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Tips and Tricks

Page history last edited by Indigo 4 years, 5 months ago

 


 

Hotels 

  • Reserve your room early, especially if you want to get into the official hotels. Rooms used to fill up around February.  For 2009 con rate rooms were sold out in October of 2008.  This trend has continued.  Marriott rooms for 2012 were sold out within 10 minutes of becoming available in October 2011.  Hilton rooms for 2013 sold out in about four hours after opening on the Tuesday after Dragon Con 2012.  As of 2015,  the Westin and Hilton sold out the day after the convention.
  • If you find yourself without a reservation with only a month or two to go before con, post to the dragonconrooms LiveJournal community, which is for trading reservations and finding roomshares.
  • Write your room number down and keep it with you on all times. Do the same for your friends. However, writing your room number on your key is not recommended.
  • Directionally impaired? Consider taking a picture of where you parked and where your room is. First, an establishing shot including landmarks. Then a close up so to see the room number on the tiny camera window.  Google Now also has a "remember where I parked" feature.
  • Always keep your badge and room key with you - especially if you leave the hotel.  Security has been put in place on all sky bridges and at all hotels, for crowd control and for safety purposes. If you do not have your badge or your room key, you will. not. get. in.  Yes, we're serious.  
  • Many activities change rooms from year to year  (e.g., in 2009 registration moved to the Sheraton and Artist's Alley moved to the Hyatt). Check the schedule (and/or the app) to be sure where any events are going to be located.

 

Getting Around Atlanta

  • You'll be walking a lot. Get used to the idea. Electric wheelchairs and/or scooters aren't a good idea unless it's strictly necessary, though Atlanta and DragonCon specifically are trying to be more disability friendly.  It's still crowded, and hilly.
  • Try Marta. Local train and bus service from the Airport to the Hotels is available, as well as from some of the suburban areas of the city. Details can be found on their website.
  • If you're willing to take your life into your own hands, you can try driving. Be warned that many roads in the area of the hotels are one-way only. Buying or printing a map of the area would be wise if you're unfamiliar with the area. Some driving directions are available on the Dragon Con website.
  • For the most part, if you're staying in one of the host hotels, you should be able to walk to most necessary destinations. And it's good for you anyway.
  • Zipcar (www.zipcar.com) is in Atlanta now, so if you have a day trip in mind, you can reserve a car by the hour or by the day to get around.  3 cars are stationed at or near Peachtree Center. Cars are also available at most MARTA stations.
  • Uber and Lyft are driver services that can be requested by app if you have an account.
  • Local taxis can be summoned by the bell service or concierge of the hotel you're staying at. Otherwise, look up the names of local cab companies and save them on paper or to your phone. 

 

Getting Around the Con 

 

Hyatt

* The underground parts of the Hyatt comprise two "towers" just like the aboveground hotel parts. If you go down from the lobby you'll encounter the large ballrooms. If you go down from the international tower, you'll encounter smaller rooms. At the bottom, the two sides connect. If you are in Hanover and need to get to Embassy, you don't have to go up, up, over, down, down. You can go down, over, up instead.

Between the Marriott skywalk and the convenience store, there are bathrooms and a stairwell. That stairwell goes up to the con suite on the second floor (and up farther, of course), and down to the Centennial ballroom area. In reverse, if you stand outside Centennial and look at the escalators, on your left there is a small nook containing three doors, one of which is a stairwell that goes up and skips the escalator crowd.

* There is a skywalk on the 22nd floor of the International tower that goes to the main tower. If you have a room in the main tower on the 20th or 21st floor, consider going up the International tower elevators, across the skywalk, and down the stairs, rather than going up the main tower elevators. Unfortunately you cannot reverse this route, because the main tower stairwells do not allow access to the 22nd floor. If you're lucky enough to have a 22nd floor room, take advantage of this in both directions.

 

Marriott

* When the Marquis towers (the buildings you walk through between the Marriott Atrium and the Hyatt and food court skywalks) are open, there are nice quiet pretty places to relax available if you go down the stairs/escalators inside the towers.

* There is a less popular food court attached to the other Marquis Tower. If you head from the Atrium toward the Hyatt skywalk, it will be on your right (through another small lobby and across another skywalk). It is only open on weekdays, unfortunately.

* The pool is open during con to Marriott guests. It has indoor and outdoor sections and has a steel bottom, which is very cool. It also has a hot tub.

