It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was — well, we don’t really know, because Returning Registration hasn’t happened yet. But it will be happening soon on March 11 at 9AM PT, and that means that for better or worse, you’ll know soon whether you’re attending the pop culture juggernaut this year.
The good news is, you’ve already been through this at least once! And that if you are unsuccessful on March 11, you’ll have a second chance during Open Registration — whenever that may be.
But we know that it’s been over a year since any of you have done this, and a handful of things have changed now, so let’s take a moment to give you refresher course with this guide and tips to help make sure you are ready for the March 11 sale.
You can also join us, whether you’re buying a badge or just wanting to hang out, at the SDConCast’s Returning Registration Live Coverage podcast. We’ll be kicking things off at 8:30AM PT, 30 minutes after the waiting room officially opens and 30 minutes before the sale kicks off, and we’ll be updating on any issues we see users having, badge inventory, and more. Plus, it’s a great way to celebrate getting a badge.
What You Need
Above all else, you need to actually be eligible for Returning Registration for 2017 (rocket science, right?). You need to have attended San Diego Comic-Con 2016 as a general attendee — which means you weren’t at the event as press, a professional, a guest, a volunteer, or any other badge type.
If you’ve still got questions about whether or not you’re eligible, you can login to your Member ID to see. For the visual learners:
Once you’ve verified that you’re eligible, you’ll need to gather a few things:
- Credit card information
- How many badges you are buying (you can buy up to 3, including one for yourself)
- The last name and Member ID of anyone you are buying a badge for (each person must be eligible for Returning Registration on their own)
- Your Registration Code (available March 10 in your Member ID)
- The link to the EXPO Logic Registration Waiting Rom (available March 10 in your Member ID)
Your Registration Code is the specific 15-digit-code that you’ll use to access the EXPO Logic Registration waiting room. You will need that code, as well as the link to the Waiting Room. It will be e-mailed to you, as well as uploaded into your Member ID (along with the EXPO Logic waiting room link) on March 10. In other years, the Member ID has crashed right before the sale under the weight of so many people leaving that step to the last minute, stranding people with no access the Waiting Room. Don’t become a Comic-Con sob story.
Price & Payment
Be familiar with the cost of a badge. Single day badges will run $60 for a Thursday-Saturday badge, with $40 for a Sunday badge or $45 for a Wednesday Preview Night badge (only available if you’ve purchased all four days). A combined four-day badge with Preview Night will run you $265.
Here’s the breakdown of prices:
When paying, credit cards and payment can’t be split. Meaning that if you are purchasing badges for multiple people, it all has to go on a single credit card. This is the only downside to using large groups to purchase, as you may not be comfortable “spotting” someone upwards of $265. Again, we recommend only forming groups with people that you feel comfortable being in a financial situation with. If you’re not comfortable, don’t share payment information.
Trusting those in your badge buying group is even more important this year than ever before, as CCI will be physically mailing badges to each individual attendee (except for international attendees, who will still need to pick up on-site). If you buy someone else’s badge and they don’t pay you, CCI is unlikely to get involved and cancel their badge — so use common sense.
Badges will be mailed (to domestic attendees only) to the address in your Member ID. You have until May 18 to log into your Member ID and ensure that the address is correct. You’ve got time to read this post right now, right? Why not also take a moment to just verify your address right now?
At least 24 hours prior to the sale, on March 10, CCI will input both your individual EXPO Logic Waiting Room Registration Code and the link to the waiting room. On March 11 — the date of the sale — attendees will be able to enter as early as 8AM, but the sale won’t officially start until just after 9AM PT. Between 8AM-9AM, you’ll be greeted with this screen, and prompted to enter your individual Registration Code:
Beginning just after 9AM, EXPO Logic will randomly assign everyone in the waiting room a place in line to purchase badges. This is a completely random process – and those who arrived at 8AM on the dot have as much chance of getting a “good” spot in line as those who entered at 8:59AM. There is no advantage to arriving early. However, there is a disadvantage to arriving late, as those who try to enter after 9AM will not be allowed back in, and the room will be closed to new entrants. For this reason, it might be good to arrive a little early, to test that everything is working properly prior to 9AM.
Once the sale kicks off, in the past, CCI and EXPO have kept people informed with various messages. Here’s a look at a previous message:
According to CCI, if you are accidentally removed from the waiting room or lose connectivity, simply return to the EXPO Logic landing page and enter your registration code again. You will be put back with the same group you were previously. This only applies to registration codes that were authorized prior to 9:00 AM.
When it is your turn to purchase a badge, you will see all of the available badge types. Those badge types are held for you for 15 minutes, while you complete the purchasing process. Again, you may purchase up to three badges, including one for yourself, but you can only pay with one card. Each person you are purchasing for must be eligible for Returning Registration on their own, and you must have their Member ID and last name.
You should then be e-mailed a confirmation e-mail.
The Technical Side
Although CCI has fine-tuned this process over the years, technology often can and will have issues – Preregistration for 2016, for instance, was met with more issues than it has in several years. The only steps you can take to try to avoid these issues are to make sure you’re following the technical advice provided by Comic-Con International.
Here is a quick overview:
- No mobile devices or iPads. Get to a desktop. Seriously. Although some users reported being able to make it work last year, if this isn’t a risk you have to take, don’t.
- Only try to log into the waiting room once, and do not share your Registration Code. If you have other people trying to log in for you, logging in again will kick off the other sessions. If the waiting room logs you out prior to the sale starting, which happened to some users last year, you should be able to re-enter without it affecting you.
- No multiple browser tabs. If you are a family with multiple eligible attendees using the same computer, use a different browser for each Member ID.
- Don’t refresh. The waiting room will automatically refresh every 120 seconds. The blue spinning circle is your friend, even if you think it is your enemy.
- Don’t use the back button. This could remove you from the waiting room completely.
- Although the randomized waiting room theoretically “evened the playing field” for all attendees at having the same chance at scoring a badge, there is still at least one tactic that might give you an advantage: Buddying up. Work with friends, as well as the Comic-Con community at large. Twitter and Friends of CCI are both great tools for finding fellow attendees – so utilize them.
- Theoretically, the larger the circle of people you are working with to try to score badges, the better chance you have at getting one. After all, if you’re working with nine people, there is a better chance at three of those people will be placed in a “good” spot in line and be able to purchase badges for all nine team members, than there is a chance that on their own, all nine individuals will be given a “good” spot in line. The larger the group, the better the odds.
- Only work with people that you trust and feel comfortable sharing money with, and who you trust to pay you back for their badge.
- Also be aware of all the new(ish) changes. If you’re an international attendee, you won’t receive your badge in the mail — you’ll pick up onsite. Children under 12 who receive a free badge will also register on-site still. Verify your address in your Member ID is correct no later than May 18, 2017.
- If it’s your turn to purchase, a screen will come up that asks for the Member ID you wish to purchase for. If you are purchasing for someone other than yourself — either because you don’t need a badge for 2017, or because someone else already purchased your badge — then make sure you enter the Member ID you’re actually purchasing for. If you enter your own and someone has already bought your badge, you won’t proceed to the next step.
It’s also important to be prepared prior to the sale. We’d like to think you’re all up to speed already — you are now.
And on one final note? Just remember that if you don’t get a badge on March 11, there’s always Open Registration.
Will you be trying to buy a badge next weekend? Let us know in the comments.