From Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29, thousands of fans descended upon Hall B of the Georgia World Congress Center for the fifth annual Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta. I didn’t know quite what to expect when I first entered the doors on Friday; though I had attended many large-scale conventions in the past (including San Diego Comic Con/SDCC and New York Comic Con/NYCC), I had never attended Walker Stalker in Atlanta before. In fact, the only Walker Stalker Con that I had previously attended was the small one held in Petco Park during SDCC back in 2015, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t have much prior experience at all with one of their conventions. However, by the time that I departed for the airport on Sunday, I had easily come to the conclusion that Walker Stalker Con Atlanta was one of the best conventions that I have been to in a while.
First of all, the Georgia World Congress Center is extremely spread out, giving attendees plenty of space to roam. The show floor was on the bottom level of Hall B and was – for the most part – big enough to allow for attendees to walk from booth to booth at the pace of their own choosing. This was a HUGE plus to me, since one of my biggest pet peeves at SDCC and NYCC is the slow pace of their respective show floors (particularly when wearing a detailed cosplay); in fact, at either one of those cons, I generally find myself avoiding the show floor like the plague by the end of the weekend. However, that was not the case with Walker Stalker; I actually kept going back to the show floor throughout each day to explore new vendors because maneuvering through the aisles was so easy.
Another big plus was the fact that the panels were very personalized and engaging. While I love doing Hall H at least one day at SDCC every year, the panels don’t always allow for deep levels of conversation; after all, since SDCC is basically the mothership of all cons, production studios usually send as many cast members as possible to promote their shows/films as they can – and, as a result, not everyone on the panel ends up with a whole lot of time to speak to the audience. In contrast, Walker Stalker kept their panels small; for example, I attended one panel featuring Michael Rooker on Friday, and another featuring Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira on Sunday. With only a few guests speaking at each panel, the topics became more centralized and allowed for the actors to delve into topics not necessarily brought up in larger cast panels; moreover, there was plenty of time dedicated to fan questions. As a result, the panels felt more like conversations, which is something that I really enjoyed.
Finally, I found the convention to be particularly enjoyable because of the ease I had with achieving my goals. As a Platinum badge holder, my pass allowed me to have early entry into the convention each day, priority access to each actor’s autograph and photo op lines, and premium seating for panels. In addition to this, all Platinum badge holders were assigned to guides for the weekend who would help us organize our schedules and make sure that we were able to get to the right place at the right time in order to maximize the amount of things we were able to do. As a result of all these perks, I was easily able to meet every celebrity that I wanted to, including the most highly sought out guests (i.e. Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, etc.). Moreover, I was able to arrive to both panels that I wanted to attend (the Michael Rooker one and the Andy/Danai one) without having to line up; rather, I was able simply able to walk right in and still score a front-row seat for both. Regular con-goers (myself included) know that this is not the norm, as we generally end up having to sacrifice something we really want to see because we’re in line for something we want to see even more – and line up times can be LONG (just ask anyone who has camped out for Hall H at SDCC!). However, with Walker Stalker, this was not the case for me – and though the Platinum badge was expensive, I definitely left with the feeling that I had gotten my money’s worth.
Overall, my first experience with Walker Stalker Con Atlanta was excellent. While the con was not without its flaws, as it seemed that a few bumps in the road popped up throughout the weekend (i.e. there were a few hiccups at photo ops throughout the weekend that resulted in delays), management appeared to handle these with professionalism and grace. And though it is definitely arguable that those attending without a Platinum badge would not have had as easy a time as I did (my sister attended as a standard VIP, and the waiting time for her pre-purchased Jeffrey Dean Morgan autograph was probably about 3 hours versus my 15 minutes spent in line), I think it truly comes down to what your goals are when attending Walker Stalker Con Atlanta. If you only want to meet one or two of the bigger name celebrities and spend the rest of your time attending panels or browsing through the different vendor booths, you can certainly get away with a regular VIP or general admission badge and still have a wonderful time. But as a Platinum badge holder, I truly feel that I came away from the convention with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.
Have you ever attended a Walker Stalker Con? Join the conversation on FoCC!