If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s scheduling my time to get everything I want to do done in a short amount of time. Only have a day at Disneyland? Boom- figured it out so we can get Fast Passes for all our rides and enjoy the day. Only have one afternoon out in San Francisco? We’ll hit up some must see areas but still make it to the last BART. The same can be said for conventions, where I’m a big fan of day passes.
I’m not one who can afford to go to cons for weekends at a time, both in terms of time and money. I know there are a lot of people who would love to go to the different conventions in their area but feel pressured into having to go for the entire weekend. Trust me, you don’t have to do that to have a full experience! In just a day I was able to get everything that I wanted done and met some new people in the process even with very limited time! Down below I’m going to share with you some of my tips for making the most out of your single day!
1. GET THERE EARLY
If you’re going to go on a day pass, you want to get there as early as you can to make sure you have enough time to hit up all the things you want to do (panels, exhibit halls, artist alleys, meet ups and more!) while still leaving some time in your schedule in case anything pops up. You never know how long the lines will end up being (it can get into the hours even if you pre-register for cons) and you don’t want to risk missing a panel because you miscalculated your time! Getting early also allows you to get into the atmosphere of the con and not feel like a man on a mission, you’re here to enjoy yourself after all!
2. HIT UP THE MAJOR MEDIA OUTLET BOOTHS
If you’re looking to grab free stuff the first places you need to check out are the major companies that are there. A lot of major publishing or production companies give out promo items or guides to their products that sometime feature really good deals inside of them. They are always promoting the next biggest thing to come out, so there might be small items from that or just good information in general (A great example of this is the Sailor Moon Coin that Viz Media was giving out at Anime Expo this year).
3. TAKE THE TIME TO TAKE THE PHOTO
You know what photo I’m talking about- the one of that awesome group of cosplayers or that one voice actor who you’ve loved since you were a kid that you brush off cause “You’ll get it later.” When you’re only there for a day the chance that you’ll see them again runs slim and when you’re describing to your friends the “TOTALLY AWESOME MALE SAILOR SENSHI” that you saw you’ll want to be able to have something to go along with the story of how nice they were.
4. PLAN AROUND THE PANELS
If you want to go and see one, whether it’s a Live Panel or Workshop, make sure you plan around those. Most of the time you’re going to want to get in line an hour or more depending on the nature of it, and you do not want to miss it because you were eyeing that merchandise in the Exhibit Hall for too long. Use the time in line to get to know the people around you- you’ll probably end up meeting some new friends in the process! You’re all here because you obviously love this show/ company/ want to learn more about cosplay, so why not make the effort to talk to the myriads of others there!
5. DON’T BE TEMPTED IN THE EXHIBIT HALL
The most overwhelming thing about a convention when you have little time is definitely the Exhibit Hall. You enter and you’re hit with every major company, tons of different set ups and booths so similar that you won’t be sure if you’ve passed it before or not. While the easiest solution is to start at one end and work your way to the other, you’ll still encounter huge booths with tons of merchandise from all your favorite series and you’ll be swamped in an instant. My tip is to look for the smaller booths, a lot of times you’ll find merchandise from older series and it’s not the same stuff that’s at every fifth booth. I like looking for the smaller booths because you might stumble upon an old plushie from your favorite series or an action figure for a series that is actually incredibly hard to find merchandise for. The large booths all sell the same stuff you can easily find for cheap elsewhere, if you’re here at the con with little time to spare, search for the quality within all of the quantity.
6. HAVE FUN
I don’t even care how stereotypical this is. You’re only there for a day, maybe even for only a few hours, and you’re going to want to remember all of the fun times you had, the awesome costumes you saw, and the incredibly chill people that you just happen to run into. When you’re there for only a day it can be easy to get wrapped up in making sure that everything goes according to plan, but you aren’t going to enjoy yourself if you place too much emphasis on this. You’re surrounded by a ton of people who love the same things as you and it’s hard to not get sucked into the positive energy floating around!
Have a fun day, and make it one to remember!