Well, here we are in Anaheim, a battlefront very familiar to veterans of the Anime Expo, Wizard World Anaheim, and many other campaigns. But it’s a new setting for WonderCon veterans…and The Beat. You’ll recall that WonderCon is normally held in the Bay Area of Northern California. However, construction at the Moscone Center left the show dates up in the air and CCI organizers had no choice but to move it down to Anaheim.
We arrived last night to find BarCon chewing over two pieces of speculation:
a) This is a test run for a permanent move for WonderCon to Anaheim.
b) This is a test run to move CCI: San Diego to Anaheim if the SD Convention Center expansion plan doesn’t move forward.
Both rumors make sense from a certain perspective. Moscone Center officials have been incredibly uncooperative with WonderCon over the years. According to CCI’s David Glanzer, they can’t get dates more than six months out, which is insulting, frankly.
Currently it’s been challenging as we can’t secure dates with a longer lead time than six months. As any exhibitor knows, six months isn’t really convenient to planning your year. We hope to get dates with a longer lead time, and when that happens I think you’ll hear the announcement very quickly. So, basically, once we know, we’ll let everyone know.
We’ve never heard a concrete reason for the Moscone’s antipathy towards WonderCon aside from them not liking consumer shows in general.
On the other side, you have the Anaheim Convention Center which is not only big enough for San Diego, but has been aggressively wooing Comic-Con for years. The CCI crew has toured the Anaheim facilities many times over the years, and why wouldn’t they want to try out the welcoming harbor of a facility that actually wanted their business?
Despite all this circumstantial evidence, the talk from those close to the situation here is that this isn’t a trial run for anything: it’s just a show that has moved to a different city for a year. The intention is to return to San Francisco—IF it can be worked out with Moscone.
Even if that is the case, an interested observer—such as The Beat—can’t help but complete a mental site check. Plenty of affordable hotels? Check. Broad, palm tree-lined avenues down which people cosplaying as Mara Jade could stride? Check. Chic, boutique hotels and bars where production companies can throw parties? Not yet check, although we did trek over to Downtown Disney for a top-notch meal with some peeps from Dark Horse and comiXology last night. Anaheim will always be Anaheim….that’s just the way it is.
One thing we have noticed: The Hilton Anaheim’s lobby is so huge that you need to be specific where you are meeting. Also, the show overwhelmed the lone Starbucks in the lobby. Supposedly they had had to cap the line this morning as it was nearly 50 people. And us without our Ca Phe Sua OR Aeropress.
In a radical change from our usual convention experiences, we noted many hardships in getting food and coffee at the venue. The food was edible and fresh, but there were only a few places to get it, and long lines.
We never did get a cup of coffee.
The show floor is enormous…way bigger than last year’s show, with spacious aisles. The crowd on Friday was good; sales were all over the place as they usually are for a Friday. Some had better than SF sales. Others had far worse sales.
Sometimes it depends on the product.
More on the ground as it develops.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.