The biggest topic of discussion leading up to WonderCon has been the location. Most WonderCon goers have been very disappointed by the move to Anaheim, CA, over San Francisco. There’s ongoing chatter about whether it will move back to San Francisco in 2014, but no clear news on that possibility yet. If location alone is going to be a deal-breaker, there’s not much getting around that, but the convention itself, running in Anaheim, deserves some honest assessments about its merits or demerits, whatever they might be.
To start with, WonderCon 2013 allowed con badge pick-up and pro pass pick-up from noon the day before the con, always a good move. The staff were friendly and helpful, and it was a transaction bound to only take a couple of minutes, whatever the need. Glimpses of the convention center were promising: it’s a fairly spacious location with lots of impressive glass allowing light in, and a wide pedestrian zone in several directions, including fountains and palm tree lined seating nooks. The hotels in the same pedestrian complex as the convention center offered discount rates for the con weekend that were comparable, if not a little lower than the hotel deals available for other mid-sized cons on either coast, and rooms were still available for booking near the con period. The only downside of the hotels is that a couple of them appeared a little understaffed to handle the sudden influx of arriving guests between 7PM and midnight the night before the con opened, meaning somewhat long lines for check-in and a lack of staff to answer the needs of guests who had already checked in.