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2013 Gripes

#61 User is offline   iospace 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:23 PM

Only a few gripes here:

  • Lack of free water in the Vendor Area/Artist Alley, and I'm not talking bubblers here. Given the lines to get in this year, some people may not want to leave in order to get something to drink and try to take the heat. As I was wearing a heavy costume myself, I was feeling the heat of the area and would have liked something to drink. Bubblers are nice but at the same time, those of us with wigs are in a rock and hard place with those.
  • Smoking areas being in the same spots as gathering areas. Yeah... that should never happen, ever.
  • Scheduling of Touhou panels. Yes, the scheduling could have been worse, but it could have been a lot better.
  • Having a guidebook app and not putting out a PDF of the regular program. Ohhhhh boy. You decided to publish a guidebook as an app for those with smartphones and tablets. Great! For those who can use it anyway. I have an old dumb phone, so I can't use the app. Instead I had to dig around the forums to find the gathering and panel schedule. If you're going to use an app like that, at least for the love of the FSM release a PDF of the regular program too.


The layout of the vendor area bothered me, but I understand that it was due the area being in a different location than last year.

#62 User is offline   XxNightrayLovexX 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:34 PM

ACen 2013 was my first con ever, and therefore was incredibly memorable :)

However, I did have a variety of gripes that, if not there in the first place, would have made the convention extra wonderful, and I'm stating them now for the sake of those who want to attend ACen next year as their first con:

Maps are your best friend, but not entirely helpful: I printed out maps of both hotels. I found panels easily using the Hyatt map, however, I couldn't and still haven't figured out where certain things were at the Hilton, despite asking for help from staff. It took a long while, for whatever reason, to find the vending hall, too. Finding the entrance to it through the restaurant would have been an easy shortcut, if I had discovered it earlier. Anyway, there needs to be signs of some sort to prevent confusion. I wasted about 45 minutes trying to find panels at the Hilton. This obviously won't happen again, considering I know where everything is like the back of my hand now, but for new ACen congoers, it would be most beneficial :I

Cancelled panels: I didn't expect this to happen, but it did, at least, for one of the two panels I was looking forward to attending. Miracles on the Court was cancelled, and quite disappointing and discouraging for my first day at ACen. Several people have mentioned cancelled panels. Hm, I wish panelists would notify staff sooner so that congoers could be informed early and not waste time waiting for a panel to start. It seemed really irresponsible on the panelists' part :I

Rave line and rave: The rave line was incredibly long. I had to leave the line actually to drop off bags that weren't allowed in. I was going to just leave them outside the line, but from the congoers' suspiciousness *rowdiness, loudness, whatever* and the threatening sign *we are not responsible for your things*, I decided to drop my things off at a friend's hotel. We got back and had to go to the very end of the line that had already wrapped around the building to the back. The people in line were crazy *as expected*, but whatever. It took a relatively short time to make it in, despite the long line. We only stayed for 30 minutes and it didn't seem entirely worth the wait :I

SMOKING: I know it's nothing to complain about because it's not the staff's fault but, the outside had cigarette smell EVERYWHERE. The inside of the Hyatt and vending hall was crowded and occasionally we needed a breath of fresh air, but it wasn't fresh. The only areas we could breathe easily were the grassy areas in front of the Hilton. It wasn't pleasant having to actually search around for a place outside that didn't have someone smoking, but I guess that's just an issue you have to deal with at these kinds of things :I

Despite these issues, I really enjoyed myself. The cosplays were awesome, everyone was really friendly, and the setting was amazing. I am definitely coming back next year :)
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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:35 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 May 2013 - 12:52 PM, said:



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.


I do apologize for your complaints with the IRT line crew working the masquerade line, I was one of the individuals working the line, trying to move people and get them to make space, we did try multiple times to have people leave and enjoy the con, however we cannot force people to leave, and we can only do are best. However for the amount of people in the line, and waiting when the “Actual” line was formed being 30 minutes before the event went very quickly for all 1,500 attendees.
But once again I do apologize for your troubles during the con
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#64 User is offline   Darko 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:40 PM

My biggest gripe is that 1 car per room limit. it was completely BS and they didnt even enforce parking rules after the first day.
the entrance to the parking garage was completely unmanned and i was able to just go in and out, without using my card. I had to carry things from other peoples cars that were all the way from the parking garage across the way. even though they were booked at the hyatt. that definatly needs to change
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#65 User is offline   havok978 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:41 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 May 2013 - 12:52 PM, said:

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.


