Full disclosure: In the past, I tended to frame my con panel experiences around the “easiest” events on the schedule. In other words, I’d attend panels that I figured wouldn’t have the same popularity as the more celebrity-laden ones. For instance, we attended an International Space Station panel at Dragon*Con that wasn’t at all crowded.
Some of the members of my family have a pretty hard time with crowds. They crave their personal space and when things get out of hand, they tend to shut down and just want to leave the event. I was planning to focus mainly on more vapid panels for Denver Comic Con to help mitigate that.
Oh no! Those are going to be big events! I quickly changed my scheduling to include those two events and prepared my family for the “big panel” experience. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the entire experience went at Denver Comic Con.
I made it clear to my family that I was going to move mountains to see the “Animaniacs Celebration.” Not only did I want to get into the room, but I wanted to sit nice and close to get good photographs for GeekMom.
At other cons I’ve seen, some queueing areas that were smack dab in the middle of the convention floor, adding to the chaos, but this is not the case at Denver Comic Con. Right as my sons’ claustrophobia was kicking in while meandering through hordes of cosplay towards the large panel rooms, we were pleased to see that a separate space was dedicated to the “Main Event” queueing.
The Main Events room was the largest of the panel rooms. There was also a Mini Main Events room, as well as several dozen smaller panel rooms.
When the queueing area filled up, other guests were allowed to remain in “overflow” out on the main floor of the Main Events area.
For both of the large Main Event panels that our family attended, the full queueing area only encompassed about a third of the room. Once the overflow crowd was allowed in, the room nearly filled to capacity, but not quite. I saw a couple rows’ worth of seating still available in both cases.
Our family attended one panel in one of the smaller rooms. It was a Geeky Parenting Panel hosted by AnomalyCon director Kronda Seibert and artist Sarin Tatroe. Unfortunately, the target audience for that panel was more for newer parents, but that room could hold 200 guests or so, and there weren’t more than 50 people at that particular panel. For starters, the panel rooms were set rather far apart from the main convention floor that had celebrities, vendors, comic artists, and food. DCC’s earlier panels didn’t have the best participation while the guests were still trying to make their way around the huge Colorado Convention Center trying to interpret the maps.
Finally, I’d like to address DCC’s efforts at making the fan panel experiences relevant for everyone. After Kelly’s hilarious post about how to ask a proper con question, I’m convinced DCC took her queue and set up reminders throughout the panel rooms.
To conclude, if you’ve all but written off the ability to see some of the larger panels at larger cons, hopefully you will feel inspired by the great experience our family had at Denver Comic Con. With some schedule planning and some time in the queueing rooms…heck, even if you try at the last minute to see a panel, with very little exception*, you will be able to see all of your favorites!
*There was a Joker 75th Anniversary panel that was put in one of the smaller rooms. It filled to capacity pretty quickly; perhaps it should have been considered for the Mini Main Events room.
GeekMom received family media passes to Denver Comic Con for review purposes.