WonderCon Anaheim is this weekend at the Anaheim Convention Center, located at 800 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802. While most of the WCA staff is on their way to the Happiest Place on Earth (or at least right next door to it), we here in the Toucan department would like to offer you some friendly tips to help you enjoy your convention experience before we hit the road to Anaheim, too!
If you have purchased a badge online and know you’re coming to the show, we strongly suggest you download our QUICK GUIDE PDF (or look at it online). This 20-page center section from our Program Book will tell you everything you need to know about the show and the Anaheim Convention Center, plus our headquarters hotel, the Anaheim Marriott, where nighttime events take place. It also contains the Exhibit Hall map, a complete list of exhibitors, and the Programming Schedule grids. You’re going into battle . . . prepare a plan of attack in advance! (TIP: When the PDF opens, click the down arrow--download--button in the upper right corner on the menu bar to download.)
If you don’t already have a badge, stop right here and click here to purchase one. Please note that certain badge categories may already be sold out, such as 3-day and Saturday badges . (TIP: You will need a Member ID to purchase a WonderCon Anaheim 2013 badge. If you don't have a Member ID, click here to get one before purchasing a badge.)
If you already have your badge, go to Hall E FIRST, which is on the level UNDER Hall D on the ground level, to pick up your badge, bag, and Program Book. Remember to bring your barcode receipt to get scanned to pick up your badge. (TIP: See the maps on pages 2 and 3 of the QUICK GUIDE for locations at the Anaheim Convention Center.)
Once you have your badge, WEAR IT AT ALL TIMES WHILE YOU’RE IN THE CONVENTION CENTER (yes, we’re shouting), and if you go to the Anaheim Marriott for Nighttime Anime, Games, or to visit our Hospitality Suite. You will need to display your badge in a visible place to navigate the show.
Don’t give or sell your badge to anyone—inside or outside the Convention Center. And if you don’t have a badge, don’t purchase one from someone online or outside the show. The only place that you can purchase badges in advance for WonderCon Anaheim is here on our website. Visit our Badge Purchase page for information on how to purchase a badge.
Parking is always a problem when you and thousands of your comics and pop culture-loving fans get together. The Anaheim Convention Center has a number of parking lots surrounding it, but they fill up quickly. Overflow parking is in the Disney/Toy Story lot. Parking at these lots is $12/day, with no overnight parking available. Watch for the overhead informational signs as you drive in, which will have info on parking at the Convention Center. Click on the map to the left to see an overview of the ACC and its parking lots, or click here to download a PDF of the map. Our advice is to get here early, get the car parked, grab some breakfast and fuel up for the big show.
This year, the WonderCon Anaheim Exhibit Hall is in Halls A and B and the big programming room is in the Arena, right next door, at that end of the Convention Center. As we mentioned, you’ll pick up your badge in Hall E, beneath Hall D, if you’re an attendee or a professional or a panel participant. Press Registration is in Lobby A/B. There are additional informational and registration desks in Lobby A/B, outside of the Exhibit Hall, including the Volunteers Desk, the Masquerade Desk, the Blood Drive Desk, the Disabled Services Desk (where you can arrange for interpreters for the deaf, among other services), and the Costume Weapons Check Desk. For all you cosplayers: You cannot bring a functional weapon to WonderCon. All weapons must be inspected and conform to federal and state law. Click here for more information about the Costume Weapons Check Desk.
We will be taking new Volunteers on site. Sign up at the Volunteer Desk in the Lobby of Halls A/B. Desk hours will be: Friday: 9:30 AM-7:00 PM, Saturday: 9:00 AM-7:00 PM, and Sunday 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
The Exhibit Hall and Arena are located on the ground level (Level 1) of the Anaheim Convention Center; other programming and event rooms are located on the second and third levels. Escalators, elevators and stairs take you there from the ground level. Check the maps in the Quick Guide PDF for exact locations or click here to see a map of the Exhibit Hall. (TIP: This may take a little while to download on your screen. Click PAGE WIDTH in the Automatic Zoom dropdown menu at the top of the page to see the whole map.)
Our complete Programming Schedule is online and updated constantly. It's your best bet for changes and cancellations, as are the schedule signs outside the programming rooms. All Programming rooms have limited seating and are available on a first-come, first served basis. While your badge gets you into all open rooms with available seating, it will NOT get you into rooms that have been closed due to a capacity audience. These room limits are set by the Fire Marshal and cannot be violated for safety reasons. Our best advice: Have a Plan B if you can’t get into your first panel or event choice. There’s always something else to do at WonderCon Anaheim!
We suggest you utilize our MySched service to keep track of the panels you want to see and that you get there early. Remember, we do not clear rooms between panels, except for the Arena, which will be cleared at the end of the programming day to get ready for the Masquerade on Saturday night. (Doors reopen for the Masquerade at 8:00 PM.)
You’re going to get hungry sooner or later, and we’ve got you covered. The Exhibit Hall has two giant concession stands (one in Hall A and one in Hall B), plus the Arena programming room has its own concessions. Other food and beverage options are a short walk away. Both hotels adjacent to the Convention Center—the Anaheim Marriott (our headquarters hotel) and the Hilton Anaheim—have restaurants, bars, and other food outlets, including Starbucks in each hotel. The Hilton has a food court. Anaheim GardenWalk and Downtown Disney are also within walking distance. Both offer free admission and multiple restaurants. Check the Anaheim maps in your copy of the Program Book (on pages 94 and 95).
Hopefully not as frightful as last year, when we experienced torrential rains for two out of the three days. The weather report for Anaheim as of today (Wed., 3/28) is:
Partly Cloudy all three days of the convention; temperatures in the low to mid 70s in the day, mid 50s at night. Change of precipitation: 0%. (Don't hold us to this . . . we're convention planners, not weather forecasters!).
Conventional wisdom is simple: Wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, pace yourself, take a break from shopping the Exhibit Hall, visit the panel rooms upstairs (and the Arena on the ground level), step outside and get some fresh air, and sit down and rest.
Other things to keep in mind: Bring a backpack or bag to carry your purchases. Mailing tubes are great for posters. Do NOT bring rolling carts or wheeled suitcases or dollies. They are not allowed on the floor. Remember your cellphone charger. We do not page people, so use your cellphones to keep in touch. It’s always good to pre-plan a meeting place and time . . . it’s a big show!
If you’re planning on asking artists for sketches, it’s a good idea to come armed with your own sketchbook. We recommend the hardbound kind for a more permanent keepsake. Be patient and courteous when asking for sketches and autographs.
And be courteous to your fellow pop culture lovers, too. When we interview attendees about their experiences at our shows, they almost always point out how much they love being among “their people.” Everyone in that line for the Doctor Who screening is there for one reason: They love Doctor Who! So do you, that’s why you’re with them! Strike up a conversation with your line-mates. You may meet your next best friend.
WonderCon Anaheim is a different experience for everyone. Some people come just to shop for old comic books, some for toys and action figures. Some just go to panels and events. Some just people-watch or take photos. Whatever your preference, whatever your want list demands, you’ll find something fun to do at WonderCon Anaheim this year. It all takes a bit of planning, a bit of patience, and a bit of rolling with the punches. Use this website to help plan your WonderCon Anaheim experience!