I don't typically have too many gripes from year to year, but this attitude must have been a bit of a recurring theme this weekend with some of the IRT, as I had issues on Sunday at the Hyatt with two of the IRT staff running the elevators around checkout time. Now, I'm no stranger to the Hyatt elevator issues, especially around checkout time on Sunday, and I do think that having staff run the elevators has improved some of that over previous years. However, when you're on one of the higher floors (in my case 7th) with a large suitcase or several bags/costumes/whatever that would be pretty difficult to lug down 6-7+ flights of stairs, and you're waiting upwards of 30-40 mins to get an elevator, the last thing you need is snarky comments from IRT when the elevator reaches your floor saying really sarcastically, "Well, you could just take the stairs..." or "Stairs are great exercise!" When I finally managed to grab one and we hit a lower floor, one of the IRT in question stated to someone quite bluntly, "Take the damn stairs!" I really wish I would have got callsigns but at that point I was so irritated and busy trying to get out of there to get to the airport that I didn't have the opportunity. The third IRT running the elevators at that time was really apologetic every time he hit our floor, and if the other two were more like him I really wouldn't have as big of an issue with the situation. I just think its common courtesy not to be a jerk when you know people have been waiting for some time (because you've seen them like 10 times every time you reach the floor) and are probably a little irritable. I know these folks are volunteers and everything, but is there something that can be done in regards to training or selection or 'customer service' for lack of a better term? Obviously, its not everyone and I've encountered quite a few nice and helpful staff over the weekend, but I feel like I'm seeing enough of a common thread that its an issue that needs to be addressed somehow, because the really bad apples are starting to spoil the bunch and I left really considering if maybe I should go somewhere else next year for a change.

#66 User is offline   OneWing 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 02:44 PM

I don't have any particular gripes other than the usual people suffering from the human condition. I'm sure the staff are always doing the best they can. At some point I would like to share my feedback, but I'm at work at the moment. So anyway. Going along the lines of the thread and others' gripes:

Is it possible for ACen/MAPS to reserve specific rooms for panels?

Also, just a question/suggestion to those dealing with rude IRT - each one has their own individual and unique name - is it possible to take that name to report it? I know the head of IRT stated at the Cosplay =/= Consent panel that if there is an issue with a particular con goer, they can get the badge name to report the person. I would imagine IRT works the same way.
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#67 User is offline   iospace 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 03:05 PM

I hate to make another post but...

The gathering schedule overall was /horrible/. I understand certain series are popular right now, but giving them not only spots on two days, but multiple locations (as in spread out along the docks) and up to two total hours of time is doing a disservice to the other fandoms. When Sailor Moon, League of Legends, and Touhou all only get a half hour, something is /wrong/. The Touhou shoot barely got through all the games (we lumped PC-98 together) and had only a couple minutes left over. I saw a large amount of League cosplayers. And Sailor Moon always has a large turnout. Yes, there's a lot of series out there now, but could you at least try to make more areas for shoots? That would help a lot as well.

#68 User is offline   Wafflashizzles 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 03:38 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 May 2013 - 12:52 PM, said:

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.



Wow, that's actually incredible. Disabled people get priority usage for the elevators in all situations, and everyone I knew ran it like that. If they didn't let you use the elevators, it's a serious issue, and they should be reported to management.

About not being allowed to enter through the exit- yes, this is policy to my knowledge. Those with disability badges are still supposed to wait in the event lines like most other people. I know we were told that this was the case.

About Amazon and the masquerade lines n' stuff- I'm sorry if you had any trouble, i'll vouch for her. I know I heard from her a couple times that line management was having huge problems with the amount of people they had and were doing their best.

Sorry for any troubles you had at the Con, bro. But we get a little better every year, and all your comments help. Thanks for the feedback!

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 03:51 PM

View PostDomino, on 20 May 2013 - 01:05 PM, said:

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.


The cost point is not moot as MAPS and other ACen higher ups have stated several times in the last few years that the cost of using McCormick Place is prohibitive. I can't exactly comment on the other conventions you listed, as I'm usually a contractor for midwestern conventions.

C2E2's attendance for this year was slightly over 40k, compared to ACen 2012's 24k. (Aer this years numbers announced?) Wizard World Chicago uses DESCC and has drawn 70k in the past.

I don't disagree with your suggestion of utilizing more DESCC space, especially for panels. My experience has been that they're a pleasure to work with, the issue is just how much it would cost.

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 04:53 PM

View PostWafflashizzles, on 20 May 2013 - 03:38 PM, said:

Wow, that's actually incredible. Disabled people get priority usage for the elevators in all situations, and everyone I knew ran it like that. If they didn't let you use the elevators, it's a serious issue, and they should be reported to management.

