KATE TELLS US ABOUT WINTERCON 2015!
KATE THE GEEKY REDHEAD 07-DEC-2015 I didn’t have huge expectations of Winter Con going in. I had barely heard of it, but it was fairly local and several friends were going. Plus, it was being held at a casino and my experience at TerrifiCon with their staff had been so positive, I figured it would be at least a reasonable time. I wasn’t able to attend on Saturday, so I headed down on Sunday.
I was very, very wrong.
Pretty damn horrible. The website claims there are free shuttles, but when I spoke to those who stayed in host hotels, these shuttles were nowhere to be found. The website boasts about having ‘the best cosplay’ but I saw staff hassle cosplayers over obviously cardboard props.
In addition, a Batman wasn’t allowed in because his suit looked ‘too real’.No masks were allowed either, despite the website having photos of cosplayers in masks as attendees.
I arrived 30 minutes before the con opened as the drive took less time than expected. My boyfriend and I wandered towards the casino floor and food court, thinking we would be warm, grab a coffee and maybe play the slots a little. We were bluntly shouted at to go upstairs – evidently our money was not welcome. For the record, we were dressed as wedding day Donna Noble and the 9th Doctor – hardly costumes that one worries about.
So we head up – where we discover there is no area to wait for the con to open at all. We must all line up in front of the con entryway. Fine. Only the area between the doors to the outside and the entryway is so short a line of about 15-20 people had half of us standing outside. In NY. In December. After about 10 to 15 minutes they finally consented to let us in a little early. Every person must go through a metal detector, which is reasonable enough if the staff weren’t so rude and abrasive in their demeanor about it.
The con was also supposed to close at 8PM on Saturday, however guests who attended that day reported not being allowed into the con after 7. And, having been turned away, they were forced to walk a roundabout way back instead of just going the way they had come.
In addition, at least one of the host hotels is next to both a dump and a sewage processing plant, according to another attendee I spoke to. The smell was horrible and at $200+ a night, it wasn’t cheap either.
BRING YOUR OWN FOOD AND DRINKS
I know I say this every time for the sake of folks on restricted diets, but this is for everyone this time: BRING YOUR OWN FOOD AND DRINKS!
I truly can not emphasize this enough. Do not look at the menus online. Do not assume you can eat there. Bring your own.
The prices are insane – nachos with cheese (no meat, no nothing) is $9. $4.50 for a crappy bagel that tasted oddly doughy. One combo plus a biscuit at a fast food place was over $13 and mediocre at best. Not to mention the food staff is as rude as everyone else. Trying to find out what kind of meals I get spicy instead of mild at the Popeye’s felt like trying to give the third degree to an angry child.
Badly organized. One area should have been roped off but wasn’t which led to confusion and frustration.
The lighting was all right, somewhat dim but not horribly so. Unlike at TerrifiCon, where the casino was dim but the con floor was bright, this was casino lighting everywhere.
This was pretty accessible – there were easy to find, wide elevators everywhere and not a lot of stairs. I’m not sure I ever used any at all, though there were some near the racetrack viewing area. The aisles were reasonably spaced though not wide; and the con itself wasn’t too crowded, so I would feel pretty good about bringing someone who needs a mobility aide.
This is the only thing Winter Con did right.
The guests were fantastic. I loved seeing Ms. Nichols from Star Trek and her talks were in the middle of the floor on a platform so you were able to see her without having to wait in a huge line. Loved that. There were folks from the classic Godzilla movies. Yaya Han was at her booth chatting up folks. There was the 501st, New York Jedi, just tons of great folks.
I got to chat with a number of fantastic artists and vendors. I commissioned some MLP art from Javier Winnik and from Robert Quill. Carrie Wink of Athena’s Wink tempted me sorely with MLP flasks and adorable hats. Show Pony had awesome geeky jewelry. The Colorful Geek also had amazing stuff, like shirts and bracelets of all sorts of geeky flavors. I got to have a chat with Angela McKendrick, who does amazing artwork of adorable things and faux posters.
It was a pretty nice turnout! There were lots of cosplayers of all different skill levels there, people I knew and some new friends. Photos taken by Kevin Borchardt.
This is a con I may attend in the future if the same awesome guests will be there and not at Walker Stalker, which happened the same weekend this year. Unless there are unforeseeable changes, I wouldn’t advise traveling more than an hour or two to get here and I certainly say to call ahead and grill your hotel about fees and shuttles. Other attendees expressed intense frustration over hidden fees with their hotels and transit. Parking at the con itself was able and pretty cheap at just five bucks, so if you are within driving range, I would just do that.
The con and casino staff will be what kills this fledgling con if they don’t shape up. Decide if cosplay is welcome or not – either one is fine. Just decide and make it public. If the costumes aren’t allowed in certain areas of the casino, make signs and put that on the webpage too.
I may go again. The overwhelming awesomeness of the vendors and cosplayers who attended saved it. But just barely. I can’t recommend this con based on Sunday, but I hope I will be able to in the future.