WonderCon 2023 took place March 24th – 26th, in Anaheim, CA. This year’s event was a big improvement over last year’s con. The COVID pandemic was barely a memory as fans enjoyed walking right into the convention center without vaccine checks or masks. Smiles were visible everywhere as friends gathered and attendees engaged in their shared love of comics and pop culture.
Attendance was still not up to pre-COVID levels, but definitely increased this year, as did the studios’ presence. Quantum Leap, True Lies, Walking Dead (both Fear and the upcoming Dead City), The Ark and the Animaniacs 30th anniversary celebration drew fans into North 200A and the Arena. Films Legend of the White Dragon and Knights of the Zodiac were also highlighted in panels. A variety of other panels on subjects such as gaming, cosplay and comics rounded out the schedule.
While the offerings this year were better than in 2022, there still was not enough to engage most attendees for more than a day or two. Fans who spoke to FoCC Blog stated that they were able to accomplish everything that they wanted to do in one day, and did not necessarily need 3-day badges. Hopefully, the programming expansion seen this year will continue into next, and WonderCon will continue on its positive trajectory.
The Exhibit Floor was once again dominated by Funko, whose carnival-themed booth was busy at all times, packed with fans wanting to purchase the company’s exclusives. Toddland and Bandai also drew crowds. Almost lost amongst toy resellers and custom dice booths was a tiny activation for the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, where fans could get their picture inserted into a movie poster for the film. Traffic on the Exhibit Floor was brisk, yet not too crowded to move, even in the heat of the convention on Saturday afternoon. Exhibitors with whom FoCC Blog spoke stated that sales were good, and that they were happy with their results for the con.
As is usual for WonderCon, the exterior of the con was where many of the attendees hung out, with cosplay on display all around the central fountain, and hungry fans enjoying the lines of food trucks on the walkway leading up to the convention center. After hours, the Hilton Lobby continued to be the place for fans to see and be seen.
Overall, WonderCon took some significant steps in the right direction this year, and attendees hope that the show continues on this path in 2024.
Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.