I went to my first convention ever this year, and it was San Diego Comic Con! It was such an awesome experience that I wanted to share my convention newb thoughts with all of you. So, here’s my story of my first convention ever!
Day one of the con began with me waking up in a downtown LA hostel (thanks to my friend who refused to let me sleep at Union Station and got me a room without telling me), really quickly changing clothes, and then figuring out the LA Metro system at 6:30 am. I had multiple friends from LA grimace in pain when I told them this, as the LA Metro is known for, shall we say, not being the greatest. Still, I managed to get on a bus, which brought me to the train station prior to my train leaving at 7:25 in the morning.
I actually only had to walk for a few minutes, paying attention to the departure signs, before I found where my train was and boarded without incident. The conductor warned us that it would probably be a very full train, so sit upstairs unless you’re disabled, don’t take more than one seat, etc. I sat downstairs (I have a dumb back, and carrying luggage upstairs would have been no bueno) and actually managed to lie down across two seats to sleep for two of the three hours of train travel. Yeah, it wasn’t crowded and had WiFi, so that’s a plus.
I got off at the Santa Fe Depot, but really should have gotten off a few stops earlier at Old Town. Seriously, it’s closer to the con, hotels, and also has lightrail and bus stops for those who need to do the transfer. But, I got off at the main station, so I had to deal with a few extra stops when I caught my lightrail. I was staying at Town and Country, so I caught the Green Line towards Santee and got off at Fashion Valley Transit Center, right outside the mall. According to Google Maps, it was a 0.8 mile walk to the hotel, so I headed down the stairs and started hoofing it with my bags in tow. It was not 0.8 miles. That walk was so freaking short, I would be surprised if it was half a mile. The good just kept coming.
Well, actually, there was a minor setback. Delta Airlines had a computer glitch or something happen, so many, if not most, of their flights were delayed for the day. This year, I received a guest badge for SDCC from a friend, so I couldn’t get my badge until she picked up hers. Since Delta was delayed, she came in several hours later than expected. Luckily, it wasn’t a huge deal for me, though I’m sure she hated that delay. I spend the time getting to know my roommate (we decided to room together over Twitter and had never met in person before), exploring the mall, and sleeping until she was in town.
I took the shuttle over to the con to meet up with her and, on my way, very briefly saw Kyle Hill and Ify Nwadiwe, so my day was already made. But then I got to meet my friend in person for the first time, despite being friends for over a year, meet her best friend, then meet another friend from our facebook group of con-goers. It was awesome spending time with them, but they were about to head to HopCon and several con parties, and I had the Game of Bloggers Meet Up, so we had to part ways for the evening. With badge in hand, I was ready for the conventure!
Quick Note: When you get your badge, you also get a bag to carry merch in as well as three books about the panels, maps, exclusives, booths, and general information you need about the con. A lot of this can be found online, but the physical versions were more helpful for me.
I still had some time before the meetup, so I decided to explore the area a little bit. The convention center where SDCC takes place is located on Harbor Drive in downtown San Diego. This location happens to be right by the water and by the Gaslamp Quarter, so there are some fun things to do in the area. Petco Park happens to also be right across the street, which was good to know since Nerdist’s Conival was taking place there and I definitely wanted to stop by Geek and Sundry’s area of that.
I still had an hour before the meetup and was done exploring, so I decided to sit and watch one of the areas of the con. As I was sitting, some awesome G&S people came by, so I called out to them and we got dinner at a wonderful Mexican restaurant, Lolita’s. Now, I’m a native NorCal girl, but, I’m sorry NorCal, SoCal has much better Mexican food, especially in San Diego County. There is no comparison. It’s to the point where, after I moved back up to NorCal after living in SoCal for two years, I had overwhelming cravings for Mexican food I could only get from a drive-through place in Oceanside, CA. Sorry, NorCal, but it’s true. Just look at this…
After dinner, it was time for the meetup! Now, I’m going to do a separate article on this event, but I’ll summarize briefly here. It was a ton of fun, I met awesome people, and may have drank my weight in Shirley Temples. After the meetup, I caught the shuttle back to my hotel, managed to get lost (seriously, the Town and Country is freaking sprawling, and it’s easy to get lost…for me), and eventually made it back to my room.
At that point, I was still amped from the day, so I planned out what panels I would attend the next day, figured out I would need to be awake in five hours, and finally managed to nod off. Day one was a success! Stay tuned for day two!