Survival Guide to Dragon Con

DragonconlogoDragon Con is a sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming convention held annually over the Labor Day weekend. The convention is hosted in Hyatt Atlanta Hotel, Hilton Atlanta Hotel, Marriott Marquis Hotel, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. It can be an overwhelming experience for newbies. The multiple panels, the multitude of people, meeting celebrities, cosplayers, and spending lots of money.

Here are a few things that I learned from attending my first Dragon Con:

Take it easy. You’re not going to be able to attend every panel. Plan ahead. Don’t forget to visit the dealers and the art show. As the convention nears, Dragon Con will release the Pocket Program Guide and mobile app for download with every schedule and maps for all of the hotels. Make sure to follow Dragon Con on Twitter and Facebook for schedule changes.

Try to arrive a day early if possible. It allows you time to stop by registration to pick up your badge. You will need to wear your badge the entire time of the convention.

Walk around the ‘Walk of Fame’. Geek out in seeing  your favorite actor. Make sure you have the right amount in cash for an autograph or photo-op.

Pack a small bag or backpack with:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Aspirin
  • Bandaids
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Extra batteries for camera
  • Cell phone charger
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle (stay hydrated)

More tips:

  • Obey the 5-2-1 rule.  Get at least 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, and 1 shower each day.
  • Be prepared to walk. Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Be nice to the Hotel and Dragon Con staff.
  • Make sure to visit the ATM before the convention starts.
  • Ask cosplayers permission to photograph them.
  • Talk to people while waiting in line.

Have fun!

I look forward to attending next year’s Dragon Con.

Have you attended Dragon Con for the first time this year? What was your experience like? What advice would you give others who haven’t been? Share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

My first experience at Dragon Con


My friend and I attended our first Dragon Con in Atlanta. It was a little over whelming, but it was exciting. There was so much stuff going on at all hours of the day. Surrounded by fellow Geeks was awesome. You were allowed to be yourself without being judged.

It was great seeing all the different cosplayers. The creativity that goes into some of the costumes I saw was incredible.

Dragon Con 2013
Dragon Con 2013

First Day: We attended a lot of the Doctor Who and Tolkien panels and parties. Our first panel we attended was the Hobbit Heroes and Villains.

Dragon Con 2013

William Kircher (Bifur), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), and Manu Bennett (Azog)

Later that night we attended two parties. The first one was An Evening at Bree party. Here are some photos from the party:

Dragon Con 2013

Dragon Con 2013

Dragon Con 2013

My friend (in the middle) with Bilbo, Bifur, Bombur, and Bofur

At the Bree party, I had the chance to meet William Kircher.

Dragon Con 2013

The second party we attended was the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Celebration Ball. I had the chance to meet Alisa Stern the creator of Doctor Puppet:

Dragon Con 2013

Here are some photos from the party:


Dragon Con 2013


Dragon Con 2013

Dragon Con 2013

Dragon Con 2013

We pretty much spent the rest of the day photographing cosplayers and walking around the different host hotels. We were drained by the time we got back to our hotel room.

Our second day, we just hanged out around the hotels.

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Ran into Yaya Han, a famous cosplayer.
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Third Day: We attended A Look at 50 Years of Doctor Who with Two Doctors! panel with The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, and Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy. They were both fantastic.

Dragon Con 2013

Second panel we attended, Two Mighty Dwarves with William Kircher (Bifur), Graham McTavish (Dwalin). It was great hearing them talk about New Zealand, working on the set, and working alongside Peter Jackson.

DragonCon 2013_16 We also attended: A Visual Journey Through Middle-earth. Jef Murray went over his sketches and paintings from the first through the fourth ages of Middle-earth.

Later that night, I was able to attend the World Record Attempt: Star Trek Costumes!. The sad part is that they were short in attempting the to set the record. :( All in all, it was fun to be in the same room with Trekkies dressed as Cyborgs, Klingons, Spock, etc.

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Trek Track director Garrett Wang (Harry Kim from Voyager)


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Dragon Con 2013

DragonCon 2013_5Our final day at Dragon Con was spent recuperating from our fun weekend. I will be posting another post with more photos from the con.