Author Topic: Wondercon should stay in LA  (Read 7369 times)

Offline Transmute Jun

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2016, 01:47:24 PM »
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It doesn’t look like there’s the possibility of WonderCon in LA in 2018 either: “As to why WonderCon was headed back to Anaheim, Garcetti blamed the time line, ‘I’m sorry the dates didn’t work out. But I think we’re going to be very competitive for 2019, the next opening.’"

Yeah, it's my understanding that they signed a 2 year agreement with Anaheim, and that Anaheim was suddenly far more accommodating with the dates once they realized that WC was moving to LA for 2016... ;)

Offline hikanteki

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2016, 04:36:04 PM »
Well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for 2019 then. :D There are some more hotels and other projects in the works, so the area (which I think was already pretty awesome) will be even better.

This was my first time at LACC itself. I’ve been to Anaheim CC, not for WonderCon but for Celebration, so I can’t compare whether the show was different between locations but I can compare the convention centers & locations themselves.

For the convention center...I actually didn’t mind that the LACC was spread out. I stayed at the JW Marriott, the closest hotel (and part of LA Live) and I didn’t find the walk to the Exhibit Hall (the furthest building) bad at all...it was like what, 10 minutes? It’s certainly no worse than the end of the SD Convention Center to Hall H or the Indigo Ballroom...or for that matter the walk from any of the hotels in SD to the convention center (except for the ones actually connected to the convention center). And this spreadoutness means that there’s plenty of room to form lines, should SDCC ever more to LA. However I didn’t like that there was a street with motor traffic between the Exhibit Hall and the Programming Hall, although you could bypass that because there was both an indoor and outdoor second floor walkway. The street between the Programming Hall and the Microsoft Theater was blocked off to traffic, which was nice, and I loved the proximity of the Theater to my hotel. :D

The facility in Anaheim was nicer/better updated, though. LA’s wasn’t bad but hopefully they go forward with their planned renovations/expansion. 

The Microsoft Theater was great. Much better than Hall H, probably because it’s a real theater, and I also liked the setup better than the Arena in Anaheim. I don’t think it ever got full...or that they even had to use the upper level at all. But there’s plenty of space to line up outside of it in case it does.

WonderCon isn’t enough of a force to take over the downtown like SDCC does the Gaslamp, but honestly, I could see it happen if SDCC moves to LA (or if LA gets/cultivates a convention that generates the same kind of excitement.) I talked to people downtown, many of who had no idea WonderCon was happening a few blocks away, but seemed interested. There are a lot of bars/restaurants/stores in an urban setup within the first couple of blocks, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to get street space to set up big displays like they have in the Gaslamp outside SDCC. In Anaheim, there’s nothing to take over except Disneyland (although, I’ll admit that would be impressive if that happens.)

I didn’t take a car, so I didn’t have to worry about traffic or parking. I did, however, notice that there were parking garages in the area that charged much less than the ~$45/night that the hotels were charging.

This part of downtown has really come far in the last 5-10-15 years. Hopefully those who had concerns about Downtown LA being unsafe and apocalyptic realized that it wasn’t so bad after all, and that those who feared Downtown LA was boring and/or had nothing of interest found that the complete opposite was true. The immediate area actually reminded me of the East Village in San Diego circa ~2006-7, with a couple of FiDi and Gaslamp-type blocks thrown in. There was plenty of activity, all day through the time I went to bed (around 12/1), at LA Live & the inner layers of downtown near the convention center. Any sort of amenities were really easy to find. Of note; a City Target at 7th & Fig(ueroa), about 3/4 mile from the convention center, and a Smart & Final Extra for groceries & such a block closer at 8th & Figueroa.

Good food was really easy to find and really close. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before the convention I walked down Pico (under the bridge) to find breakfast and that stretch has a ton of awesome authentic Latin restaurants. Not just Mexican, but Nicaraguan, Guatemalan, Salvadorean, etc. This area is def. more rundown than downtown though. Places I went to were:
El Parian Birreria - specializes in a saucy, slightly spicy goat soup, and offers free refills on broth. It was good, but not quite a standout.
La Adelita - No English spoken here, so you know it’s authentic! LOL! They have many trays set up behind the counter and you can just point at what you want and hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be too expensive. I ended up getting a very delicious Sopa de Pata (Beef Foot & Tripe Soup) and a split plantain w/ cream & fried cheese!
L.A. 27th - My favorite place of the three! I got the Nicaraguan special, Baho (only available on the weekends) which was seasoned beef, plantains, and yucca steamed in a banana leaf then topped with salad and served with rice. Absolutely delicious.

