With Open Registration starting in the morning, the online anxiety has been mounting since the announcement Monday. Since then it’s been a mad scramble to rearrange schedules and coordinate efforts with fellow desperate attendees. A common question I get asked; “Which days should I buy if I don’t know the schedule?” If this is your first time, it’s hard to know which days to purchase if you are not going for all 4 days and you have to choose. The showroom floor stays the same each year so it really comes down to programming. Like every year, the programming changes and evolves but in general, the tickets sell out in this order: Saturday, Friday, Thursday, then Sunday. So here are a brief descriptor that might help you in your decision making process:
Historically this has been the busiest and craziest day of the Con. If you want to experience SDCC in it’s fullest grandeur, this is the day to do it. You not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than on Saturday. The sheer magnitude of fans in the convention center, around the center, on the floor, and waiting in lines is truly staggering and intimidating for even seasoned veterans. Programming drives much of the crowds with Legendary, Lionsgate, Warner Bros, and Marvel in the mighty Hall H- and last year they brought Mad Max 4, The Hobbit Part 3, The Flash, Avenger 2, and Batman v Superman. A lot of the more popular TV shows will spread the crowds into the second and third size rooms (Ballroom 20 and Indigo Ballroom). The orbiting events around the center are also kicked into high gear to help engage the crowds. The showroom traffic is traveling at a glacial pace making it a challenge for the impatient. It’s a VERY busy day and there is no way you can come close to seeing it all. So if you want to experience a good slice of Comic-Con, then Saturday is your day. If you want to cover more ground then you might consider another day. Note if you attempt to make it into Hall H, then you will be waiting all night and in the room for most of the day (if you make it in)- this will be all you see of the con. Choose wisely.
This is a very busy day too with typically a respectable, crowd inducing programming schedule. Last year offered up some amazing panels like Arrow, The Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter, Game of Thrones, Legend of Korra, Maze Runner, and more. The programming is designed to split fans up to help with crowd management. However, without the gravity of the studio powerhouses, there is generally less people sleeping out over night- which causes a lot of the unnecessary frenzy. Friday is probably my favorite day because it’s not as difficult to cross the entire convention but the overall hype is still very high.
This day has probably grown and evolved the most over the years. Once relegated to 2nd class status, Thursdays now offers some amazing options but with less of the hassle. Ever since the Twilight craze of the late 2000’s (first time with overnight campers), Last year’s Thursday brought big shows like Hannibal, Teen Wolf, Community, and a special 24 panel in Ballroom 20. Over the past few years, one of my personal favorites has been the Visionaries panel by Entertainment Weekly. While some of these are not necessary giant properties yet, they will still attract decent crowds. The crowds, while still busy, is manageable. On this day, you will probably find the least amount of conflicting panels between Hall H and Ballroom 20 that you might be interested in attending.
This day been the traditional ‘Kids Day’ and has offered a high amount of programming aimed for younger con attendees. A lot of fans use this day to do their heavy shopping on the showroom floor. However, in recent years, some amazing programming has been offered making it worth staying till the end of the show. Hall H carry’s the workload of big panels with Ballroom 20 closed so a lot of the fandom is concentrated in that room. Last year was a little light but previous years has brought The Doctor Who Community, and Sons of Anarchy. In general the crowds are manageable, however it’s always in a state of flux depending on the line up in Hall H.
Many ask if Preview Night worth it if you are there all week. The answer is yes and no. Preview Night best serves those in search of SDCC Exclusives, Press posting pics, or live tweeters covering what is on the floor. If you don’t have an agenda to be there, you might just wait till Thursday to see the floor. The other advantage of Preview Night is getting a chance to see the Warner Bros pilots in Ballroom 20. These are typically shows that are releasing this fall so you will have to decide how valuable it is to purchase PN without knowing what the TV line up will be. My main advice is that if you know you will be spending the next four days in line for programming, PN is a way to get the showroom floor out of the way early. I just posted a more in-depth article yesterday about Preview Night.
I hope this overview helped. I know it’s hard to make decisions about buying days when you don’t know what is offered. The programming schedule usually is not released until a couple weeks from the show, so you kind of have to use the Force when selecting days. Good news is that you pretty much can’t go wrong with any days at SDCC. Thanks so much for reading my first Tip of the Day and please tweet this out to your friends who are going to Comic-Con for the first time. As always, your comments and suggestions are incredibly valuable to myself and the Con community. Thank you!