Dragon Con 2019 is Nigh

Posted: July 13, 2019 in Conventions, Dragon Con, Entertainment, Family, Holidays

 

Welcome to Dragon Con Soon

This year has flown by so far, July is dissolving in the mists of time, and August is almost upon us. That’s a somewhat relevant fact for those of us going to Dragon Con as the official kickoff date of the festivities this year is Thursday, August 29. I won’t mention the rather sizable few of you who have adjusted to the new first day by making Wednesday the new Thursday and are claiming the 28th as the first day of con as, if I did that, several people I know might rip out all of their hair.

Nevertheless, the important (thing no matter the precise start date) is that Dragon Con is now less than 50 days away.

For those of you who are wondering why I picked 50 days as my marker, you either haven’t read anything here before or you haven’t been paying attention to the podcasting world’s Dragon Con contributions. The annual podcast that many have turned into their official countdown clock- or panic clock when it makes you realize how little time is left -for the final run-up to the convention has already started. The Unique Geek’s 50 Days of Dragon Con podcast started back on July 9. If you’re not listening to the podcast, you need to be listening to it. It (along with the Earth Station One Network’s entertaining and informative Dragon Con Khan Report) really should be seen as mandatory listening for anyone getting ready for con. Jon is a longtime attendee and con guest and Leigh is a longtime attendee and track head. Between the two of them, they have a wealth of information to offer to make your con experience as good as it can be. They also give daily updates on guest announcements, events, and changes around con as well as having other track heads on the show to tell you what’s going to be happening in their tracks this year.

Follow the links to their sites and bookmark them or subscribe to them on your podcasting platform of choice. You won’t regret it and you’ll likely find you actually enjoy it.

Now, before we do anything else, let’s look at a few basics that are always good to go over before con whether you’re an old pro, a first-timer, or even someone who’s just curious and looking to go sometime down the road.

Footprint Map

See that? That’s the basic Dragon Con footprint in downtown Atlanta. The yellow blocks are the hotels, the blue one is the Peachtree Center Food Court, and the orange ones are the AmericasMart buildings where, amongst other things, the dealer room levels can be found. If you’ve never been to Atlanta, you should be made aware that those are not smaller city blocks. It can be a bit of a hike to get around the entire convention.

Now, the obvious thing with this is about to be stated. If you haven’t started doing some extra walking or rolling or in some other way getting your mobility muscles in shape; start doing it now. Four days at Dragon Con officially turned into five days at Dragon Con a few years back and if you’re planning to do the entire convention weekend, you need to be ready to handle all of that moving around. 30 or 40 days of extra exercise will still do you wonders come convention weekend, and it will certainly do you more good than doing nothing in between now and con weekend. 

Making all that moving around even more fun, downtown Atlanta is a wee bit hilly. The Hilton and the Sheraton are at the bottom of a fairly steep hill with Peachtree Street (basically) being the top of it.

However, I’m going to let some of you out there that may have things you have to deal with that some of us don’t in on something that I spotted back in my kids-in-strollers days. But this comes with a request to everyone else out there. To everyone else reading this, don’t use this just because. Try to leave this as open as possible for those members of our convention family who have medical issues making prolonged walking difficult, who have strollers with kids in tow, or have some other reason to use this that’s more legitimate than just feeling a little tired at the moment.

One thing that everyone who attends Dragon Con talks about is the sky bridges (called habitrails by pretty much every convention attendee) connecting the Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and Peachtree Center food court. Keep in mind, there are actually habitrails going into the food court from both the Hyatt and the Marriott. There’s another habitrail that connects into the food court that isn’t discussed as much by attendees. This is the habitrail that leaves the Peachtree Center Ave NE side of the food court- actually, not far from where the habitrail that connects to the Marriott is located –and goes all the way across to the Courtland ST NE side of a parking garage.

Bridge

As you can see, this habitrail leaves the food court (second level of Peachtree Center) and connects to the sixth level of the parking garage. There’s an elevator in the garage right next to the entrance of the habitrail. This is an especially good route to take when going from the Sheraton to the Hyatt, going from the Sheraton or Hilton to the food court, or going from the Hilton or Sheraton to the Westin or AmericasMart buildings.

Again, let me stress this request- This is a fairly long habitrail but not an especially wide one. These days, there are well over 80,000 of us showing up to Dragon Con every year. The only issue most of us have with going up and down those hills or getting through those crowds with (relative) speed when we need to is our being a little more out of shape than we want to be or a little tired from burning the candle at both ends during con. Please, leave this option as uncrowded and unobstructed as possible for those con attendees who have more pressing issues than just those things.

Other than that, most of what I can tell you right now when it comes to surviving con is the same stuff everyone else always tells you.

– Don’t over plan your schedule. Keep some time in there to explore and find new things or to just rest and recharge your batteries.

– Make sure you eat a few actual meals each day and get enough sleep to function properly.

– Do everyone a huge favor and shower. Body spray doesn’t cover as much as the ads want you to believe.

