Convention policies, times, dates, etc. are always subject to change with or without notice.
General Convention Policies
For your safety and the safety of your fellow attendees please follow all event rules, signs and instructions to ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience.
- Keep your behavior family-friendly.
- We encourage everyone to cosplay, but please make sure your cosplay complies with local laws and convention rules.
- Selfie Sticks are not allowed at Anime Central unless in photoshoot areas.
- Please follow all rules of the venue you are in.
- Play-fighting and/or rough-housing is not allowed. Still poses for photographs are allowed.
- Firearms and realistic firearm props are not permitted.
- Do not do anything that risks or threatens the safety or well-being of anyone at the convention.
- Anything that is illegal outside the convention is illegal inside the convention
- Don’t make us make a rule about you!
Anime Central does not condone illegal activities, including underage drinking and smoking, or the use of illegal substances. Attendees found breaking the law will be turned over to the local authorities and may have membership privileges revoked. Staff may, at any time:
- Inspect your badge.
- Ask for valid government-issued identification.
- Ask to inspect the contents of bags, backpacks, purses, etc.
- Deny entrance to an event for safety reasons.
If a staff member, venue employee, or Rosemont police officer asks you to do something, please follow their requests.
MAPS memberships and passes, as well as additional membership options, are non-transferable and non-refundable; use of a MAPS membership badge or pass by any person other than the original holder is not allowed and will result in membership badge or pass confiscation. Membership badges and passes may not be duplicated in any fashion. The holder of a membership badge or pass shall agree to surrender the badge to any MAPS officer or representative on request. When you purchase a badge or pass for ACen, you purchase a membership for MAPS for the current convention year.
There will be no recompense if you are found with a counterfeit badge. If you purchase a badge from someone other than Anime Central, you will not have a valid membership to our event. Scalping badges only hurts our event. If you find people scalping badges, please report them to Registration immediately at registration@ACen.org.
All membership badge and pass names are subject to staff approval. We are a family friendly convention and names deemed inappropriate by staff will be changed.
Anime Central does not accept responsibility for any lost mail and/or payments. So please do not send cash through the mail.
MAPS reserves the right to use the membership holder’s image or likeness for any current or future promotional consideration.
If your check bounces, you will be charged a $25 fee before you may complete the payment of your MAPS membership.
If you are made to feel unwelcome, unsafe, or uncomfortable by someone’s behavior, that is harassment. Anime Central does not allow harassment of any kind, including but not limited to behaviors such as: stalking, offensive comments, hate speech, inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact, recording or taking pictures without permission, and repeatedly disrupting conversations you have been asked to leave. The aforementioned comments or hate speech could be in relation to (but not limited to): age, race or ethnicity, color, citizenship, relationship status, sexual orientation, gender identity or presentation, appearance or body size, pregnancy, disability, or religion.
Keep your hands to yourself. Respect your fellow attendees.
Keep an eye on what you say to people and how you act around them. Be cautious: ask first and respect a person’s right to say no. Remember, cosplay is not consent.
If you feel harassed or see someone else being harassed, notify a staff member immediately. Anime Central will take any action necessary to stop the behavior, up to and including badge revocation and expulsion from convention premises. We will also take steps to help you feel safe again, such as helping you contact Rosemont police, escorting you to a safe location, or contacting your friends or family for you. This policy applies to everyone at the convention, including attendees, panelists, vendors, guests, and staff.
Anime Central strive to provide a fun, safe, and friendly environment for all ages. That being said, we have a few rules regarding our younger fans.
- Children should have either a parental escort or a means of communicating with their parent (such as a cell phone) at all times.
- Anime Central is family-friendly, but we are not a child care service. Your kids are your responsibility.
- Children under 13 must have a parent or guardian with them at all times.
- In accordance with curfew laws, attendees who are 17 or under must be off hotel grounds by midnight, unless they are registered guests of the hotel or accompanied by a legal guardian.
- Parents/Guardians will be held responsible for the cost of any damage their children may cause.
Order of Entry
For large events rooms attendees with event accessibility passes will be allowed entry into the room first provided general event access loading has not already begun. Individuals who have these passes should present themselves to the front of the line where the event team member monitoring the line is stationed up to 10 minutes before event start time. Please note early entry to any event room or event space is not guaranteed to any person, but we will do our best to allow it to individuals who qualify.
- Please have your badge ready and visible for the event door checker when you get to the front of the line.
- Line jumping, saving spots, and saving seats are not permitted at these events.
- Individuals with event accessibility badges will be allowed access to event rooms before the rest of the line is let in, please make room for them to get to the front of the line.
