San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Open Registration Visual Guide

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — and we don’t mean Christmas.

San Diego Comic-Con Open Registration for 2018 is set for Saturday, December 9 at 9AM PT – which means that for better or worse, you’ll know soon whether you’re attending the pop culture juggernaut next year.

We don’t want to scare you, but the odds of purchasing a badge in Open Registration are a lot harder than in Returning Registration, simply because the pool of people wanting to score a badge is exponentially larger. But thousands and thousands of attendees manage every single year, and we’d like each and every one of you to go into the sale as prepared as you can be, to walk away with the golden ticket.

So: Are you ready?

Just in case you’re not, we’ve put together a guide and tips on making sure you are ready for the December 9 sale.

You can also join us, whether you’re buying a badge or just wanting to hang out, at the SDConCast’s Open 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. Or to watch Kerry’s pugs run amok in the background.

What You Need

Above all else, you need to actually be eligible for Open Registration for 2018 (rocket science, right?). This is actually much easier than Returning Registration (October’s sale, for those eligible attendees who attended in 2017). Instead, all you need to be eligible for Open Registration is a Member ID (you must have already created one — any new Member IDs created after 9:30AM PT on November 27 will not be eligible for Open Registration this year), and to not have already purchased all four days with Preview Night during Returning Registration (alternatively, if you are a Professional or Press who has already registered their badge, you’re also out). Easy, right?

If you’ve still got questions about whether or not you’re eligible, you can login to your Member ID to see if you have the green checkmark. 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 for up to 3 individuals, including yourself)
  • The last name and Member ID of anyone you are buying a badge for (each person must be eligible for Open Registration on their own)
  • Your Registration Code (available no later than 48 hours before the sale; will be e-mailed to you and in your Member ID)
  • The link to the EXPO Logic Registration Waiting Room (available no later than 48 hours before the sale; will be e-mailed to you and 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) no later than 48 hours before the sale.

Price & Payment

Be familiar with the cost of a badge. Single day badges will run $63 for a Thursday-Saturday badge, with $42 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 $276. Additionally, new this year, there is a $5 handling fee per person you are purchasing for.

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 $276. 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 will not get involved and cancel their badge — so use common sense when dealing with strangers on the internet and money.

Badges will be mailed to the domestic address in your Member ID. If you’re an international attendee, you can either enter the US domestic address of a friend, or choose to pick up your badge on-site. You have until May 14 to log into your Member ID and ensure that the address is correct — but Member IDs are currently locked to changes until after the badge sale, so make sure you log in at a later date to change anything that needs to be changed.

The Process

At least 48 hours prior to the sale, CCI will input both your individual EXPO Logic Waiting Room Registration Code and the link to the waiting room. On December 9 — 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:

Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 10.03.52 AM

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 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:

Screen shot 2015-02-21 at 10.12.49 AM

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 first be asked how many badges you wish to purchase – with the option ranging from 1-3.

Then, on the next screen, 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 badges for up to three individuals, including yourself, but you can only pay with one card. Each person you are purchasing for must be eligible for Open Registration on their own, and you must have their Member ID and last name.

The buyer should then be e-mailed a payment confirmation and receipt, and each individual attendee will receive an e-mail with their barcode at a later date.

We also highly recommend you watch this step-by-step video:

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 (but Returning Registration for 2018 was a breeze). 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:

  • Have JavaScript cookies enabled. Included on the EXPO Logic Registration landing page is typically a“Precheck”, where attendees can make sure their browser is compatible with the Waiting Room. Once you have the link, test it!

  • No mobile devices or iPads. Get to a desktop. Seriously. Although some users report being able to make it work, 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 unique Registration Code.
  • 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.

Tips

  • 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, unless you enter a US shipping address. Children under 12 who receive a free badge will register on-site still. Verify your mailing address in your Member ID is correct no later than May 14, 2018.

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.

Will you be trying to buy a badge on December 9? Let us know in the comments.

About Kerry Dixon

Kerry Dixon is Editor-in-Chief of The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog and the site’s resident panel guru.