Been going to ACen for 10 years. It always has it's ups and downs, unavoidable due to the sheer number of people that attend and the high number of traffic going through. So, until I rule the world and have power to control the populace's every thought and action, I always come to ACen prepared for any eventuality. Be it a deck of cards for a long line wait. A jacket for cold weather. Umbrella for rain. Or a spray bottle for an over-eager con-goer. That said, this convention turned out to be one of the best for me. The first will always go down in history as the best b/c of the newness of the experience. But this one is certainly second. I looked back over this past weekend as to what made this con so fantastic for me. But before I go into those, I want to say thank you to all who worked the con. Your efforts are never in vain and i'm sure the thousands of attendees appreciate you. Your work affects not just us con-goers, but the employees in the Rosemont area and even the surrounding towns that must cater to thousands of hungry and excited guests. So again, THANK YOU! You are one of the many reasons I'm hesitant to move out of the Chicagoland area.
What were the down sides?
Roomed in the Embassy. - hotel closest to convention center and the rooms were nice, possibly the best any hotel has to offer but that was all...
-for nearly $200/night plus parking and paid for wifi, you'd think you'd not be treated like a child
-second floor blocked off so everyone had to rely on 3 elevators to get out. check out was a nightmare.
Crossing at night --i chose to only cross where there were crossing guards after the following incident
-while trying to cross at river road and brwyn mar to hyatt after sunset...the crossing light stopped working, or delayed. a group of people including myself and some friends sat through 2 red lights until we realized that the crossing light wasn't working. so, when traffic stopped moving, we started to cross. people making a left hand turn at the light (off brwyn and onto river) decided to ignore the 20+ people crossing and stranded us in the middle of traffic. By then, our crossing light started to do the countdown for the time we had to cross. :( it was dangerous and a little scary. I wish there were crossing guards even at the lights. Traffic is going to be crazy at all hours of the day when it's that many people and rude drivers don't really care about con goers.
Dealers room closing at 6-6:30...:(
-sad times. mainly b/c i just love being there and watching people. But I do know that's not really up to ACen and there are plenty of other spots to people watch. It's just that there's so much ACen offers, if you try to do it all, you may not get to burn all the cash you saved (which...could actually be a good thing ;) )
As you can see, not many downsides for me this year. And what is there is not even something ACen can really manage.
So what made ACen great?
Mind you, I don't really do panels. I go to ACen for the community and the random encounters. So all guests can pat themselves on the back for also adding to this ACen's success :)
-Hyatt elevators. IRT you are amazing!!! I remember the first ACen when people kind of dissed IRT and disrespected them. If anyone tries to talk bad about you guys now, i'm shoving a corn husk up their bunghole. It will be awkward for everyone. And it's not just the elevator control you guys do for us...as you will see below.
-line for tickets to Final Fantasy concert. I got in line around 6am. We definitely got a ticket, but IRT still was going up and down reassuring us that we're in the right spot and will get our tickets. It was about a 2 hour wait for the center to open and a bit chilly (it helped that i was in my warmest costume), but IRT went down the line singing random songs to keep our spirits up. I'd have joined in their dance of "Do the Time Warp" if my attack on titan straps weren't slipping.
-Musical guests: though I only saw the final fantasy concert because i didn't know any of the others, after seeing them in the closing ceremonies i really want to know more about the guests ACen had this year. I can tell they were the cream of the crop :).
-Dealers Room: i rarely buy something outside of artist ally because I feel a deluge of dealers selling the same stuff. this year, the dealers room was a lot smaller, BUT with better quality items (several unique shops and many diverse picks). I could browse the entire place twice, consider my options, and then make guilt free choices :). I think I spent more money this ACen than any of my past 9 combined. >_> not sure if that's something to be proud of though...haha! Sorry I didn't buy anything from artist ally this time *gomenosai*. i will make it up to you artists next year!
-photoshoots. I see there was some confusion, but that was largely due to friday's weather i feel...For the ones I attended, than ran smoothly and on time. Everyone was having a lot of fun. I'm sure more people wanted to attend but either got lost, forgot, or was distracted. ACen does tend to make those things happen :)
-the feels. Yes the feels. So much comraderie among the fanbase. I love you all, even if you're screams of excitement wake me up in the middle of my sleep. I'd be out there with you at 4am if i wasn't getting so old.
-the old school cosplayers. finally homestuck and adventure time got ousted. Sure there were a lot of mainstream costumes, but i saw a lot of throwbacks as well. oh the fond memories. I took more pictures this year then the past 3 conventions combined!
-Mitsuwa. ok this last one was my own doing. this was the first ACen i was able to drive to so i had a car and could get around. went to mitsuwa on friday and sunday. i spent more money there than at ACen...all on junk food. ahhh so satisfying. now to save up for next year!