A Beginner’s Guide to (outside) Blizzcon: Greet, Meet and Eat

Folks, the days are counting down! It seemed like not too long ago, Blizzcon 2013 was announced. Hotels were booked, tickets were released, and flights finalized. All of it starting in February, and June is now upon us, with convention in early November. For a lot of people, it may be their first time attending the event, and the totality of everything can be overwhelming. “What should I do first?”   “Where can I go if I dont like a certain panel?”   “Where are all the cool kids over there going!?”, and there are many attractions in Sunny SoCal that should make your weekend getaway fulfilling.

 

Arrival

 

When arriving into California, you can choose two options of where to fly into: John Wayne International (SNA) or Los Angeles International (LAX). These two are the most convenient for location. Flying into one or the other each has its pros and cons.

 

John Wayne:  

Pros: Short (5-10 minutes) from your hotel in Anaheim. Transportation vans arrive at the airport every 10-15 minutes.

Cons: Costs average around $150-200 (USD) more than flying into LAX.

 

LA Int’l:           

  Pros: The above mentioned savings from flying her over John Wayne, The enjoyment of being driven on a superhighway for 30-45 minutes depending on traffic (may also be a con?), Most people fly into here.

  Cons: If you’re looking to get an early place in the ticket line, the 30-45 minute drive will back you up.

 

Get acquainted with Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and other hotel/flight sites that may change minutes before or after another to try and get the best deal for you.

 

Personally, I have not been to LAX to give it a fair pro/con grade, but have always enjoyed not long rides on super highways as a nice benchmark guideline. While the convention is happening on the 8th and 9th, the tickets are available to be picked up on the 7th at 4pm PST. It is advisable to arrive on the 6th or 7th to familiarize with the area, or even just to get another day of R&R. If you choose to stand in line, be prepared for a big ol’ serpentine of a snake to form, and once inside, the scene turns in something equivalent to your favorite electronics store having a 99% off sale, on your favorite thing you want, ON black Friday. 20 turnstiles open up and you stream on through, have your ticket ready!

 

Hitting the Town

 

So, you arrived and unpacked at the hotel, and picked your ticket up. And its STILL the day before the convention, now what?

 

Are you hungry? Do you happen to have 15 of your closest friends nearby? Then hitting the town for an upscale bite to eat sounds like the venue for you! Being right in the heart of the Anaheim strip on Catella Avenue, you will have access to many fine dining establishments including (but not limited to):

 

The Cheesecake Factory:

 

Chocolate, How Can you say no to chocolate? (Don't give me that allergy BS!)

Chocolate, How Can you say no to chocolate? (Don’t give me that allergy BS!)

 

P.F. Chang’s:

 

Perhaps Chinese is in store for the evening?

Perhaps Chinese is in store for the evening?

 

The IHoP:

 

Tiramisu Pancakes? You're killing me smalls!

Tiramisu Pancakes? You’re killing me smalls!

 

 

My Personal Favorite, Morton’s:

 

All the meat, for your mouth. You do the rest.

All the meat, for your mouth. You do the rest.

 

Some places, dress attire is not required but preferred, something like this passes.

 

Me, Dinner Venue, 2010.

Me, Dinner Venue, 2010.

 

Not particularly hungry? Conveniently located across the convention center is Disneyland, if you ever wanted to go or return, tickets were 150$ last time for the pass.

 

Oh, I get it now, you want to stay more focused on mingling around with other con-goers. At various hangouts around the convention center you can find meetups, podcasts, and blogcasts with your fellow players going on, usually before and after the convention times at night. The Twisted Nether Blogcast meetup I attended in 2011, is a nice meetup in my opinion at the Bar Louie, and they raffle off some neat prizes towards the end of the meetup.

 

Days 1 and 2:

 

Here is where your favorite and most looked forward to panels this year take place. In addition, you will get a Starcraft and WoW 3v3 Arena finals, the best costume contest for the year, and the comedy styling of <insert some comic to be named at a later date> to follow along to as well. These events of interest really come down to each attendee and what they are interested in, more notable social activities comes on day 2.

 

Realm MeetUps (WoW)

 

Aside from the gatherings outside, Blizzard has timeframes for each realm to meet up and discuss all things wow for … 30 minutes?  In 2010, the realm get together was Massive for the realm I was on, with about 75 people showing up, whereas in 2011, the number was only around a dozen, so it looks to be a hit or miss item, if its something that might interest you.

 

Closing Acts

 

Blizzard is usually good with getting an artist to close up the show properly, with its last three guests being Ozzy, Tenacious D, and the Foo Fighters, respectively. As an aside, Dave Grohl and the Foo are amazing live. Sadly in 2010, I did not get to see Jack Black rock out as the group I went with made prior arrangements. Maybe the band they book this year doesn’t suit your tastes? How can I spend my night if the panels are done and Im not interested in the closing act?  Well, backtracking to the previous hotspots to see if others are mingling there is always a good option, but if your looking for something with more entertainment value, a quick drive down those amazing and terrifying superhighways can lead to:

 

Medieval Times:

 

Where sword and shield meet in arena style combat before an assembly of roleplaying delight. I mean, you can SEE the sparks fly from the weapons clashing with the shield or other sword on parries. But not only that, you get treating to Turkey Haunches, FULL BLOWN HAUNCHES FOR YOUR FACE, goblets of liquor, and you get to heckle any freaking performer you want behind the arena ledge! And for the sentimentalists out there, there are ponies, many, many ponies for your enjoyment, if the melee combat and crass humor doesn’t work for you!

 

Ye Olde Medieval Times, BRING ME THY STEIN OF CHEEZ-ITS AND GOBLET OF MOUNTAIN DEW.

Ye Olde Medieval Times, BRING ME THY STEIN OF CHEEZ-ITS AND GOBLET OF MOUNTAIN DEW.

 

And then alas, everything comes to a close on the weekend, and life goes back to somewhat normal? If its your first time going this year, what are you most looking forward to, and if your coming back for your not first time here, what part still holds your interest the most? I personally look forward to seeing all of the people who will be attending this year.

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