Dragon Con 2016 Trip Report: Part 1

I just came home from my very first Dragon Con, and I had so much fun I was already planning out my agenda and costumes for next year while I was on the plane home. (I also wrote parts of this trip report on the plane.) I went to Dragon Con to cosplay, be in the parade, take pictures of cosplayers, meet some of my fellow podcasters in person, and go to some of the cool and unique events that Dragon Con has to offer, primarily the annual Parsec Awards presentation. I did all of that and much more, and I had the greatest time doing it all. The best parts of the con were the parts where I met and spent time with cool people – podcasters, cosplayers, and others – who shared my interests. Those people (and the Friday-night events that I missed out on this year) are the main reasons I want to go back next year.

For this trip report, I will reconstruct each of my days at Dragon Con 2016, as best I can through this Con Crud-induced haze. I knew I was going to come home with a cold, but this convention was so, so worth it.

Friday, September 2

I spent Friday afternoon and evening on a single-minded mission. I knew that if I wanted to pick up my convention badge that night, everything had to go perfectly. I had to make it to the airport in time for my first flight, and all my flights had to depart on time with no delays, and I had to figure out the MARTA (Atlanta-area public transit) when I got there, and I had to find my way to the con registration desk in the Sheraton, all before 10:00 PM Eastern, when registration closed. To my amazement and delight, everything did go pretty much perfectly. My flight landed in Atlanta at 8:40, 10 minutes ahead of schedule. It wasn’t particularly difficult to figure out the MARTA. The hardest parts were finding the Sheraton, getting there, and finding the registration room once I got there.

As soon as I emerged from the underground MARTA station, it was obvious from the crowds of people in costumes that a con was in full swing. The atmosphere of excitement and nerd camaraderie hit me all at once, even out on the street. This was the kind of con I had come to know and love in my teenage years. I had missed this. It was good to be back.

Still focused on the mission, I followed signs and my fellow con-goers’ directions through the crowded streets to the Sheraton, as the last few minutes of registration hours ticked away. When I got there, the hotel baggage handlers offered to hold my suitcase for me, which allowed me to run down the stairs and… straight to the wrong table in the wrong room. The people there were nice enough to explain that prepaid badge pickup was in the other ballroom, whose entrance I had passed by on my way there. I ran back to that room (thankfully, I was wearing my good, black walking/running shoes with black pants and a blue, short-sleeved Star Trek science uniform shirt) and made it to the correct desk with minutes to spare. I traded in my blue postcard for a purple 4-day con badge, with a huge sense of relief, at exactly 9:57 PM. Mission accomplished.

With that done, I wandered around the Sheraton for a little bit, soaking up the atmosphere, then decided it was time to get a hold of my hotel roommates so I could get to bed; I knew I was going to have an early morning the next day. By the time Friday night was over, I had hiked from the Peachtree Center MARTA station down the block to the corner, then all the way down the hill to the Sheraton, then all the way back up the hill to the Westin (where I was staying), all with my giant 45-pound suitcase in tow. One of my roommates came down to meet me by the elevators in the Westin, and I was very grateful to get into our shared hotel room and some sleep.

Fitbit stats for Friday: 15,638 steps, 6.76 miles, 90 active minutes.

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