- If you need to use the washroom or get a drink of water while in line, let the staff managing the line know before you go so that you will get your spot back when you return.
- If you leave an event room after an event has started there is no guarantee you will get back in if the room you have left has filled to capacity.
- If a room fills to capacity the line will be cut off. For some events the line may be capped if it gets too long.
- We ask that while standing in line attendees attempt to stand single file to keep hallways open for movement.
- Please leave restricted items, such as oversized bags and oversized costume props, in your car, hotel room, or at the Item Check.
- Item Check is available in both the Hyatt Regency O'Hare during the evening hours, and all day at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
- No bottles with any liquids will be allowed inside the Dances, there will be water stations inside the event rooms.
All 18+ events will require attendees to have an 18+ wristband prior to entry. Attendees who do not have this wristband will be denied access to these events. ID’s will not be checked at the door.* Those without wristbands will be turned away.
- Wristbands can only be issued to individuals who can present a valid state or federal ID proving date of birth.
- Wristbands that appear to be tampered with will also not be allowed entry.
- Wristbands must be affixed to a person's wrist either by an event team member or right in front of them.
- No wristbands will be permitted to leave a distribution station in an unaffixed state.
- Wristband will not be permitted to be looped through badges.
- All wristbands are waterproof, and you are welcome to get a new one if you damage your original one.
To receive an 18+ wristband attendees can visit the wristband booth located in the Registration Hall during open hours, any customer service location, or the wristband redemption booth located near the 2nd floor ballrooms.
*Attendees with a valid event accessibility pass can have their ID’s checked at the door if they cannot wear a wristband, this is the only exception, and it does not apply to the people they have accompanying them.
All attendees coming to the Dances are required to be aware of and agree to abide by the terms of this policy before entering the event. If there is anything you do not understand about this policy, please contact us at FormalDance@ACen.org or SoapBubble@ACen.org and we will clarify it for you.
- No bottles with any liquids will be allowed inside the Dances, there will be water stations inside.
- Bags entering the EDM Dances must be no bigger than a backpack and will be subject to search. This is for the safety of everyone, and we want everyone to know this BEFORE they line up for a Dance. Only one bag will be allowed per attendee.
- We advise all attendees to utilize their badges to carry their forms of ID.
- Only light up props will be allowed inside the EDM Dances. If you don’t have a light up prop they will be available for purchase inside.
- Line jumping, saving spots, and saving seats are not permitted.
- If you need to use the washroom or get a drink of water while in line, let the staff managing the line know before you go so that you will get your spot back when you return.
No smoking is allowed inside any building the convention resides in, this includes vaping. No smoking while in lines for ACen events. Smokers need to stand at least 15 ft from the line and/or doors if they need to smoke. The Hyatt sets up special smoking areas, please be advised that smokers will be asked to move into these. PUBLIC HEALTH (410 ILCS 82/) Smoke Free Illinois Act.
During peak hours, IRT will direct the use of the elevators in the Hyatt to ensure that the flow of traffic is as smooth as possible and to minimize any delays while waiting for elevators. When using elevators:
- Plan to get off on the Lobby Level, unless your mobility is impaired and you need to get off on the ground floor.
- The elevator is not board-able from the ground level unless you have an event accessibility pass, everyone else can navigate to the Lobby Level queue.
- Please press the elevator call button only once.
- Please hold the doors open using the Open Door button inside the elevator, rather than by holding the elevators open with your hands.
- Please keep all bags and arms inside the elevator and to yourself at all times and enjoy your ride.
Picking up Your Press Membership Badge at Anime Central
Press Membership Badges are not eligible to be mailed and must be picked up in the Registration Hall during the convention. After registration, you will receive instructions on where to pick up your Press Membership Badge in your confirmation email. Press Membership Badge pickup will begin on Thursday afternoon, at the same time member pre-registration opens. Bring your confirmation e-mail and your government-issued ID. The Press Membership badge must be carried at all times. Without your Press Membership Badge, you will not have access to the convention, access early seating where applicable, or the ability to request interviews with Guests.
Anime Central prides itself on making Guests of Honor available to the Press for interviews, either as Press Sessions/group, or individual 1-on-1 interviews. Outlet interview requirements are determined by outlet type.
30- to 60-minute Press Sessions will be held in the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Tech Center and are open to any attending Press Member. We request that each outlet sign up for sessions during badge pickup and check-in, though you are also welcome to come to a session and check-in there. **Please note that some sessions do have limited capacity, or require additional information/prior approval. These will be noted on the Session sheet.
