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2013 Gripes

#31 User is offline   TheLadyRaven 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:08 PM

I do have a few complaints this year.

I just feel like quite a few things were not organized as well this year. This was my 9th year at Anime Central, so I feel as if I have enough knowledge to at least state my complaints.

Rude Staff: I know there's always that one guy, but there was a few members that were just downright rude this year. One lady in particular who was working the entrance of the exhibit hall on Friday morning was quite rude. This was the first time that I remember when they had two separate doors, one for entering and one for leaving, and when we asked, she snapped very rudely back, and almost close-lined my fiancee. We didn't try to push through, we were trying to ask, and at that time, there were no more IRT members close by.

Exhibit Hall Line: As mentioned, this was terrible this year. What else made it worse, was the fact that people were trying to cut in line, and there were no IRT members at points in the lines except for Sunday. This was the worst I have ever seen it get. Sunday though, more staff was around to help.

Panels: Three out of the six panels we really wanted to see ended up as no shows. I understand that things can come up, but I feel like there should be some penalty in order if there is no good reason for the panelists not showing up. Either banning them from ever doing a panel again, or perhaps charging for a badge. This seemed really bad this year though, especially from what other people are saying.

18+ Programming: Most of them had lines so long, and such small rooms that it could not accommodate everyone. Isn't there somewhere these could locate to, especially at night that would fit everyone?

Video Game Room: This was not bad, but I would like to see more arcade games next year. Also, I miss seeing the fighting tournaments on the big screen, like where they had Rock Band, and the dancing. It is more fun when everyone gets to see the fighting tournaments taking place. I'm not saying that the Rock Band and dancing games on the xBox shouldn't get their own screen, but it was so much fun to see the fighting rounds for the tournaments. Maybe a bigger gaming room again if possible?

That being said, we will still come back next year, and it still is a great con, just maybe listen to some advice from the people who visit the forums? We always enjoy ourselves and now it's time to visit the compliments.

#32 User is offline   Myzanaki 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:37 PM

I know there were many people that had a grip with the line into the exhibit hall. It really does not make sense to me having only 2 out of 8 doors open, and at the same time only directing about the first 20 feet or so feet(from the exhibit hall entrance to the double doors to enter the convention center. Is this some new policy instated by the convention center?

Also I have a gripe with having the line outside, since many people smoke in the area and this can cause health individuals for other individuals (several members in my party are highly asthmatic and experience extreme difficulty in breathing).

Sunday the line was inside the building and I asked several member of IRT where the end of the line was, and none of them even had an idea, and after I found it they began directing the line outside, however they ended up merging the end of the line into the middle of the line, so many ended up "cutting" as staff tried to direct the lines.
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#33 User is offline   alunde 

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:42 PM

- The list of panels in the program book was in no obvious sort order, either by time or by name.

- I couldn't figure out where to see the one guest I was interested in, a list of panels to look at by guest might have helped.

- It makes no sense to put up a PDF from 2011 on the web site as a map, when several things have moved to different rooms.

- It was confusing to include an advertisement for a DIFFERENT convention with an hourly schedule that looked like the same hotel.

- Not everyone has a smart phone that can install apps (mine is out of free RAM), put some kind of downloadable information in something more common-denominator file like a PDF or a PNG.

- Registration time is out of hand, you might as well just tell everyone to preregister next year. (I preregistered, but a friend said he waited 90 minutes Saturday afternoon, and gave up when it looked like he'd have to wait another 90 minutes).

- I only found a room showing AMVs by accident, and it seemed to be showing compilations from previous years rather than this years contestants. I realize the entries all come in on a tight deadline, but seeing them is one of my interests.

(I couldn't spend three full days at the convention because of an injury, so I missed events on Sunday, which is usually when the finalists have been shown.)

This post has been edited by alunde: 19 May 2013 - 11:51 PM


#34 User is offline   Brandonb 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:05 AM

Panel rooms were... TOO... DAMN... SMALL! Seriously, I couldn't get into THREE of the panels I wanted to see later in the day and night ALL BECAUSE THEY WERE "full." The small-butt size of these rooms REMINDS ME OF KITSKUNE KON, for christ sake (with far fewer atteendees, btw). Have you guys been holding this convention IN THE SAME AREA FOR 16 STRAIGHT YEARS??? WHY...? Shouldn't it be time to UPGRADE to a larger venue?? If rooms fill up so quickly, that's just insane and unacceptable, if you ask me. :thumbdown:

#35 User is offline   darkleafar 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:17 AM

This was my first convention outside of my home state, and it is the largest convention I have ever attended. Me and my wife flew from Houston, Texas from this convention, mostly because of Kalafina. The convention is in a very different format from what I am used to. A-kon, for example, has a major event simply labeled "Cosplay" where a major cosplay contest and cosplay skits contest is held. The complete of lack of something like that bewildered me. Not really a complaint as much as it is a comparative observation.
There were a lot of very positive things and I was overall impressed by the convention, by my major gripe is:

FOOD! or lack thereof...THis convention is of a much larger scale than the cons in Texas, and the lack of food options was astounding! Previous cons always contract 3rd parties like pizza hut, chick fil a, etc to make sure actual food is being sold at the con. Other conventions call upon food trucks and close a street to fill it with said food trucks. Ive also seen conventions which rely entirely on a connected mall/food court. ACen had none of these! Our only option to eat was extremely subpar (and kinda disgusting) burgers, hot dogs, and lots of other overpriced stuff. Whichever restaurants were walking distance were all high end, expensive stuff. Pizza ordering was cool, but one should not have to rely on outside sources to get ACTUAL food at a con.

