10 Tips for Star Wars Celebration from a Fan’s Perspective, a Guest Blog by Angela Haralson
I have been thinking about Chicago a lot lately, and this brought me to remember what I experienced in Orlando in 2017, as my first time going to Star Wars Celebration. I thought it would be nice to write about some tips I learned from my first Star Wars Celebration experience.
So, for this article, I will focus on 10 Tips I found to be helpful for me.
TIP 1: PLAN
Knowing your schedule for Celebration ahead of time is a must. There will be hours and hours of content put out each day. There is no way a single fan can see everything happening in one day. Look at the schedule on their official site, or download the Celebration app (ready for download early 2019). My personal preference was printing out a hard copy and highlighting what I wanted to focus on. Pick one or two things each day to make your priority and focus on what you need to do to accomplish that.
TIP 2: BUDGET
It’s no secret Celebration costs money. From tickets, to hotel, to food, to spending money, it’s expensive. I’m not rich. I am still in school, and have limited funds, but I make it work because Celebration is something that’s important to me. Celebration 2017 was my first because, with all of my classes, etc., it just was either bad timing, or I was too young. I literally started saving for Chicago before Chicago was announced. Actually as soon as Orlando ended, I started to budget for the next one, because I knew I had to be there. Whatever you think is a good number, DOUBLE THAT. This is where I failed in Orlando. I gave myself a good budget for my hotel, food, Ubers, photos, and the autographs I wanted, but when I was actually there, there were SO MANY different things I wanted, but couldn’t get. There were a couple of art prints specifically that I fell in love with, but were just out of my budget. The Exhibit Hall floor will have so many things you don’t think about ahead of time, doubling your initial budget, I think, will help solve this problem.
TIP 3: MEET PEOPLE
One way I am saving money this time is by having a roommate for Celebration. I am someone who travels solo to conventions, so I use the internet to make fandom friends to meet up with. I am rooming with a great fan who I know through a podcast that I’ve listened to since 2010. We talk frequently on Facebook, so I know we get along. This has cut my expensive hotel costs in half, giving me more spending money for the convention itself, and it’s also relieved some anxiety I have by going places alone.
TIP 4: AUTOGRAPHS AND PHOTO OPS
When I attend conventions, I am a fan who focuses on autographs and photo ops. Due to my health, I am not someone who can camp out on concrete multiple nights in a row. The experiences that make the convention for me are meeting the people who were there and a part of the filmmaking process. I spend my time, and most of my spending budget, in the Autograph Hall and watch the panels later on YouTube. I didn’t get to watch a single panel in the room it happened in during Star Wars Celebration Orlando last year, but meeting Mark Hamill and Hayden Christensen made my whole experience 100% worth it.
TIP 5: TOPPS
Speaking of autographs, I feel like I should prepare all of you for dealing with TOPPS. Most of their employees did not know what was happening, where or when. I nearly missed my Tiya Sircar autograph because a TOPPS person told me to go wait on the complete opposite side of the autograph hall from where she was. I am in no way blaming Tiya or her team for this mix up. This was TOPPS providing the wrong information. My only advice for this is to pay attention, read signs, ask people at the tables, not people manning the lines. Also pay attention to the lines, and ask people waiting in them who they are seeing. Just don’t depend on one employee to tell you where to go. Also, get there at least 30 minutes earlier than the listed time. This will give you time to get to the line, and know you’re in the right place without rushing around.
You can read Part 2 of Angela’s 10 Tips for Star Wars Celebration here.
You can find Angela on Twitter @JediAng18.
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