Dragon Con 2017 is in the books, and we just finished partying with over 80,000 fellow fans. Let’s debrief, and we’ll give you a rundown of what we learned, what we loved, and how to have just as great a time as we did, come Dragon Con 2018!
Note, your mileage may vary on these. These are primarily the author’s wholly biased opinion and personal experience.
- Memberships– GET YOUR BADGE NOW. Right now. While you’re reading this. We’ll wait. Prices for 4-day memberships only go up the closer you get to Labor Day 2018, so now is always going to be the best time to buy.
- Hotels – This is where folks have their own ideas. For me, I have a “legacy” spot in the Hyatt with a few of my closest friends, and there shall I stay until the heat-death of the universe (or until the Hyatt stops offering next year’s registration for those who stayed with them this year). Staying in a host hotel puts you right in the middle of the action and eliminates worries about the MARTA schedule. They can, however, be a little loud and a lot crowded. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, try one of the many other hotels that are still within walking distance. You’ll have a longer trek at the end of a party night, but almost certainly a shorter wait for the elevator
- Food– There are a lot of ways to stay fueled at Dragon Con. Personally, I’ll do a quick meal in the room (granola bars are fast, and coffee makers provide quick hot water for instant oatmeal or grits), a bag lunch courtesy of our Room Mom (more on them in a moment), and dinner somewhere around the myriad offerings of the Food Court. You can do any, all, or none of these. Just eat something that isn’t candied or soaked in alcohol at least once a day.
- Snacks– One of your friends probably has a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club. Chip in together and get snacks for the room. The con suite isn’t always easy to get into, so having your own stash is crucial.
- Room Mom– Y’all, get you one of these. You know you have a “mom” friend. Make them part of your room crew and treat them right. You will never regret this. Our Room Mom made us adorable bag lunches, was in charge of the aforementioned Costco membership, and was an all-around delight. Buy your Room Mom a drink and give her a hug.
- Hydrate– I’ll say it again. Hydrate. For the most part, what you drink is between you and your liver, but seriously. You will feel loads better if you manage several ounces of something non-alcoholic and non-diuretic each day. There are water coolers in most, if not all, of the panel rooms. Grab a quick cup before leaving each panel.
- Panels– Fun fact: not all of the Dragon Con guests are exclusively part of Main Programming. Many guests have panels that aren’t in a major ballroom. You just have to read your Dragon Con schedule carefully. One of my favorite panels this year was a Puppetry on Broadway presentation with two Broadway greats, and it was nowhere near the massive Atrium ballroom.
- The Walk of Fame– Find it. Love it. Autographs will cost money. Selfies MAY cost money. Strolling through to be within nodding distance of one of your favorites – totally free. Which leads me to…
- Photographs – There’s a LOT to see at Dragon Con. Pictures are happening fast and furious on the main floor of the Marriott. Pictures should NOT be happening on any major thoroughfare, including hallways and skybridges. Pictures should also not be happening without the consent of the cosplayer. Act like grownups and be excellent to each other, y’all. Besides, if you didn’t get the picture you wanted, we (or one of our colleagues) probably did. We got your back!
Those are the basics! Dragon Con is massive and wonderful, and a good time can be had by all. We’ll start updating our coverage as we get closer to 2018. Drop us a comment if you have your own Dragon Con survival tips!