And the major gripe of all..ATTENTION STAFF, HYATT was stealing from us. I stayed at the Hilton, but there was a extremely strange pattern happening every time I purchased Hyatt hosted food. For example, the first time I bought something, my total said 17.99. I signed the receipt and everything. Once I looked at my checking account, my total was around 24 bucks instead! I thought well, it must have a been a mistake, I will let it go. I purchased food at the Hyatt twice more throughout the con, and both times...my total was about 4 to 6 dollars higher each time! One was supposed to be 23.96 and got charged 28.75 instead and the other was supposed to be 32.64 and got charged 39.16 instead. The only logical explanation is that they were automatically adding some sort of gratuity percentage in a shady, not letting you know beforehand kind of way. Did anyone else experience this?

#36 User is offline   Stkbayfield 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:28 AM

View Postdarkleafar, on 20 May 2013 - 12:17 AM, said:

This was my first convention outside of my home state, and it is the largest convention I have ever attended. Me and my wife flew from Houston, Texas from this convention, mostly because of Kalafina. The convention is in a very different format from what I am used to. A-kon, for example, has a major event simply labeled "Cosplay" where a major cosplay contest and cosplay skits contest is held. The complete of lack of something like that bewildered me. Not really a complaint as much as it is a comparative observation.
There were a lot of very positive things and I was overall impressed by the convention, by my major gripe is:

FOOD! or lack thereof...THis convention is of a much larger scale than the cons in Texas, and the lack of food options was astounding! Previous cons always contract 3rd parties like pizza hut, chick fil a, etc to make sure actual food is being sold at the con. Other conventions call upon food trucks and close a street to fill it with said food trucks. Ive also seen conventions which rely entirely on a connected mall/food court. ACen had none of these! Our only option to eat was extremely subpar (and kinda disgusting) burgers, hot dogs, and lots of other overpriced stuff. Whichever restaurants were walking distance were all high end, expensive stuff. Pizza ordering was cool, but one should not have to rely on outside sources to get ACTUAL food at a con.

And the major gripe of all..ATTENTION STAFF, HYATT was stealing from us. I stayed at the Hilton, but there was a extremely strange pattern happening every time I purchased Hyatt hosted food. For example, the first time I bought something, my total said 17.99. I signed the receipt and everything. Once I looked at my checking account, my total was around 24 bucks instead! I thought well, it must have a been a mistake, I will let it go. I purchased food at the Hyatt twice more throughout the con, and both times...my total was about 4 to 6 dollars higher each time! One was supposed to be 23.96 and got charged 28.75 instead and the other was supposed to be 32.64 and got charged 39.16 instead. The only logical explanation is that they were automatically adding some sort of gratuity percentage in a shady, not letting you know beforehand kind of way. Did anyone else experience this?


Welcome in from Texas. I hope the con was enjoyable despite the gripes.

For future reference the event you call cosplay is "The Masquerade" and is one of the biggest events of the convention. Usually you need to devote about 4-5 hours to queuing and watching it on Saturday evening though the work that goes in to it and the contest is well worth the spectacle. I hope you can try it out sometime.

I would contact Hyatt right away with any complaints. They are a very understanding company from my interactions with them and as you were at a world class business hotel they will be very eager to keep your business, so you'll have no problems addressing their customer service and receiving an understanding ear. I've had many problems with that Hyatt in my years but EVERY time they went above and beyond to make it right in the end.

The food issue is just one of the sad truths of the convention. The convention takes place in a convention centre on the edge of O'Hare airport and therefore jacked up prices are the king. Hyatt has been better this year with its free wi-fi and access to microwaves but really... the best bets are just walking up or down River Road to the McDonalds, Subway, Denny's, Giodanno's and such... Everyone learns this their first year and just kind of adjusts for the future.

#37 User is offline   Griffith 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:38 AM

Two of my gripes that haven't been mentioned intertwine.

1.The staff printing out badges, especially for groups, need a way to see important information about preorders, group size, etc.
It's not identification I'm worried about. What happened was a helpful staff member printing out my group's badges was not able to help me figure out how many people were in my group since I like to double check. A printing error occurred and I explained the badges I received on the spot got duplicated.
I sorted out the duplicates and handed them the unfortunate extras. I felt bad for holding the two helpful staff up and he line. And to my misfortune-

2.The line to the general service at registration was too long and slow. The reason I was there was to return a duplicate badge I found in our lot.
I asked different IRT if they could just dispose of it or find something to do with it but I was requested to go back to the same line. I made sure the badge was never used, myself.

View PostJujuFox, on 19 May 2013 - 08:59 PM, said:

People were tearing down (AA/Exhibitors) before the hall closed. I was kinda shocked to see people were tearing down at 3:00 PM.

