Okay, I’m not going but for the rest of you who are attending, here’s some quick and dirty advice…
1. Don’t forget your pass! If you haven’t packed it yet, pack it now! Do not put it in your suitcase if you are flying. Also, pack any receipts, party tickets, and so forth for items you’ve pre-ordered or events you are attending.
2. Bring comfy shoes (I like TOMS…light, easy to pack, and easy on your feet), a poster tube with rubber bands, a big reusable bag for your loot, plastic file folders, and if you’re buying autographs, mylar sleeves to hold the signed photos. Take a light jacket or hoodie to wear inside the convention center. In Florida, you broil to death outside and freeze to death inside! Also, put together a survival kit for your days at the con: bottled water, mints, gum, snacks, and hand sanitizer. To avoid con crud, wash/sanitize your hands often and take vitamins every day.
3. Don’t forget your techie accessories. It would suck if you left your smartphone or tablet charger back home.
4. Keep an eye on your stuff. Believe it or not, people have had things stolen at previous Celebrations.
5. Bring sunblock, a hat, bug spray like Off!, and most importantly, a rain poncho or small umbrella. It rains almost every day in Florida this time of year although all-day washouts are rare.
6. For Celebration V, the convention center opened early so folks could line up inside (out of the godawful humidity) as early as 8 a.m.. There were coffee carts the last time for those hanging around and waiting. It’s not absolutely necessary to be first in the door at 10 unless you are planning to scoop up giveaways and exclusives or you’re planning to be first in at an early panel. But generally I’d say that the early bird gets the worm at Celebration. You spend a lot less time in line and have more time to see/do stuff.
7. The convention center itself has plenty of places to eat with all kinds of stuff, ranging from Nathan’s hot dogs to fresh made sushi. There is some kind of outdoor shopping center with restaurants nearby but it’s hard to leave the convention site and come back quickly, especially in that hellacious heat. After hours, there are plenty of places to eat on International Drive. Just about every chain you’ve heard of has a branch somewhere.
8. Celebration isn’t as big as a Comic Con and nobody lines up at 4 a.m. for a panel unless it’s George Lucas. Still you have to remember everyone at the con is interested in the same thing. Wait for popular panels to visit busy exhibits or get in the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, or late on Sunday. If you’re planning to see one of the more popular guests or panels, be sure to line up at least 2 hours in advance. If you’re planning to get an autograph from one of the marquee names, expect to spend a very long time waiting. Keep an eye out for when they will do chats, since that will take them away from the table for at least a couple of hours. I predict the following will be the most popular events: the Clone Wars season premiere, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, the James Arnold Taylor and Carrie Fisher show, and every performance of “Star Wars In 60 Minutes.” I figure the Boba Fett helmet thing and the Rancho Obi-Wan exhibit will be very popular.
9. In terms of merchandise, the 7-hour waits at the Celebration Store are a thing of the past but some pins and limited items ran out fast. Otherwise, take your time. The art show should run a lot smoother now they’ve done pre-paid orders but if you haven’t pre-ordered anything, get there early. Her Universe has some items that will likely run out fast. The Disney custom carbonite figures will probably be really popular even if it’s a hundred bucks.
10. At the prequels panel, give them heck for me! If they try and sell you on the idea they treat all of the movies the same, blah blah blah, don’t let ‘em get away with it.
Tags: fan events