Over the next few weeks, I will be writing extensively about my experience this past weekend at the most recent Wizard World in Philadelphia. I will be going into depth on panels, celebs, cosplayers, artists, and more. I’ve decided to do a comprehensive, yet, hopefully not too wordy, diary style overview to kick things off. Times are approximate and are in EST. New correspondent Robert Sunshine accompanied me. During this post, I will just refer to him as RS.
We got on an Amtrak near our hometown to get to Pittsburgh. The train was late, which was actually a positive as that would make our wait for our bus in Pittsburgh that much shorter. The trip was uneventful.
After walking across the street from the Amtrak station to the Greyhound and getting situated, we called our families to let the know that everything was going well. We snacked, talked, and played on our phones for under an hour. Then, it was apparent that the Greyhound line for our bus was getting long, so we headed over to wait in it until 2AM. Our bus left about 20 minutes late. As usual on the Greyhound, the ride was uncomfortable. Of course, it was faster and cheaper than the Amtrak, so I’m good.
Our bus actually made up the time that we’d lost, so we arrived on time. We quickly walked from the Greyhound station to the convention center. On the way, we stopped at that super ghetto, yet super close McDonald’s (if you go, you know the one) for breakfast.
By this time, we had changed into our costumes and picked up our wristbands. (I was very impressed by how quickly these were passed out.) We were ready, but volunteers were only allowing VIPS onto the showroom floor until 10AM. RS made sure that his artist portfolio for Marvel was to his liking. We observed some great cosplayers. A talent agent for an extras casting company took down our info and gave us his card.
We were finally allowed onto the floor. One of the first things that happened was Michael Rooker walking quickly by us. Ah, the excitement when you see celebs so quickly like that! A few years back, I had an encounter with Norman Reedus that still gives me chills.
We got photos with some cosplayers and some even requested some with us. I was just happy that people got who I was dressed as, the Suicide Squad version of Harley Quinn. RS was a jester (or harlequin, as he was fond of saying), which garnered a lot of attention. I also picked up my Stephen Amell autograph ticket. It had said that it was for Saturday when I ordered it, but I was given one for Sunday. I was actually happy about this, because Saturday was so packed full of things to do. Plus, this would mean getting to see Amell on both Saturday and Sunday. That line was pretty long, so I couldn’t stomach waiting in his photo line then as well.
This is my fourth year attending (RS’s first), in all of that time, I’ve barely bought anything aside from photos and autographs. I don’t like dragging stuff around and I’m cheap. RS is a bad influence though. In no time at all, we had bought a good number of prints from some talented artists. We played a spin the wheel game at the CW booth. RS won a The Flash hat and I won an Arrow poster.
We hit up Summer Glau‘s panel. Her Firefly costar Nathan Fillion was originally scheduled to attend this as well. However, he was injured and had to drop out. She seemed sweet, but the panel wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. I always enjoy when actors have other actors to volley with, not just a moderator.
Glau’s panel was immediately followed by Lin Shaye’s, in the same room. I do wish that I could have stayed for that and the meet and greet that followed (we had passes), but I decided to go another way.
RS is a Potterhead. James and Oliver Phelps of Harry Potter fame had been added to the con’s lineup about a week or so beforehand. So we trekked to their room. Unfortunately, it was super packed. Being that I’m not a Potterhead, needed to charge my phone and figure out directions to our hotel, and the claustrophobia of a standing room only panel getting to me, I opted to chill out in the hallway, while RS watched. He said that is was very entertaining.
Katie Cassidy‘s panel was being held directly after the Phelps’ in the same room. RS has never attended before, so he didn’t know that he could have stayed in the room and moved up to get decent seats for us. No worries, I joined her line before the Phelps’ panel let out. Her panel was very fun and informative. RS waited in her Q&A line, but never made it to the microphone. This wasn’t surprising as many fans ask multiple questions even though they are repeatedly asked to keep it to one.
Ben McKenzie (Gotham) and Penn Badgely‘s (Gossip Girl) panels conflicted with hers, making them impossible to attend.
At this point we had about an hour and 15 minutes until Stephen Amell’s panel. It was originally set for Sunday, which I would have much preferred. However, it was moved, I believe, due to his Wine Mixer that day.