About not being allowed to enter through the exit- yes, this is policy to my knowledge. Those with disability badges are still supposed to wait in the event lines like most other people. I know we were told that this was the case.

About Amazon and the masquerade lines n' stuff- I'm sorry if you had any trouble, i'll vouch for her. I know I heard from her a couple times that line management was having huge problems with the amount of people they had and were doing their best.

Sorry for any troubles you had at the Con, bro. But we get a little better every year, and all your comments help. Thanks for the feedback!


I'm not sure who you are, as your not labeled staff. However your assumption about lines and ada complience is wrong. Those with a disabilites pass do get to skip lines. If you are indeed irt staff, as your post seems to suggest, I want to know who told you that we are supposed to wait in lines as I would like to address that issue with management.

Amazon may have had issues, however the way she went about controlling the crowd was wrong. People had been waiting in the area 3+ hours, not 30 minutes. also, the way the policy has been discribed in the past, they are supposed to ask people to leave if they are loitering around line areas. She did not.

also, I am not a "bro". Thanks.
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#71 User is offline   KnitChick 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:00 PM

Taking a moment to reply to a few issues:


View PostxSaria, on 19 May 2013 - 04:03 PM, said:

Would it be possible to get more Rosemont/Cook County police officers to patrol the hotel areas to help cut down on the underage drinking/excessive noise/other illegalities? I'm not talking about hotel rooms, but in hallways where I saw a lot of underage public intoxication.


We always have quite a few of Rosemont's finest on-site all weekend long, I know I saw many of them that I said hello to. Unfortunately they can't be everywhere at once. If you see something - please please PLEASE let IRT or a staff member know, so we can alert the police officers!!


View PostVoicesOfChaos, on 20 May 2013 - 01:58 AM, said:

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.


To be honest, WE didn't even know that was happening!!! I had no clue the con center was going to be doing that until I was racing to get over there for an issue I needed to handle and I heard over the radio that they had opened up hall A. So it wasn't us - it was the con center surprising us!! :) At least it was a pleasant surprise - when I walked through there before heading back to the Hyatt I saw there were lots of tables for eating and hot food.


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.


Unfortunately as has been mentioned elsewhere in the thread, the only other large convention center in the Chicago area is McCormick which isn't really feasible for us for many reasons. C2E2 can use it because they are NOT a 24 hour con. Yes, they were larger than us (not sure they announced their numbers officially but the unofficial number I was told was about twice our 2012 numbers), but they shut down around 10 pm. The other biggest problem - HOTELS. There is ONE hotel close to McCormick. We filled the Hyatt, the Hilton, the Embassy, the Doubletree, the Aloft and also had attendees at Comfort Inn, Intercontinental, Motel 6 and more.



View PostOneWing, on 20 May 2013 - 02:44 PM, said:

ose dealing with rude IRT - each one has their own individual and unique name - is it possible to take that name to report it? I know the head of IRT stated at the Cosplay =/= Consent panel that if there is an issue with a particular con goer, they can get the badge name to report the person. I would imagine IRT works the same way.


Yes! We always encourage people who have issues with IRT (or also have a compliment for them) to get their callsign. They all have one that's in bright orange on their left shoulder. Some are pretty memorable too :)
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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:11 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 May 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

I'm not sure who you are, as your not labeled staff. However your assumption about lines and ada complience is wrong. Those with a disabilites pass do get to skip lines. If you are indeed irt staff, as your post seems to suggest, I want to know who told you that we are supposed to wait in lines as I would like to address that issue with management.

Amazon may have had issues, however the way she went about controlling the crowd was wrong. People had been waiting in the area 3+ hours, not 30 minutes. also, the way the policy has been discribed in the past, they are supposed to ask people to leave if they are loitering around line areas. She did not.

also, I am not a "bro". Thanks.


I will kind of piggyback off of this by saying the 30 minute rule did not work for the Masquerade. It caused a massive herd of people to just gather in the hallway which not only caused a fire hazard, but also a lot of confusion as there was then two lines forming on either side of the hallway. Instead of just letting those up front filter into the actual line from there, everyone was corralled outside. This caused an infuriating amount of line jumping. I was fairly close to the front and ended up being near the back by the time I got out into the line before the line. Perhaps for the masquerade it is best to just let people line up as they come, as it is easier to manage and direct people in small influxes as opposed to one giant conglomerate of bodies. Not to mention, it started almost an hour late and I'm going to assume this was the reason why.