 

Hilton

* At the rear of the first floor there are two large outdoor concrete areas, one side with some plants. These are good gathering places for large groups of people, if weather permits.

* There is an outdoor running track around the basketball courts on the 4th floor with a decent low skyline view of north/west Atlanta.

* The first floor has an exit near the FedEx office that leads in the direction of the Sheraton.

* There are small open lounge areas on floors 5, 12, and 19, similar to the 10th floor in the Marriott but much smaller and less frequented.

 

Sheraton

* There is a not-indoor skywalk from the food court to the parking garage between the Hilton and the Sheraton. Going that way and down the elevators in the garage is much faster than walking through the Marriott and Hilton, and a bit faster than walking at street level and dealing with crosswalks.

* If you approach the pool from the lobby and turn right down the guest room hall, then turn right at the end, you'll find a hallway that goes to the back side of the meeting rooms and a staircase that goes down to the ballrooms. This can avoid large crowds at the choke points outside those rooms.

 

Food Court

* The up escalator in the food court leads to a door out to the courtyard above the food court which has benches. If the weather isn't bad, this is a viable alternative to trying to find seating inside.

 

General

* Holding "door close" and your floor button does NOT get you an express elevator in any of the host hotels.

* Pressing both the up and down elevator call buttons does NOT speed up the elevators. Instead, it makes the whole elevator system slower.

* There are no attendee-accessible paths between the two underground portions of the Hyatt except those outlined above.

 

Many of these tips are courtesy of sparr.

 

Parking 

  • While there is parking at the host hotels, the volume of vehicles during the convention can overwhelm the facilities. Additional parking is available at the Peachtree Center garage. The garage (connected by "habitrail", aka "hamster tubes" or "elevated walkways", to the food court) is cheaper than the hotels, and gives you a place to store your luggage after you have checked out of the hotel. 
  • Not all of the hotel's garages can handle tall vehicles, especially the Hyatt. If you have a larger vehicle, consider checking with the hotel before you make parking plans. 
  • Consider parking at a MARTA station.  If you choose a MARTA station, go early .  Several of the stations long-term lots were FULL by 3 pm on Thursday before DragonCon 2015. 
    • Offload luggage and guests at the hotel, Park in a MARTA station with long term parking, See MARTA entry for details. On Monday, retrieve your vehicle, load up, and park nearby.
    • Overall costs, including fuel, average out much lower than parking in a downtown garage or a hotel (Except the Sheraton, which had free, reserved, parking for guests only)

 

Food 

      You will need to eat. It's vital for health and energy. There are many restaurants around and within the convention area. You also have the option to bring your own food with you.

  • Use our Food and Restaurants guide to look for places that fit your diet. Use Google, Bing, or Urban Spoon to locate restaurants nearby that fit within your dietary criteria. Budget accordingly!
  • Consider brining your own and using a cooler to keep it fresh.
    • Ice is free to hotel guests
    • 12v Coolers are available from many truck stops. An adapter from Radio Shack will allow it to operate on 120v power in the hotel room
      • If using the electric cooler, pre-chill 2 days before setting out by filling the cooler with non-perishable items you plan on bringing. Fill the empty space with extra bottles that aren't going. Place perishables into the cooler a few hours before leaving. 
      • Be sure to keep the cooler powered up during your trip. Most will stay cold up to 4 hours without power.
      • Note: depending on cooler, time required to cool and time it will keep items safely cold may vary. Always read the instruction manual.
  • See also 

 

What You'll Need

These things are mandatory:

