In 2008, I attended my first Dragon*Con and my life hasn't been the same since. I compare my time there to a religious conversion. I'm hooked for life and always trying to "CONvert" others to my cause! This guide is mostly for those new to the con, but there's good advice for everyone.
Now I'm gonna assume you already know what Dragon*Con is. It's essentially a 5 day long party with 50,000 of your geekiest friends. I should give credit to the folks of various message boards and online communities that have shared their wisdom with me. The specific Dragon*Con wiki and official LiveJournal page are excellent resources. There are also various Facebook groups that are pretty active year round.
|Banners in downtown Atlanta for D*C.|
One Year Out
1. Ideally, you plan for Dragon*Con a year in advance. The price of a full 4 day badge starts out at 50% if you buy it early September. Monday of each con usually starts the sale for the next year. The online store also starts selling it about a week after the most recent con. Every few months, the price will increase steadily until you're looking at $120 by mid July. Please be aware memberships are non refundable and non transferable!
2. Roughly around this time, you should also keep an eye on the host hotels to see when they release rooms for the upcoming year. These things get filled in a matter of hours, so the sooner you do it, the better! By the time New Year rolls around, you'd be lucky to even find a room in one of the overflow hotels. There are two great resources for rooms: Dragon*Con Rooms and the Cheap Hotel Klingon. The latter also has reviews and a very useful map of the area with hotels mark. For host hotels, it'll be in the neighborhood of $200 per night, with a possible one night deposit required. I think it's pretty common to have 4 or more people per room to split the cost. Again, I have the emphasize, the sooner you take care of room, the better! For instance, I booked my room for 2013 in the Tuesday after con... not even 24 hours had passed since I checked out from my 2012 room!!
3. Start saving money. You will end up spending more than you intend on spending. Be sure to consider the cost of travel if you're driving very far or flying into Atlanta.
4. If you're into costuming or want to take a stab at wearing a costume, start brainstorming ideas. Cosplay.com is a good place to get started, whether you want to see what's been done or how people did it. By the way, dressing up isn't required. I'd say only half of the people there are in costume.
Now you can pretty much relax till the summer :)
Three Months Out
- If you've attended before, the 100 day mark is around the time you start getting really excited. Your costume should be progressing well; there should be a few names on the guest list you're excited about; and you have -just- enough time to take care of any loose ends.
- On the flip side, if you didn't even plan to go or find my guide until now, it's OK, you still have time!
1. Pickings may be slim, but the occasional person does drop out of their room and offer it on the D*C Rooms LJ. Folks are always looking for an additional roommate too. There are also sales on travel websites for hotels that are within a few blocks of the convention.
2. You're going to have to bite the bullet for the membership fee, which is nearing the $100 range at this point. However, there are some options to explore. You can also consider buying single or multiple day passes at the door.
(Side Note: The D*C office starts mailing out confirmation posts cards around Jan/Feb of each year. If you registered prior to that and still don't have your colorful post card in your mail box, I would contact the main office.)
3. Three months is enough time for most costumes to be commissioned. Plus, the costume maker may be looking for extra funds so they themselves can attend the con.
In Part 2, I'll talk more about preparations to make when you're weeks/days away. Finally, Part 3 will deal with general advice for what to do during the con.