Also, I know people have stressed this in previous posts but I do agree that the severity of punishment needs to be raised for panelists who fail to show up to their panels. This weekend always goes by fast for me because I love panels. The unfortunate part is that going to panels takes a lot of planning and time managing. Most of the day is spent either waiting in a line or walking between locations to attend another event/panel. It is a huge let down and a major waste of time. I know someone in a few posts back suggested keeping a credit/debit card on file to then charge the full badge price of a panelist who fails to show and I think that is a great idea.

Other than that I had no major issues with the convention this year. I just really feel that the 30 minute line up rule is not a good approach. If someone wants to spend 2 hours waiting for a panel then that should be their prerogative.
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#73 User is offline   linlindesu 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:15 PM

View PostKungPowKirby, on 20 May 2013 - 04:53 PM, said:

I'm not sure who you are, as your not labeled staff. However your assumption about lines and ada complience is wrong. Those with a disabilites pass do get to skip lines. If you are indeed irt staff, as your post seems to suggest, I want to know who told you that we are supposed to wait in lines as I would like to address that issue with management.

Amazon may have had issues, however the way she went about controlling the crowd was wrong. People had been waiting in the area 3+ hours, not 30 minutes. also, the way the policy has been discribed in the past, they are supposed to ask people to leave if they are loitering around line areas. She did not.

also, I am not a "bro". Thanks.

wasn't that particular IRT mentioned quite a few times in the 2012 gripes as well?
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#74 User is offline   Gwydion 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:18 PM

I was in the Artist Alley all weekend, so that's really all I can comment on, but thought I'd give my two cents!

Seeing as others had good traffic, I'm going to assume that this was perhaps due to my spot, but traffic in our part of the Artist Alley was way down from previous years (we were in the back near the concession stand). I had guessed this was due to not being near anything - while one side was close to the Dealers, the other three sides were just walls and the only entrance led straight to the Dealers as well, so it felt like we were tucked away in a corner. I had never seen it so light in the years I'd been doing the Alley, so that admittedly was a little disappointing. Again, perhaps it was just luck of the spot, in which case there's not much that can be done.

Also, and I'm not sure anything could be done about this, but I know at least my table and the table next to mine were directly under an air conditioning vet that was blasting cold air all weekend and we were freezing - my fingers were turning blue and I was shaking (which severely hindered my ability to work on commissions at the table and I heard my neighbor comment on that as well) and I was even wearing long sleeves, pants, and wigs the whole weekend! I was just glad we weren't trying to sell prints because there was no way they would have stayed on the table. Again, not sure anything can be done, but it made for a very uncomfortable weekend, so I figured I'd point it out.

Another thing I found surprising was the two hour window to set up on Thursday. Two hours is a ridiculously short amount of time to shoot for, especially when battling Chicago traffic. Not only that, but as this was the first year this happened and we didn't find out until a few weeks before the con that this was the case, I had to rearrange my entire schedule at work to make arriving there at that time possible. I'm fortunate in that I have a job that allows me to do this, but I know others who were not so fortunate. If there's ANYTHING that can be done about this, I would highly recommend that action be taken - I don't know if the convention center itself was to blame or what, but this change got ACen off to a very hectic start this year for us.

Lastly, I was surprised and sad to find that we were not given any con information/guides when we checked in. Luckily I didn't end up really needing it, but without a smart phone and therefore no guidebook app, it would have been nice to have been given one just in case. (Perhaps this fits better in the "suggestions" thread, though.)

I still had a fun weekend despite the issues we had, but I felt these things were worth mentioning.
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#75 User is offline   MsLovelyCookie 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:18 PM

I'm not a fan of high fives as I have a slight OCD when it comes to spreading germs and getting sick during con but I do high five none the less. Which comes to my first complaint:

Soap Bubble Line: I forgot my hand sanitizer so I keep texting my friends to join me and my friend and answering all of their questions to keep from high fiving everyone. I did fist pump or touched elbows with those who asked. However, when I said "No thank you." to one person while talking to my friend the guy just hit butt while the line started to move so I couldn't get a good description of him to tell the IRT so I had to let it go.

Soap Bubble: There was a conga line passing in front of me when all of a sudden they all got pushed back and I pushed them away from us in to protect my friend who is 4'9 and a fight was about to break up between a dancer and the conga line started. We were near by the stage and I surprised I didn't see any IRT jump in and help break the two guys up. Lucky the guy's friends were able to take him away to cool off.

Hyatt Elevators: The signs were confusing at first when taking the elevator at the Hyatt. IRT was kind enough to remind people that it was an exit and I know I needed it when I was tired after a long day and in zombie mode. :zombie:

Artist Ally/Exhibit Hall Line on Sunday: WOW! That line took me by surprise that the size of it I thought the line was a small long line when I got off of my final shift. I didn't know I was going to go outside and back in again. it was very easy for anyone to cut the line. What was the hold up?

