordandene shirt would make for better Con attire. I’ve not seen much cosplay in person, but holy crap on a cracker, these people get all of the kudos for not only putting together great looks, but for being able to wear it ALL day long. I can’t imagine wearing the heavy clothes and the tall shoes, but all the cosplayers did it like it was no big deal. Let’s just say I was impressed.
While I can’t speak to the crowd level on Thursday and Friday, I can say that Saturday was bananas! Apparently 100,000 people were expected to come to MegaCon 2016 and I believe it. Traffic near the Orange County Convention Center is definitely not great. Parking also fills up fast. I was grateful that my husband dropped me off relatively close and just u-turned to get away from the madness. The crowd getting in was, understandably, insane. I did learn from the crowd to always pre-purchase my ticket. The lines to get in and purchase tickets on site were loooooong.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself during my two days there. It takes a long time to go through the vendors and Artist Alley, but it was so fun seeing all of the cool stuff people create. I’ll admit I’m a serious enabler when it comes to others making purchases, so I was all too happy to encourage Karen to purchase all kinds of nerdy art for her house. Surprisingly I made it out not spending too much money of my own. There were probably a million things I want to buy, but I just don’t know where to put them so I resisted busting out the wallet.
The best part of MegaCon 2016, aside from my friends making it wonderful, was meeting John Barrowman and attending his panel. I just started watching Doctor Who a week prior to this event and on Friday night before going to MegaCon I had finished the first 2 episodes where we first meet him. I instantly fell in love with him, because I mean, hello, he’s so friggin awesome. Karen is the best person EVER and asked us to join her in her photo op with him (she also brought us cupcakes – THE BEST). Obviously I couldn’t turn that awesome opportunity down. The photo literally lasted like 20 seconds as they usher you in and out as fast as they can, but oh was it magical. I made sure to wrap my arm around him extra tight 😉 His panel was hilariously good – you can tell he truly enjoys being around his fans and very much appreciates them.
All in all, I had a fantastic time. Attending MegaCon 2016 with my Geek Girl Squad made for a most excellent day. I’m glad I kind of went the the unplanned route this time as I really got a feel for the convention scene and enjoyed taking it all in. Next time, I know I’m going to want to do more planning to attend more events, and I’ll probably want to spend more days at the convention, too. My next event will be at Florida SuperCon where I’ll be on a panel (eek!) with the wonderful Meli and some other fantastic bloggers talking about geeky fashion, so stay tuned.
5 Tips to Survive Your First Convention
- Don’t overbook yourself. There is so much to see and do at a convention, but just seeing all of the stuff and taking it all in was probably my favorite part. I absolutely loved the panels and such that I went to, but I’m glad I just enjoyed myself and took my time exploring all of the goodies MegaCon 2016 had to offer.
- Dress comfortably. Assuming you’re not really into cosplay and can handle being in your attire all day, I vote comfort is the way to go. I did go for a casual cosplay look with a geeky tank and matching jewelry, but it was comfortable and easy to move around in. I feel like had I really dressed up, I might’ve been far too distracted with my costume (and not to mention stopping to take pics). As always, to each their own, but for a first Con, and at the very least on the first day of the Con, I’d be comfy just to get the lay of the land.
- Buy tickets in advance if you can. I would say the part of the Con that looked the least organized to me was the ticket purchasing. People were just piling up at tables trying to register and get in. Not to mention it just takes so much more time to go through the process of getting tickets on site. Getting there early helps to as the later in the day, the longer the line gets.
- Bring snacks and water. Those food lines are a whole new definition of long. Not to mention the food at convention centers tend to be pricy and not all that tasty. I made sure to have a few protein bars and a few small bags of snacks to eat when I was hungry but not ready to wait an hour for food. Having water is also a must. Sure it’s heavy to lug around, but with all the walking and talking, you will get thirsty and it beats trying to drink from a water fountain with luke warm water that barely comes out.
- Plan your budget for purchases. It is so easy to go spend crazy at a Con. I mean, there really are so many awesome things it’s hard to not want to buy everything. I made myself through a pass through of everything first before making a purchase so I would stay within my budget. It’s easy to see something and fall in love, but after seeing everything else in artist alley, I was able to decide want I really truly wanted. This definitely helps the wallet not empty out so quickly 🙂
What (and when) was your very first Con?