Star Wars Celebration is a lot like most other pop culture conventions, except that it has a singular focus: all Star Wars, all the time. The Star Wars movies had a profound impact on my life and truly helped shape me as a fanboy. So I have been especially thrilled for Celebration this year because of it’s return to Anaheim. However, as experienced as I am with conventions, I have never been to SWC so I will be a first timer like many of you all. But fortunately, a couple of awesome fans wrote up some helpful tips to help you (and I) have a great Celebration weekend. Here are some tips from super fan, James Floyd, for the first time Star Wars Celebration attendee:
1. Use both the app & paper guide
Celebration Anaheim has a useful app for both iPhone and Android that has a con schedule, exhibitor list, and more. The key thing it is lacking is a facility map of the Anaheim Convention Center. The paper program, which you can pick up for free in the registration area, will have the schedule, maps, and more.
2. Be prepared for some lines for panels
Want to get into a panel on the Celebration stage? You might plan to spend an hour in line. Some of the smaller panels will be walk-right-in at their start time. Many of the stages will have designated queueing areas. Make some new friends while in line! While the line for the JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy panel on Thursday morning might not reach Hall H epic proportions, it seems people are planning already for overnight line camping. Note: Room clearing is standard for Star Wars Celebration, unlike San Diego Comic Con. Want to see back-to-back panels? You might have to exit and get in line.
3. Be courteous when taking photos
When wanting to take a photo of some costumers, ask permission first! That way, you’ll get the best pose. Be respectful when posing with costumers – some may not want to be touched (for any variety of reasons, including balance), and others may not see or hear as well due to helmets. For more tips on photographing costumers at Celebration, check out this article I wrote for last Celebration: [http://clubjade.net/?p=41684 ] If you want to check out any of the large costume group photo ops, here’s a partial list from Mando Mash-Ups to Slave Leias [http://boards.theforce.net/threads/group-photos.50027922/.
4. Visit the store
The official Celebration store is huge! There’s a ton of exclusive merchandise to check out from a zillion T-shirt designs to a space slug jack-in-the-box. Check out some of the apparel here [http://www.starwars.com/news/first-look-at-star-wars-celebration-anaheim-t-shirts-and-more ] and other merchandise here [http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-celebration-2015-merchandise-sneak-peek ]. And many of the shirts are available in both men’s and women’s cuts.
5. Celebration has plenty of stuff for the younglings
Bring the kids to Celebration! There’s a lot for families with children to see and do: The family room has craft areas, art lessons by Star Wars artists, games, and more. Kids can also play in the LEGO area and participate in the Jedi Training Academy.
6. Getting celebrity autographs or photo ops
Save time: buy your autograph tickets in advance online from Official Pix [http://www.officialpix.com/c7/home.html ]. Big stars like Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher tend to have big lines, and staff will move you along quickly. Minor stars might have no lines, and are often willing to chat with fans for a while and take photos with them.
7. Pack accordingly
Wear comfy shoes, bring chargers for your camera and phone, and use a messenger bag over a backpack (to avoid bumping people when you turn in crowded areas). Carry snacks and water, and dress in layers (the con floor might get warm, while stage rooms are often over-A/C’d.)
Lastly, Star Wars Celebration often has a more friendly vibe than other cons, mostly because everyone there is attending for the same reason: Star Wars. Everyone you’ll meet is a Star Wars fan, and be a part of this great fan community: welcoming, patient, and courteous.
Want more Celebration tips? Check out a series of articles on preparing for Star Wars Celebration. [ http://clubjade.net/?tag=convention-tips ]
About the author:
James Floyd (@jamesjawa on Twitter) is a writer for ClubJade.Net and BigShinyRobot.com. This will be his seventh Star Wars Celebration. Find him at Celebration organizing the Star Wars Bounty Hunt, a puzzle-solving adventure race on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday or on the Sunday panels: “From a Certain Point of View” and “Building a Thriving Local Fan Club.