Some advice for first-time DragonCon attendees. (This will be my 21st and I still feel like I’ve only ever scratched the surface of all the stuff going on.)
- Take some time to sit back and look around and take it all in. DragonCon is hectic—it’s “go go go” almost 24/7 from Thursday afternoon through Monday afternoon. But there’s so much to see if you just stop a minute and look up. There are like 80,000 people there and roughly half of them will be in some kind of costume, and many of those are excellent (and/or funny). That’s the thing DragonCon is most known for, and it’s worth seeing. And most of those people won’t be in the parade so even if you watch that, you will still only see most of the costumes in the halls and streets.
- Go outside occasionally. It’s entirely possible to fly into Hartsfield-Jackson, take the subway to Peachtree Center, take the skywalks to most of the hotels, and never go outside the entire weekend. But get some air, man! (And see all the crowds out there, too. And there are other places to eat besides just the food court!)
- Hit events in multiple tracks. I know some attendees basically “live” all weekend in one track room, and that’s cool—but DragonCon has SO MANY tracks and every single one of them does things slightly different, each with its own flair and quirks and unique personalities and great people running it. You might discover new stuff you never expected would become a favorite.
- Don’t expect to arrive at the main hotels zone on Saturday morning and be able to go anywhere. The parade has gotten HUGE and the streets are blocked off for it—and all the people wanting to watch it absolutely clog the sidewalks all around. I’ve literally been trapped inside the Marta subway station for over an hour before and almost missed a panel I was on. It starts at 10 am but people are packing the sidewalks well before that. Get down there early and get inside while you can!!
- Like every other Chick Fil A, the super-popular and insanely crowded one in Peachtree Center Food Court is closed on Sunday. So it is packed on Friday and Saturday. And there’s never anywhere to sit, anywhere in the food court, unless you lurk and pounce on a table as people are leaving or you ask to sit at a table with people already there. (I’ve done this many times and they’re always very kind about it.)
- I will add more as I think of it!