Some other restaurants I recommend that are on the other side of the convention center (more downtown proper): The Briks, specializing in Moroccan-style savory pastries, and Bottle Rock, a reasonably priced wine and beer bar with bites.

Sunday night I ventured into downtown. It wasn’t as lively as the nights before, probably because it was Sunday and Easter but I still found a bunch of cool places that were open. Various pubs, a karaoke, and Cole’s, the alleged home of the French Dip (I didn’t try it though, since I had already eaten), then ending my night at a cocktail bar. A lot of the cool stuff was down on 6th & 7th, around Broadway. Note: I don’t recommend going below 6th (5th, 4th etc) as things started to look a lot more sketchy. But 6th, 7th, & above I felt fine walking around by myself at night. On the way back, I stopped by a taco truck.

Monday morning, I took the bus to Koreatown to get breakfast/lunch before leaving. I tried a place called Jang Ga Ne, and the restaurant’s name was only in Korean (also a good sign!) Then I walked up to the Metro station which went directly to Union station. All in all, a great, and very convenient, vacation!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 04:47:18 PM by hikanteki »
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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #32 on: Today at 08:58:04 AM »

Offline vegasndn

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2016, 10:22:24 AM »
Our trip to Wondercon was great. We stayed at the JW Marriott and it is was a nice stay. Valet parking was $45 meh I knew that when I booked the room so it was no concern to me. Con room rates looked to be half what the usual rates are and even with parking it was less than normal rates. It was what maybe a 5-10 walk to convention center with the Microsoft Theater next door so it's not far from the convention at all, walking from Hall H to SD Marriott Marquis is probably farther than this walk.

Downtown LA had a nice vibe going on with the Lakers playing on Friday and the Kings on Saturday, we didn't attend any games but it would've been cool if I had planned for it ahead of time. Plenty of places to eat but they were packed and Friday we went to the movies at Regal Live.

Saturday I spent most of my time in rm 408 with the panels I wanted to see, we were there early so that was most of our day in the rm.

Convention floor was nice plenty of elbow room and a lot of areas to just sit down and relax, not having security come screaming at you to get up and move (sdcc) was nice.

Sunday we checked out and valet at JW gave us awesome directions to the beach so that's where we spent our Easter morning.

Overall it was a nice experience nothing bad to say about it being downtown, I ran into Tony Kim aka @Crazy4ComicCon on Twitter and I talked to him for a little bit and he asked me what I thought about it being downtown. I told him it's what you make it if your mindset to complain about it being downtown you are going to have a terrible time, I told him I chose to have a great weekend. If Wondercon does go back downtown I have no problem with it.




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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #33 on: Today at 08:58:04 AM »

Offline sylent_asassin

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2016, 01:40:38 PM »
My wife and I had a pretty good WonderCon trip (although mired with delays), and while it was fun in LA, I actually prefer Anaheim.

We arrived on Wednesday night from the Bay Area and took SuperShuttle to the Hotel from LAX. Unfortunately, our driver was having a bad day and took it out on a couple of the passengers. First, he picked up a couple of passengers that didn't book their appointments, which wasted a good amount of time, then he kicked an old, disabled man off the shuttle and left him at a bus stop because his addresses were wrong and didn't match the destination (instead of taking him back to the airport). A lady stood up for the elderly guy and the driver said, "Do you want to join him?" and told her to be quiet.

The following day, we had Disneyland planned, so we got up early to take Amtrak to Anaheim, but there was a "suspicious package" at one of the stations that froze all of the train activity. Due to the events in Belgium, the train officials were paranoid. After an hour of just sitting there, they took us back to LAX with no alternative travel assistance, so we had to take an EXPENSIVE taxi ride to Disneyland. Several hours lost.

The next day, we got our badges and I got some of my comics signed by various artists and took photos of the convention center, Staples Center, the Hall of Fame statues and some cosplayers. Later that night, we attended a Lakers game. Even though they lost, we took some nice pics of Kobe, and before the game, I got to take a pic with one of their championship trophies and some of the Laker cheerleaders.

