Friday, April 17, 2015
This was the day of insane queues that needed better planning. I didn’t want to wake up super early and get caught in the holding room to enter the convention. I got there at 10am or just after the doors opened and got caught in the holding room anyway.
Once I got into the Exhibit Hall I went straight to the Celebration Store. The system was an improvement from the day before. The rows snaked around to minimize space and people were let in groups.
I heard from several people on the queue and from lazypadawan that the day before they had to close the store down because A) they were understocked and understaffed B) frustrated people just started walking off with merchandise without paying and C) the cashier machines were down and could not process payments.
Example #1 of how TPTB underestimated the crowds at Celebration.
So, first I waited 45 minutes to get into the store (10:30-11:15). I shopped around for about 15 minutes. The Property of the Rebel Alliance shirt is a large. There were none left on the racks. I even asked a staff member to check in the back. She brought out a large, an extra-large, and an extra-extra large.
The Your Worship-fulness shirt is a medium. That was the only one left.
The other shirts are size small.
This merchandise is expensive so I figure I would share with my sister, who gave me some cash to buy these shirt. Except the Han and Leia shirts. I wanted my own. Luckily I got 2 of each in a size small.
I waited on the check out line for 2 hours before I got up to the cashier. (11:30-1:30).
They should have done this like the Apple store. Have people on the floor helping you shop and then process your payment right there.
Or better yet, buy them online before the con. To keep it “exclusive” only badge holders can purchase the items.
While waiting on the check out line a man from the staff was giving out The Force Unleashed t-shirts. People mobbed him like he had the last canteen of water in a desert.
I didn’t take one, like I didn’t the poster they gave out after the panel. I don’t want just the words “The Force Unleashed”. I want artwork of the characters.
The people behind me on line went all out. They had mugs and tumblers, and big boxes of the sushi sets. Are they shipping this home or did they drive to Anaheim?
After spending all morning at the Celebration Store I did not make it to Carrie Fisher’s panel “Date With the Princess” that began at 1:30. I thought that since the store was right near the queue line for the Celebration Stage that I could make it and sit in the back, but the room was at capacity.
It’s ok. I have seen Carrie speak before, and I have the best photo with her and Mark. (More about that in my Saturday write-up.)
I also just missed my plan B panel The Clone Wars “Bad Batch” screening. I got to see those episodes online a few weeks later anyway, so that worked out.
It was my only opportunity to go to the Celebration Store. Saturday was photo ops day and by Sunday the merchandise was gone.
So instead I checked out Artist Alley which was right there.
I stopped by Karen Hallion’s table first. I had no plans to buy any artwork and did see this on Facebook a few weeks before Celebration, but when I was there I couldn’t resist. I plan to frame it sometime soon.
At this point I went to drop my bags and poster at my hotel. Then I made a mad dash back to the convention center just in time for the Ahsoka Lives photoshoot.
Ashley was there. So was Dave Filoni. I didn’t get the chance to speak to either of them. 😦 They were surrounded by so many people. Ashley was talking to all the girls dressed as Ahsoka.
This was my perspective of the crowd.
It was a HUGE crowd. This isn’t even the full picture. Somewhere out there there is a panoramic photo of the group.
Lucasfilm took photos and video too.
After the photoshoot lazypadawan spotted me and we got to meet in person. She told me about her debacle at the Celebration Store on Thursday when they couldn’t process credit card purchases nor could they take cash.
She also spoke about seeing TPM and AotC in 3D the night before.
I thought about going but was too tired. I’ll write about my attempt for RotS in 3D below.
So I roamed the Exhibit Hall. Bought the X-Wing cardigan and Ewok crochet bag from Her Universe. They were sold out of Salacious Crumbs cupcakes for the day. I made a note to try one on Saturday.
I also went over to Random House/Del Rey, finally. Usually the publishing booths are the first thing on my agenda. Since I waited so long to make it over there I had just found out that they were giving away pins. I missed the Thursday and Friday pins.
I then did an audio recording at the Random House Audio booth. I chose a scene from the upcoming YA novelization of A New Hope. When the books are released they’ll send me an audio file of my edited recording. I made a few mistakes they’ll edit out and I did sound nervous. I give the people who do that for a living a lot of credit. It is not easy.
At 5:30, an hour before the premiere of RotS in 3D, I went to the queue. Only I thought it was at the Celebration Stage. No, that was the panel with Anthony Daniels.
RotS was in the Digital Stage. When I got to the 3rd floor, I had just missed my chance to enter the overflow room by two seconds.
Example #2 of TPTB underestimating the crowds.
They had us queue up in the hallway by the windows. None of the staff could tell us for sure if we would even get into the room. For the next hour and half they had no updated information either.
Why is this such a problem? You know the capacity of the room. There are fire codes that tell you what they are. So give out numbered bracelets. When you run out, you know you have reached capacity and people don’t have to waste their time waiting.
With no solid informationI waited with a small glimmer of hope. Signing onto the wifi I found out lazypadawan was in the overflow room.
I also found out on Facebook and twitter that Pierce Brown was in the Exhibit Hall! He wrote Red Rising and Golden Son. I love him and his books. Del Rey is his publisher and he’s a big Star Wars fan. He took one day out of his schedule of writing Morning Star to come to Celebration.
There was also a man on line next to me who had saw Pierce downstairs. He had a signed paperback copy of Red Rising. I was praising the book and asking a million questions about where exactly did he see Pierce, and did he also have Golden Son with him. (I am waiting to buy GS in hardcover till I see Pierce at a signing.) He couldn’t remember the exact booth and wasn’t sure about Golden Son since the Red Rising paperback was free.
In hindsight what I should have done:
I should have left the queue to go find Pierce Brown because after an hour and half waiting we were told the room was at capacity and the movie had begun. By then the Exhibit Hall was closed and I missed my chance.
Lazypadawan also didn’t get in. When I saw her I walked over and we shared our frustration at how they underestimated the demand for RotS in 3D. It should have been screened at the Celebration Stage.
I feel like really sticking it to those in charge and the Prequel haters. SEE?! There are people who love RotS so you can shut it.
Anyway, as lazy and I were walking to the escalators we were handed these invites to some roof party. Lazy went to the party and I went back to my hotel room. I ate my leftover Hershey’s cheesecake and got sucked into watching The Others with Nicole Kidman all night. I mean I love that movie, but I should have been catching up on sleep.
In hindsight what I should have done:
I should have stayed with lazypadawan because she didn’t stay long at the party and when she left she saw a couple of people leave the RotS screening. The doors were unlocked so she walked in and found a seat. She didn’t miss too much of the movie and didn’t have her 3D glasses, but still got to watch it.
So, next Celebration I go to – I hope to get the chance to see RotS in 3D and that TPTB don’t f— it up. Get a bigger room to meet the demand and hand out numbered bracelets, people!