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WonderCon 2014: The Feels from Day 1

The Anaheim Convention Center on WonderCon Day 1

WonderCon is officially underway, with Friday’s “Day 1” events and festivities in the books. As this is our first year covering WonderCon, we decided the first day would be a good opportunity to take it all in, hang out with friends and readers, and celebrate the start of our con season.

Our initial assessment is, this isn’t San Diego Comic-Con. Almost immediately we sensed the difference with a more laid-back attitude from the attendees. No one was rushing for the lines, no one was camping out for that big panel, no one was stressed about hitting the exhibit floor in a sprint to get that hot exclusive.

After a nice breakfast (yes, at WonderCon we can actually afford to stop for breakfast), Shawn “@The_Con_Fluence” Marshall gave us an in-person tour of the grounds and the lay of the land – sort of a personal version of his Onsite Visual Guide he recorded a couple of weeks back. We grabbed our badges, had a seat inside the convention center lobby and just watched the steady stream of cosplayers filter through the Weapons Check line, and the slow assembly of attendees both inside the lobby and outside in front of the fountain.

To give our readers some sense of the differences between SDCC and WonderCon – for the Salem panel in room 300AB, the equivalent of Ballroom 20, there was no huge line to get in, and the room welcomed attendees all the way up to the start of the convention with available seating.

Room 300AB at the start of WonderCon Day 1
Room 300AB at the start of WonderCon Day 1

We then hit the exhibit floor to check out the booths and see where the action was. Comfortably, we were able to walk the exhibit floor at our own pace, without the constant squeezing through and bumping into crowds that we’ve come to expect with SDCC. And that was nice, because after just a half an hour, we were able to scope out the big booths and locate them on the floor for planning future visits. On the contrary with SDCC, it takes us multiple days to seek out everything on the show floor, between the crowds and running to and from panels.

Nintendo’s line for the Mario Kart 8 photo op spiked early but was relatively tame to SDCC-standards.

And DC Entertainment, which has blanketed WonderCon in Marvel’s absence, brought a SDCC-size booth and a steady schedule of appearances by talent from the comic book industry, which also brought the crowds early.

Just a stone’s throw from the DC booth was BOOM! Studios, which will be hosting the cast and crew of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for a signing on Saturday.

And walking the floor we ran into Jason O’Mara, the voice of Batman in DC Universe’s Son of Batman animated adaptation which premiered on Friday, who graciously posed for a photo.

Jason O'Mara, the voice of Batman in 'Son of Batman'
Jason O’Mara, the voice of Batman in ‘Son of Batman’

We ran into these familiar droids on the show floor.

And were happy to find Anne “House of Darkly” Kirn’s booth who chatted with us at her booth.

After sizing up the exhibit floor, we ventured out side to check out the scene. Cosplayers were happy to stop for photos, and attendees were lining up at the food trucks parked along the walkway.

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As night approached and the exhibit floor closed, attendees spilled out onto the walkway for one more photo op before heading to their nighttime destination, be it Disneyland or our reader meetup (which, by the way, was awesome to hang out and chat with so many of our readers!).

Attendees spill out onto the walkway at the close of WonderCon Day 1
Attendees spill out onto the walkway at the close of WonderCon Day 1

What was your favorite moment of WonderCon Day 1? Let us and our readers know in the comments.

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