Booths being take down that early was because an onslaught of upcoming conventions a few days apart from one another, this year.
With ACen being the 1st to visit, some vendors will have to visit Fanime/California (May 24-27) next and then A-Kon/Texas(May 31- June 2).
Most of the vendors, like the one I helped, glady let customers browse while not prepacking the essentials.

#38 User is offline   STVO 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:57 AM

Hello all. Had fun as always but I do have a few complaints unfortunately. My major one is mostly Hyatt's fault mostly.

• Firstly, and I'm just going to copy and paste what I posted on Facebook:
I REALLY HATE the new one car per room Hyatt policy. The walking isn't horrible if say you only had to go to your car once but for someone who shares food with roommates and has more than one Cosplay, it is a serious hassle and is tiring. I think the night I arrived I spent around 2.5 hours unloading my car when it usually would take 45 minutes to an hour tops in the past.

I know things change, but being allowed to park for 10 years at Hyatt even if I wasn't room master and suddenly changing it now is pretty low. I may work to carpool with roommates next year (unfortunately my roommates schedules/locations don't correspond with mine) but I may go to one of the competitors. I don't blame ACen as I don't think they can control this, but it's just IMO a poor move on Hyatt's part.

To add on from the discussion of this from FB and just my thinking, I want to continue going to Hyatt but either I will have to work on finding roommates who can go at the exact same time as me and are in reasonable distance of me. I wish they would have had that lot across (the one connecting to loading docks at Donald E. Stephens) open. The lady I called on the phone at Donald E. said it would be open Thursday but didn't end up being which also added to my anger among the fact I accidentally dropped and broke a glass bottle on the way to Hyatt (which I did my best to get people to dodge and notified both ACen and Hotel staff to help clean.)

This issue didn't ruin my con but it started things odd wrong. :takes deep breath:


* I'm guessing ACen is working on trying to identify each badge for the dealers room and I understand, but there has to be something done where the line to the dealer's room doesn't go outside. Just my opinion but that is a bit ridiculous.

* Panels notifying about caps ASAP. I think most people can figure out either by number of chairs or room capacity how many people can/should enter. I.e. Speed dating. I won't say they did a completely bad job but I think they could have warned us sooner that we wouldn't make it in (let's just say for example, 20 girls, 20 guys are the limit.) If you set a cap ahead of time you can then tell people they won't get in rather than having them wait 30 or more minutes that can be used towards other things at the con. It isn't only speed dating, I've heard others complain about other panels letting them know 30 minutes or more after the fact that they can't get in.
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#39 User is offline   VoicesOfChaos 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:45 AM

Been going ACen since 2005 and this was my first year hosting panels. Last year was one of my worst years for ACen but that wasn't entirely ACen's fault. This year may have been one of my best but there is still room for improvement. By the way I know the people who are in charge of panel programming worked very hard to make things work and I appreciate that hard-work but most of my gripes will focus on improvements there.

First off ACen's website needs more attention! The news section was flooded with last minute guests and an announcement about the Guidebook app but no official announcement about the online schedule for the panels or photoshoots. I have to come to the forums for that! Of course I love forums but that should be where individual attendees and staff members converse with each other not where the most important announcement are and sometimes hard to find at that too.

Now my phone sucks so I can't download the guidebook app but my girlfriend did. Before the con I used the online version of the guidebook app which I thought was identical but found out was not. The online version had errors like panels after 11:45pm but before 9:00am (including one of mine) were not on there but were on the app version. Flip-side the app version felt very messy and hard to navigate. And while this app is nice, both the schedules online and in the guidebook should be maintained and advertised better.

So speaking of panels. I had started running panels at other small cons 2 years ago and considering applying for ACen last year but was too nervous I wasn't good enough for the big professional con. Then almost every panel I went to last year had no-shows! So I was fired to do panels this year! As for the panels I had time to attend to I am glad I didn't have no-shows this year but it sounds like a lot of other people still did! As a panelist this really upsets me. For all 3 of my panels we showed up 30-90 minutes early! While the free badge is nice I do not run panel for that reason (I run panels at cons where panelists don't get free badges). I work very hard on my panels! So when somebody is considering going to my panel but then remembers that every other panel they went out of their way to attend had panelists who didn't even have the professionalism to show up will probably make them decide to not come to mine since they are sacred it will be a waste of their time. So I am fully for a stricter crack-down of holding irresponsible panelists accountable for their actions.

Also I see a lot of people talking about 18+ panels filling up too fast and not having enough space. I have this complaint every year! Course I ran an 18+ panel this year on Friday and was surprised my room didn't completely fill. Now it is possible this is my fault that perhaps my name and description were not appealing enough to get people's attention. But I also wonder if just our room was poorly labeled and people didn't know about it. More so I feel all the similar 18+ panels were on Friday while Saturday had very different 18+ panels. I myself wish I could have went to several of the 18+ panels on Friday but they during miner. Meanwhile Saturday had far less appeal. So I just feel some of the 18+ panels could have been swapped between Friday and Saturday night.