  • Cash. The local ATMs almost always run out by the end of the first day of the convention. Remember basic personal security in a crowd. Keep your wallet in a front pocket where it won't be easily lost or ganked.
  • Identification for getting your membership, getting into bars, and so on.
  • Enough clothing for at least a fresh change of every day you are away from home (Laundry service not withstanding). Atlanta is hot and humid in the summer. You will sweat.  And of course there are various parties, raves, Zombie Prom, drum circle, and different outfits appropriate for each.
  • Toiletries, etc., that you may need beyond your clothing.
  • Your costumes, costuming equipment (for instance, an emergency sewing kit),
    • Good walking support.  If your costume calls for giant platforms, make sure to put some shock absorbing gel soles in them.  The hotel is carpeted, but it's very thin and there is no padding between it and the floor.   The dealers rooms in AmericasMart are just plain concrete. 
      • Merrells: http://www.merrell.com/ are exceptionally good for walking support. 
      • Dr. Scholls also sells a bunch of different insoles.  A pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens usually has a display with a machine that indicates the insoles that will be most useful for you.
      • Moleskin self-stick pads and blister bandages in case the walking gets to your feet.  
  • Be careful with portable electronics. At a convention of this size it's very easy for them to be lost or stolen. Don't bring them if they're not strictly necessary.
  • A sense of humor.  You will be dealing with 70,000 people in a relatively small area and all the fallout that goes along with accommodating 70,000 people.  If you cannot laugh --kindly-- at others, goofy scenarios that might come up, and yourself, you will likely drive yourself and those around you up the wall.

 

Scheduling 

  • Pick up a Daily Dragon each and every day from the clearly marked Information Booths. There will be cancellations and minor schedule changes daily. This is also available on the Daily Dragon website if you feel like paying the hotel for Internet access.  The Daily Dragon also has a Twitter account which announces everything on the webpage, and updates as the day goes.  It's also accessible through the app.
  • The Late Show on Dragon ConTV will also have schedule changes, but without the reading. 
  • DragonCon has several Twitter accounts you can pop into a Twitter list and follow throughout the con.   The fan tracks also have Twitter accounts you can follow.   These are useful because you can save yourself the effort of scrambling to a panel by finding out when the room has filled up.  You also get updates and lost and found notices via the twitter accounts.
  • You won't see all that you want to see at con, so don't plan a rigid schedule. Pick 4-5 events you must see, and let everything else go with the flow. If you're out of ideas and bored then you're doing it wrong, but try hanging out in the Exhibitor's Hall or the Dealer's Room.
  • If that doesn't appeal to you, or you have a large chunk of time, consider exploring the area outside of the hotels and get a further taste of Atlanta.
  • If you are a planner (and not a go with the flow person) bring colored highlighters. Use one color for Plan A in a given time slot, another color for Plan B. You won't always get to do plan A. Finally, a color or symbol to mark what you did. Once you have established your system, write the Key for it down on the front page.
  • Use Google spreadsheet so you can share your schedule with your friends and roommates.  Color coding is available right on the sheet.
  • When trying to make back-to-back panels, consider which hotels the panels are in to ensure enough travel time. Keep in mind that the routes that people use to move between hotels change from time to time. You might need to walk a couple of blocks more than you expected if they shut down a hotel entrance due to capacity and flow issues - if something is really important to you - go early! 
  • Mega panels involving high-profile stars (Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Whedonverse, etc.) will have long lines. If your goal is to get a good seat, you may need to get in line over two hours early.
    • A lot of the most popular and densely packed panels tend to be broadcast live or rebroadcast on Dragon Con TV. 
    • RULE OF THUMB: if your panel is going to be in a ballroom or in a room big enough to require multiple rooms A-F foex?  You are going to want to get in line at least two hours before the event if you want in.  It's not that Dragon Con hates you and doesn't want you to have a good time, but they are constrained by the laws of Atlanta GA, and when the room is at capacity, they have to close it and mark it full or the Fire Marshall could kick them out.  And that'd end the fun for everyone.  
  • Large events like the Masquerade are also rebroadcast on Dragon Con TV. The pocket program  and app (iPhone) (Android)  (Windows) will indicate which events will be broadcast live or broadcast at a later time. Check the Daily Dragon for the hotel channels used in the four main convention hotels (Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton & Hilton).
  • Prior to the release of the official schedule, check with each track's web page or see the Tentative Schedule Grid for pre-planning ideas. 

 

 

Health 

  • Remember to wash your hands regularly. With 65,000+ people packed into a square mile or so, germs will be everywhere. 
  • Even if you do remember to wash your hands, it may be helpful to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer. This will help in situations where you can't quickly make it to a restroom and you begin to feel the germs crawling all over you.
  • Remember to bathe. While this should be an obvious step in the daily life of most people, in the excitement of Dragon Con, some people tend to forget. You'll want to get in at least one shower a day. This is not only for your own health, but for the sake of the people around you.
  • Be certain to bring enough extra underwear for at least one fresh pair daily.
  • For health advice relating to more risqué subjects, try Safe Sex At Dragon Con.

 

 

 

 

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