This post has been edited by MsLovelyCookie: 20 May 2013 - 05:29 PM

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#76 User is offline   Cricket 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:21 PM

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

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.

Chairs drop the capacity of a room by a major amount (grand ballroom with chairs and without is a difference of almost 1k)

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#77 User is offline   Cricket 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:26 PM

View PostMsLovelyCookie, on 20 May 2013 - 05:18 PM, said:

Artist Ally/Exhibit Hall Line on Sunday: WOW! That line took me by surprise that the size of it I thought the line was a small long line when I got off of my final shift. I didn't know I was going to go outside and back in again. it was very easy for anyone to cut the line. What was the hold up?


Sadly nobody quite expected the amount of people at doors open on sunday for the exhibit hall. so i had to post my lines team outside, by the time I got my people on that. i doubled back inside to find there was another line indoors and i had to request the con center shift to help handle that line sadly the ball was dropped early on that one.

Mistakes happen, and i'm sorry. :(

This post has been edited by Cricket: 20 May 2013 - 05:28 PM


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#78 User is offline   Dark Spellmaster 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:27 PM

Okay one small gripe here, and I'm not sure why this was done, but I'll put it out.

Friday my family and I came in to park at the Hyatt, we have a disable plate because my father does have a bad back but more for my mother, who has artritus in her ankle and has a hard time walking, and my grandmother who has a bad back and is very old (93 years and counting), however we were not able to park in a handicapped spot due to people taking that space. In the day time I'm not sure how many of those had plates or plaquards, but we wound up on the 6th floor. Fine okay, we can deal with that, though it took us more time to get our stuff to the elevator, mind you we got in at 11 am, managed to get a room (kudos to the lovely people at the desk).

However things got vexing Friday night. I know we paid 34 dollars to park at the hotel, we left for dinner around seven thirty. When we got back roughly at 8:30 from dinner we discovered that the lot was full, and probably not with guests of the hyatt. Apparently, according to what I heard, the hotel was charaging 34 dollars for anyone to park in the lot to pay for the water damages it dealt with? Is this true? Then there was the issue of non handicapped people parking in handicapped spaces, we were lucky enough that the attendent for valet let us park in the valet space, after my father was driving around for an hour looking for a space. I know there is space across the way at the DESCC, and also by the CTA line, and Free parking at a garage farther out, but, if we're going to pay 300 or more dollars to stay at a hotel I do expect to have parking space.

Would it be too much to ask for the hyatt to have stickers issued for people renting the hotel rooms and allowing only those that were staying at the hotel to park there? Or have someone go around the parking garage and ticket or move the cars that are not handicapped from their impropper spaces, because the fact that there was no spaces at all for those that were disabled is really unacceptable. My dad was thinking of driving home, even though he paid the money to park in the lot.
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#79 User is offline   MsLovelyCookie 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:34 PM

View PostCricket, on 20 May 2013 - 05:26 PM, said:

Sadly nobody quite expected the amount of people at doors open on sunday for the exhibit hall. so i had to post my lines team outside, by the time I got my people on that. i doubled back inside to find there was another line indoors and i had to request the con center shift to help handle that line sadly the ball was dropped early on that one.

Mistakes happen, and i'm sorry. :(/>


It's fine. I didn't think that there would be so many people. Lucky the wait wasn't bad but it did die down when I went back in with my friend later on.

This post has been edited by MsLovelyCookie: 20 May 2013 - 05:37 PM

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#80 User is offline   wastedutopia 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:48 PM

IRT created their own line problem by having only one door into the dealers hall open. Why on earth where there so many IRT standing around trying to manage a line when they could have been standing at the other doors checking badges? Also, when the dealers hall closed and they would only let people out of the exit. It made zero sense not to have people coming out of both sets of doors to clear the room as quickly as possible.

I actually liked the new smoking area, but some benches would have been nice. The only grass was the dog walk so it would not have been good to sit on. I understand that this was probably all the doing of the hotel and not ACen though.

#81 User is offline   Kiezer 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 05:58 PM

View PostMsLovelyCookie, on 20 May 2013 - 05:18 PM, said:


Soap Bubble: There was a conga line passing in front of me when all of a sudden they all got pushed back and I pushed them away from us in to protect my friend who is 4'9 and a fight was about to break up between a dancer and the conga line started. We were near by the stage and I surprised I didn't see any IRT jump in and help break the two guys up. Lucky the guy's friends were able to take him away to cool off.