Overall, we had a good trip, but the Amtrak delay really wrecked our Disneyland trip and put a bit of a cloud over the entire vacation. We ended up losing about 4 hours because of it, and by the time we arrived, all the lines for the rides were LONG.

Oh, I never want to see another Smashburger again.

Offline omraged9

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2016, 11:40:51 PM »
Also a first-timer to LACC. I had a good experience overall at Wondercon this year and I thought LACC was just okay. I much prefer the Anaheim convention center as far as proximities of the hotels to the convention center and the promixity of the arena to the exhibit hall. LACC felt larger and more spread out and more spaced out which seemed to be the best part of the convention center: less running into other people. Oh also LA downtown has better and more varied restaurants. But otherwise, Anaheim seems superior, imo.

We attended the panels at the Microsoft Theater on Friday. We did not have a good experience initially. First of all, the general outdoors map showing how to get to the Microsoft Theater showed 2 ways to get there from the exhibit hall, one cutting through more inside and one through the outside streets. Because cutting through the inside involved walking through multiple car lanes, we took the outside streets way. Once we got to the venue, we didn't know but crossed the street to the theater too early and they had already blocked off the LA Live square. We walk over to the closest entrance and it turns out to be the entrance only for the disabled. They would not let us through; instead they told us to walk around the entire Microsoft Theater building just to get to the regular entrance that was only 30 feet away on the opposite side. It was ridiculous. Then once we finally got to the entrance and got to security, they told us "no outside food or drink." I don't recall Wondercon ever posting about Microsoft Theater's strict rules? So they wouldn't let us in with a opened bottled of water. I was so pissed that I was ready to say 'screw it' and leave but cooler heads prevailed and I was able to go inside after throwing away my water bottle (but luckily was able to keep my food after I went to another security person). The panels inside were great but the whole experience made me never want to come back. I understand Microsoft Theater have their own security guards and strict rules but I feel Wondercon should have warned us about those rules before we walked all the way to the theater without knowing (unless I missed something that was posted on CCI's page?).

But otherwise, all the panels we saw at the theater and 408AB were great and I hope to go back to Wondercon next year.

Offline Zero

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2016, 12:04:29 AM »
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Then once we finally got to the entrance and got to security, they told us "no outside food or drink." I don't recall Wondercon ever posting about Microsoft Theater's strict rules? So they wouldn't let us in with a opened bottled of water. I was so pissed that I was ready to say 'screw it' and leave but cooler heads prevailed and I was able to go inside after throwing away my water bottle (but luckily was able to keep my food after I went to another security person). The panels inside were great but the whole experience made me never want to come back. I understand Microsoft Theater have their own security guards and strict rules but I feel Wondercon should have warned us about those rules before we walked all the way to the theater without knowing (unless I missed something that was posted on CCI's page?).

But otherwise, all the panels we saw at the theater and 408AB were great and I hope to go back to Wondercon next year.

As far as I'm aware, CCI didn't post any information about Microsoft Theater's strict policies on entering the building.  It's true that they have a "No outside food or drink" policy for other events held at the venue as well.  They always do bag checks, use metal detectors, and have security screenings at the door.  This information is listed on Microsoft Theater's website though (look under letter "F" for details: You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login).  I do agree that CCI should have, at the very least, provided a link to that on their website or on the Toucan blog for reference.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 12:08:10 AM by Zero »
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Offline Transmute Jun

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2016, 07:29:08 AM »
They were extremely inconsistent about the food and drink policy. Some people got in with food, while others did not. It depended entirely upon which guard you got searching your bag.

Offline Godolphin

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2016, 02:15:18 PM »
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My wife and I had a pretty good WonderCon trip (although mired with delays), and while it was fun in LA, I actually prefer Anaheim.

We arrived on Wednesday night from the Bay Area and took SuperShuttle to the Hotel from LAX. Unfortunately, our driver was having a bad day and took it out on a couple of the passengers. First, he picked up a couple of passengers that didn't book their appointments, which wasted a good amount of time, then he kicked an old, disabled man off the shuttle and left him at a bus stop because his addresses were wrong and didn't match the destination (instead of taking him back to the airport). A lady stood up for the elderly guy and the driver said, "Do you want to join him?" and told her to be quiet.

The following day, we had Disneyland planned, so we got up early to take Amtrak to Anaheim, but there was a "suspicious package" at one of the stations that froze all of the train activity. Due to the events in Belgium, the train officials were paranoid. After an hour of just sitting there, they took us back to LAX with no alternative travel assistance, so we had to take an EXPENSIVE taxi ride to Disneyland. Several hours lost.