We were exhausted from lugging our backpacks all night and day. So, we booked it to our hotel (about a half a mile away). We didn’t have time to sight see on the way but I could tell that RS was really into the city. After checking in and grabbing some complimentary snacks, we headed up to check out our room and dump everything that we wouldn’t need for the rest of the day.
We got to Stephen Amell‘s panel just after it had started. So, we were way in the back. I enjoyed hearing Amell talk about the progression of Oliver Queen’s character.
Amell‘s general photo ops for Saturday were set for 5:40PM (WAAAYYY too late IMHO). After exiting his panel, we headed to the photo booth to get our hard photo op card. We spoke to a volunteer who told us that we should come back at 5:20 to line up for Amell.
However, due to the photo op time, the time it takes to get around the convention center, etc. we were unable to attend any of the following awesome panels that were happening from 4:30-6: DANNY TREJO, MICHAEL ROOKER, ROGER CORMAN, and BURT REYNOLDS. We only had ONE professional photo op. I think that you’d miss a lot more if you had bought some more. I really wish that these panels were more spread out. I think that Reynolds and Corman were only there for Saturday, so that’s understandable. However, I don’t see why Trejo, Rooker, and some of the earlier panels in the day, couldn’t be pushed to Sunday. Then ticket holders wouldn’t have to feel like they were missing out on so much.
We took the probably half hour that we had after getting our op in order and changing, to shop and admire more cosplayers.
We joined Amell‘s already long photo line. We were behind two very fun young ladies who were cosplaying Canary and Felicity Smoak (!). They made the time fly by. It actually did go pretty quickly though. I think that we had already made it near the front of his line by 5:40. I wish I had a good story about the op, but all I can say is that Amell has a nice smile. RS said something to him to the affect of, “Don’t worry, you’re almost done”. Amell seemed happy about that. I’m super suprised at the ops of him actually doing poses with attendees as these ops are always very quick. Maybe those were VIPS, or folks with much bigger balls than I.
After the op and checking out a few things on the floor, we decided to head back to our hotel. We stopped for a brew on the way. At this point all we were missing was the Frankie Muniz panel, which was probably good, but not a must for either of us.
I chose a hotel with a pool so we could wind down. So after eating our food that we’d gotten to go, cheese steaks of course, we went for a dip. This was during the costume contest. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never attended a costume contest at the Philly con, so I wasn’t worried about it.
By this time, I was tucked into bed. I know this makes me a party pooper. After all, the official after party was taking places at the Field House from 9PM-2AM. However, I was exhausted and not feeling well. I felt a bit bad because RS has never been to a WW after party. However, I’ve only been to one and the experience was a bit of a let down, so I didn’t feel that bad personally. I think I was asleep by 11PM.
My alarm was not set until 8:30, but I had slept my fill. We had to be checked out by 11AM. So we did the logical/fun thing and got our money’s worth by taking a dip in the pool again, after packing.
We were headed to the Gallery Mall and then the con. On the way, we were very touristy and took photos. Unfortunately the main store that we wanted to shop at in the mall was closed for some reason, but oh well.
RS and I went to get his Sunday wristband. Yes, he had to buy separate Saturday and Sunday passes partway through April, because the weekend ones had already sold out. After that, RS headed over to the floor to see what Marvel thought of his art. I went to get decent seats at the Cary Elwes panel. Elwes was very entertaining and looked smashing.
We headed to the floor so I could buy some table selfies for Katie Cassidy and Cary Elwes. That didn’t take too long. I was disappointed that the day before when I’d gotten my Amell photo, a staff member had told me that these could be bought in line. So, I tried to line up in Cassidy’s line first. Luckily, a volunteer found out the truth for me, so I didn’t wait in her line without a ticket.
Cassidy‘s line was fairly long. If I’m calculating it correctly, we were probably in her line for about a half hour. It was the fastest table meet I’ve ever had. I didn’t get RS in the pic, which sucked. Although I later saw others get two attendees in their pics on Instagram, so I guess I shoulda been pushy. No candid photos were allowed in Cassidy’s line. We found this out after snapping some. This is very odd to me. In the past, if you had bought an autograph, etc. from a guest, you were allowed to snap some pics in line.
When people ask me what Cassidy was like, I say that I don’t know, because I literally said “hi”. She said nothing to me. RS randomly asked her something as we were leaving the table. She answered, but in a very uninterested way. She’s definitely as beautiful in person though.
