Wondercon – What to see and do?

Good day to all the Geek Enthusiasts and Nerd Aficionados!

Convention season for many of us starts this weekend. Wondercon is happening at the Anaheim Convention Center (800 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802) Friday March 31 – Sunday April 2nd. This is the prep for San Diego Comic Con in July. (You can read our article about general ticket sales for SDCC here.) Wondercon is the little brother to SDCC put on by the fine folks at Comic-Con International.Wondercon has many of the things you’ll enjoy at SDCC, but on a smaller focus.

The ins and outs of the convention

Parking:

Parking can sometimes be a pain for Wondercon. The convention center is across the street from Disneyland meaning there is quite a bit of foot traffic. There is a parking structure behind the convention center. It fills up rather quickly and there are no ins and outs.

If your plan is to get away from the convention center and drive somewhere to eat you can park at the Toy Story parking lot across the street from the convention, 1854 S Harbor Blvd. For an additional charge they will give you in and out privileges, but you have to tell them you are there for Disneyland.

If you don’t mind walking, you can park at the Anaheim Gardenwalk 400 West Disney Way Anaheim, CA 92802. The first hour is free and $3.00 each hour after (12 hours is $15.00 max).

There will also be overflow parking at Angel Stadium on Sat and Sun. with a free shuttle to the convention and back.

Tickets:

Just a note, as of writing this article all Saturday and 3 day tickets are sold out. They do not sell tickets at the door. You will need to buy your tickets online at Comic-con.org. If you have never been to the site before to buy tickets for their conventions then you will need to make a member ID. Once you do this you will be able to buy tickets. In your accounts page you’ll want to click registration info and scroll down. You options for Wondercon tickets will be there. Friday is $30 and Sunday is $18.

Food:

Due to being next to Disneyland there are places to eat everywhere around here if you’re willing to walk. If you’re not you have a couple options:

  • Cafeteria dining in convention center (sandwiches, salads, pizza, etc) there’s also a BBQ place in the center of the exhibit hall.
  • Food Court just across from the front of the convention center in the Hilton is a food court. Inside is a Sbarro, Baja Fresh Express, Just Grillin’ and Submarina. They are open from 10am – 8pm daily.
  • Marriott in front of convention center has a Pizza Hut and Starbucks
  • The Best option FOOD TRUCKS!!! this is the highlight of the con for some people. This year there will be 15 trucks. Here’s the list( you can click on the name to see what their menu looks like):

Exhibit floor

Unlike SDCC with the massive amounts of people, you can walk the Wondercon exhibit floor easily in one day. Meaning, the lines aren’t as terrible for exclusives and you’re not stuck in a crowd staring at the back of someone’s head wondering why they aren’t moving forward. A lot of your known exhibitors at SDCC are here as well so there is more then enough nerd swag to be seen.

There is an artist alley if you want to help support someone that is drawing for your pleasure. Check them out and buy a drawing if it catches your fancy. Along with the artist alley there is a small section of C-D list celebrities of yore. Usually the area is filled with people that had a bit role on an old 70’s or 80’s TV Show or someone that was on one of the many Power Rangers shows.

You can get a list of all the exhibitors here. My suggestion is to find the ones you really want to see, if there is something you want to buy from them make a bee line there first.

Exclusives

Often times at conventions there are exclusives that tickle our nerd fancy you can look at the entire list of what CCI has posted here. Here are a few that I’m looking forward to:

  • Beast Kingdom Egg Attack Floating Millennium Falcon *Chrome Ver.* $195.00 Booth 1037 Bluefin
  • Pop Culture Phone Decals $10.00 (Arrow, Arkham Knight, Gotham, Halo Wars 2, iZombie, The Flash, and Uncharted 4) Booth 1564 Controller Gear
  • Batman/TMNT Adventures #5 Kevin Eastman Variant $10.00 Booth 1109 IDW Publishing
  • Mission Viejo Library Card $0.00 Booth 1502 Mission Viejo Library
  • Robotech VF-1J Rick Hunter Battle Cry Edition $60.00 Booth 827 Toynami

Panels:

Now to get to the fun stuff. Conventions have panels for every type of nerd thing you can think of. Please dive into the Wondercon program schedule or download the app for your phone at the App store or Google Play.

If you don’t want to do that here are some highlights for the days and maybe one or two ‘this might be interesting’ panels:

