This year’s special Anaheim edition of WonderCon wrapped up as a success with larger than expected crowds, and generally strong sales. After a string of misfires, it was the best show in the SoCal market (aside from the big one, the San Diego Comic-Con) in quite some time.
However, just where the 2013 edition of WonderCon will take place is still a “complete question mark” according to CCI’s David Glanzer. San Francisco’s Moscone Center cannot give them dates, and although the intention is to return to Northern California, obviously the show needs a home.
We’ll have more of Glanzer’s comments shortly, but the bottom line for now is that WonderCon simply doesn’t book enough hotel rooms through the official hotel booking channels to show that it brings in money to the local economy from out-of-towners and the like. Thus, it isn’t being given priority for show dates at this time.
The Anaheim show was certainly fun and served the local market—perhaps especially for people who had gotten shut out of San Diego badges just a few days before—so a return to this location wouldn’t be a disaster. But it isn’t the Bay Area, where WonderCon is a local tradition, either.
Another possible venue: nearby San Jose, which has a good-sized facility. However, according to Glanzer, there might not be enough hotels and amenities for a WonderCon-sized fest there.
It’s ironic that after a yearlong quest to settle the San Diego Comic-Con’s home, the folks running both shows are now faced with another location dilemma.
Although there were many people at the show having a good time, or simply watching the volleyball and cheerleading competitions taking place elsewhere in the facility, the sheer number of people definitely taxed the parking facilities and amenities. Parking was, simply, a nightmare, with people sitting in line for an hour getting off the freeway only to find the parking lot they were headed for had closed an hour ago. Lines at the mere handful of concessions servicing three large shows—both the volleyball and cheerleading events included lots of kids and their parents—also tried the patience of many.
Still, this edition of WonderCon has proven you can run a full-scale convention in the LA/Orange County area and succeed.
No attendance has been announced yet for this year’s WonderCon.
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.