Ok not one of my panels but for the Digimon panel I wasn't running was on Friday 2:00-3:30 while the Digimon photoshoot was 3:00-3:30. Now I know both the people running the panel and photoshoot are slightly responsible but it be nice if ACen didn't schedule an overlap. I understand both have a deadline around the same time so they are two complete different entities handled seperately but it be nice if the panel schedule can be finalized earlier and the deadline for photoshoots submissions can be set later to avoid over-lap.

Oh as for my Digimon it was in Con Center C on Sunday which I really appreciate the big room! But it was listed under "Large Events" in the physical programming book which again is flattering even though I just took it as a simple mistake or exaggeration. But because of that it wasn't on the large timetables since it was on the earlier pages. Not a huge grip but I know people did say they almost missed it.

To close out panel discussion, I liked that the bulk of the panels were in the Hyatt basement International level and feel the layout worked fairly well. I appreciate that overall panel room sizes have increased from previous years. Some lines were insanely long for some panels and felt un-organized. No real easy solution for that though. I think maybe it would have nice if there had more signs that said like "Panels downstairs."

Finally I have gripe about Dealer room line too. Not too bad but it seemed a little unsure of which direction it wanted to go and I saw some cutting here and there. At first I thought security was just temporally tightened as if they were looking for someone or trying to find counterfeit badges. But nope lasted all weekend. Next year definitely needs more people checking badges and speeding the line up. Also minor related grip but I was in the Dealer's Room as it closed on Saturday. Why didn't they turn the entrance into a second exit? It was very congested as everyone tried to squeeze through the one exit all at once.

Ok please understand I did have a really good year! I know several staff members really kicked it up this year and especially IRT was especially good to me. I will also be posting the compliment thread too. Good luck next at constantly improving.
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#40 User is offline   VoicesOfChaos 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:58 AM

Oh one more thing! I think it was a smart move to move the restaurant inside the con center with much more tables and space but I don't think it was advertised well. I saw people look through the window of the dinner from the garden and see it empty so they just walked away. I am sure people like that also assumed that meant no access to the convention center and dealer's room through that way (a friend even told me this) so that made traffic on the sidewalk very crowded! It is great when ACen moves and improves their layout but if these changes are not clearly announced and people don't know about them then problems arise even though it should be an upgrade.
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#41 User is offline   GSDfan87 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:26 AM

This year's con was decent for the most part. I think overall I just felt rushed the whole time. My friends and I run a couple of panels, both of mine ended up on Friday (one at 11 am and one at 4 pm). The 11 am panel was all the way in the Hilton (which i understand the need for more space, but there was very little signage to direct people and it took us 15 minutes to find the room). We had pretty low attendance, which is never fun, but when its that early on a friday I am not sure what else to expect.

For my other panel it was right in the Hyatt basement, which was great. It was the pepakura and prop panel and I hope everyone that got in enjoyed it. But my friends who came down a couple minutes after I did, couldn't get in because the room was too small. It was set up for a workshop, which dispite the topic, it wasn't (i had specified that I needed a theatre style room when submitting the panel). A room with chairs would have been great and let more people enjoy the panel. Seems they just grouped it by topic because the panel after mine (on Wigs, which was awesome btw) also didn't need tables but was i guess in the "cosplay, prop topic" so meant workshop.

Two of the other three panels my friends ran went off great. The last one on Sunday morning had some issues. The room didn't have VGA cables (which was listed as standard equipment during submission) so my friend couldn't hook up his laptop. They said there was an incident, which was why they were missing, but the reason for why it couldn't be fixed right away was the problem. They told us they had extra cables, but the room with them in it was locked and they didn't have a key and the person with said key was MIA. So for a 1.5 hour panel, we only had the projectors for about 30 minutes. If there are panels happening, the tech people and staffers need to be able to have access to stuff to do their job. We did appreciate the guys who were running it all down for us, just think it would have been a 5 minute issue if the proper equipment had been made avaialbel to those who needed.

A more general comment on Panels I have is on the badges. At every other con I have been to (including prior Acens), panelists have always had a unique badge. Nothing super fancy, just a different design that says panelist on it. I know it isn't much, but I was pretty disappointed when I picked up my badge found out that it wasn't even the nice badges the the pre-reg people got in the mail. May not mean much to most people, but I think its a nice little piece of regcognition for the hard work panelists put into their panels.

On some the topics of food and small rooms that people have brought up, has ACen looked into moving to a different location? I am not sure what other convention centers are around in the Chicago area, but it really seems like they have outgrown the current space.

#42 User is offline   Yoric 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

This was my first year back to ACen for the full weekend since 2008, and first time back since Saturday only trips in 2009 and 2010. The convention seemed to run smooth compared to past years, but was lacking in a few areas. Here are my 2 gripes.

1. There need to be more signs for where staff only areas are. My wife and I wanted to get a look at a photo shoot that was going on out around the back of the Hyatt and headed out onto the balcony where we saw some people just hanging out smoking.. We were asked if we were staff once we got out there and were told we couldn't be out there. The staff members were polite, but after walking back in we looked around to see if we had missed a sign somewhere, but there was nothing posted saying it was a staff only area.

