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Top Ten Survival Guide To Comic-Con 2010

Above: Obi-Wan and Yoda on the San Diego Trolley heading to Comic-Con International.

Greetings Heroes, Fans, and Children of All Ages! Welcome to the San Diego Comic-Con, 2010!

As a veteran of several Comic-Cons, here is a "Top Ten Survival Guide" with tips and tricks to make the most of your adventure.

These boots were made for walking.

We know you look fabulous in your Ferragamo’s, but let comfort be your guide when deciding your footwear. You are going to be walking. A lot. The San Diego Convention Center covers several city blocks. Events are also being held at neighboring Marriott Hotel and Marina and the Hilton San Diego Bay Front. If your sneakers will clash with your stormtrooper armor, then gel insoles are the way to go.

Fortune favors the prepared.

The latest Comic-Con program guide is now available online. You can also get them when you pick up your badges or by the entrances to the convention hall. Take a moment to “plan your attack” and make the best use of your time and money. There is a lot to see…and buy. There is a ton of free stuff being given away at the Con, but budget yourself wisely. Collectibles, t-shirts, food, toys, swords, and warp drives don’t come cheap.

Schwag. Loot. Booty. Whatever you call it, you’re going to have a lot of it. Many vendors give away large bags for you to use, but they can run out fast. Bring a sturdy backpack or bag. Leave most of it empty so you can fill it. If you do tire of lugging your luggage, the Con offers Baggage Check for a small fee.

Also, if you’re going to be outside enjoying the great San Diego weather or the equally great line for Hall H, wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you.

Snack attack!

You’re going to be standing in a lot of lines. Don’t let the snack bar be one of them. Pack some bottled water, trail mix/munchies, and more bottled water to keep up your strength. While others are standing 20 deep in line to get a grande iced skinny double pump caramel macchiato extra whip, you’ll be on your way to getting that convention exclusive collectible or meeting your favorite celebrity (I met Angelina this way. True story.).

“Look, up in the sky!”

Here’s a tip for navigating “The Great Con.” In each program guide is a map of the convention hall. There are numbers giving the aisle location of all the booths and exhibits. Suspended from the ceiling are the aisle numbers so you know where you are and where you want to be. Now if I could just remember where I parked my car….

Oasis

Tired of being shoulder-to-shoulder with 30,000 of your (now) closest friends? Are you more dead on your feet than the zombie standing next to you? Check out the meeting rooms on the 2nd floor. You can usually find an un-crowded room to rest and recharge. Some may have bottled water dispensers and all are air-conditioned. Some of my favorites are rooms showing movies, gaming areas, or getting some sun on the Mezzanine deck and watching real life medieval combat (check your schedule for times).

A young Darth Vader at Comic-Con International.

Above: A young Darth Vader at Comic-Con International.

“All for one, one for all!”

If you’re traveling with a group, make a back-up plan where and when to meet in case you get separated. Cell phones can fail and how many of us have actually memorized our friends’ numbers? I like to use the BIG LETTER SIGNS outside on the city side of the convention center for meeting points.

Parents: Pay close attention to small children in big crowds.

Be the hero.

Be respectful of your fellow human being, alien, or robot. Help others and be generous in your kindness. We’re all here to have fun. Don’t act like a villain...even if you’re dressed as a Sith Lord.

Meeting a Predator on the convention floor at Comic-Con International.

Above: Meeting a Predator on the convention floor at Comic-Con International.

"A picture is worth a thousand words."

Keep your cameras and sketchbooks ready! Its one thing to say you saw an alien Predator hunter at the Con; it’s another thing entirely to bring home proof. Many of your favorite artists are available to do personal sketches, so bring your sketchbook. Since time is limited, please be understanding if they can’t get to your request. There is always another day or you can catch up with them again next year.

Leverage technology.

The San Diego Comic-Con webpage is a great source of information. You can even design your own personal schedule for the special events you want to see. You can also get updates on Con events and what your friends are doing on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

There is even an iPhone app that puts the whole guide at your fingertips. This works great and makes it easy to access all things Comic -on. One of the features at the website is purchasing parking online (check for availability).

But even on the best day parking is scarce. The trolley is a great alternative. Fast, easy, and now with instructions in Klingon, the trolley offers express service to the Con. There are two trolley stops in front of the convention center. The one closest to the Ballpark/Gaslamp District is ideal. Hotel shuttle service has also been expanded making it easier than ever to get downtown and avoid the hassle of parking.

Studio Diner in San Diego serves the crowds from Comic-Con International.

Above: Studio Diner in San Diego serves the crowds from Comic-Con International.

"When in Rome..."

The Con is right in the heart of the historic Gaslamp District of San Diego with lots of fun, food, and activities just across the street. Make the most of your day and visit downtown, Seaport Village, U.S.S. Midway Museum, or Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. San Diego is also home to Sea World and some of the finest beaches anywhere. A personal favorite spot is the Studio Diner with its Con-friendly staff offering great service 24/7/365.

In the end, be safe and have fun. This is a wonderful experience and I hope you enjoy Comic-Con, 2010.

See you around the hall!

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