Open Registration for San Diego Comic Con has come and gone. Now that the dust has settled and the tears have been shed, it’s time to figure out Plan B. Unfortunately, there are a lot of disappointed potential con-goers out there who just weren’t able to score SDCC badges this time. With each passing year it seems like it’s harder and harder for people to get them. (If you were among the unlucky you aren’t alone – none of us even made it out of the waiting room this year.)

A lot of people — myself included — have recommended that those of you who sadly aren’t headed to SDCC this year look into attending WonderCon instead. WonderCon is put on by the same people who run SDCC and there are still badges available!

WonderCon will run from Friday, March 25th through Sunday, March 27th in Los Angeles, California at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is the convention’s first year in Los Angeles after relocating from Anaheim, where it’s been held for the past three years.

What this means for you is that you’ve got just over a month to look into flights and make hotel arraignments. Oh, and to come up for an excuse to tell family members who may expect to see you that weekend since it is the Easter holiday.

Totally doable!

But don’t think of a trip to WonderCon as a ‘consolation prize’ for failing to pick up SDCC badges. WonderCon is an awesome experience in it’s own right. It’s just as fun but also a bit more laid back. And every year it seems to get better and better.

So don’t be upset if you’re missing out on SDCC this year, here are some awesome reasons to attend WonderCon instead!

It’s basically SDCC Lite.

Unlike a lot of the different conventions around the country, WonderCon is one of the closest experiences you’ll get to “the real thing.” It’s put on by the same people as SDCC, so a lot of things look and feel very similar. WonderCon has all the same kind of great panels and cosplay opportunities you’d see at SDCC with an awesome exhibit hall to explore as well.

And because it’s run by the same they can rely on their pre-existing relationships with big name networks, publishers, and companies to draw in some big name talent. They come out each year to promote lesser-known shows and films hitting theaters before SDCC – and they bring the stars with them for panels and Q&As. With WonderCon being in Los Angeles this year it’s anyone’s guess how many more celebrities they might attract for 2016!

Things feel a whole lot less hectic.

Because WonderCon is a “smaller” convention than SDCC things feel a bit less crazy. One thing that just about anyone will tell you about SDCC is that it’s incredibly fun – but also really hectic. People are constantly moving, you have to queue up for basically everything, and there’s inevitably a lot of disappointment.

WonderCon still has a lot of people milling about but it’s nothing like SDCC. There is no WonderCon equivalent to the Hall H or Ballroom 20 lines. You don’t have to line up at 2 AM and sleep outside to get in line for autographs. It generally feels like there are a lot more opportunities to get into panels and meet the people you want to meet. So the whole experience seems a lot more laid-back – especially for SDCC veterans.

The badges and the accommodations are cheaper.

This is a big consideration for the budget conscious among us. SDCC is amazing – don’t get me wrong – but it’s also pricey. You can attend all three days of WonderCon for about the price of just one day at SDCC. In total it costs just $65 to get badges for WonderCon while it would cost $205-$245 to attend SDCC depending on whether or not you score Preview Night. That doesn’t even take into consideration the hotel and travel costs.

Granted, if you’re coming from outside of California there probably won’t be much of a difference in the cost between traveling to Los Angeles as opposed to San Diego. The accommodations, though, are a lot cheaper for WonderCon. Last year if you wanted to stay in a Downtown hotel for SDCC you would be paying at least $250 a night – and often closer to $300 a night – for four or more nights in a row. Yikes. But for WonderCon all the convention hotels (with one exception) are around $150 a night for two fewer days. The savings add up!

There’s way less pressure when it comes to getting to WonderCon.

Another big plus is that you don’t have to deal with a hellish open registration process or Hotelpocaylpse either if you decide to attend WonderCon. Registration opens up each year usually around January and continues until they sell out. There are no waiting rooms. You just hop online and register!

That isn’t to say the tickets stay available until the day of the convention, though. Last year they sold out of three-day badges in early March and single Saturday badges sold out before that sometime shortly after SDCC open registration in February. Still, there are badges and hotels aplenty available still for this year – and the convention is just a month away!

Now is really a great time to become a WonderCon regular.

The convention grows each and every year and the move to Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Convention Center really could be a game changer for WonderCon. So far they’ve only committed to one year in Los Angeles, but depending on how things turn out this year they might just stick around. One great thing about WonderCon is that there is a lot of room to grow. Give it a few more years and WonderCon could easily become as big and awe inspiring as SDCC or New York Comic-Con.

So, have we convinced you yet?

I know that since the convention is only a month out it might not be practical for people to make big plans right now. That’s fine — WonderCon happens every year! With SDCC badges as hard to come by as they are WonderCon will be just as great an alternative next year as it will be this year.

Do keep in mind, though, that if you want to attend this year you better get on it! Badges and hotels are still available now but they’ll go quick. If things play out like they did last year they could run out of both in the next few weeks. Get things set up now so you don’t miss out.

We’ll see you there!

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