2. Anime Hell / Midnight Madness needs to be moved into the Grand Ballroom, or at least there needs to be better seating arrangements for it. Having the majority of the attendees sitting on the floor was a poor decision on someone's behalf, and having people constantly moving closer to fit more people in did not make it a comfortable experience. With the dance going on in the Grand Ballroom, I can't believe there weren't chairs available that could have been set up in there.
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#43 User is offline   STVO 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

I apologize if this has been brought up, but another complaint was the decrease of space in Donald E. Stephens. Why wasn't it used as much this year? I was very confused to see such empty space. Lol.

View PostGSDfan87, on 20 May 2013 - 08:26 AM, said:

On some the topics of food and small rooms that people have brought up, has ACen looked into moving to a different location? I am not sure what other convention centers are around in the Chicago area, but it really seems like they have outgrown the current space.


You're probably right that they should consider moving locations, just not sure where. I hear McCormick Center would cost them a fortune which they couldn't afford and if they did that you would have to bid farewell to overnight panels such as 18+ and Soap Bubble (or move to a bar or something.) See C2E2, I love that convention but the lack of night life activities there bothers me. :\ If anyone has suggestions where to move ACen, they should pitch them on the boards. I love their current location but I am agreeing ACen has outgrown the area for most part.
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#44 User is offline   Sir Gibby 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:01 AM

In terms of the convention itself, it was done very well. The only thing that bothered me about the con this year was the location of the dealer's room with the one set of doors letting people in! The line to get in the hall was a bit ridiculous, and on Sunday a line went outside and down towards the Crowne Plaza. I don't fault ACen for this though because the Power Convention was in the hall we're usually in. Next year I hope it moves back across into that one because of the giant entry ways. My only other gripes this year lie with the Hyatt, and we've already dealt with those. Keep it up ACen!
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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:07 AM

One last gripe, some panel rooms were too small and my friends and I couldn't make a couple of them. I really really wanted to get into the Cosplay =/= Consent panel but couldn't get in because it was filled up :(. Although I was happy that the room was full because it sounds like people are becoming more aware of this problem.
ACen 2011: Friday- Maka (Soul Eater) Saturday- Belle, yellow gown (Beauty and the Beast) Sunday- Katara or Maka
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ACen 2014: Saturday: Sophie Hatter (Howl's Moving Castle) Sunday: Sophie Hatter

#46 User is offline   Domino 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:24 AM

Ah, gripes. It'll be interesting if these are actually taken seriously as a lot of people voiced these opinions.

- Touhou Planning/Coordination
This is primary from the Touhou side of things as it was rather horrible. To start, you guys had the Touhou music panel scheduled during the sets from quite literally the two most prominent Touhou DJ's from Japan, REDALiCE and the person from Alstromenia Records. It would have been nice to go to the panel to discuss them, but it's also probably going to be a once in a lifetime chance to actually hear them live (at least for Alstromenia, REDALiCE frequents ACen somewhat often).

Having the main Touhou panel first thing in the morning was also a bit off as the rave didn't actually end until 4am I think (Touhou DJs ended at about 2am and the Japanese DJ's, Noizenecio as the finisher, finished at 3am). This was rather ridiculous, and I really did try to wake up after sleeping for only 4 hours to attend to primarily Touhou (even if not quite 'official') events, but I was so sore that I had to essentially restrain myself until the photoshoot.

The photoshoot itself being shrunk to 30 minutes was straight out bad. To have it in the smoking area was even worse. Other cons have an hour photoshoot for Touhou, and this was the case for ACen too, until this year. Anime Boston blocks an hour on both Friday and Saturday for Touhou in the main convention center (not in the Copley Square mall or surrounding areas) at a prime time (12pm) each year.

To me it's just weird that with the head and sole creator of the entire franchise coming to America (for the very first time) after the series came out in 1996 and exploded in 2000 that ACen, whom had the power to bring two of the primary Touhou DJ's of Japan to America, would essentially put the general fanbase off to the side essentially. I think that even if it was the way it was last year with both the panel and photoshoot being later, it wouldn't be an issue, but for the most part we just felt like ACen was attempting to downsize and toss us to the side in perhaps the most important year for the American fandom. It's a bit late now in regards to this year, but I'd hate to see this happen to other fandoms :/

- Hardcore Synergy: Side Panels
Now these appeared in the guidebook, so in the least that was somewhat a saving grace, but from what I understand, the panels (like meet the DJs and the pre-rave panel) were planned well in time to make the paper booklet. Me and a good number of people that I know did not have access to computers or phones with data so we had no idea what was going on with these. For each panel, we quite literally had to go into the dealers room just to ask them directly what was going on, and I felt like that step was very unnecessary. It's a shame too, because I know a good amount of people really wanted to attend these panels and they were mostly empty because of this. Even in the printed panel schedule in front of the rooms, they weren't listed :I

- Convention Space
It is getting a bit small for the amount of people. A case where this kind of thing happened was in Boston with Pax East, which originally was hosted in the Hynes Convention Center. It was moved to the much larger Boston Convention Center to accommodate it's 70,000+ attendance. Hynes itself is having some issues with the 10,000+ that Anime Boston draws in. Might I suggest McCormick Place in Chicago as a venue? It's nicer to get to as all metra and CTA lines go there so people in Chicagoland have many options other than parking. Since it's in the center of Chicago (and quite near to Chinatown too), it offers the food options that so many people complain about, though because it's Chicago, we have to deal with the 12.5% sales tax on all food and drink (which we incur in Rosemont anyways btw). C2E2 is hosted at McCormick Place, so it's definitely a doable thing, is much more appealing, and etc.

