Comic-Con 2012: The Big Announcement
Through some miscommunication it turns out the Comic-Con hotel reservations aren't going up until tomorrow morning at 9 instead of today. However as promised, here's the deal.
I didn't write a full post-event report about Wondercon last week because several ideas and concepts began to form as we were driving home, brought on by how much we enjoyed Comic-Con's sister convention this year in Anaheim.
We knew from the first year we attended Wondercon that it was a really comfortable event; no fuss, no muss, with just enough people attending to make it huge but without the insane crush in San Diego. The San Francisco event has been a teaser for Comic-Con these last three times, but it was always a really fun anticipatory trip. I think what we were missing the first two times was that it was exactly the speed and crowd load we wanted and enjoyed.
So before I explain more...here it is, this is it: We are not going to Comic-Con this year.
Wow!! Right?! It's kind of like trout deciding they're not going to swim upstream or the Pope deciding he was going to wear a three piece black suit and red tie out on the Vatican balcony instead of his holy robes and pointy hat.
I've been attending Comic-Con for seven years and during that time I (and we) have had some amazing fun! But as time went on the hotel rates and policies right around the San Diego Convention Center began to annoyingly change and increase at an alarming rate. My first time at the Marriott Hotel and Marina cost around $250 / night. Since then hotel rates have gone up between $50 and $100 a year!
In 2011 we were paying close to $400 a night at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, now our new hotel of choice. But a strange thing occurred which I've been documenting here since last August. The moment rooms went into the available cue for this July a notice kept coming up when you'd try to reserve that said 'sold out', and that message has continued for the past eight months.
With speculation high that Comic-Con had not just blocked their usual half but the entire hotel, it was confirmed last week that that was exactly what they'd done. The announcement on the hotel page of their website pretty much silenced the guessing game: 'There are more hotel rooms available than ever before.'
A month ago I discovered that the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina had rooms available, and I started to breathe a sigh of relief that my coveted 'right next door' hotel could be attained.
Then came the price hike that broke the fanboy's back: $599 per night!! PER NIGHT!!!! OH, COME THE FUCK ON!!!!!!!
That was it, I was done! I WILL NOT pay $600 a night for what is just a place to sleep!! We come in around 9pm each night after having dinner and quickly go to bed because a) we're really tired after the day's happenings, and b) we have to get up at 5:30am the next morning just to get in line for Hall H!
This brings me back to Wondercon. That event's one-off in Anaheim (we really hope they return) was so much fun and without the stress and obscenely overpriced hotels. The cost of a room at the Anaheim Marriott right next door to the Anaheim Convention Center was arounf $250 per night, even though we paid nothing because Rebecca used her hotel points (thank you, Rebecca!). And BTW, we LOVED that convention center!! I have photos and will post shortly. Really well laid out, beautiful structure with plenty of room for the 20,000 people who attended.
The exhibit hall was quite a bit larger than at the Mascone Center in San Francisco (Wondercon's regular home) and lines to get into panels and presentations were handled perfectly. We went to the 20th Century Fox "Prometheus" / "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" preview on Saturday and had no problem walking right in the door with only a hand full of people in front of us. That was about an hour out and I know from peaking my head through the door fifteen minutes before show time that the line had grown a lot but was nowhere near the usual circus of Hall H. By the time the lights dimmed and Ridley Scott was introduced the very large auditorium, almost the same size as Hall H, was packed. And yet it still never felt out of control.
Even though Wondercon was relocating for just this year due to remodeling at the Mascone Center, I really hope the rumors of a real relocation are true. If they kept it here that would be amazing!
But what about Comic-Con week? That's been such a touchstone moment in the middle of the year for us. We can't just stay home and think about everyone else going to San Diego. There had to be something that was equal or greater than Comic-Con to make a switch-out worth while.
As Rebecca and I drove home, talking about what a great time we both had, we teased a couple of ideas about what we would do if....IF....we skipped Comic-Con. Travel to England?...a trip we've been wanting to make. Jeez, flights are SO expensive during the summer and she's suggested the fall would be better on the wallet and with less tourists. OK, somewhere else? International? Domestic?
Then she hit me with the spark that said 'THIS IS IT': a movie location tour!
BUT....you're gonna have to wait until the next post for all the details on that. It's big, it's epic, it's very exciting and WE'RE DOING IT!!!
In the meantime, after a week of thought and speculation as to whether I should hit the Big Red Button that said 'no Comic-Con this year', I at last made the official decision last Friday night. SO glad we didn't pay what would have been the full week's stay IN ADVANCE (most downtown hotel's policies starting three years ago) at the Marriott for $600 per night!! And to think I came so very close to doing just that before I woke up and smelled the Mexican Coca Cola (I'd say coffee but I don't drink coffee)!
This does not mean we won't go again next year...assuming the now rape of my wallet known as 'booking a room in San Diego' can be worked around. My thought this morning, until it was brought to my attention that Comic-Con's hotel reservations would go up tomorrow and not today, was to go on at 9am and see what we might have come up with if we'd booked with the CC block. My experience with this in the past has been a major turn-off. Even if you're on there right at the time they go up, the closest hotel you can get is a mile or two away(!) Pretty idiotic.
Yes, you save a bit of money because the deal they have with all hotels is about half the cost of booking on your own. Something I didn't mind and could afford previously because I was stubborn about getting into the right hotel, regardless of cost. That word 'regardless' has just hit the ceiling on my end with these new increases. What are these hotels gonna go for in two, three, four, five, even ten years? $1,000 per night??!! More???!!!
Somebody....SOMEBODY...needs to knock whoever is making these increases off their pedestal. Could you imagine a full-on boycott of an individual hotel or hotels? THAT would be crazy!!
OK, don't worry...I'm hard at work at writing the next post with details of our amazing movie location trip this July!