San Diego Comic-Con International is huge. Really huge. And if you've never been to the multi-media comic/movie/TV/publishing geekfest, then you might find yourself overwhelmed with the programming offered, not to mention the sheer number of people. But thanks to Robert Silva, the Home Theatre expert and Comic-Con veteran warrior, he's offering his Comic-Con survival tips. Trust him - he knows.
Parking fills up fast - if you are going on Friday or Saturday and you are planning to park your car - try to get there by 7:30 am - park and go eat breakfast and then get in line to get in - doors open at 10 am - but you will be allowed to go upstairs in the Sails Area at 9 am where you can use the restrooms and check out the Freebie Table. This will also give you time to check out the schedule to see what you would want to do for the day.
Tip: when you check in and get your badge, make sure you receive a program schedule.
Know the Lineup Rules
The most massive lines are for the panels in Hall H. People wait for days to vie for seats for those high demand panels. So, that being said, there are rules for lineups: Camping is not allowed. No tents, canopies, inflatables, cots, beds, furniture, large coolers, heaters, large fans, large umbrellas, chaise lounges, open flames, or anything of similar size of any kind as determined by the Convention Center. You are allowed to have one chair per person of relatively normal size. You may use a sleeping bag or blanket as well, provided it is only taking up the space of one person. No "saving" a spot in line unless it is only temporary, such as a restroom break.
Go for Comfort
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing - you will be doing a lot of walking and standing.
Make sure to bring a small backpack for your snacks and freebies - also, a lot of the booths hand out carrying bags to put stuff in that you pick up for free or purchase.
Tip: Comic-Con International's shuttle expands to 24-hour service this year, stopping at over 60 different locations in downtown, Mission Valley, and hotels near the airport on Shelter Island and Harbor Island. This can save your feet too!
BYO - Bring Your Own
Bring water and snacks with you. Suggestions: Small botted water that you can refill from the drinking fountains, fruit and/or nuts, cookies. If you buy food on site - the best bargains are the pizza slices sold in the mezzanine, the individual pizzas sold in the exhibit hall, or the Greek gyros sold by one of the carts - the prices are more than outside - but not to bad for these items - avoid the hamburgers and hot dogs. There are options in San Diego too.
The most important thing to make your time at Comic-Con enjoyable is to plan out a strategy on how to spend your day. Check out the program and mark what programs you really want to go to and an alternate in case you can't get in or don't want to wait in a long line. If you are going on one day only - check the programs and find the booths you would be most interested in and check those out first, then check out the nearby booths for other fun stuff.
Tip: If you get tired, there are tables to sit at, but the best place to take a break, if you can find a seat is up on the Mezzanine - there are a bank of windows that give you a panorama view of the entire convention floor - it is a great photo spot.
Take cash ($5s and $10s are best) - even if you don't think you will buy much - take some money to cover unexpected expenses - especially for parking or food - There are two Starbucks on site. There is an ATM on-site and many booths do take credit cards.
Don't Make It Too Realistic
Simulated or costume weapons are allowed as a part of your costume, subject to prior approval by security and compliance with the following:
All costume weapons must be inspected at the Weapons Check Desk in Lobby E.
- All costume weapons must conform to state and federal law.
- Projectile costume weapons must be rendered inoperable.
- Costume swords must be tied to your costume in such a way that they can't be drawn.
- After each person's costume weapon has been checked, it will be tagged by security, and you will be given a wristband to wear to designate that your weapons have been checked.
- Security will escort you to the security station for inspection if your costume weapon is not tagged.
Strollers? At Comic-Con? Why?
To those parents who insist on bringing small children and strollers, let it be known that you can't bring the strollers into certain halls and rooms. For safety reasons, the Fire Marshall will not be allowing strollers inside the programming rooms. This includes rooms 2, 4, 5AB, 6A, 6BCF, 6DE, 7AB, 8, 11AB, 23ABC, 24ABC, 25ABC, 26AB, 28E, 32AB, Ballroom 20, and Hall H.