This will be my 5th Star Wars Celebration and I would like to think in my other times I’ve at least gleaned a few learnings and hope that I can pass some on. So please feel free to steal anything you see here and pass it along to your friends.
I’m not going to lie my first two times going to Celebrations I pretty much fumbled my way through it I really didn’t prepare anything, I just went. While this is a fun way to experience the convention I know that I could have gotten a lot more out of it. First example I went to Celebration III on the Saturday that George Lucas was speaking and expected to walk up and get a ticket (I drove from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana to Indianapolis only to buy a ticket for Sunday and have to drive home and come back the next day) Did I mention it was snowing that weekend?
Tip 1-Come up with a plan
Make sure you have your tickets and hotel (if needed) set up. I know there is a little time left so you still can do both but it may cost a little bit more. Study the Show Schedule of events and prioritize what you want to go to, but I urge you don’t fill up your schedule completely leave some wiggle room to enjoy the show instead of just running from queue line to queue line.
Tip 2-Rations and Sundries
Con food can be expensive or you could be running from panel to panel so the odds of getting a full meal on any given day are slim until the show floor closes. I always pack protein bars, granola, and trail mix to take with me as well as a refillable water bottle. Hydration is important in the wilds of the Convention floor. I personally also carry an extra T-shirt with me as well in case I accidentally spill something on myself (I’m a klutz) or you are dealing with a 95 degree humid Florida day. With that said another thing I usually carry is a travel deodorant and maybe some cologne/perfume, you don’t want to smell like a bantha in the Dune Sea that has been carrying Sand People around all day. Hand Sanitizer/WetWipes, you don’t know how useful these are until you don’t have them. Shoes, get a good pair of walking shoes and start breaking them in now! I believe last Celebration I was averaging about 20,000 steps a day that’s roughly 10 miles or more (I have long legs so maybe a bit farther). Lastly I recommend starting a few days before the convention to take either Airborne or Emergen-C to boost your immune system, you don’t want to get “Con-Crud”
Tip 3-The Bag of Holding
Find yourself a good bag to use. Something that is comfortable that can hold what you need. I personally used to use my backpack but i found this was a little too big and I can always run back to the car or hotel if I really need something. Two years ago I found my convention lifesaver the Bag of Holding – Con Survival Edition and it has been with me ever since. You can decorate it with Pins and Patches and it has plenty of little storage spaces that let me carry all the above mentioned stuff as well as come additional tricks. It also has the ability to house a poster tube and is fairly stable with a decent interior structure to handle comics as well to keep them safe. I love this thing and it truly is one of the best investments I have ever made.
At this point I really wish I had an astromech to help me out with all this tech that I saddle myself with. Usually i’m toting a few different devices to help me navigate the con. First and foremost my Phone (who am i kidding this is in my pocket but it is number one on the list), DSLR Camera (Personal preference I prefer using this for the good stuff), Tablet (I keep this so i have something to read while I’m in queue), Batteries/Battery Packs (this may be optional for you but as I live and die with my tech I usually keep a big one and then an emergency back up)
Tip 5-Florida Tips
If you are joining us in Florida for the first time Welcome! and I’m sorry it’s kinda weird here at times. But hopefully you have time to explore and with that said a couple of things to keep handy in Florida. Sunglasses, Sun Screen, Umbrella, Water bottle(yes again). While this won’t be everything you could need if you are sticking close to the convention you should be good. And do watch the weather starting about the time of Celebration you can have a good thunderstorm pop up at just about any time.
I’ll be posting another Tips guide around Eats and Drinks later today as well so be sure to check back to get some of my best food recommendations.