TERRIFICON 2015

TERRIFICON LOGO

THE GEEKY REDHEAD 09-SEP-2015 This was my first year attending the newly renamed TerrifiCon (formerly CT ComiCon). This was also its first year at the Mogehan Sun casino. I admit this in and of itself intrigued me – I have only been to a casino once before after turning 21 and it was definitely not a lively place. So I was curious to see what roaming a bustling casino would be like.

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Atmosphere

I admit, the previous casino I went to had me a little nervous. I had been hit on uncomfortably at my previous attempt to enjoy the slots, so I was slightly on guard. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised – I did not encounter any creepers on the con floor or on the casino floor.

There is a difference in atmosphere between the convention area and the casino floor however. There con floor is well-lit and non-smoking. The casino areas are darker and many areas allow smoking, which could be a problem for people who are sensitive to smoke. There are also a lot of bars through the casino so this is a great place for those who love their cocktails. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that there weren’t a lot of drunk and carousing folks – at least not before I headed to bed around 10ish. I’m an old lady. 😉

Hotel

The hotel/casino itself is positively gorgeous and I must stress that. While not every bit of décor appealed to my fancy, it was all beautiful. Multiple indoor waterfalls, statues, and themed decorations. We had some hiccups checking in, but the staff was delightful, allowing myself and my boyfriend to grab our cosplays from our checked bags. The rooms themselves were also lovely and, despite the hotel being full of con guests and gamblers, it really wasn’t difficult to move around.

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My first time cosplaying Black Canary in YEARS.

The surrounding area is also breathtaking. On the drive up, I delighted in the scenery and was pleased to see that my hotel room happened to overlook the river. While there aren’t any windows on the con floor/casino (this is a casino and you can tell that it’s been designed to remove your ability to judge the passing of time, including but not limited to no clocks) there are many windows on the room floors.

The real downside to the hotel is that it’s fairly isolated for a convention. Which helps create the beautiful view, of course, but if you are a person who needs quick access to a pharmacy or other type of store, bring your supplies with you. There are other businesses and such, but you will need to drive to them. Also, don’t assume the casino’s shopping center will have the type of thing you need. While the hotel does have some lovely shopping in and of itself, it’s very much luxury/fun shopping and not things like essentials.

Accessibility

While things were pretty open and light on Friday, the pace picked up considerably more on Saturday and even into Sunday. This is probably not a great con for people who get nervous in a crowd but fantastic for folks who thrive on high energy environments.

There are also lot of stairs. When you first come into the building, you have to go down a set of stairs to get to the lower level which has casinos and con area. Then head down a long path, past the gambling and several shops, to the actual con area. The majority of the convention floor is on this lower level. However, there is another area in the con area that is raised and you need to go up more steps. There are escalators and elevators though. The escalators are right near the steps and most of the elevators are pretty easy to find. Where it might become frustrating for some people is that the elevators to get to the rooms are all the way back at the beginning, so you have to go through all that each time to get from room to floor and back again.

Food

While there aren’t a lot of ‘cross the street’ options, there are a lot of food options inside the hotel. According to our internet research, there are over 40 restaurants and places to eat inside the Mohegan Sun. These places vary from Krispie Kreme to “make my wallet cry” fancy steakhouses. Regardless of where we went or what time of day, it was positively thrilling to see the staff excited for the con happening. Johnny Rockets let their staff dress up so my burger was brought to me by Wednesday Adams. The young woman at the Krispie Kreme who handed me my – much needed – coffee had on Nintendo themed earrings. The folks at the coffee/pastry shop had fun guessing our costumes. And the waitress at the Michael Jordan’s sports bar was incredibly kind to me when an upset stomach prevented me from finishing my meal.

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Food offered on the convention floor was actually pretty good. Pizza was slightly overpriced, but you got a large slice. I bought a five dollar cotton candy that was bigger than my head and there was a little booth selling food from the various restaurants in the hotel at very reasonable prices. Plus, someone had done their research as to what food appears in comics! I loved this menu and that you actually got to top things yourself so that you could have as many peppers/onions/relish/whatever you wanted.

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I know I always say that if you are on a restricted diet, plan ahead and bring some snacks. And that is still a good idea. It’s always a good idea, even if I consistently forget my own advice. For this con though, I would suggest taking the time to check out the options online and call ahead. There are so many options and the staff is so friendly that you can probably find at least one or two options that meet your needs. Or are willing to modify their dishes to help you out.

