It’s the Sunday before the big day, and here are some things to keep in mind before you venture out on Thursday and start running around downtown San Diego.
The new SDCC App
SDCC has released a new app for people with smart phones to keep up with their daily schedules. They are now sponsored by NBC and including a schedule, on the side menu there is also a list of special guests, exclusives, exhibitors with attached maps, a social button that brings you to their different media outlets, and also a list where you can read the favorites that you marked.
The app is super helpful in planning for the day of, and definitely a huge improvement from their old app. Users with the new app should delete the old one before they use the new one.
Alongside the SDCC app, make sure to have your twitter, instagram, foursquare, QR code scanner, and Google Maps ready for any contests and or giveaways. A lot of the outdoor events want you to take pictures and tweet them or instagram them to get some of their swag, prepping those apps helps you get in and out faster!
Hall H Toucan Tracker Wristbands
If you are planning a trip to Hall H this year and you plan to wait outside, make sure to familiarize yourself with SDCC’s new Hall H Toucan Tracker Wristbands. This really only concerns people who are getting into the first panel after they let in people for the first panel the wrist bands are basically useless. They will be giving wristbands to the people in line, and the color of the wristband will determine what section of the line you are in. It doesn’t hold your place in line and it doesn’t guarantee anything, but if you don’t have a wristband when they pass it out don’t expect them to let you in if you jump in line with a friend. I am interested to see how the wristbands turn out, but so far it seems like a good system.
If you’ve been to SDCC you know the fun isn’t all inside of the con but outside of it too! Dustin Ma (@dustinmajitsu) has compiled an awesome map for con goers who can keep it up on their smart phone and find events all around the Gaslamp. Be sure to check out Nerd HQ at Petco Park, not to mention the Interactive Zone which will feature showcases from TMNT, Sleepy Hollow, Sin City 2, Adult Swim and more.
Where to Eat
Food at hotels are notoriously expensive, but it doesn’t stop my lazy ass from just going downstairs to the FOX grill at the Hilton to get a burger for dinner instead of going outside of the hotel area. Food around the area is expensive, but it’s better than eating the convention hall food which is grossly over priced.
Eat Your Comics compiled a restaurant list back in 2012 that I still find pretty useful these days. Throughout the trip, there will be people offering free food at promotional parties, keep an eye out. It also helps to keep with some bags of snacks and bringing some breakfast food for the early mornings.
New Exhibit Hall Set Up
The exhibit hall is notoriously crowded, from the WB booth being shut down because of the True Blood cast signing breaking fire code to the Summit Booth’s debacle last year with Ender’s Game and Divergent swag. If you like going to the big title booths like Marvel, WB, Lionsgate/Summit, Dark Horse, DC this year proves to be a possible bigger cock up than last year.
In an effort to, I assume, consolidate different genres into their own areas, they have managed to make the west side of the building a possible fire hazard for all five days of the con. The new map of the exhibit hall places big crowd attracting booths like WB, FOX, The Walking Dead, ABC, Lionsgate/Summit, Starz, BBC America, and Cartoon Network right next to each other. I’m sorry, whose grand plan was that?
They also have grouped together big name comic companies like Image, Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse in the very center. It’s hard to imagine a more packed area than the Marvel booth, with all of their booth signings, autograph ticket drawings, and random swag giveaway times.
A word to the wise, a lot of the security working the con will be rude, pushy, and incredibly harsh to the con goers. I’ve seen security guards knock over kids and and shove con goers, if you see any rough housing report the guard to their onsite manager. Some security is nice and pretty considerate, but when you have thousands of people pushing and shoving and trying to cut into jumbled lines, stress and emotion is bound to run high. Make sure you don’t end up on the receiving end of this.
Hall H/Ballroom 20/Autograph Lines
Know where you are, and where you’re going. With all of the lines at SDCC, you’re bound to get lost. I can’t count how many times I thought a line was somewhere and when I got there I realized they had moved it and it happens to be on the other side of the hall.
If you plan on going into a line for an autograph ticket, typically done by Warner Brothers and FOX, make sure to read up on SDCC Unofficial Blog’s post about it.It is the most comprehensive guide I’ve seen and is as accurate as you can get. If you are in line to any sort of autographing or exclusives, you need to be in the exhibit hall line, sometimes called the Ballroom 20 line, in the morning. Before the hall is open, there are only really two lines, one for the exhibit hall and one for Hall H.
For Ballroom 20 goers, check your schedule for the day, if you happen to have a panel right before a massively popular panel, get there super early. There is a good chance the line will be stockpiled with people who are there for that panel and are going to sit inside the ballroom for the whole day to see the panel they want to see.