Friday, July 20, 2018

Also a few days late (in addition to the Thursday post), this is the Friday post about shopping and things I want to buy. This is always a fun one since I am kind of a spendy girl. It is my stress relief, it is my joy, and I love to research.

Last week it was a toy, this week I think it shall be a show: Wizard World Chicago. Not really something tangible, per se, but it is an event. I have gone to this show for so many years. Yes, some of the shows have sucked, and then things just seem to be more expensive, but some of the shows have been absolutely wonderful. It is a place where I can truly relax and let go. Wizard World Chicago is one of the closest large conventions to me here in Michigan. I also love C2E2 in the spring, but man, talk about expensive. I do love being in the heart of Chicago, but I also love that Wizard World is in Rosemont. Still a walkable area, but vastly cheaper than staying and parking downtown. I have done the drive so much, I have even taken trains.

I have found that with pretty much every convention, it is won or lost by the artists, guests, and celebrities. I know some people who hate and completely write off certain conventions because, in their minds, it sucked. But if that is based on one year alone, it is probably wrong. If the show has most of the guests from a certain show or series that you don’t like, the convention just isn’t going to be as much fun. I remember one year, in particular, that I thought was just the best for Wizard World Chicago; the year they featured Star Trek. They had so much going on around the Star Trek universe, that I was just in heaven. And at that same show, I am sure there were people who just hated it because they were into something else, like The Walking Dead. I sometimes use the list of guests as a reason to go or not to go. Other times I just go because it is Wizard World. Everyone has their own reasons why they go to the shows they go to, it is only natural.

Anyway, the shopping part of this blog is about buying a Wizard World weekend. What does that entail? First off, how are you getting there? I have done everything but fly there, and in the end, I prefer to drive my Jeep. I love my Jeep. So that means I have to think about any maintenance that needs to be done before I go, such as an oil change or a new tire… my Jeep is getting older and has some quirks. Anyway, that is before you even get on the road. Once on the road, you have to factor in any stops for food or gas. I find I can get there on one tank of gas, but my bladder cannot. So I usually stop somewhere around Michigan City, Indiana to use a bathroom and get some lunch. Same on the way back, though I usually hit the Hinsdale Oasis on the way out of Rosemont. Then, once you get to the hotel, there is a need for parking. Most of the hotels in the area are $15-$25 a night for parking, though sometimes there is a special or they discount the fee if you don’t take your car out the entire time you are there.

Ok, so transportation is sorted and costs are estimated, next up is lodging. There are numerous hotels on the block by the convention center. I have stayed in three different hotels. They are all, more or less, similarly priced in the $150+ a night range. Again, sometimes there is a special, but that is a rough approximation. Then how many nights are you going to stay? The con is Thursday-Sunday, so maybe plan on three nights. I prefer being there the first couple of days before it goes all out nutso on Saturday. Saturday is the busiest day of any show. It is also the day you will find the most strollers. Don’t get me wrong, if I were on the end of it where I had a kid in a stroller, I would love that it allows me to just kind of plow through the crowds, not to mention the storage capacity. It is tight quarters at a con, so I tend to pack as light as possible. It is made easier by having a hotel just across the street where you can quickly drop off purchases or grab things you might have forgotten.

So you are driving to the show, staying three nights in a hotel, so now you need your ticket to the show. Do you plan on just going one of the days? Doubt it. So just go for the four-day pass. It will save you in the end because it makes it so easy to just come and go from the show all weekend and not worry about when your pass is good. The four-day pass this year is $96. If you are really hardcore (and have the money) there are many other ticket options that involve VIP access to certain celebrities or involve photos, autographs, etc. So many options. This year there are special tickets for the TV shows Charmed, Boy Meets World, Outlander, and a few others. They have a lot of Outlander guests lined up this year. I have yet to see that show… now might be a good time to catch up. It is always fun to sort of “study” before a con so that you are more familiar with some of the series, artists, and guests, etc that are going to be at the show. I love research.

There is a lot to plan going into a show like this, and to me, the biggest part of the planning is the money. Even if you factor out what you will need just to get there (and back), stay there, and get into the show, there are all these other expenses like if you actually want to buy some merch or memorabilia. And God forbid you want to eat while you are there. It is always smart to pack some snacks and water bottles, but even with that, you are still going to want a hot meal at some point. Maybe even a drink.

So much money, but so many memories. I hope every geek gets to experience one big comic con in their lives. It is a totally different experience than that of a smaller con. Those are great, too, and they are everything to the community… but the experience of one of the big ones… it is like letting yourself be in another world for four days. It is really quite priceless.

Anyway, Wizard World Chicago is from August 23-26 this year. That gives me a month to figure things out. This is a big one to add to my wish list of things I would like to spend money on.