I'm sorry you had issues in the soap bubble! This is the first year we broke up conga lines, and honestly it wasn't that easy to do...we basically had to race to the front of the line and force the first person to stop (which probably is why they ended up getting pushed back). I'm sorry you got pushed into and I'm glad you were able to protect yourself and your friend!

About the almost-fight, I'm sure that if the fight would have broken out, we would have been on it very quickly, but we are outnumbered in the dances and we have a LOT to look for, I'm sure that the IRT in the front either didn't see it or saw it dissipate before they had a chance to react. As for the ops on the floor, it really has to do with being in the right area at the right time (I know I was able to stop a mosh pit, and I just happened to be one of the first people the guy pushed into, so I was able to stop it before it even started)....if you (or anyone) see something like this happen (or any dangerous/rule-breaking activity for that matter), feel free to flag down IRT (we want to help, trust me), there are always a few ops up near the stage and usually there is one near the exit, also there are ops roaming the floor

I hope you were able to enjoy it despite your issues and if you have any suggestions, please don't hesitate to let us know!

This post has been edited by Kiezer: 20 May 2013 - 06:02 PM

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#82 User is offline   rcallewaert 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:39 PM

View PostSTVO, on 20 May 2013 - 12:57 AM, said:


* 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.


Hi there, this is the lead panelist for Speed dating this year and last year.

Look at it from the panel's point of view:

We have an equal amount of males and females in the room, then someone needs to leave. If I had told everyone in line that you're going to get in, so leave, then I have not lost one person, but two. But if I have people waiting in line, I can still make a pair from a loss. With that being said, I'm not going to count the first five people in line and say 'you might be able to get in, everyone else gtfo.' Speed dating was full last year and was full this year, if I decide to run the panel(which from all the positive feedback I receive, will probably happen), then the best advice and solution I can give you is to get there earlier.

Ok, this next one is for staff, and it's about discrimination, so make sure to keep note:

I was informed that a transgender was denied access to Speed Dating by panel programming, but I talked with them and sorted everything out. This could've escalated and gotten out of hand if left alone so I thought I'd bring it up here. As a solution, please inform your staff that is advising panel programming of transgender right on the matter. I'll send an e-mail on the details to Panel Programming later on this affair.

My next gripe is of course related to IRT. You have many IRT that are rude, and on the other side of the spectrum, you have super friendly IRT. Utilize these personalities as I see too many IRT manning the elevators that just can't say 'no' to having too many people on the elevators, or having people ride up to ride down and at the same time, you have IRT on a power trip.

My final gripe is for Lost and Found. My friend lost an ID Saturday night. Both my friend and I left our contact information and I asked if I would be contacted when it's found and they said 'yes'. Sunday morning comes and before we leave, we give one last chance of the Lost and Found having it. They had it, and at that time, I couldn't be more relieved, but at the same time, feel wronged. I was never contacted, and had I or her been Saturday night, she could've attended the Saturday night 18+ panels she wanted to go to. I know you can't control every single person, but either I was lied to or someone doesn't know how to do their job. My solution to the problem would be to notify volunteers and staff of strict policy. For instance, instead of saying they would call me, I would've been more at ease to be told to 'check back often'; that way I'm not eagerly waiting for a call I will never receive.

#83 User is offline   Rowan 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:07 PM

I want to know why you are using emergency contact numbers to call people and get them to do surveys. I am messaging to complain about that since people are using parents and their home numbers as emergency contacts ONLY. And when you use that information, parents answer and have no idea WHY they are getting phone calls on THEIR phone that is not for them. I want to know why you are abusing that information we HAVE to give out and using it for things OTHER than its sole and only purpose.


If I could get a Moderator to answer this or direct me to someone who CAN answer, I will be grateful. I am feeling very aggravated that ACen is taking advantage of that information that we have to give out, even though the registration paper you fill out says "optional".

#84 User is offline   kenkendazo  

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:42 PM

View PostRowan, on 20 May 2013 - 08:07 PM, said:

I want to know why you are using emergency contact numbers to call people and get them to do surveys. I am messaging to complain about that since people are using parents and their home numbers as emergency contacts ONLY. And when you use that information, parents answer and have no idea WHY they are getting phone calls on THEIR phone that is not for them. I want to know why you are abusing that information we HAVE to give out and using it for things OTHER than its sole and only purpose.


If I could get a Moderator to answer this or direct me to someone who CAN answer, I will be grateful. I am feeling very aggravated that ACen is taking advantage of that information that we have to give out, even though the registration paper you fill out says "optional".

