Two days before San Diego, I looked at my boyfriend and lamented on how I wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con, since a number of my buddies were going (many of which live outside the United States). He patted my head, said, "Plan for next year," and we continued with our day. That is, until I went on Facebook, found stupidly cheap round-trip airfare thanks to a friend, found crash space a few blocks up, procured a press badge, and voila. I was leaving for SDCC with everything set in two days. I even snuck in a Disneyland trip the day I landed.
I've been going to New York Comic Con off and on for 10 years, so I had a mild idea of what to expect. Obviously San Diego is the largest, and most intense comic con. You can try to imagine the size and scope of the con, but until you get there, you have no idea. The convention center is huge — the total space comes too 2,600,000 sq. ft. The con also spreads out into the surrounding area. Pop-up shops, fan experiences, concerts, shuttle busses — it's unending and it's impossible to be able to do and see everything.
I did get the disability pass, and it helped. A lot of the dealers and fan experiences have accessibility lines, which is wonderful of them to offer. Now that being said, I did not attempt to go to any panels. I've heard some nightmarish stories about lines (and the infamous Hall H line, which we all know has people camping out for days before a panel), but to be fair, panels aren't really my thing. I may do one or two per con, but overall I enjoy the fandom and main show floor.
SDCC is a show for all ages. Hasbro's giant My Little Pony display was proud and very, very busy. You could get a pony makeover, complete with colorful hair extension and makeup (I totally did it, it was awesome). You could hang out with zombies at the various The Walking Dead experiences. Want to renew your vows or get hitched? SyFy had a pop-up chapel where Orlando Jones was officiating ceremonies (I caught some of one with a very lovely couple). Viceland had a pop-up area promoting their first scripted show starring James Van Der Beek as Diplo, though it was woefully empty all weekend.
Would I go next year? I'm already planning on it, but this isn't something I could do yearly. It is expensive, and it is crowded. It's an actual ocean of humanity through the whole weekend. If you don't like crowds, skip this show. There was also more toy vendors than comic vendors, but comics were there. The artist alley was also packed through the weekend, which is great. I also hope that Stern has a larger presence there next year — and I hope their pinball lounge next year has more variety — 15 Star Wars machines made up the pinball lounge. I call foul, especially since I know they have a catalogue of amazing machines they could have brought with them.
If SDCC isn't on your bucket list, maybe it should be. I used to loathe the idea of going, but now that I did I can say I was wrong. I went in with low expectations and I didn't do things beyond my reach. Will I ever go to a panel there? No. Will I ever stand in line to try and get a limited edition toy? Hell no. And that's OK.