Yes! Con time again! Huzzah! It’s my favorite time of the year, and this year, I had the awesome privilege of attending C2E2 with Nerdy Guy. Below is my review of the convention, my pros and cons, my suggestions for improvements, and my recommendations. By no means should you take my word as law! Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and considering this was my first time attending C2E2, there was probably a lot that I missed. I seek to be as honest as I can with my convention reviews, so that you, the reader (and perhaps the con-goer), can get a better understanding of what a particular con is like!
First off, let me say that Nerdy Guy and I were super excited about going to this con. Last year was a big con year for us and we went aaaaalllll over our home state (and I even went to DC) for conventions. This was the first con outside of our state that we attended together. We made it a weekend trip, which was nice, and ended up ordering three-day passes for the convention instead of individual tickets for each day because it’s cheaper that way. It was $60 for a three day pass, $35 for Saturday Only, and $30 for Sunday only. So, by getting the three day pass, not only did we not have to constantly check back in at the Registration Desk, we also saved five bucks!
We had a three hour drive to our hotel, which was the Residence Inn Chicago-Wilmette, which was really the only one available at the time that I ordered tickets (because I ordered tickets late, ha ha). This hotel is very nice and the employees were extremely helpful. I was hoping to get an early check-in time so that we could get in costume before we headed to the con, and they were able to get me in at 9:00 AM instead of the typical early check-in time of 11:00 AM. We also got a room on the first floor, so we didn’t have to lug all of our cosplay gear up and down the stairs! If you are looking for a nice hotel to stay at in Chicago, I highly recommend this one. The only downside we found was that, because of Chicago traffic, we were about 45 minutes to an hour from the convention center (even though we were only 16 miles away).
All right! Below is a list of pros and cons for C2E2, and my “professional” opinion:
1. The list of guests was awesome!!! There were a ton of great people there, from comic book guests like Scott Snyder and Stan Lee, to entertainment guests like Raphael Sbarge, Hayley Atwell, and CM Punk, there had to be a hundred different special guests. There were so many that I wanted to see that I just couldn’t because we were soooo busy with panels and signings and taking photos. The autograph tables were open for hours several times a day, which made the special guests easily-accessed. If you couldn’t make it to one autograph signing, there were at least two more that weekend that you could go to.
2. The photo opportunities!!! I don’t just mean the super cool, giant C2E2 that greets you in the front lobby, or the Hollywood-esque wall paper thing with C2E2 across it (I don’t know what else you call that thing), but the hundreds and hundreds of people there wanting to take your picture or be in a picture with you. The cosplayers are amazing, not only in their technique, but in their attitude. They really made the con special for us. The first day we were there (cosplaying as Harley Quinn and Batman), we were bombarded as soon as we stepped through the doors – even before we had picked up our tickets at Will Call! We could barely move around the con floor without a dozen people stopping us for photo ops or cosplayers stopping us to talk to us. That feeling was amazing. Nerdy Guy and I love to pause for photo ops and we absolutely adore talking to fellow cosplayers. Great job, guys. You made our day. 🙂
It was also super cool to actually run into cosplayers (and artists) we have met before and talk to them! We encountered two special cosplayers we had met previously at NWICC, so it was a lot of fun to actually recognize them and be recognized!!!
3. STAN FREAKIN’ LEE, DUDE. Okay, I will admit, this was my biggest reason for wanting to come to C2E2. I knew that The Man would be there and I desperately wanted to meet him. Seriously. It’s been on my bucket list forever. More specifically, I really wanted to meet Stan while dressed like one of the characters he created!!! So, of course, who did I go as? None other than the coolest billionaire playboy in the Marvel universe. I was not only able to meet Stan Lee, but I got to shake his hand and got his autograph! And later that day, we attended his panel and I got to ask him questions about Iron Man too! Ha ha!
