Salt Lake Comic Con FanX Survival: Four Cons

Welcome to the Fandom Podcast. This show is about the TV, Movies comics, and books that you love.  Every week we jump into a Fandom and this is a special episode about FanX Survival. I plan on having this as a series of bonus episodes about little tips that will help you on your way through FanX.  

Which Ticket should I Buy?

If you’re reading this there is a good chance that you have your wristband in your hands and are excited to go to Salt Lake Comic Con FanX, but if you haven’t gotten your bands yet then I have to ask you a question. Why not? This is afterall my favorite convention. It has big celebrities, smaller crowds, amazing cosplay, great vendors, and an artist alley that you could spend all day in (I’ve done just that.) Some people like to push it off until the last minute to buy their tickets to make sure that the guests that they want to see get announced, but my first survival tip for you is to buy your tickets as early as you can.

Salt Lake Comic Con tries to reward the diehard SLCC fans by offering discounts on tickets and slowly peeling them away as the convention gets closer. Pre-ordering your tickets also gets you in on some of the convention swag like the limited T-Shirts, posters, comic cash, and even free kids’ passes as long as you do it soon enough and don’t delay.

Alright, so now I’ve gotten you to the website, but you’re wondering which pass to get. The easiest answer is to say to get a VIP pass, but those are expensive and so let’s talk about it for a minute. Why do you want to go to FanX? I’ve found that FanX is not just one convention, but four conventions that are going on simultaneously with a little bit of overlap and the different levels of tickets have different advantages depending on which things you like the most. The four conventions that make up FanX are the Celebrity Interaction Con, The Panel Con, The Artist and Vendor Con, and the Cosplay/People Watching Con.

The Celebrity Con

If you enjoy one on one opportunities with Celebrities and have the money saved up to do so then you probably will spend your time in Celebrity Row, which is the area of the floor that has been set up for Celebrities to sign autographs and have photo ops. The ticket that you will want to buy to get the most out of this experience is the VIP ticket.  It will let you do more with your day than just standing in line.  For every autograph line there is a VIP autograph line and you can save hours by spending some extra money on your ticket.

When Stan Lee came to SLCC I purchased a VIP ticket and an Autograph.  I went at the beginning of the day to scout the area out and found IMG_0110that people were beginning to line up in the general admission line.  The under appreciated volunteer that I asked told me that Stan Lee would not be coming out for more than four hours. I came back 30 minutes before he started signing and jumped into the VIP line.  Within an hour I was walking away with my signed Spider-Man mask while General Admis
sion still had a hundred people in line.  By spending that extra money on VIP I was able to create more memories from the convention than sitting in line. There is no way to get into the VIP line with a Day Pass, Multipass or Gold Pass. If you can afford it the VIP Ticket is your best bet for the Celebrity interactions.

The Panel Con

The second convention is the Panel Con. This is probably the convention that requires the most explaining to new con goers.  A Panel is another name for a presentation at Comic Cons. You can have panels that have one person explaining a part of Fandom, you can have panels with multiple experts discussing a topic, you can have question and answer panels where the panelists answer questions from the audience about a certain topic and you have Celebrity Panels which normally consist of celebrities sitting down with a moderator and answering questions from the audience about virtually anything. Panels are my favorite part of any of these conventions.  Getting a chance to get some behind the scenes information from experts in the industry is a chance that not many people get and easily makes up the cost of admission for me.

Just like the Autographs there are VIP Panel Entry lines which allow you to get in before the Multipass and Gold Pass holders, but unlike the Autograph lines there is also a ZipQ system available to VIP Pass holders.  For the big panels you can register your wristband at a ZipQ Kiosk and that will save you one of a limited number of ZipQ Seats up near the front of the Grand Ball Room which you then only have to show up 15 minutes before the panel starts in order to claim your seat.  If you are late they will not save a seat for if you miss your checkin time so make sure you plan accordingly. With these additional time saving lines, again if your budget can handle it then a VIP pass is the way to go. Many panels that you may want to go to will be scheduled back to back and sometimes across the convention center. If you get to your panel after the VIP Line has been let in you can still walk to the front of the general admission line and get in with them. One panel that I wanted to go to was clear across the Salt Palace from my previous one and I was wearing samurai armor for my cosplay so I wasn’t moving fast.  I walked to the front of the General admission line and was still able to get a seat about halfway back. There were roughly a hundred people that did not make it into that panel.

If you are a responsible adult and have decided that the VIP pass is not in your future, don’t despair with a little bit of planning and backup planning you can get to many great panels with a Multipass. It is important to note though that the Gold Pass does not benefit you if you are hoping to get to the panels.

The Vendor Floor and Artist Alley Con

The part of the convention that the Gold Pass helps with is if you are going for the Vendor Floor and Artist Alley.  Even with the attendance limit that FanX sets the Vendor Floor and Artist Alley can get crowded and if you are hoping for a chance to talk to your favorite artist for a few minutes the extra hour on the convention floor that you gain with the Gold Pass can afford you that luxury.  

People / Cosplay Watching Con

If your favorite part of going to FanX is the people watching then you may be able to get by with just a Saturday single day pass.  The other days are cheaper for the single day passes but Saturday is where you get the biggest attendance and where you get to see the most intricate cosplays.  If you don’t go for the people watching you may think to yourself that surely there can’t be anyone who would attend FanX simply for the people watching, but there are people who buy Disneyland Annual Passes not for the rides but to sit on a bench and watch the passerbys and well nerds at a con are much more entertaining to watch that eight year olds on a sugar high. How do I know this? I know this because I have an Aunt that just moved to Utah from California and she kept her Disneyland membership for that reason, oh and who did I see sitting on a bench at the last FanX?  My Aunt and she loved watching the Cosplayers go by.

VIP Tickets vs Multipass

So now you have some soul searching to do, and I can not stress this enough, if you can’t afford a VIP pass then don’t buy one. With the appropriate planning you will be able to have enjoy yourself just as much, and if you do buy a VIP then that doesn’t make you a better person or entitle you to treat others poorly. It’s pretty easy to lose yourself in the excitement, but remember that those are people around you and not your loyal subjects that should bow before you. One thing that the VIP crowd doesn’t get as much as the multipass group is the opportunity to mingle with others in line. While in line make sure that you get a chance to talk to the others around you. You’ll be surprised at who you meet.

What do you think?

I had originally intended to do this as a blog post on Fandompodcast.com but I decided to record these thoughts and share them in the podcast feed. I also plan on adding a few more of these shorter survival guides into the feed so make sure that you subscribe to get all of our tips.  Also if you have any thing specifically that you want us to cover or have an amazing tip of your own, make sure to contact us over at http://www.FandomPodcast.com/Contact

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