The next day, we got our badges and I got some of my comics signed by various artists and took photos of the convention center, Staples Center, the Hall of Fame statues and some cosplayers. Later that night, we attended a Lakers game. Even though they lost, we took some nice pics of Kobe, and before the game, I got to take a pic with one of their championship trophies and some of the Laker cheerleaders.

Overall, we had a good trip, but the Amtrak delay really wrecked our Disneyland trip and put a bit of a cloud over the entire vacation. We ended up losing about 4 hours because of it, and by the time we arrived, all the lines for the rides were LONG.

Oh, I never want to see another Smashburger again.

I was on my own arriving into LAX and I took an Uber to the JW Marriott, it cost $28 total. The super shuttle was around $17 I think but i'd rather pay $11 more and get there without stops.
Also if you are more than one person the super shuttle is more expensive.

I looked on craigslist Wednesday night about an hour before the Clippers game and saw a lady selling a great seat lower section only about 15 rows from the court for $30, so I had a great time at the game, which came down to a buzzer beater for the Clippers to win.

I loved the microsoft theater but i'm still a Disney fan, so I look forward to visiting Disneyland before Wondercon next year

Offline SleepyPanda777

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2016, 05:32:16 PM »
I like it in anaheim better. La is too far for me

Offline yoahrene

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2016, 10:19:58 PM »
I heard that on Friday, they were very understaffed and people waited 1 to 1.5 hours to pick up their PRO badges. When I spoke to a staff member about this on Saturday, he said, "And this is why we do WonderCon in Anaheim." -- place is just a well-oiled machine and the convention center takes care of the event in terms of staff training and such. Also, think about how you had to go cross the street and go to a totally different building to get your badges. It was weird.
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Offline NoNoNuni

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2016, 10:45:35 PM »
This was my first year at Wondercon, and though it would be nice to have it stick around, I'm not sure. I work downtown in the complex near the LACC, so no hotel and knowing where to find free parking was a plus, but, the layout of the convention seemed...scattered? strange?

Still had a boatload of fun though. Some terrific finds in artist's alley and I'm hoping they show at SDCC too!

Offline furtherforever

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #41 on: April 08, 2016, 01:26:23 AM »
I thought WonderCon being in LA was a nice change of pace; I never really liked the convention being at Anaheim because I felt that the general area (other than Disneyland, of course) was pretty boring. When we had picked up our badges on Saturday afternoon, badge pickup was somewhat of a nuisance, as they had us walk through almost the entirety of the badge pick-up room...despite there not even being a line to get badges in the first place. Guidance in the room itself in terms of where to go was nonexistent as well. For the most part though, I did enjoy the layout. A few things can be tweaked for sure, but overall a good time.

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #42 on: Today at 08:58:04 AM »

Offline yoahrene

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2016, 02:47:02 PM »
Wonder if being in LA made it easier to get special guests/celebs/panels?? WonderCon already has a difficult time (totally just guessing here) getting guests/celebs/even exhibitors to commit to "working" on a Holiday weekend...

Maybe that's why they're not planning it for Easter next year...
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Offline omraged9

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2016, 04:04:27 PM »
I would have thought it'd be true too, that being in LA would mean more TV and movie panels but it wasn't true this year. I'd also like to add that when Wondercon was in SF 4+ years ago, there were a lot more movie panels. I remember Sat's schedule in their biggest room were filled with movie panels and parts of Friday had movie panels too. On Sunday, the whole day was TV panels. So it doesn't seem like the Hollywood promixity has helped in any way. But when Wondercon was in SF, the con was usually in Feb. So I wonder if the timing of the con is making the bigger difference here.

Offline Iris

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Re: Wondercon should stay in LA
« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2016, 05:16:27 PM »
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They were extremely inconsistent about the food and drink policy. Some people got in with food, while others did not. It depended entirely upon which guard you got searching your bag.

I can attest to this. I walked straight in with a bottle of soda in my hand at one point. They did make me check my foam cosplay bat though.

As for the topic, I still prefer Anaheim to LA for Wondercon and I'm happy to hear that it'll be back there next year. Though I will say, I did prefer Microsoft Theater over the Arena at Anaheim. Though going through metal detectors etc. really, really bogged things down... and then checking my bat.