Posted By Kathleen David on August 12, 2012
DragonCon is a very large convention. I use to say that unlike San Diego Comic Con, it takes place in several places but that kinda bit the dust this year when SDCC spilled out into the hotels and store fronts outside the convention center. However DragonCon navigation can be rather daunting.
There are a few things you can do before the convention to get ready. One thing that new technology has made it a little easier to find what you want to see. DragonCon has an Ap for that. I used the first version last year and downloaded the new version this year. It was the fastest way to find where I needed to be when and where other people and things were when I needed to find them. I haven’t played much with the new version but I can tell you between that and the convention map, I was not lost at all.
Go through the schedule and figure out what you want to see. Yes, there will be several things in several places that you want to see at the same time. I will say that giving a half hour between panels does make it possible to get from one hotel to another and see things. There will be lines for the more popular panels just like San Diego however at DragonCon (or as of last year) they cleared the room and let the next group of people in for the panel so if you are in that line (and they do count), you can get into the panel unless you are behind the person holding the end of the line sign.
Comfortable shoes that can navigate uneven pavement or various forms of floor are a must.
The hotels do put out water stations but bringing a bottle to fill is a really good idea. That way you can sip while you barrel around the convention.
Walked the dealers room AND the exhibit hall for things you might want to buy. I have found things at as much as a 10 dollar difference (Rare Dalek) between them depending where the booth is situated and what the dealers think they can get for it. If there is a one of a kind hand made thingy, then consider this, what will happen if you don’t get it? You might want to look around and see what else you can’t live with before buying. There is a lot of stuff to look at.
Speaking of Looking at Original Stuff and buying it. Don’t forget about the Art Show. It is in the Grand Hall West of the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Comic and Pop Artists alley is going to be in Grand Hall East like last year. Peter will be set up in Grand Hall East and that’s a good place to look for me unless I am on panels or walking to a panel.
One of the first things to do is look at the maps that you are given in your packet and are on the application. Figure out where things are situated can help a lot. Also it can be tricky since the tunnels to the other hotels can be on one of two to three floors depending on the hotel. Give yourself that whole half hour to make it between buildings because traffic can be fierce.
My schedule is pretty much set at this point. I am waiting to hear about one or two other things and then I will post. You will see me at the Puppetry Track the most this year.
So plan your strategy but allow for change. Also make sure to give yourself some downtime in there somewhere. DragonCon can be overwhelming at times even for the veterans of the convention.
I am grateful that I have gone to DragonCon as many times as I have.