Other than this, I was able to DJ in the garden near the fountain for 5 hours which most conventions generally don't like letting people do, so that was a thumbs up. From what I hear, people really loved it too! It's all about that gabba B)

#47 User is offline   YeehawMcKickass 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:54 AM

McCormick place may be a larger venue, but it's magnitudes more expensive, harder to get to for anyone not living in the city, lacks the amount of close hotel space of the DESCC area, and the convention would lose the ability to run its numerous late and overnight functions (soap bubble, anime hell, hardcore synergy, video gaming).

#48 User is offline   retro 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:03 AM

hey guys had a great time but a few complaints. I understand that the guest panels were not listed due to them not being submitted before the book needed to be submitted. please put a larger buffer in next year. also the photo shoot area on the east wall is in one of two dog walking areas. One of the people in my room has a service dog that has to stay with her and we were yelled at buy people.
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#49 User is offline   JujuFox 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:36 AM

View Postretro, on 20 May 2013 - 10:03 AM, said:

hey guys had a great time but a few complaints. I understand that the guest panels were not listed due to them not being submitted before the book needed to be submitted. please put a larger buffer in next year. also the photo shoot area on the east wall is in one of two dog walking areas. One of the people in my room has a service dog that has to stay with her and we were yelled at buy people.


Who yelled at you? IRT? People in the photoshoot? You should probably get in touch with the ADA Compliance department and let them know about this.
Here is their email: adacompliance-departmenthead@ACen.org

This post has been edited by JujuFox: 20 May 2013 - 10:37 AM

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#50 User is offline   retro 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:43 AM

attendees sorry not anyone from staff the special needs staff was great to us. sorry for not making that clear.
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#51 User is offline   Bard-kun 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:15 AM

Had a much better time this year than last year. Feel like several issues got resolved. Still, a couple things:

1) My friends and I wanted to quickly find descriptions for panels we thought looked interesting, but the program book's panel list was hopelessly dense and didn't appear to be organized in any particular order. Wouldn't it have made sense to alphabetize them, or at least organize them by day? Or did I just fail at reading comprehension? Fortunately I had the Guidebook App, but still, it was a strange issue.

2) What's with the smaller rooms? Did we simply cut each panel's space in half this year?

3) I'm not sure why the layout of the dealers' hall was so different this year. I've never seen lines like that on a Sunday before...what happened?
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#52 User is offline   jonzmd 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:42 AM

I was quite disappointed in the panel programming for this year's convention. Here are some things that I think
need to be addressed before next year:

1) One of your most outstanding guests, the British anime authority Helen McCarthy, was not listed in the printe schedule of events. I managed to find out when and where she was presenting, but I had to go online for this
information--your staff tried but was unable to help me very much. Because of this, I missed McCarthy's panels on Friday. I was able to attend her panels on Saturday, but because they were unannounced, they were underattended. The failure to list McCarthy's presentations in the schedule was an egregious oversight. I only hope we can get her to come back in future years.

2) There were errors in the program that sent attendees to the wrong places and wasted time. I waited in line to attend a session on "Japanese Language and Culture with the Consulate General of Japan," and discovered (too late)
that instead the panel was to be a Q and A session with a voice actor.

3) Lines were too long everywhere. I don't recall having had to stand in a long line to attend a panel before. And the line to get into the exhibition hall was simply outrageous. I can imagine that people might be more inclined to buy things if they didn't have to wait so long to do so.

4) On Sunday morning, I rushed to make it to a session called "Bouncing through the Years: A Guinax Panel." I arrived on time, but the panelist was nowhere to be seen. I waited half an hour with about a dozen other people, but the panelist didn't show. Eventually, someone was able to make contact with him, but he had already packed his car and was leaving. This was an outrageous waste of our time. I hope that ACen will take more care to screen panelists in the future. At minimum, I dearly hope that this particular panelist will not be invited back.

#53 User is offline   Zilveari 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:04 PM

View PostYoric, on 20 May 2013 - 08:53 AM, said:

This was my first year back to ACen for the full weekend since 2008, and first time back since Saturday only trips in 2009 and 2010. The convention seemed to run smooth compared to past years, but was lacking in a few areas. Here are my 2 gripes.

1. There need to be more signs for where staff only areas are. My wife and I wanted to get a look at a photo shoot that was going on out around the back of the Hyatt and headed out onto the balcony where we saw some people just hanging out smoking.. We were asked if we were staff once we got out there and were told we couldn't be out there. The staff members were polite, but after walking back in we looked around to see if we had missed a sign somewhere, but there was nothing posted saying it was a staff only area.

