After six years of attending anime conventions, it is pretty easy for me to feel like I have seen it all. However, like many people know, each convention is a beast all of its own. Every convention has its unique quirks and specialties. Dragon Con is no different in this regard.
Aside from the massive number of Captain Americas and Steampunk cosplays, Dragon Con is different from some of the other conventions I have been to in the fact that it is spread across several different hotels, and thus spans several blocks.
The beauty of this spacious layout is that each group — gamers, cosplayers, artists, panelists, etc. — have their own space to spread out in a sense. The problem with this design can be heard in the grumbles and seen in the tired faces of attendees as the convention progressed.
Dragon Con is known for its long lines and crowds. Additionally, the large span of the convention causes con-goers to potentially trek long distances to get from. For instance, the gaming hotel to the food court. Having been to Anime Expo, which boasted just under 91,000 attendees this year (approximately 20,000 more than Dragon Con,) I thought I had seen crowded. However, the packed vendor halls and hotels this weekend have taught me otherwise.
As I continued my journey from hotel to hotel on Saturday evening, taking in the sights and attempting (and failing) to avoid the temptation of the $10 prints and colorful wigs on display at the various booths, I managed to accidentally bump into the Deadpool parade as it made its way through the crowded hotel. Not surprisingly, they were decked out in true Deadpool fashion — sarcastic signs and all.
Weaving left through a group of Inside Out characters, I walked out the doors and onto the streets. My goal for the evening, however, was to get into the “Supernatural” panel, which started at 8:30 p.m. Luckily, I was willing to wait for over an hour just to get a good seat. This panel was part of the Urban Fantasy Track, one of over 30 fan tracks at Dragon Con. Tracks ranged from Star Trek to Animation, allowing for fans of all types to find panels to attend.
With the numerous panels, two floors of vendors, a large hall of art and an entire hotel dedicated to gaming, it was almost an overload to the senses — so many things to do, so many things to see, making it almost too difficult to do everything I wanted to do. However, as most con-goers are fully aware, it is usually impossible to do everything one wants at a convention — one must prioritize. For me, that prioritization led to the “Supernatural” panel as well as a couple others in the Star Trek Track and seeing Yaya Han at her booth in the vendors’ hall.
Despite my having to prioritize, the convention was truly an amazing experience, and I would say that the potentially hefty price tag is definitely worth it. With the scheduled events, the parade and the ample opportunities to meet actors from “Doctor Who,” “The Hobbit” trilogy and similar movies, Dragon Con is jam-packed with more than enough things to occupy any attendee and make the price more than worth it.