4. It was not crowded. This is surprising for a con that was attended by soooo many people! I have never been to a con with a crowd that big!!! It was insane. There was no way we could have seen/met all the people there. Even if we had gone all three days from open to close, we would not have seen even just all of the cosplayers! Yet C2E2 had everything mapped out extremely well. McCormick Place is a huge convention center, and they had everything set up nearly perfectly. Despite all the crowds, there was still plenty of room to move around freely and see all the booths we wanted to see. The only places it really bottle-necked were at the entrance and exit, and on any stair cases or escalators.
5. We Are Cosplay – the Cosplay Lounge. This was a saving grace for me as well as dozens of other cosplayers. The Cosplay Lounge had everything a cosplayer needed to repair their costume or props. They had needles and thread, hot glue, safety pins, water, and even eyelash glue – which I needed when one of my eyelashes decided to try to fly away. They were amazing!!! I think that every con should have something like this. It was incredible.
6. Acrobatica Infiniti Circus!!! This was, by far, the coolest panel we went to (other than Stan Lee’s, of course, but I think I’m a bit biased there). These guys are amazing. They can do all kinds of acrobatic tricks, and they do it in cosplay!!!
7. There were so many amazing artists in Artist’s Alley. So many talented people making prints and props and costume pieces. We walked away with some seriously cool prints (Nerdy Guy kind of went a bit crazy and bought like ten things).
1. Tickets are so expensive. T^T The reason why I had to order them so late was because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to afford them or not. Tickets, coupled with the price of gas, hotel reservations, and food – that’s a hefty price! And that doesn’t even include anything we bought at the convention itself!
2. The Mainstage was like waaaaay out of the way. The con floor was huge, but then all of the really cool panels were happening on the Main stage, which was literally across the building, up a set of stairs, down a hall way that was so long I wished I’d had a bike, and across another huge room. My feet were so tired! And since we kept getting stopped for photographs, it took us (I kid you not), twenty minutes to get from the con floor to that room.
3. TRAFFIC. This is my biggest con, right here. Traffic was so horrible that when we were looking for parking, it took us two and a half hours to move a hundred yards to the parking garage. We were going to take a taxi the next day and just get dropped off at the convention center’s front yard, but those were incredibly expensive. Parking was $21 a day, which is a little pricey, but considering it was Chicago, I was ready for that.
4. When we were standing in line for Stan Lee’s autograph, we were told by one of the workers selling his merchandise (as well as told by our schedule), that any picture 8×10 or smaller, or a comic book would be $60 for a signature. Anything else would be $80. So, Nerdy Guy and I had two small, 8×10 prints we were going to have signed. When we got to the front, another worker told us they were going to be $80 each, and when we tried to tell him that his coworker told us they would be $60, he was very grouchy with us and would not listen. That was incredibly frustrating.
And that’s it! That’s all I’ve got as far as listed pros and cons go. We had a blast at C2E2. It was a great weekend. Thanks, Chicago. You did good!
Suggestions: In my “professional” opinion, this was one of the best cons I’ve ever been to! It was perfectly sized, had awesome special guests, and the staff really seemed to enjoy themselves. The only suggestions I can really give would be to make sure everything on your schedule is correct. I know this is easier said than done, as cons are constantly changing, but it’s frustrating for the con-goer to be planning on spending a certain amount of money and be thrown a curve ball when they’re already in line and super excited for whatever they are doing. Other than that, C2E2 is put together extremely well and I have no other suggestions!
Conclusion: I will definitely be attending this con again. Nerdy Guy and I cannot WAIT until we can order tickets for next year! We had so much fun this year and we know it will be even better next year!
Would I recommend this con to anyone else?: ABSOLUTELY!!! If you can afford it, GO. This should definitely be on every con-goer’s list, AND every cosplayer’s list! Although it’s a little pricey, this con is definitely worth every penny. For us, it was worth a three hour drive there and back, and an hour long drive between our hotel and the convention center. C2E2 is one of the biggest cons of the year and we are lucky enough to have it smack-dab in the middle of the country. So go!!!
If you want to see pictures we took at C2E2, check out my Facebook page!
Otherwise, the next time I talk to you guys, I will be a married woman! Cheers!