2. Anime Hell / Midnight Madness needs to be moved into the Grand Ballroom, or at least there needs to be better seating arrangements for it. Having the majority of the attendees sitting on the floor was a poor decision on someone's behalf, and having people constantly moving closer to fit more people in did not make it a comfortable experience. With the dance going on in the Grand Ballroom, I can't believe there weren't chairs available that could have been set up in there.


There was a sign on the deck on he second floor of the fishbowl initially... but of course it "disappeared", and a new one never seemed to get set up.

View PostSTVO, on 20 May 2013 - 08:53 AM, said:

I apologize if this has been brought up, but another complaint was the decrease of space in Donald E. Stephens. Why wasn't it used as much this year? I was very confused to see such empty space. Lol.



You're probably right that they should consider moving locations, just not sure where. I hear McCormick Center would cost them a fortune which they couldn't afford and if they did that you would have to bid farewell to overnight panels such as 18+ and Soap Bubble (or move to a bar or something.) See C2E2, I love that convention but the lack of night life activities there bothers me. :\ If anyone has suggestions where to move ACen, they should pitch them on the boards. I love their current location but I am agreeing ACen has outgrown the area for most part.


A prom event was set up in the Con Center(the section that we usually use) on Friday night so ACen couldn't use it. I believe the restaurant was set up over there for the rest of the weekend though?
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#54 User is offline   Zilveari 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:07 PM

View PostBard-kun, on 20 May 2013 - 11:15 AM, said:

Had a much better time this year than last year. Feel like several issues got resolved. Still, a couple things:

1) My friends and I wanted to quickly find descriptions for panels we thought looked interesting, but the program book's panel list was hopelessly dense and didn't appear to be organized in any particular order. Wouldn't it have made sense to alphabetize them, or at least organize them by day? Or did I just fail at reading comprehension? Fortunately I had the Guidebook App, but still, it was a strange issue.

2) What's with the smaller rooms? Did we simply cut each panel's space in half this year?

3) I'm not sure why the layout of the dealers' hall was so different this year. I've never seen lines like that on a Sunday before...what happened?


There were an incredible number of panel submissions this year. You wouldn't believe how long the waiting list was. They tried to fit in as much content as possible.
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#55 User is offline   NoseMaster 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:31 PM

Biggest complaint was just how lines were handled. The masquerade line, for example. It was down the sidewalk, and then they decided to move it into the bushes. That's weird enough, but why did they wait until it was already to the lights to change where the line was? It just ended up with people getting shuffled out of their actual spot in the line, effectively kicking them out of their spot. Vendor hall had the same problem.

#56 User is offline   KungPowKirby 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:52 PM

My gripes this year are mainly because I am a person with disabilities, and how horrible I was treated by IRT - even to the point that I was in tears
.. twice!!!!
First - where the exhibit space was located was terrible for people having to walk to the convention center. I understand that somebody else had the space until Saturday- so this year there was nothing that could done, however in the future please try to avoid it. I have been informed by staff that next year we have our normal hall booked, which I am so happy hear. However, one major concern comes from something I have heard from that same staff member.... that they will make the exporia entrance an exist only. I rely on this entrance as it is the shortest route to the convention center. I only went to the dealers hall twice this year because of the long walk around the center/through the tunnels. I saw many a person with crutches, walkers, etc struggling as well. When somebody has trouble walking they need to take the shortest route to their destination. This weekend started off great with IRT and ADA compliance. I was allowed to enter where I needed to for the various entrances and exists and people were really kind. HOWEVER then came Saturday evening and it all changed. I had just existed the masquerade - and was in the - bottle neck of people. I almost got shoved off my feet several times by people pushing to get into the rave and various other events. Once I got off the escalator I got and a o the lmost fell down right in front of it. I approached the IRT personal blocking people from entering where the exist was with my disabilities pass so that I could get through the influx of people safely not have to go around and push through the long line for elevators. This IRT member proceeded to tell me he didnt care that I was a person with disabilities it was his job and that I had to have a note from a higher level personnel - whos call sign i am not stating on purpose. (Higher level personnel is aware of the name- I am expecting them to deal with this person. I had several complaints about them- and was already planning on filing a separate complaint) was in tears- in pain due to getting shoved around and stomped on. - He said to go ahead and make a complaint - that nobody would do anything. I do not remember this specific persons call sign- but I can tell you he was wearing a kilt. I then was so upset that I went to search out somebody in charge. I finally recieved some help after getting pushed around some more by an EMRT person. The were going to try to get the IRT DH (Mikah???) however she was not available- they instead called her husband. I'm afraid I do not remember his call sign either. --- he listened to my concerns and assured me he would fix them. He got me to the elevator safely and quickly. However the whole experience absolutely drained me and I did not have the energy to doI much of anything last night. This morning I go to the dealers hall- and the line to enter is insane and I'm afraid if I went anywhere near it I would have ended up on the ground. Therefore I went to the safest route- to the exist which was clear of people for the most part. I showed my disabilities pass to an IRT member with the call sign VOXX- he said he would not allow me to pass- and that I had to wait in line at the entrance. At this point I was so tired and sore I could hardly move. He said to go ahead and make complaint- that I again I needed a note from somebody in IRT. Another man came up and allowed me to enter. Excuse me if I am wrong,, but that is what the disabilities pass is for. What is the use if IRT can decide not to honor it? I hope to have a definite answer way in advance about what we can and can not do with that pass. If I am stopped from enjoying the convention because I can not access areas I will seriously consider not attending.

