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Dragon Con Survival Guide

Dragon Con Tips for Everyone
Elf boots...made for walking?

Since Dragon Con takes place during summer in the South, the weather tends to be hot and humid, and sometimes the area gets drenched by the remnants of a hurricane or tropical storm. Crowded conditions and long lines make it seem even hotter and stickier. As in all large crowds, germs can spread quickly. Here are some ideas for staying cool and healthy during the convention and for getting from place to place.

Consider taking MARTA, Atlanta's public transportation system. If you live in Atlanta, or if you're staying at a hotel that's not within walking distance of the convention, taking MARTA may be less expensive and more convenient than trying to park downtown. The Peachtree Center MARTA station adjoins the convention hotels. If you do decide to drive and park, arrive early, since hotel lots fill quickly. If you park elsewhere, make sure to follow all posted instructions about payments and when you will need to move your car or pay for another day.

Make a survival kit. This can be small enough to fit into a bag or backpack and include basic necessities that you may need during the day, such as:

  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • Adhesive bandages
  • A small tube or packets of antibiotic ointment
  • Moleskin (if you're prone to blisters)
  • Small bottles or packages of over-the-counter medicines like pain reliever, allergy medicine and decongestant
  • A small bottle of baby powder or other talcum powder, especially if you will be carrying a bag or wearing clothing that will rub against your skin
  • A small bottle of sunscreen
  • Deodorant (Atlanta is hot during the summer, and the convention is very crowded)

Wear comfortable shoes. Even if you plan to stick to events in only one of the convention's three hotels, you'll still be spending a lot of time on your feet.

Bring a sweater if you tend to get cold. It will probably be hot outside, but all of the convention hotels are air-conditioned. You may find that you get chilled while sitting in cool meeting rooms or after coming in from outside.

Prepare to queue. Many of the biggest events at Dragon Con are also in the most demand. If you hope to see a panel featuring actors from TV shows like "Warehouse 13" or personalities like Felicia Day or Stan Lee, you may be in for a long wait. Sometimes, dark horse events wind up drawing unexpectedly long lines, like the 2005 Buffy Prom, the 2006 Serenity Shindig and the 2007 Colonial Fleet ball. These lines can sometimes stretch outside of the building. In addition, a typical convention security practice involves clearing a room completely before the next event begins. In other words, unlike at Comic-Con, you can't guarantee a good seat for a panel by sitting through the prior one. There's no Dragon Con equivalent of camping out in Hall H all day.

Keep moving when you get off of an escalator. This may sound trite, but stopping leads to traffic jams. Traffic jams lead to annoyed security guards and frustrated fans.

Prepare to wait for an elevator, particularly in the Hyatt. Although some convention-goers follow the "go up to go down" rule, it's often easier just to take the stairs. Also, leave the elevator to make room for disabled attendees.

Be cautious after dark, particularly if you're bringing children to the convention. There are lots of nighttime parties at the hotel, and there's often a lot of alcohol served at the parties and in the hotel bars. In addition, the costumes on display after dark have a tendency to become increasingly revealing.

Wearing a costume to Dragon Con can have its own pitfalls. We'll look at costumer-specific Dragon Con tips next.