At this point, I truly didn’t feel like entering Amell‘s line, but when you have pre-bought tickets you can’t just throw money away and not go get them. I think that’s the idea. We waited in Amell’s line for about 50 minutes. Candids were also not allowed in his line. Since I knew this, I didn’t attempt to take any. Although, you will see some on Instagram that others took anyway.
I had bought the autograph, because you typically get at least a minute to converse with a guest when you are at their table, unlike in a professional photo op. However, I had a bad feeling when I got up to the table. The person at his table didn’t help me pick a photo. They asked if I wanted the photo personalized and then wrote my name, my four letter, easy to spell name on a post it and attached it to the photo. The only time I’ve had that happen for me, because I have an easy name, was when I met Christian Kane back in ’05. He was too hungover too function correctly.
Amell, however, seemed to have checked out. IMHO, he was in a hurry to leave and go promote his wine. I had read that the mixer started somewhere from 4-5. I tried to engage him in conversation. I told him how we loved his show so much that even though we’d only started in a couple of months ago, that we were already all caught up. I complimented him on his panel. I honestly don’t think he said anything back. He may have glanced up at me while signing the photo. RS is ballsier than me, so he stopped to ask Amell a question as we left. Amell gave him a more satisfactory answer than Cassidy (more details to come on what this is regarding).
And now to the longest wait of all: the Cary Elwes line! After being in his line for about 20 minutes, I heard over the loud speaker that Matthew Mercer was having a free meet and greet in one of the rooms (It turned out to be a martial arts demonstration, very cool!) I told RS to go enjoy. RS had a theory that Elwes line was moving slowly because he was actually taking time to talk to attendees.
At about 3:15PM, I was sooo close to Elwes. His booth had fabric around all sides, absolutely negating any photos being taken by looky loos. I was the fourth person outside of it. There were maybe 9 people waiting behind me. This is when Elwes decided to take a break from signing. So I then waited a half hour for him to return. During this time, I watched Frankie Muniz, who was two tables over, interact with some young fans. He was great with them.
And…It was all worth it! He was so charming. He actually shook my hand and asked my name. I told him how I’d enjoyed his panel, and he was happy about it. Then I said, “I’ve had a crush on you since I was nine”, and he said, “Come here and give me a hug”. Aw! We hugged! Then we took a photo together. Ah, dashing!
RS and I met back up for our final hour at the con. Doors closed in an hour!!! First, I stopped at Muniz‘s table just to tell him how great he was with his fans. We had to make a mad dash to buy stuff, get a photo at the Tomorrowland booth, and check out cosplayers.
We left the convention hall, saw the Nesquik rabbit outside and got pics with him/free Nesquik from him.
We arrived at my favorite place to eat in Philly, Bar Ly! It was awesome, as always. It’s still strange that this once Asian tapas eatery had to morph into a sports bar to keep business afloat, but they still serve the same great food, so not matter. After dinner, we chilled a bit and decided on our next move.
We ended up at the Ritz East movie theater. We watched the mind blowing Ex Machina and got to chill out for a couple of hours.
While trekking back to the Greyhound station, we were stopped by some other attendees of the con. They were a lot of fun, so we joined them for a drink at a small bar.
We decided to take our leave, because it’s always recommended that you get to the Greyhound station early. We were there sometime after 11. Our bus was set to leave at 12:20. At 12:10, after already being lined up for a while, we were told that it was running 20 minutes late. It was wayyy longer than that. We didn’t leave Philly until after 1AM.
The lateness of our departure, coupled with the driver’s poor driving, and the always ominous traffic while entering Pittsburgh, means that we didn’t get there until 2 hours after we were set to. This made us an hour late for our last bus to our hometown.
So we had 3 hours to kill until another bus would be there. After chillin for a while, we went to eat at a nice little place called Gino’s Cafe. On the way there, we stopped at a cool, geeky trade in store that we vowed to return to in the future.
Our bus arrived 15 minutes late, arggh. We were so tired. We slept all of the way home. Unfortunately, as the Greyhound driver sucked, I did not get a nap in before returning to real life, and a meeting at 2PM, but what can you do?
The juice was worth the squeeze.~The Girl Next Door
Thanks to Wizard World for providing me with a complimentary weekend press pass to the 2015 Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. For info on Wizard World’s upcoming cons, please go here.