It’s Thursday, where are you? If you are local to Atlanta and pre-registered for Dragon*Con, your answer should be, “Reading this on my phone from the line.” because pre-registration badge pick-up just started. Pre-regs get a nice solid 6 hour jump on everyone else this year, so hopefully that will help with the lines.
Preparation for con is always a big deal. You have to make sure you pack everything. Technically there are a few shops around, but mostly tiny stores with seriously jacked up prices. There is a Publix about 8 or 10 blocks away, but since public transit in Altanta is pretty crappy, you’ll likely be hoofing it, in September. “Hot and humid” just doesn’t really describe Atlanta well enough. Long hikes in the city are uncomfortable at best. But in addition to packing everything, you also need it to be manageable. You don’t really want to be juggling a dozen suitcases. You’re best bet is to pack one case (with wheels) of regular clothes (shorts, t-shirts, socks, underwear and toiletries – deodorant, toothpaste, even soap and shampoo if you prefer your own over the hotel stuff), a cooler (with wheels) packed with food and stuff (don’t bring ice, all the hotels have ice machines – and unless you specified in your reservations that you had to have a fridge for medical reasons, you won’t get one, so you’ll want a cooler if you want to keep anything cold), and then a case (with wheels if possible) for costumes and stuff that can’t be packed into the regular clothes.
You might have noticed a theme there. Wheels. Trust me, lugging around heavy cases just isn’t worth it. Every year I see some poor schmuck hauling around a half dozen old no-wheel-having suitcases, or standing in line waiting for a bell hop, or leaving the cases at the front desk to have them delivered to the room at some point in the future. Meanwhile, the wife and I roll on by and head to our room. The cooler is even more awesome because of the extending handle means we can even stack a couple things on top of it (like sodas or a box of extra snacks) with ease.
And of course, if you plan to buy anything, make sure you have a way to take it home. (If you aren’t local, there are, I believe, a FedEx and some other shipping store in the hotels or close to the con, and don’t worry about them being closed for the holiday, most of the time you can leave a package with your hotel with shipping instructions and a tip and they’ll send it off for you on Tuesday.)
Anyway… enough about packing… you might be wondering, “If the con begins on Friday, what is there to do on Thursday?” Well, lots actually. Plenty of fan groups will have unofficial gatherings on Thursday night (this is why you should find the sites/forums for the various tracks and fans groups, and keep up with them throughout the year), and there are a few bands playing. Plus, the lobbies and hotel bars will be hopping with people, both out of costume and in.
What will I be doing on Thursday? Well, for one, since I’m staff this year, the MMO Track is having a little party where the director lays down the law, people can swap shifts and we can let our hair down a little more than we’ll be allowed to during the con itself (not to say we won’t be enjoying the con, but staff is expect to not show up for shifts completely plastered). Check out our schedule from this nice rundown provided by Krystalle over at Massively. I’ll be wandering around the hotels pretty much all day, though when not with the MMO crew (or perhaps even with them) I tend to be in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis, not only because it is the hotel I’m staying at, but, in my opinion, it is the best hotel for seeing and being seen. Perhaps I’ll see you around…
Just as aside… in previous years, I posted at the end of the day with what I did. This year I’ll be posting in the morning with my plans for the day and my reflections on the previous day.