  • Friday

    • In what universe? Key Creatives on Comic Book, Superhero, and Fiction Favorites 12:15-1:15 Room 300AB
      • This panel includes a lot of behind the scenes people for some of your favorite shows. If you love to hear how your shows are made and get some answers from people within the industry, this would be a great way to do so. Line up about 15 to 20 min early.
    • JAKKS Pacific 2017 sneak peak 1:00 -2:00 Room 209
      • An inside look at one of the top toy manufacturers today and their upcoming lineup. Best part is a giveaway for the premium DC Originals Tribute Series figures. Line up 10 to 15 min early
    • DC’s Young Animal 1:00 – 2;00 Room 300DE
      • This one is two fold, not only do you get to learn more about a new DC imprint, but you’ll get to see and ask questions to one of the best selling comic writers. Who also happens to have been the lead singer of the very popular band My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way. Be prepared to line up 45 min to 1 hour early minimum due to the potential of rabid fan girls.
    • Prison Break 2:15 – 3:30 Room 300AB
      • Prison break is back. Spend some time with cast members and creators and watch the first episode of the return. Line up 40 – 60 min early
    • The Goldbergs 4:30 – 5:30 Room 300AB
      • This panel has a lot of great factor’s:
      • 1. It’s a great show that speaks to the nostalgic nerd in us.
      • 2. Members of the cast and creators will be there for a Q and A
      • 3. You get to watch a new episode
      • 4. Lastly, the panel is moderated by the director of the episode which is none other than the Kevin Smith. Lineup up 60 -90 min early.
    • 1987: Geek’s Greatest Year: The Revenge 6:00 – 7:00 Room 300DE
      • If you’re a pop culture nerd then you know that 1987 was one of the greatest years for geek culture. Join a panel of experts that want to talk about all the insides and out of the great films released in 1987. Lineup 10 -15 min early
    • World Premiere of Teen Titans: The Judas Contract 6:00 – 8:00 Arena
      • One of the greatest Teen Titan stories is getting its own animated movie. Be amongst the first to see it. After the presentation there will be a Q & A with the cast. Prizes will be given away for best question along with some surprise guests.
  • Saturday

    • Quick Draw 10:30 – 11:30 Room 300DE
      • This is always a fun one. Watch a few popular artists draw ideas given to them as fast as possible. Taking suggestions from the crowd as well, then crown a winner. This time around the artists will be Sergio Aragonés (Mad, Groo the Wanderer),  Scott Shaw (Simpsons, Flintstones), and Lonnie Millsap. Lineup 15 – 30 min early
    • The Galactic Sandbox 11:00 – 12:00 Room 207
      • Panel discussion amongst popular novelist about writing books inside established universes, mainly Star Wars. The panel includes R.A. Salvatore popular for writing the drow (dark elf) Drizzt Do’Urden. Arrive 10 -15 minutes early.
    • Midnight, Texas Series Premiere 11:45 – 1:00 Room 300AB
      • The new show based off the True Blood series of novels by Charlaine Harris, about a remote town in Texas with a group that consists of a vampire, witch, angel, and a hit woman hiding from the outside world. That’s until a situation happens that changes things. Panel discussion with cast and screening of pilot episode included. Arrive 45 – 60 min early.
    • Spotlight on Andy Park 12:00 – 1:00 Room 207
      • Popular former comic book artist Andy Park has been a part of every Marvel film since 2010. Helping visually either as a concept artist or visual development supervisor. Maybe there will be some inside info in regard to Guardians 2 or Thor: Ragnarok. Stay till the end as there will be a giveaway. Try to arrive early, for a smaller room like this you may want to get there 45 – 60 min early.
    • Spotlight on Gerard Way 1:30 – 2:30 Room 300DE
      • Just like the panel featuring him on Friday, Gerard Way is a big draw both for his music history and current comic book status. This is a one on one interview with him giving more insight into his mind and what’s coming in the future. As before line up early possibly 90 minutes or earlier. (If you really want to see Gerard there is a sneaky panel at 2:30 in room 213 First Forays into Comics. This would give you an easier chance less people pay attention to the smaller rooms.)
    • Cartoon Voices 4:30 – 5:30 Room 300DE
      • These are always fun. A cast of voices from different cartoons just having a fun time. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself and keep from laughing. Being that it is going on at the same time as Warner Bros panel you should be able to arrive 15-30 min early and make it in.
    • Warner Bros. Pictures 4:30 – 6:00 PM Arena
      • This is the big daddy panel of Wondercon. If you want a chance to see something about new Warner Bros, New Line, or DC films this is it – until SDCC in July. Who’s coming is vague, there should be people from the Anabelle sequel since they are there for a signing. Maybe something for Wonder Woman but I’ve yet to see them bring anything major from the DC Movies so far to Wondercon. Being that this is the big panel arrive at least 90 minutes early minimum.
    • 2017 Wondercon Anaheim Masquerade 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM Arena
      • This is the other big one for the convention. If you like cosplay or seeing people get into character and put skits together, this is the one for you. Due to how late it goes you can usually get in easily without having to wait in line. If you want premium seats though you will need to be in line about 2 hours early.
  • Sunday

    • Lucifer Special Video Presentation and Q&A 12:30 – 1:30 Arena
      • Sneak peak at what’s to come in second half of season 2. Q&A with cast. Sunday is usually relatively light so it’s pretty easy to come and go in the Arena.
    • Gotham Special Video Presentation and Q&A 1:45 -2:45 Arena
      • Pretty much the same thing as Lucifer just about Gotham.
    • Science of Star Wars 3:30 – 4:30 Room 208
      • A discussion panel with a NASA engineer and Star Wars nerds, about what could become real from the Star Wars universe. This panel truly is what we talk about, “All Things Nerd”.

One last thing if you really like getting pictures of good cosplay. Majority of cos-players hang out at the fountain in front of the convention center.

There you have it. I hope this helps you to be better prepared for the Con and enjoy yourself. If you have any further questions please leave them below. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

 @MEST5150 – Contributor

 

 

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