1-on-1 interviews will be held at the Press Deck and are open to qualifying Press Members by prior approval only. Any Press Member who is interested in 1-on-1 interviews must apply for Press Membership Badges no later than 4 weeks prior to con and indicate their interest on the registration form. Any Press Member who qualifies will receive a 1-on-1 interview request form that must completed no later than 2 weeks prior to con. Some guests or industry may require the questions being asked by your publication to be prescreened, in that event you would be asked to submit those as well. The Press Manager reserves the right to approve/deny requests and/or questions submitted.
Since guests’ time is limited, Press Members are asked to refrain from requesting autographs or personal photos with guests at the close of an interview. Photos of guests to accompany coverage will be allowed, subject to the convenience of guests and time constraints.
These sessions are made available exclusively for members of the Press. Violation of this arrangement may disqualify your request for covering Anime Central in future years. This will be tracked and enforced.
Video & Audio Recording
Any video or audio recordings of Anime Central-sponsored events such as the Masquerade, fashion shows, concerts, etc. are not to be uploaded to the Internet, or made available to the public, in their entirety. (Please note that use of the term “public” includes followers or subscribers of services such as Patreon, YouTube/YouTube Red, premium/sponsored channels, etc.) If you wish to use recordings of such events, only “highlight” or “quote” clips may be used. You may not charge for viewing of event footage.Any use otherwise is in violation of the Rights held by Anime Central, and will result in disciplinary action of the outlet in question.
Please keep in mind that any video recording containing audio of third-party content (such as a song, audio track, movie/show clip, etc.) must have audio removed prior to posting, as its usage is governed by copyright rules of the artist, production company, or label.
Rights to record Musical Entertainment events held at Anime Central are governed by the Label that is representing the entertainer(s) and Anime Central honors their requirements. Any additional requirements for an event will be made available at the time of Press Membership Pass pick-up, or as information becomes available. These conditions are subject to change without notice. Violations of any arrangements in regards to our Musical Entertainment Guests are responded to with disciplinary action up to legal action depending on the infringement.
Rights to record Industry Guest panels or exclusive Previews are governed by the Agent and/or Production Company representing the Guest(s)/Preview and Anime Central honors their requirements. Any additional requirements for an event will be made available at the time of Press Membership Badge pick-up, or as information becomes available. These conditions are subject to change without notice. Violations of these conditions by any outlet will be responded to with disciplinary action up to legal action depending on the infringement.
Reserved Seating Policy
Certain Anime Central events are highly attended and as a result, space is limited. Reserved Press seating, if available at an event, is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed at any event.
Press members are required to follow the guidelines set by Anime Central Programming Staff for each event. These guidelines may include pre-registration of Press for an event, additional coverage requirements, etc. In the case of additional requirements for Press attendance at an event, Press members will be notified as information is available.
- The Masquerade will have limited seating which will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. For outlets with a Press membership, access to Main Programming may be made available prior to the start of attendee load-in for the event.
- If room space is available for a given event, it will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, and may include a specific Press area for tripods and cameras. Press access to the event room is typically made available prior to attendee access, for this purpose. If you have questions about seating or space for a given event, please ask the Press Management.
- In any event that does not have dedicated Press seating or space, space is given solely at the discretion of the Anime Central staffer in charge of the room.
A Press Membership Badge does NOT qualify one for preferential treatment at autograph/sketch sessions. Any Press Member found violating this rule will be subject to immediate disciplinary action, up to and including badge revocation. All autograph sessions are ticketed general admission.
Quality Control Check-ups
During the convention, the Press Department staffers will be tracking Press Sessions attended and coverage/mentions posted to social media and your site(s) where applicable.
After the convention, the Press management team will be performing post-convention follow-ups via email with all attending press to review coverage and verify if minimum at-con requirements were met. Each publication will be assessed to see what services were provided and determine whether or not appropriate coverage was performed to equal the cost of a convention membership badge for Anime Central. (Number of membership badges per publication will be a factor in the assessment.) Any outlet who does not meet minimum at-con requirements may need to meet additional coverage requirements following the con.
All convention coverage must be submitted to the Press Manager upon release, or no later than 3 months following the convention, for archival, marketing, and quality control assessments. For print & broadcast media, digital scans/copies are acceptable.
Any outlet who does not meet the minimum at-con requirements and post-con coverage requirements will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal of comped Press Membership Badge privileges (requiement to purchase in future), publication ban from Press, outlet member ban from Press (with any outlet), or full ban from convention.
Your Rights & Information
Anime Central reserves the right to list your company/publication’s name on digital and print material. In some cases, Industry and certain guests/talent may require release of information such as email address, name, and publication name prior to any press session. While Anime Central does not sell or make public individuals’ private information, publication information may be provided upon request.