Do you have proof of this like names of the people who called? If so you may be able to have a legal breach of contract with MAPS.
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#85 User is offline   masterblaster 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:46 PM

Convention Center rooms A, B and C were not listed on the map. These were the site of several large events. Going by the map provided in the guidebook, there was no way to tell where they were.

The location of the AMV room was not listed in the guidebook, nor was any schedule for it. If AMV screenings there were under-attended, that would surely have to be part of the reason why. The person running it this year did a really good job, imo.

One IRT staffer was particularly rude to a panelist who went over his time. It's one thing to be brusque to attendees -- I understand that you've got to clear the room quickly -- but this guy is an incredibly knowledgeable, longtime professional in the industry. Not a voice actor, Internet celebrity or anything quite so glamorous, but someone who still has a lot to bring to the convention. I wouldn't blame him if he felt offended by how he was bumrushed out of the room.

This post has been edited by masterblaster: 20 May 2013 - 08:47 PM


#86 User is offline   Rowan 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 08:56 PM

View Postkenkendazo, on 20 May 2013 - 08:42 PM, said:

Do you have proof of this like names of the people who called? If so you may be able to have a legal breach of contract with MAPS.



I did not get the name of the person, it was my boyfriend who received the call. The caller ID says "Aspen Media" and I have the phone number. Now I am suspecting that ACen has given PERSONAL INFORMATION out to a public survey company. Which frustrates me even more and makes me feel more violated.

#87 User is offline   kenkendazo  

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:04 PM

View PostRowan, on 20 May 2013 - 08:56 PM, said:

I did not get the name of the person, it was my boyfriend who received the call. The caller ID says "Aspen Media" and I have the phone number. Now I am suspecting that ACen has given PERSONAL INFORMATION out to a public survey company. Which frustrates me even more and makes me feel more violated.

Aspen Media is a market research and sales lead service provider.
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#88 User is offline   Rowan 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:15 PM

I know it is, I just looked up its information. I also just called them and they said they had "no idea" how they got this information but they will take the number they called off their calling list. I still would very much like an answer to why ACen gave out this personal information.

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:37 PM

View Postrcallewaert, on 20 May 2013 - 07:39 PM, said:

Ok, this next one is for staff, and it's about discrimination, so make sure to keep note:

I was informed that a transgender was denied access to Speed Dating by panel programming, but I talked with them and sorted everything out. This could've escalated and gotten out of hand if left alone so I thought I'd bring it up here. As a solution, please inform your staff that is advising panel programming of transgender right on the matter. I'll send an e-mail on the details to Panel Programming later on this affair.



Good evening!

I am the one who handled the issue as it came up. Unfortunately, it can be sometimes be a little hard to tell the difference between crossplay and someone who is transgender to the untrained eye at con. After correcting the staffer who made an honest mistake with no ill intent, the lovely lady was shown into the panel and given a very sincere apology. :] I later checked in with her and she said she had a lovely time and appreciated the help. We strongly support those pursuing their true identity and do not wish to discriminate against anyone.
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#90 User is offline   reptoJane 

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 09:48 PM

Things that were great at ACen 2013:

•Anime viewing rooms... the selections continue to be excellent, we always discover great new series (alas, we are much lighter in the pocketbook by the time we leave the Dealer's Hall each evening!), and the staff outside the rooms are generally the most knowledgeable of all that we encounter at the Con. This is always one of the highlights of the weekend for us. The programming continues to be impressive.

•The registration team in the Hyatt were always amazingly helpful and patient. Melinda and Lieutenants: THANK YOU for all your help!!!!

•Overall staff were quite friendly and polite.

•Good selection of dealers (variety, choices, etc)

•Artist's Alley was much easier to navigate. The wider aisles, the more natural traffic patterns, etc made for a big improvement.

•Dealer's Hall has aisle markers FINALLY! We've been recommending this for YEARS. I makes it soooo much easier to find your way back to a vendor or hook up with friends.

•The chalk artist is always wonderful! My family loves seeing the progress of the art over the course of the weekend. We literally had to drag our 9 year old away or she would have spent half the weekend watching him.

•Traffic cones along the narrow sidewalk at the Hyatt were a huge help in navigation when there were crowds. Now if you can only get that expanded to along Bryn Mawr on Saturday to narrow the car traffic lanes! (The car traffic was downright scary at times)

•Rosemont Traffic Police on River Road were very helpful and MUCH friendlier than in past years.

•Having the Guidebook App is great. (but more about that later...)

•Panel signs outside of sessions with names and times.

•GenCon Gaming room was fantastic. So. Much. Fun.

•Moving the smoking den of evil to outside the main entrances--brilliant! As an asthmatic, I can't thank you enough.