But call ahead. I know the pain of being stranded somewhere without viable food options. >.<

Shopping/Art

This was a great shopping convention. There were a TON of great artists, both well-known and up-and-coming. I found t-shirts I actually liked, there were custom messenger bags, figures, Disney statues I drooled over, a vendor selling mochi and other Japanese delights… There really was something for everyone. Steampunk hats, umbrellas, cosplay badges, cosplay contacts, plushies and more. I would love to see them expand just a bit more by getting some corset vendors, but hey… it’s me. I always want that.

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The Vegeta I brought from home for my Bulma cosplay but I always love a con where I can buy mochi in different flavors!

There were also a few booths doing airbrush effects. I want to give a special shout out to Jessi Mercier at Decimated Designs (decimateddesigns.com) for kindly throwing some white on my face to pale me out for my Black Alice cosplay. She was a blast and really fun to talk to while she was doing the paint. Jessi also did the paint for the dead Blue Beetle, who had a lot of fun wandering the con in his zombie state! Just a blast to work with and I will be looking for this booth at future cons.

While I don’t know if you would really consider it vending, I want to also say that the Indiana Jones group was amazing. I took photos on their sets every single day and majorly geeked out over the details and props there. The guys were incredibly nice – it was five bucks for both sets and I consider it well well worth it! This is one of the few times in my life when I have actually paid for photos at a con, but my inner child was demanding it.

Tickets/Badges

This became my biggest issue with the con. The tickets are done through TicketMaster, which I already don’t like for reasons. When you go the website, it tells you one price and then that price suddenly jumps due to TicketMaster fees. In addition, if you buy multiple days you don’t get just one ticket. You have to print out the ticket for each day and bring that ticket to the door each day. If you are a person who is prone to losing things – like me – this is not a fun idea.

On the other hand, from a cosplay point of view, it did have the upside of not having a badge/wristband to hide. When you enter the con area, they scan your printout and you walk inside. On the con floor, there is, as mentioned, a variety of food and bathrooms so you don’t actually need to leave the con floor for most things. When you do leave, they will then give you a wristband so that you can reenter. Up until that point there is no badge that you have to try to conceal in photos.

I love that aspect, but really wish they would get rid of TicketMaster.

Also, worth mentioning for folks that only attended the first day… While the staff didn’t do prop/bag checks well on the first day they upped their game over the next two days. My bag was always glanced at on entry and all the weapons I saw had a green sticker that indicated they had been checked. I didn’t have prop weapons myself nor did anyone in my group after the first day, so I can’t testify as to the process. It’s also worth noting that it was hotel staff doing these tasks and not con staff.

THE SANDERSON SISTERS!
THE SANDERSON SISTERS!

Staff

I honestly didn’t interact with or see con staff outside of the information booth. While they were incredibly friendly at the info booth, I do think they need to expand staff a bit. The costume contest was a bit of a problem due to confusion and lack of efficient space use. There was a mass of people trying to both enter the contest and trying to enter the room to watch the contest.

I do not usually compete in contests, however I wanted to watch to support my friends. It ended up being so confusing that I waited with my boyfriend and his friend in the contestant line. When they finally called for the audience to enter the room, I didn’t move quickly enough and I wasn’t able to enter. The room filled up incredibly fast.

It didn’t help that the large groups of people were being managed by Boy Scouts, who really didn’t seem to understand how to effectively sort groups. They were incredibly nice young men, I don’t want to insult them, but I don’t think having them manage crowd control for the contest was the best idea.

Cosplay

This was a GREAT convention for cosplay. The DC Cosplayers East were there, Ruby and Jennifer were there (they had their own booth and Jennifer Rose was selling her amazing geeky apparel as well as their prints), there were a ton of anime, comic book, and video game cosplay. There were families of all ages cosplaying and geeking out together. It was just a blast!

RUBY & KATE
RUBY & KATE

Overall

I really enjoyed the con. I would like to see them expand their vending area a bit – at around 80 bucks I paid more for my ticket than I do Dragon Con and a little less than I pay for NYCC – but it was still well worth attending. Everyone was warm and excited to be there. When the con floor closes, it was a blast hitting up the fun shops with friends and the variety of nearby food options made things simple in terms of eating together. Nothing like shopping for make up, exotic hot sauce, and getting a DBZ shirt all in one trip!

As I am planning to drop Dragon Con in the next few years (no offense to the con, it’s just become too much of a time/money sink but will be open to adding it again later), I could see myself adding a day extra or two at this con just to relax a bit. The combination of fun shopping and breathtaking views greatly appeals to me.