For further questions, contact the Press Department Head, at Press-departmenthead@ACEN.org.
Abuse of Press Privileges
As a member of Anime Central Press, you are expected to conduct yourself in a professional, courteous manner while attending the convention as Press. A Press Membership Badge does not qualify a member of the press for preferential treatment at any event over the course of the convention.
Anime Central takes the behavior of its Press very seriously, and will review carefully any reports of abuse of Press privileges. If after review an abuse of privileges is found, such behavior may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including revocation of badges or expulsion from the convention. Violation of any conditions of coverage (such as events, Musical Entertainment, etc.) or any of these arrangements may disqualify requests for covering or attending Anime Central in future years.
If an outlet feels that their membership is revoked unjustly or that they were unfairly disciplined, they may discuss it with the Press Manager. The revocation of a membership is a last resort, and the Press Department will do all they can to be certain that members of the press understand why such actions are necessary and how to avoid them. Please do not hesitate to ask if there is some part of these policies you do not understand.
Press Members may discuss any questions/disputes regarding these policies with the Press department managers.
Please note: Anime Central reserves the right to modify our rules & regulations at any time without prior notice, and may deny you a Press Membership for any reason. Submitting the Press Membership Registration Form does not guarantee you a Press Membership for Anime Central.
- Photos and videos must be for personal use only.
- The only exception to this rule is Anime Central Official Photographers and pre-approved Press members.
- For the safety of all on stage Volunteers, Guests and Performers flash photography is not permitted.
- photography without flash is allowed provided the specific event you are attending allows photography
- Selfie sticks are not allowed.
- You may not charge a fee to others to view your photos and videos from the event.
- Photography, audio recording, and video recording are not permitted during concerts unless specifically stated. This may also apply to specific Guest of Honor events.
- Photographers are not permitted to set up photo booths without having a photographer license from our exhibition hall.
Guest of Honor Policies
Guest Autograph Sessions at Anime Central are handled by an autograph ticketing system. Autograph tickets are free of charge; however, they will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis as outlined in the below policy.
- Anime Central does not guarantee that you will get an autograph and/or sketch from a particular guest.
- During our autograph sessions, items with 18+ imagery and items that suggest adult themes are not allowed.
- Guests reserve the right to decline any autograph related service. This may include sketches, pictures, bootleg items, inappropriate pictures, body parts, etc.
- Do not attempt to have bootlegged items autographed. Our guests know which items are legitimate and which are not. Some guests may have official merchandise available for purchase. If you have any questions about an item you want autographed, please ask the Autograph Area Staff.
- You may request sketches or photographs with guests, but only with permission, and time permitting. Some guests may have more restrictive policies. For example, charging for sketches or photos or no sketches or photos at all.
- Please avoid lengthy conversations with guests during autograph sessions.
- Please keep the lines moving. Be considerate of other attendees and their wish to get autographs too.
- In order to ensure the safety of you and your fellow attendees we ask that you maintain order while in line and lining up. If you are found violating this, you will be removed from the autograph line and your membership will be up for review.
- Autograph lines may be terminated at any point to keep events on schedule. Lines form quickly and may be lengthy, so plan ahead for long lines.
- Times and locations for autograph sessions may change without prior notice. Changes in schedules are updated on our Guidebook schedule and posted at Customer Service in the Hyatt and the Convention Center.
These policies are subject to change at any time during the convention, as determined by Autograph Area staff.
Getting an Autograph Ticket
Guests will typically have at least 2 autograph sessions throughout the weekend. You’ll first want to download our schedule through the Guidebook app when it’s launched to check the autograph session times of your favorite guests. If you are unable to download our schedule through the Guidebook app, printed schedules will be available at the convention.
Be advised that changes to the autograph session schedule may occur. We will push updates to the schedule as they occur through the Guidebook app, and post changes at our Customer Service locations in the convention center and hotel.
The autograph tickets are distributed at autograph booths that will be located within the Registration Hall inside the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Tickets are distributed on the following schedule based on the time of a guest’s autograph session. You will be required to have your Anime Central Badge on your person to pick up an autograph ticket and your badge must be valid for the day the autograph session is to be held.
- For each time through the line, you will be allowed to select one (1) available autograph ticket.
- Tickets for Friday Autographs that start before 1:30p open Thursday @6:30p
- Tickets for Friday Autographs that start after 1:30p open Friday @11:00a
- Tickets for Saturday Autographs that start before 1:30p open Friday @ 6:30p
- Tickets for Saturday Autographs that start after 1:30p open Saturday @11:00a
- Tickets for Sunday Autographs that start before 1:30p open Saturday @ 6:30p
- Tickets for Sunday Autographs that start after 1:30p open @11:00a
Ticket distribution times and which tickets are given out in any particular session, are subject to change with or without notice.
