SDCC Sundays: Top 10 Tips for Navigating the Exhibit Hall Floor!
If you haven’t already started breaking in those shoes for San Diego Comic Con, now is the time to start! We’ve previously discussed the importance of getting #SDCCfit and with only a month to go, there’s still time to start those daily walks and prepare yourself for the massive Exhibit Hall floor in the convention center.
With that tip in mind, we’ve put together a few more to remind newbies and veterans alike about things to keep in mind while navigating through the masses on the Exhibit Hall floor! Read through our list and let us know what some of your favorite tips, tricks, and booths to visit during SDCC in the comments!
Wear comfortable shoes. This can’t be expressed enough. Look at this picture from Gender Biased Reviews. They’ve figured out that the Exhibit Hall floor alone is 1,623 feet long and 304 feet wide – just from one end to the other, that’s a lot of walking. Save yourself the blisters and wear comfortable shoes because odds are you’ll make a few laps before the convention is over.
Use large booths to orient yourself and your group. The signage for the big booths is up high and usually very obvious on the Exhibit Hall floor. Unless you’re like me and only realize you’ve gone to the complete wrong end of the hall when you hit the Funko booth, using booths like Adult Swim, Marvel, Fox, Legendary, and WB should give you an idea of where you’re at on the floor.
Always ask what the line is for. You can jump in it while you’re asking, but you don’t want to spend half an hour standing in line only to realize it’s the line to buy food or for something you’re completely uninterested in.
The Fox booth usually gives out poster tubes at the beginning of the day. If you’re looking for a free way to transport all those posters you picked up (be honest, you went through that WB booth line a million times and now you have six million posters), head to the Fox booth first thing in the morning before the line is capped, that’s generally when they’re handing out poster tubes to attendees.
Have your camera ready. Celebrities do signings in booths like Marvel, AMC, WB, Fox and more. You won’t be able to stand in that area without a signing ticket, but you can walk by and snap a quick picture of your favorite celebs. They’re usually bottleneck points so you’ll have a few seconds, but then it’s definitely time to move on.
Move to the side to take cosplay pictures. First, make sure to ask if it’s okay to take the picture and then make sure you move out of the general flow of traffic in order to that it. Nothing is worse than holding up traffic or someone walking through your shot because you are holding up traffic.
Unless it’s an exclusive, never buy anything the moment you see it. Give yourself some time to think about it, especially if you’re going to be walking around with it for the rest of the day. This gives you the chance to check other booths for that Funko figure, price check, and decide whether or not you’ve got space in your luggage for it. If you’re still thinking about it the next day, definitely treat yourself!
Buy something in artists alley and the Small Press area. These people are the lifeblood of the industry and tabling at SDCC is not a cheap endeavor. Make sure to swing through Artists Alley and the Small Press area once or twice and pick up something that interests you. It’s a great time to branch out your tastes with indie comics or meet an up and coming artist that might turn into the next David Mack.
Don’t neglect the publishers section of the Exhibit Hall. We’ve got a future SDCC Sundays post in the works about how SDCC might just be a mini-BookCon all on its own, but in the meantime we just want to make sure you know! Hit up the publishers for advanced reader copies, swag (I picked up an external battery last year), and great conversations with the people at the booths!
Make sure you’re not ‘that person.’ Lines get capped, security has to clear out walkways, things happen when we’re all tired and smushed and desperate for swag. Keep calm and don’t become that person who cuts in line or says something unkind to the staff. Water and food go a long way in keeping your cool on the Exhibit Hall floor.
BONUS! If you’ve got a Preview Night badge, use it to your fullest advantage! Enter all the giveaways and lotteries for things like Lego mini-figs, hit up the Hallmark booth for those Star Wars exclusives. Booths also tend to be more generous with swag on Preview Night, so if you have to have that Vikings drinking horn, this is the night to grab it. It’s also a great time to orient yourself on the floor for the rest of the weekend – make note of those smaller booths you want to get back to. Set a reminder on your phone, make a plan, and conquer Preview Night.
Once you’ve weighed your bag down with swag, treated yourself to some amazing new purchases, and waited in all the lines, give yourself a break from the Exhibit Hall floor and go outside to eat while overlooking the water! It’s gorgeous, relaxing, and you might even catch some cosplay groups.