Why We Didn’t Attend Dragon Con This Year
If you are at all familiar with us, you have to be aware that the convention that we look most forward to each year is Dragon Con. The convention has been near and dear to our heart for years. I attended my first Dragon Con convention back in 2011 with an x-bf, whom is now a good friend of mine. The past three years, Mike and I have had the pleasure of experiencing the nerdy awesomeness together.
Last year, being the most dear to our hearts with our most epic engagement at the infamous Hilton stairs. However, conventions like Dragon Con are becoming more and more popular each year. With popularity comes numbers….and headaches.
Last year, for example, was a record breaking year for the con’s attendance levels. You could tell the increase at every turn. While the Dragon Con of 2014 was amazing because I accepted the proposal of my life partner, everything else was just plain difficult. The number of badges sold last year were higher than ever before. When official counts come out for Dragon Con attendance, they only count how many badges were sold or, I guess, picked up. The thing that isn’t counted is the additional people that end up at these cons without having badges. Think of all the football fans that we share our host hotels with each year, they are not accounted for in the attendance, but they are most definitely a part of the convention. The con has become incredibly over crowded. I believe that badges should become more limited. Almost to the point that no additional Saturday options are sold at all due to it being the worst of days to even attempt to do anything con related.
The con that never sleeps is completely set apart from any other comic-con of its kind. Combining the Hilton, Hyatt, Mariott, Sheraton, and Weston as a make-shift convention center gives vast amounts of room. However, with many schedules, I feel that “travel” time is not accounted for. I remember one year where Trek fans had to choose between seeing a TNG panel or William Shatner’s panel at the same time, in two different hotels (Marriott or Sheraton). Really? Who thought that was an good idea? Not to mention, you usually have to wait in line an hour or two to get a decent seat at a panel that’s large in size. The streets are a blaze and hilly when having to walk outside between hotels, killer for cosplayers in heels or hot costumes. I even heard that on Saturday, this year, that the sidewalks of the street were so crowded that friends had to take to the actual street to get from place to place in any kind of decent time.
Now, let’s talk pricing! While I feel that Dragon Con’s ticket prices are fair and just (I wish that I could have bought an eternal membership a long time ago), other things are just ridiculous. So many celebrities these days at conventions think that they can milk their fans for so much money. For example, one year we attended MegaCon, along with the entire cast of Star Trek The Next Generation…Where you could get Patrick Stewart’s autograph for a grand total of $80. To the opposition, that very same autograph, a year later at Dragon Con was over $100 (I think right around $120). Come on! I just want it put it out there…I seriously think that if you want an autograph to be personalized, it should cost less! How likely are you to sell it with it saying “With love to Tracy, from ______” ? I guess, unless someone has the same name as you and wants to pretend that they had the experience instead. *shrug*
The hotel struggle is real. Getting a host hotel gets harder and harder each year. One year, I got incredibly lucky and locked down a room at the Marriott…oh you know, just a meager $250 a night. WHAT?! Yes, that was the CON DISCOUNT!!! Luckily, we filled the hell out of that room and made it affordable for the whole lot of us. Last year, we paid $214 a night with the Hyatt, which is connected to the Marriott by sky bridge (aka hamster tubes)….and we will never do it again! “But, your room was so much cheaper!” It’s not worth the trip through the tubes to get to pretty much everything that’s going on in the Marriott (the true hub of Dragon Con). We loved the Marriott…but good luck with that. Hotels Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton are all allowing room holders to pre-book for next year now…making it more difficult for non-host stayers to move into a host hotel for the next year. The Hyatt has the -worst- elevator system, like ever. I have never stayed in the Hilton. The Westin, if you ask me, has always been rather obsolete. Lastly, the Sheraton, is a nice choice, but plan to walk outside a lot, because not much goes on in the actual hotel other than Dr. Who and Star Trek tracks…and a couple of really nice parties at night. Either way, just simply getting a reasonably priced hotel (or a hotel at all) is becoming a huge struggle for con goers of Dragon Con. Even more so with more and more events coming to Atlanta every Labor Day weekend.
We missed spending time with our friends at our favorite con of the year. Also, it was sad to not come back for a one year anniversary of our engagement. All things considered, we’ve saved a lot of money and anxiety by skipping this year.
Have you decided to take a breather from Dragon Con, too? Tell us why…Are you happy you did? What did you do instead?