There is a standby queue in the autographs area for people who did not get a ticket. Standby ticket holders are not guaranteed autographs but will have a chance to receive autographs at the discretion of the Guest of Honor they are waiting for if time allows. Standby line will be capped.
The Autograph Session
Be sure to bring an item to be signed, whether it’s an ACen program book or officially licensed merchandise. All items are subject to the guest’s approval. Some guests may provide an item such as a poster to be signed, but this is not guaranteed. All items must be properly licensed. If you’re not sure if the item you have is OK, stop by the vendor hall first and pick something up from one of our many Industry partners!
- Head to the Autograph area at the time listed for your autograph session. The earliest you can join the line for your signing is 30 minutes prior to the event.
- Please have your ticket ready for the staffer at the queue entrance, they can help to direct you to the appropriate queue to enter.
Numbers on tickets do not correspond to your place in line.
It is recommended you show up on time for your ticketed autograph session. If you are not in line at the time of the autograph session you have a ticket for, and we move to the standby autograph line you will need to join into the standby line if there is room.
Cosplay and Prop Policies
These rules are for costumes and props throughout the convention. If you are not sure whether your costume or prop is acceptable, just ask any staff member!
- All props and cosplays must comply with local laws.
- Cosplays cannot leave your feet bare. Sandals are acceptable, being barefoot or using footpads is not acceptable.
- Body paint must be sealed, dry, and non-transferable. If you sit on any venue furniture and ruin it with body paint you will be responsible for all damage expenses.
- No roller-wear is allowed in convention areas including but not limited to heelys, hoverboards, and skateboards.
- Costumes or clothing that contain vulgar remarks, illustrations or hate speech in any language are not acceptable.
- For your safety, your costumes safety, and the safety of others please be conscious of your surroundings while in cosplay. If you are wearing an oversized costume or carrying a larger than you prop please be conscious of narrow hallways, doorways, and ceilings. If you break or damage venue grounds you will be responsible for the charges.
- Cosplay that has dangerous protrusions such as spikes or sharp edges is not allowed.
- If your costume has any visual impairments, you are required to have a handler. If you do not have a handler, you will be asked to remove your costume while traveling.
- If your cosplay Impedes the view of others during seated events, you may be relocated to the back of the event room.
- Props with laser pointers or similar capabilities are not allowed.
- Live Steel is not allowed within the convention.
- This extends to metal props or cosplay:
- that come to a point; whether sharp or blunt
- that have a blade like edge; whether sharp or blunt
- If a metal prop does not have points or blades it is acceptable.
- Live steel purchased from vendors must stay boxed while in convention spaces.
- This extends to metal props or cosplay:
- Realistic gun props are not allowed. This is for the safety of you and fellow attendees as local law enforcement can not easily identify if these are props or live weapons.
- This extends to:
- Real firearms; whether disabled or not
- Airsoft/Pellet guns; whether disabled or not
- Anything painted to look like a realistic firearm.
- Get inventive folks, but make sure your gun prop choices can’t be mistaken for a real firearm.
- This extends to:
- Non realistic gun-like props are required to have an orange tip and have their firing mechanisms disabled with no ammunition loaded.
- These props will need to be prop checked for acceptability.
- Bows and crossbow props may not carry any arrows, bolts, or be fireable in any way.
- Real firearms are not allowed on convention premises.
- If you are found with an unacceptable prop or costume, you will be asked to return to your room to fix the issue. In the event that you do not have a room, any staffer can direct you to the nearest merchandise location where you can purchase a shirt, or to the nearest item check location where you can pay to check your item.
- If you are repeatedly asked to return an unacceptable prop to your room, your prop may be confiscated by the event.
- Any item designed or created with the intent to cause injury or death to any person or property, as well as any item that is illegal in the state of Illinois and/or the city of Rosemont is not allowed.
- The manager on duty of IRT has the final say on the acceptability of any prop or costume.
- Don't make us make a rule about you.
A prop check station is available near the entrance to the Exhibition hall. You can also see any roaming IRT team member. Please understand that you may be asked several times throughout the course of the convention by staffers to check your weapon for this zip tie. We take all reasonable caution not to damage items, and hope that you understand that we need check these props for the safety of everyone.
- Prop check is not required for any items besides gun like props.
- Zip ties will be affixed to the prop item in question to visibly disable any firing mechanisms. You are welcome to do this yourself before the event.