Massive Mid-Year Comic-Con Update

We’re more than half way through the year! Not the calendar year, the time between Comic-Con 2010 and Comic-Con 2011. With only 5 months to go until the big event, I thought I’d post a general update to get everyone caught up on SDCC happenings. Ticked off about tickets? Reserved about hotel reservations? Flipping out about flights? Read on!

After many disastrous attempts, Comic-Con finally teamed up with the site TicketLeap and sold off every last pass in a single day. The keyword continued to be patience though, as no one got through for over an hour and even after that, it was a matter of fervent refreshing. Finally the floodgates slowly creaked opened and badges flew of their virtual shelves. By now all confirmation emails have been sent out and buyers can print out the actual pass they will be bringing to the Convention Center. To finish up the whole ticketing fiasco, I thought I’d take the time to clear up a few lingering questions:

Can I trade my four individual one-day passes for a four-day pass?
No. SDCC are only able to give out a certain number of each badge type. Even though you’d essentially be getting the same thing, they would be going over their allotted number of four-day passes. It sucks, but at least you’re going.
I missed out on buying, what now?
For now, nothing. Buying tickets off of Ebay or through other non-official means is a sure-fire way to either get scammed or be turned away at the door when your badge doesn’t match your ID. Luckily, returned passes are already trickling in and come Summer, you’ll have an opportunity to grab them. Details for this are yet to be announced, so stay tuned to the official site.
I bought passes, is there anything else I need to do?
When you go to pick up your badge, you’ll need a printed out confirmation email (the one with the bar code) and a valid ID. So for now, make sure you have that email. If you don’t, contact TicketLeap for help.

Now you finally have your badge and can go buy a hotel room. You check the site of every San Diego location with a bed but bam, they’re sold out. Fret not. Unless you acted super early and reserved one of the limited rooms available a few months back, you’re going to be stuck with most of Comic-Con trying to get a room through the official system. Basically, SDCC rents out a ton of rooms all around San Diego and then sells them to attendees on a set date. Pre-2010, this had all gone moderately smoothly with quick fingered-buyers getting the rooms closest to the con and slower people getting them in bus-riding distance. Sadly, last year, everything fell apart. No, the system didn’t crash, but people received completely random hotel assignments with some of the earliest buyers getting a place on the other side of San Diego. Hopefully they’ve ironed out the way rooms are assigned, but that is unlikely to be the biggest problem this year. Increased traffic means that hotel buying will probably end up just as crazy and terrible as ticket sales were last week. Details are still TBA, but expect a date soon and keep an eye on the official site. Basically, if you don’t have a room yet, you’re in the majority and shouldn’t worry.

If you haven’t already, now is the time you should start looking for flights to San Diego. Some have already sold out, but don’t go crazy, there’s still tons of tickets and deals for the taking. Buying these tickets can be difficult though, as prices are likely to fluctuate for at least another month or two. I’d recommend searching for flights through KAYAK and SideStep. After you choose one you want, it’s usually cheapest to book directly through the airline, as to avoid paying other site’s fees. If you want to get the best price, it may be useful to check the sites daily for a few weeks and then pounce when you see a deal. Overall, you can book a great flight right now, but patience and persistence might yield cheaper results.

Panel Schedule:
The schedule for all four days of Comic-Con (plus the events on Preview Night) isn’t usually released until a couple weeks before the con. Don’t worry though, as everyday is likely to have events you’ll want to attend. They’ve done a great job over the last few years of spreading out each type of panel so that there’s never a dull moment. The one minor exception to this is Sunday, where there are no big movie panels and everything ends in the afternoon. It’s still a great time to visit the exhibit hall or check in on your favorite TV shows, comics, and video games though, so you shouldn’t count it out. If the schedule follows the same format it has in previous years, Friday will be Star Wars Day and Sunday should be Kid’s Day. These aren’t the only types of panels on their specific date, but there would be more of that type than usual. Overall, don’t worry, the schedule is sure to be awesome for any day you attend.

Have any questions I didn’t answer? Suggestions for hotels or ticket buying? Leave a comment below!
Thanks for reading and remember to check back in June when we’ll return in full force to prepare you for SDCC 2011!

About Zack Young

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  • Man-in-Hat

    “Pre-2010, this had all gone smoothly”
    lol what? I booked a hotel through the con/Travel Planners once, back in 2007. It was such an unmitigated disaster that I never did it again. I think the lesson is, when it comes to Comic-Con, always prepare for a clusterfuck.

    But thanks for the update, I commute but I do like to keep abreast of what’s going on.

  • Jennifer

    One question I shot off to SDCC was whether or not they’ll allow the badge printing folk the opportunity to print off multiple single badges (if a person has them for, let’s say 4 days) on that first day, or Wednesday night at the satellite location. I’m hopeful they’ll say yes, as it might help curb the amount of folks in line each morning to badge pick-up with single day passes (who have them for the whole event).

    (If I hear back, I’ll let you know.)

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  • Jesse O.

    It seems to me that most of the hotels this year in the gaslamp district do not have rooms available from the 20th thru the 24th. I usually book back in October but this year no luck. I’ve gone the condo weekly rental route. Ended up being cheaper than a 4 night hotel but I have to be in SD now for the whole week. Might be something for others to consider.

  • Alize

    Last year was our first year at Comic Con and we stayed in Chula Vista, rather than downtown. Didn’t have to go through the whole hotel system, and we took advantage of the pre-paid parking they offered about a month before the event (now THAT was a God send).

    My advice is to do your research, look at some of the smaller hotels that are close to the public transportation stops outside of downtown, or rent a car and take advantage of the pre-paid parking as soon as it is available. It took us 10 minutes to drive in each morning, no traffic, and we knew we’d have somewhere to park for the day.

  • Zack Young

    I guess I was just really lucky then, seeing as how I never had a problem until last year. But I agree the more Comic-Con grows, the worse every “limited” aspect of it becomes.

  • Zack Young

    Thanks. I don’t believe they’ve allowed that in years past, but with all the ticket buying problems this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start!

  • NicolasMarinovich

    Small one bed one bath condo for daily rental during comic con walking distance from convention center in nice little Italy district of downtown SD. If interested email me

  • chris

    Why would anyone book a hotel through the site. Not only will they probably completely screw it up, but it’s also a complete rip-off. You can get a better price on on expedia, bookit, e.t.c on the same hotels without waiting (that’s what I did.

  • Artimus

    I booked a room at the Holiday Inn about a mile away. I don’t mind the early morning walk, but it’s also a stop on the shuttle route in case I feel lazy. It was a little bit more because I didn’t get the con rate, but I don’t have to worry about them screwing anything up. Last year, I was on a really tight budget, and booked a non-con hotel out in Mission Valley (about 5 miles away) and used the bus/trolley. I made due and had a great time, so I’m sure this will be fine this year.

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  • Joanne

    I have a timeshare for the week of Comic-con that I’d be willing to rent out for $1000 (July 19-26, 2011). It sleeps 6, has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a livingroom. It’s 5-6 miles from Comic-con and is a mile from the trolley. Let me know if you’re interested.