Tip of the Day #4: Is Preview Night Worth It?!


photoWith badge sales this Saturday, a common Twitter question I get asked is about Preview Night ($35). What is it and is it worth including in the San Diego Comic-Con experience? As the title suggests, Preview Night started as a casual evening preview of the showroom floor for the over eager attendee. With some venders still setting up their space, attendees were allowed a sneak peak at the floor. For years, many people passed over Preview Night to just attend the regular days. But like everything else, the scarcity mentality has inflated to included Preview Night. Now, experiencing Preview Night is about as crowded as attending the show on a regular Thursday or maybe Friday- which is crowded. Not as bad a Saturday but it seems like it’s getting there. The need to attend Preview Night will vary depending on your purpose to go to the show. Here are a few reasons to consider:

  • If you have a Preview Night pass, this is the time to pick up your badge. If you wait till Thursday, you will be stuck in line considerably longer and might miss something important on Thursday morning.
  • After reviewing the programming schedule (2 weeks before the show), you may decide that there are some important panels to attend on Thursday morning. Doing Preview Night will give you an idea of the floor so you can go straight to programming on Thursday morning. This is the best time to attend panels since a majority of people are wanting to check out the floor first. The showroom floor is like a moth to the flame- most can’t resist checking it out first thing on Thursday.
  • If you are a hardcore collector, Preview Night is the best time to get a Comic-Con Exclusive. These are the limited edition toys and collectibles only available at SDCC. As soon as the doors open, head straight to the booth to get what you want.
  • The only programming offered is in Ballroom 20. Typically Warner Bros previews a few shows or debuts one of their DC animated features. These line up early too depending on what is being featured.
  • If you are a photographer, this is also the best time to take your pics. It’s still crowded but a little better than the other days if you are trying to get photos sans fans- this is especially important for some of the bigger displays.
  • After reviewing the signing schedule and giveaway promotions that some of the studios/companies advertise, this would be a good time to map out the floor in preparation of the rest of the week.
  • In general, there is less cosplay on Preview Night.

94074266-san-diegoOverall, Preview Night isn’t anything that you can’t see sometime later in the show- and considering it’s now and additional $35, you should take that into consideration. If you are a casual attender and don’t have any hardcore agendas than skip Preview Night, save some $, and enjoy the Gaslamp nightlife. In contrast, if every second counts in your Comic-Con experience then plan to include it. Fans start to line as early as the late afternoon for the 6:00 opening- but casual fans can just stroll in at little after 6 (FYI, they will open the floor a few minutes early if the vendors are ready). Personally, I have enjoyed Preview Night over the years. It’s the only time I don’t feel the pressure that I should be standing in line somewhere and I can just enjoy the floor. Hope this was helpful and please let me know if you have any other questions and leave a comment of what you think about Preview Night. See you there!

REMINDER: This year, you must now purchase ALL DAYS in order to qualify for Preview Night. You can’t buy it separately.

To read more ‘Tip of the Day’ post, click here.

6 thoughts on “Tip of the Day #4: Is Preview Night Worth It?!

  1. I use preview night for exclusives , unfortunately they overbook it now, so 80,000 other people use it for exclusives too, so preview night is spent waiting in a line for hours to find out they already sold out. Pass on preview night unless your hardcore. Theres no reason to go. You can see the floor ALL week. If you want exclusives first, than its your best bet….. but everyone is thinking the same thing so it makes preview night just as tough as any other day. I actually got locked out of Saturday panels in Hall H last year somehow, even after camping for 12 hours. Since we knew we werent getting in we got our exclusives Saturday and it worked out perfect. Preview night was a waste, Saturday was our big floor day!

    • That’s a good perspective. I mainly go to Preview Night if I know I need to be in line on Thursday morning. Also, if you are a media weirdo like me, it’s nice to get the pics out to a waiting world too. Thanks for your comments and hope to see ya there!

  2. We had the chance to buy Preview Night for 2014 and 2015 and skipped it both times, but that’s because we don’t worry much about exclusives and figured we’d miss out at the larger booths anyway (we were probably right). Instead we had a leisurely dinner in the Gaslamp, got our bearings so we wouldn’t get lost rushing between offsite events, and hit the Con floor for a couple hours Thursday and Friday.

    Great tips!

    • Yup, if you don’t have an agenda for the floor, you can experience it later in the week. Enjoying a night in the Gaslamp is a great way to start the crazy week. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Last two years I found preview night the most crowded for the floor. Seems like the secret is out. Most lines were capped and had hours long waits for stuff. To get in any of the lines you also had to wait outside the con starting around 2pm to get in the building at 6. I found it easier to get some exclusives on later days. These were not the super exclusive Hasbro toys, but things like Doctor Who special SDCC edition t-shirts, etc. If you have 4 day badges without Preview night, you can still pick up your badges on Wednesday at the Mission Circle hotel (Town and Country), not at the convention center so you won’t have to waste time in line Thursday morning. Obviously, if you think you won’t have time for the con floor on later days because of panels, it’s worth it.

  4. Pingback: There and Back Again - A Con Tale - E-Rad's Cantina

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