– Be mindful of where you are when checking your map or taking photographs. Don’t block the flow of traffic. There’s a lot of people at this con and there are less and less places every year where people aren’t trying to get from point A to point B. Use common sense where you can, but absolutely do not stop the flow of traffic in the habitrails or the main flow areas.

– Stay flexible. Nothing on the Dragon Con schedule is set in stone. Everyone does their best to make sure the convention goes off with as few issues as possible, but things happen. Guests drop out at the last second, people get sick, panels may get overwhelmingly huge crowds that weren’t expected when the room size was picked, and panels can be bumped or moved. Nothing on the schedule you’re going by is final until ten minutes after you get home from con. Just go with the flow. Also, if there are two things happening at once that you want to see, keep both on your schedule for quick reference just in case one drops or fills up before you get in.

– Do you have a good mobile device? Get the Dragon Con app. It can help you with scheduling, you’ll get updates when things are changed, and it has floorplans and hotel layouts to help you find your way around the place.

– Do you want to know something cool? The celebrities that appear at Dragon Con can be just as much an attendee as you. When they’re not at a table or on a panel, they can sometimes be found checking out the con like everyone else. Give them their space when needed and let them be fans. You’d be surprised where just letting them be fans can sometimes lead.

– Remember, we’re all there to have a good time. People get tired and cranky and accidents can happen. It’s not worth ruining your con weekend by getting upset or escalating things to the point where you and they get your con badges yanked.

– If there’s a matter of someone else’s behavior that is big enough of an issue that it must be addressed, don’t do it yourself if it’s going to cause you to be booted from the con as well. There are plenty of Atlanta PD officers working the convention inside and outside the buildings. There are also volunteers everywhere. Grab one of them. They will get the necessary convention personnel on scene to handle the situation in a way you can’t.

– Remember, there’s more than just cosplay to keep in mind when you hear people say that cosplay is not consent. It doesn’t matter how anyone is dressed or what you think they may be saying with their clothing. Touching people in unwanted ways or making unwanted and inappropriate comments can get you removed from the convention in very short order. If someone does this to you? Don’t escalate matters to where you’re at risk of harm or also risking your con badge. Get one of those previously mentioned APD officers, volunteers, or even hotel staff.

– Look for updates before con.

I’ve already mentioned the Dragon Con Khan Report, 50 Days of Dragon Con, and the app. You can also check out the progress report HERE.

Progress Report Cover

As for anything else that you may want to know about the convention from this blog…

I’ve written a number of pieces on Dragon Con here over the years. Most of them can be found by clicking on the tag “Dragon Con” that should be on the page just under the post’s headline or you can just click that link. There are a number of tips for con and examples of what kind of great convention experience Dragon Con can be.

I’ve also written a number of pieces about Dragon Con for the website Needless Things in the past that don’t exist on this blog. Unfortunately, the website changed hosting platforms and the new Needless Things website archives don’t start until after Dragon Con 2018. There now exists a website Dave (the proprietor of Needless Things) calls Old Needless Things. This was just recently created by Dave to bring back the Needless Things posts that were lost in the shift to the new platform. You’ll find a number of good articles on Dragon Con on this website as well as links to Needless Things podcast episodes featuring various track heads and volunteers discussing Dragon Con.

Unfortunately, a number of the things I wrote were apparently a part of the unrecoverable sections of the old website and are not on Old Needless Things. This would include all of the Dragon Con articles I wrote. In between now and this year’s Dragon Con, I will be reposting those articles here with a reference to when they were originally posted.

Some things will (obviously) be dated information, but not even close to all of it. The first articles to see reposting here will be the ones from August of last year. These should be useful to everyone, convention pro and convention newbie alike. These articles were a part of a series I was doing called “Around Dragon Con” and looked at the other things you can do, well, around Dragon Con. These pieces included looking at places like the Center for Puppetry Arts and the Georgia Aquarium as well as looking at where you can go and eat when you’re short on time and the food court is as packed as the Marriott on Saturday night.

Keep an eye out for one piece in particular. The article was about putting together a Dragon Con playlist for the days before con and/or the trip down in order to help get that full-on Dragon Con mood going in the days before/on your trip to con. It wasn’t playlists of music, however, but rather podcasts of panels recorded at Dragon Con. I will be updating that article to include more recent panels on top of the older ones.

They’ll be a few other new pieces in the mix as well. Other than that, hope to see you there this year.

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The 2019 Dragon Con Khan Report Episode 6

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

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50 Days Of Dragon Con 2019 (Day 3) – Eternal Zan Of A Carpet Mind

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

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Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek who, while enjoying most everything fandom has to offer, finds himself most at home in the horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction genres. He has in the past contributed to websites like Needless Things, Nerdy Minds Magazine,  Gruesome Magazine, and others while occasionally remembering to put up the odd musings on his own blog. He’s been a guest on several podcasts from the ESO Network, on Decades of Horror, and on the Nerdy Laser. He is also a regular co-host on The Assignment: Horror Podcast as well as the primary writer for its affiliated blog.

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