There are certain things that people expect when they are traveling to a major convention. They expect the food area to be insane and for it to be impossible to find a table. They expect people to disregard everything they know about walking to stop short in a way that creates a human six car pileup. Those of us that attend conventions regularly also know that lines are going to be a problem. That being said it appears that the people handling Star Wars Celebration Orlando were unprepared for the sheer amount of Rebel scum that descended on the Orange County Convention Center.
The chaos began late last night with stories of the overnight stay being unorganized and several hundred people cutting in line. That mean that people who stayed overnight got put into one of the streaming rooms. This morning the long line outside the convention center was confusing as a member of the staff had to walk down the line pulling VIP's, media, and medical people from the wrong line.
"We [my husband and our friend] were sent to the general line and I waited right at the entrance doors. I realized that they were letting medical, VIP's, in the separate door. When we the security guy and he said "you have to go over here." There were people who waited three hours before they were put in the correct line," said Mary who is attending her second Celebration but is a lifelong Star Wars fan. "It's the first day, they're figuring things out, but still."
The usual booths have long lines but the Celebration store has been hit the hardest this year. Pin collecting has been an integral part of being a Disney parks fan but it has really hit the convention scene in the recent years. Now that convention exclusive pins, with art that is very cute, have taken over the scene the lines have become even worse. Pin collecting is one of the easiest things to collect with them being small and easy to display. It's likely that ReedPOP was just overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people that wanted their pins.
There were rumors starting last night that ReedPop was already rapidly coming to grips with the situation and implementing changes for today. They had even made a statement on the website acknowledging they were aware of the issues and what had started as rumors of improvements have materialized as changes (if only more events when faced with challenges were as rapid to try to deal with them). Where yesterday there were only a few entrance gates to the convention center, today there are no fewer than six fully staffed entrance doors.
The mood of the crowd remains upbeat and happy, and it seems the rapid improvements to line management have already been met with approval and increased speed. Now to see how it plays out once all of the exclusives have been snapped up from the Funko, Lego, and Hasbro booths.
For our full post about ReedPop's response and statement you can check it out here: