Dragoncon 2016 Review

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So Dragoncon celebrated its 30th anniversary and it went bigger than it’s ever been before with its usual 7000 hours of stuff to do in four days jam packed with a variety of things to do. With the ever ambitious Dragoncon featuring its guests spanning all aspects of pop culture and a multitude of panels you would think that Dragoncon would have something to offer to all fans of the entertainment industry, so did Dragoncon celebrate its anniversary successfully or did they get crushed under their own success.

Guests

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Dragoncon featured well over 100 guests this year and there was something for everyone so the guests spanned so much of the entertainment industry that it was bound to be an impressive list.  The guest list featured Charlie Cox from Daredevil, Alex Kingston from Doctor Who, Teddy Sears from the Flash and so many more.  The guest list was amazing and well worth going to Dragoncon just to meet the guests.

Panels

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I loved the panels.  Much like the guests, the panels had a wide variety of entertainment to offer fans.  I went to multiple Q and A sessions with actors like Charlie Cox, Eliza Dushku and James Marsters and loved hearing the answers the celebs had to the fans questions.  I was at an Improv session that was so hilarious I had trouble holding my camera to record some of the show.  I also went to a charity auction where I found a card with five autographs from the main cast of Buffy to give to my girlfriend, just don’t ask how much I paid for it because it was a pretty good bit ha ha. I went to a lot of panels and the staff had a clear plan on how to handle the lines and were quick to handle anything that would cause the panels to run later than the intended start time so all and all I was very impressed.

Artist Gallery/Vendors

While I didn’t buy anything this year I was still impressed with the massive selection that the vendors had.  The only problem was that the vendors were a little cramped so it was really difficult to do much shopping without bumping into five or six people at a time.  The artist gallery was a little disappointing to be honest.  I found that there was a lot of artwork but I really expected more variety out of the artists, but instead I saw a lot of variations of the same shows and characters.

Autographs

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With so many people in one room signing autographs the staff had a lot on their hands to keep things in order.  In order to keep things moving at a good pace the staff constantly told attendees if they were not in line please keep moving and for some guests photos were not an option to avoid a line taking up so much space.  Even then some lines started to get really long but the staff was quick to find a way to make it to where the lines did not interfere with the walkways.  While the systems they had were not perfect I still found the organization to be impressive and I managed to easily get all the autographs I wanted.

Staff

The staff was amazing.  There were many moments where the events could’ve gone horribly wrong but the staff was quick to do what they could to organize the long lines and huge crowds.  It wasn’t too difficult to find where I needed to be to go to specific events because the staff was quick to explain where I needed to go and the staff did a lot to help people find seats in huge events by looking for open seats and directing fans to those spots.  This not only helped the event to start faster but made it easier to see specific panels that fill up quickly. The staff did an awesome job this year.

Misc

This has nothing to do with my review to be honest but I want to share this story.  I got to DM a Dungeons and Dragons event this year and had a great time.  My friend unfortunately had a seizure and hit his head on the table.  Before I could ask one person went to go get medical help and with the help of two of the players in my group we managed to get my friend away from anything he could hit and get him on his back so that he wouldn’t bite his tongue, a common problem if a person is left on their stomach.  The group I DMed was an amazing group that did everything they could to ensure that my friend was safe.  Medics got there and took him to the hospital and he was even able to continue his convention experience.  With the situation though I never had a chance to thank everyone that helped out that day and sadly won’t get to, but I was very happy with how much our group did to help my friend.  It was only unfortunate that the other two groups nearby ignored the whole thing and they continued their own games.  While I’ll admit not much could’ve been done they could’ve done more than just sit their and not even look to see if the situation was ok, but it doesn’t matter because my friend was ok and I’m grateful to all the people who helped with that.

Overall my con experience was great and I even got to meet a lot of great people.  I highly recommend Dragoncon to anyone who is interested in conventions, but if you do go I do have some advise.  Be prepared for very big crowds, line up early for big name panels and save up for this trip because the hotel bill will not be cheap.

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