•The program guide cover. So cute!!!!

•Starbucks in the lobby. Yeah!

•The Craft Room: not sure why they changed the name from Children's room.... fun crafts, although it was *mighty* crowded in there. Little people need a place to relax and have some relative quiet. They also can't handle subtitles, so having that video programming set up is key. Something to think about: a quiet corner for mother's who need to nurse. It's impossible to do that in the bathrooms at ACen.

•Surprise discovery we made Friday night--the sew/craft/repair room at the end of one of the hallways in the lower level of the Hyatt. I would have taken advantage of that if I'd have known it was there earlier!

•The ice cream ladies at the ice cream station. >'-'<

•Overall the staff at the Hyatt were very helpful. And I love that they have terrific sushi on Saturday!

•No fire drill! ;-)




Things that were NOT great at ACen 2013:

•Helen McCarthy was at the Con--the GOD of scholarly Anime research--and you didn't have ANY of her panels posted in the program guide or in Guidebook? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? For shame! She is so smart, charming, knowledgeable... just a terrific presenter. We only got to her last panel on Sunday morning because we didn't even know about her other programs. She was one of your Guests of Honor, ACen. Why wouldn't you market the heck out of her?!

•The Guidebook has limited functionality. Maps-great. List of vendors--great. But no locations listed? (Aisle # or booth # would have been helpful). Panel descriptions were limited. No updates with changes to panels or locations? Recently, we used C2E2's mobile program: they did multiple quick updates each day to keep the Guidebook up to date.

•Registration lines--continue to be torturous for people who don't get badges early. You are losing new people over this.

•Communication with vendors--seemed to be sketchy from some comments that I overheard... (vendors complaining about ACen being "Blind Con" because they were so in the dark, etc)

•Panels that had way too little space. We got turned away from 3 panels due to them being full (before they even started).

•Panels where the speaker never showed up. No explanation. No "Cancelled" on the sign. @@!!!!

•Panels with descriptions that really gave you no clue as to what they were about. ie. Making Music From Noise was not about a bunch of folks using found objects to create music as I had presumed, but was instead about using a computer to make sound file modifications to create a music piece. While I have done some sound recording and editing, this was not what I was looking for and was *extremely* esoteric for the vast majority of the audience.

•The Hyatt's hallways downstairs are claustrophobic and are a severe fire hazard. Yes, staff worked hard to keep people moving and organized. But when you have 300 folks trying to go to panels and another 150 waiting in line to get into panels, in a 12 foot wide hallway, it's going to get ugly fast.

•The electronic gaming room was PACKED. There was a severe bottleneck at the entrance (again, fire hazard!) and since tables and chairs were blocking the minimal space there was in the "halls" in the rooms, any group of people bigger than 3 completely blocked your ability to navigate through the rooms.

•The Exhibit Hall lines were AWFUL. HORRIBLE. HORRIFIC. Sunday--with paid badge customers--the line should not be over 3/4's of a mile long and take over 25 minutes to navigate. I know, because after the 2nd time waiting in line (we left to go to a panel session), I used my bike app to calculate the time and distance!!! If you had to leave to go to a panel, or the bathroom, or to get water... you had to go back to the end of the heinous line to wait. These are people who *already have badges* yet they couldn't get into the hall to buy stuff. Why didn't the Con staff open another set of doors? There were 3 sets of doors there!

•Overall, we didn't like the new location of the hall. I know you guys struggled with the Green Energy convention, prom, etc, but it make things challenging. The lack of bathrooms, the lines, the limited access (no back entrance), no water, etc. created challenges that didn't need to be there.

•Clueless staff... I get that these are volunteers, but seriously, there were a couple of times we felt like ping pong balls going from one place to another trying to find a panel or locate lost and found. Please train staff to answer: "I don't know. Let me contact "x" to get that information for you."

•Please notify Mitsuwa Marketplace at least a month in advance of when ACen occurs. It's a nice tie-in, and so many people from long distances use it as part of their ACen experience, that there should be a more formal connection made. On Sunday, every piece of sushi was gone by 4 pm. Most of the restaurants were out of food by 6 pm. I am sure that those restaurants wouldn't mind making a killing off the crowds, if they only knew and were prepared!



Painful Truth:

ACen has outgrown the Rosemont venue. I'm sure you are locked into contracts for a few years, but with the exponential growth of this Con, you need to start planning in significant ways for the future. I honestly do not see how you can continue there for much longer.

We still have fun at Anime Central, and ultimately, that's what it's all about, right? Meeting with friends, dressing up, buying stuff, discovering new anime... not bad for a weekend.
Doh!

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