Also the IRT personel running the Masquerade group (before line up) by the name of amazon was very rude and mocked us. The line up rule is obviously not working. She allowed everyone to stay just to push to the sides. She should have had them leave the area. by making everyone push back it created chaos and a fire hazard. Please do not do this in the future. I was seriously scared Id be trampled- as I was sitting on the floor at the time.

I'll probably edit and add to this post later. Right now I am typing this on my tablet.
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#57 User is offline   Domino 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:05 PM

View PostYeehawMcKickass, on 20 May 2013 - 09:54 AM, said:

McCormick place may be a larger venue, but it's magnitudes more expensive, harder to get to for anyone not living in the city, lacks the amount of close hotel space of the DESCC area, and the convention would lose the ability to run its numerous late and overnight functions (soap bubble, anime hell, hardcore synergy, video gaming).

The first point is kinda mute since Anime Expo is held in LA, Anime Boston an Pax East in Boston, Pax Prime in Seattle, NYCC in New York, Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, Otakon in Baltimore, etc. Plus, we're kind of spoiled with the Hyatt and it's infrastructure. AX seems to hold out fine with it's nearly 50k attendance and rather distanced hotels. Pax East has 3 close hotels and the rest are at least 1.5-5 miles away. C2E2 has gotten about the same attendance (though now I think it might be higher) as ACen and it does fine. If space is becoming really that much of an issue, then McCormick place seems very ideal to me except for the late night stuff. That I don't know about, but at the same time, the raves and whatnot happen in the hotel, not the convention center, so I don't see why something similar can't be figured out.

If we really want to keep it in the Rosemont area, I'd suggest utilizing more of the convention space. Right now, most panels are held in the Hyatt and much of the convention center goes unused. The dealer's room could also be extended all the way to the walls so we could have larger gaps in the aisles between booths. I see this done at Anime Boston and Pax East, so I don't see why we restrain it so much here, especially with such a large attendance. For food, maybe have some sort of [hopefully free] shuttle service to the Rosemont restaurants and whatnot north on Mannaheim.

#58 User is offline   Twilight Sparkle 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:09 PM

Allllrighty. Here is my little 2 cents on things that made me a little peeved this year.

-Dealer's Hall. I was sooooo confused by this years layout and had a hard time finding things. It felt like there was no real organization this year in that area. At all. Also on Sunday when someone started that false line, why didn't IRT disband it immediately and let it grow to the lengths it did? My friends and I thought it was the real line and after a while an IRT member half heartily shouted that this was a fake line and continued to go back to playing with her phone. Barely anyone heard her. We got out of line to go stand in the real one but it was ridiculous.

-Panels. The little amount of room for them shocked the heck out of me. My local con that only gets about 1/4th of the visitors of ACen has far more room than a lot of these panels it felt like. Also I so wished you would have spread some of the same type of panels out a little bit. The one's I personally wanting to go to; Cosplay on a Budget, Posing in Cosplay, Picking your first Sewing Machine, Prop Making; all felt like they were way to close to each other and that I had no time to grab a bite to eat or even get in line before it started.

-Gatherings. Even though mine went over smoothly, I feel like people who are in charge of them should get semi-special badges or something. This would eliminate the whole thing of people taking a gathering over from the person who is running it and prevent incidents like what happen last year. And it would make it way easier to find out who is in charge of the people milling about waiting for the shoot to start.
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#59 User is offline   cactusmomma 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:38 PM

I do want to outright apologize to the gatherings that were located at the east outdoor wall. I was not informed about the relocation of the smoking area at all and found out about its location when I got on site on Thursday afternoon. I was told this was one of the hotel's decisions.

#60 User is offline   feuerwerke 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 01:55 PM

View Postjonzmd, on 20 May 2013 - 11:42 AM, said:



1) One of your most outstanding guests, the British anime authority Helen McCarthy, was not listed in the printe schedule of events. I managed to find out when and where she was presenting, but I had to go online for this
information--your staff tried but was unable to help me very much. Because of this, I missed McCarthy's panels on Friday. I was able to attend her panels on Saturday, but because they were unannounced, they were underattended. The failure to list McCarthy's presentations in the schedule was an egregious oversight. I only hope we can get her to come back in future years.




I agree with this. The issue seems to be that the guest panels weren't scheduled until after the schedule book went to the printer, but I think a better schedule insert should've been given. There was one, but it wasn't in bags given on Thursday, and it was just a sheet of paper, which is easy to lose or get damaged. Helen McCarthy was phenomenal and I know from speaking with her after her panel on Sunday that she will gladly return to Anime Central if she's invited back, but I hope she and the other guests will have their schedules prepared on time to be printed in the schedule. The fact that the schedule for Anime Midwest (which was inappropriate to give out at ACen IMO since, as another person said, it was confusing) got a better handout than the ACen guest schedule is rather disappointing.

Also offtopic but I'm glad to hear someone else knew who Helen McCarthy was and was eager to see her panels. <3
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