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First-Timer FAQs

Page history last edited by Indigo 5 years, 7 months ago

So, you've decided to attend Dragon Con. Congratulations! You've made a big step towards Alpha Geek stature. Dragon Con, for the first-timer, can be a strange, yet wonderful, place.  Not everyone has a friend who's been there several times and can show then the secrets. This assembled list of topics should get you on the right path to making the most out of your first time.



About Dragon Con

 Sure, everyone including your grandmother knows about that other convention across the country, but Dragon Con is more than just celebrities, comics and movies. Dragon Con is the con the stars visit for fun, not studio obligations. In the case of Trek Track, the programming for everything Star Trek, one of the stars is in charge!


Every year, the convention covers more topics. Attending Dragon Con is like attending 35+ conventions in one. There are more topics to choose from than there are Baskin Robbins ice cream flavors.


It's probably best to start with the What Is Dragon*Con page.


What does one do at Dragon Con?

Honestly this is such an open question that it's difficult to answer. You'll find discussion panels on hundreds of different topics. You'll see costumes to blow your mind and contests for them all. You'll get to play games you've never heard of before, with people you've never met. You'll find memorabilia and collectibles you never knew existed. You'll meet celebrities of all types.


Will I fit in at Dragon Con?

It's effectively impossible to not fit in. It's hard not to find kindred spirits there, regardless of who you are, what you're like, or what horrible afflictions you suffer. If you meet a bunch of folks with whom you do not get along, simply walk 20 feet away and you'll be in a completely new group who may be perfectly suited to your attitude.


What if I don't know anybody at Dragon Con?

So what? Meet people. Converse with them. If you can't make a friend at DC then you won't make friends anywhere.


I don't like Sci-Fi/Fantasy

We promise you that that will be no barrier to your enjoyment of it all. There are several reality based tracks, such as the Skeptics track, and the  Space and Science track and an Electronic Frontiers track, so you can talk about real issues going on in the big bad real world. And those aren't all, either.





You have a couple options here. You can pre-purchase your membership (pre-register) or register on-site.


Don't know if you'll enjoy the con and only want a taste? Single day passes are available. Saturday and Sunday are the best times to visit as that's the bulk of the activities. In the past few years, Friday has had more activity, but the con now starts on Thursday and is in full swing by Friday. Typically, single day passes are available on-site. Saturday only passes are now available for pre-registration.


For more information on registering, see Registration FAQs.


Should I bring a costume?

If you wish. Many people wear hall costumes and there are several costume contests though the weekend. There are many costume gatherings to attend. Plenty of people do not dress up and you will not be out of place in everyday attire.


How much money should I bring?

Enough. Cash is king in the autograph hall and not every dealer takes credit or debit. Keep your small bills handy for tips. There are cash machines in each of the hotels, but they can and will run out of cash, quickly. There are cash machines and banks in blocks surrounding the convention area.


What should I pack?

There is no definitive answer for this one -- what you will need to bring will vary on what your plans are (if you're costuming, your needs will vary greatly from someone who is not.) Common items will include things such as notebooks or business cards for writing down or exchanging contact information, highlighters for marking the programming schedule, vitamins to keep your immune system fully functional, sewing kits, and extra camera batteries. Many more suggestions can be found on the packing list, although all may not apply to everyone.


How do I get to the hotels from the airport?

Taxi, shuttle, or MARTA are your primary options. For details, see Travel.   If you have Uber or Lyft, they are also options.  Handy if you have a lot of luggage or a big group to chip in for a big vehicle.


At the Con


What do I do when I get there?

First, check into your hotel. Then, head to the Sheraton for registration. If you pre-registered, you'll follow one line. If you opted to pay on-site, follow the other line. A sign will indicate which one to take. Once you have your badge and program guide, flip to the schedule grid and begin choosing panels. Maybe browse a dealer room, play some games, grab a snack in the con suite or food court. Throw off the shackles of living amongst "the normals" and party with fellow nerds, geeks, bronies, brown coats, Whovians, Trekkies, faeries, and whomever else may be there!


What is there to eat?

Conveniently located along the habitrail between the Hyatt and Marriott is Peachtree Center. Along with being the MARTA stop, is a food court with a mall inside it. There's also free noms in the Con Suite. For more in-depth details, read "Food and Restaurants".


What events are must-see?

Dragon*Con is enormous and it is impossible to see everything you want to, whether it is your first con or you are an eternal member. However there are many events which should be seen at least once (and preferably your first year, because you may want to participate the next!)

  • The Parade (10am Saturday). With over 3,000 participants, this one is a must-see for everyone.
  • The Masquerade (8pm Sunday, Hyatt). Most people will watch in overflow locations, or on DC*TV from their rooms as this event fills up very quickly. 


I Saw X, What's That?

Please see our new separate Reverse-FAQ, What the heck is _____ .


Security Concerns?

Dragon Con is a very crowded convention, and as such, badges can get jostled off, lost, or worst-case, stolen by unscrupulous people in the crowd.  Do not trust the plastic snap and alligator clip that comes with your registration badge.  Use a secured keychain or a ziptie to keep your badge safe.  If your badge is lost or stolen, the only way to continue enjoying the Con is to purchase another badge.


If, despite all preparations, your badge still disappears, there are a few steps you will want to take.  Tweet @daily_dragon with as much info on your badge as possible:


  • Where you believe you lost it
  • What the name on the badge is
  • How long it's been since you realized it was missing
  • How to best get back in touch with you if it turns up.  


Preparations you can take for your personal stuff:


Take photos of your equipment and email them to yourself to have on hand in case they vanish.

Also email yourself the make, model, and serial number of your phone/camera/iPad  because these will make it easier than "blue Sony camera missing"

Again, thoroughness is vital when it comes to details.


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