This was my third year at Wondercon and my second year running panels. Each year that I have attended has had quirks, but overall the experience is good. This year also had a share of quirks, but somehow went quite a bit smoother than previous years. Running panels was a major highlight for this year with the team hosting four panels and moderating two panels myself. It is really feeling like the Anaheim Convention Center has become a really good home for Wondercon. While there is still some room for improvement, Wondercon is becoming one of the best SoCal conventions.
The location is great, but it would be nice if they finished the last remaining construction soon. Parking could be a little tricky and expensive due to the popularity of the event and proximity to Disneyland. Once you get past that hurtle the rest of the location is great. There is space for foodtrucks, there are places for large photogatherings, and the building has more than enough room for all attendees. There were plenty of panel rooms on the second and third floors with over crowding being a problem on very few occasions. The dealer hall was huge as it used two sections to hold all the different booths. While most of the aisles were wide there were places in the artist alley that had narrow zones that got filled with human traffic.
The panel rooms are mostly large using two sections to make a full room. Each room has a simple AV setup and someone there to help. There were very few panels that had any technical issues, our staff had no problems setting up our panels. The schedule is strong with a mix of ‘educational’ panels along side industry and guest panels. The only problem anyone consistently had with panels was the occasional weirdo who asked bizarre questions. In addition to that, the security was very helpful and courteous.
Beyond panels There was still plenty to do at Wondercon. For photographers there was no shortage of unique cosplayers running around and several large gatherings were held in the courtyard of the convention center. The dealer hall had a large variety of goods and guest booths. There was an area for tabletop gaming as well and a blood drive for those who can fit it into their schedule. This time around there were also several screenings for new animated movies and short films. The big lacking point in this pop culture event is the lack of video gaming content. There was only a small booth or two in the dealer hall and only a couple panels that tied into the high grossing medium of gaming.
Like many pop culture events in Southern California the vibe was generally good. While there was the occasional weirdo who made people uncomfortable, everyone was generally friendly. This is helped by the sheer amount of families that were at the event. While it is not impossible for parents to be jerks, the stroller army of Wondercon was made up of the kind of people you want at a large event. Even the cosplayers were on their best behavior a nice change from the usual stock of SoCal cosplayers. While crowding could be an issue every now and again it didn’t ruin the upbeat feeling that seemed to permeate the convention even on day three.
This was a really good year for me at Wondercon. My panels had a great turnout and the other two panels our team ran went smoothly as well. While I did not see anything in the dealer hall or artist alley that really inticed me, my team came home with more than their share of things. One of the few problems we ran into was the unusually cool weather and the long lines for food trucks. It is surprising how quickly Wondercon has become one of the few good SoCal conventions. While anime cons in the area continue to decline in quality and most other pop culture events have found their niche and stay there Wondercon just continues to improve. The only thing I’d really like to see change next year is some game programing, but that’s a minor complaint when programming is so strong and there is too much to do in one day. I greatly recommend Wondercon to those in the area and those willing to make a drive for a good event. Until next time give my love to all those busy panel hoppers.
- Only tow costumes this time
- Dick Tracy and Captain Cook
- Don’t stop, can’t stop
- Too many panels to get to all of them
- Choose your (legendary) weapon
- Favorite Summon?
- Re: q6 – Ragnarok (FF6) and Anima (FFX)
- Minor migraine, no big deal
- Next Cosplay: a cerain Final Fantasy cook
- Roast porg anyone?
- Sigh… the occasional weirdo
- Time to watch the new super sentai series
- Note to self: get new notebook
- Seems like 1988 was a weak year
- Despite 88 featuring some of my childhood favorites
- Rare live team up with Ramses
- Sometimes single player is more fun
- Had some good food
- Wow, this list is random this time around