two people sitting on green Cringer from He-Man and Panthor from Skeletor

MegaCon Orlando 2021 – Conventions In A Pandemic World

Conventions Featured

MegaCon 2021 in Orlando, Florida had an estimated attendance of 100,000 over the four-day weekend and it showed me that people are ready to get back to normal despite the pandemic and the newly discovered variants. With that said, I was happy to attend with the right procedures in place to keep myself and my family safe.

Instead of the usual four days we normally go, we only attended on Saturday and Sunday this year. Spoiler alert. It wasn’t as busy as in previous years.

The overall mood of the convention was happy. People seemed to genuinely want to be there. I talked to a few attendees while waiting for my husband to get out of a panel or while eating ice cream with my son and we had a good time. The crew for the convention was helpful (though sparse) and the vendors seemed to be in a good mood.

There were plenty of food options and seating, with two food courts open on the main floor and some food options spread throughout the halls. It would have been nice to see some hand sanitizer bottles on the tables or near the eating areas in general.

My brother texted me on Saturday asking how busy it was and I told him I didn’t have to wait in a super long line for food. That told him all he needed to know about the crowd.

COVID Procedures/Policies

Let’s address the elephant in the room. How did the convention handle the pandemic? Well, it could have been better but it could have been worse. There was a smaller crowd this year but it was still elbow-to-elbow on the vendor floor. There was no social distancing in the panels. On the upside, masks were required and I don’t recall seeing anyone break that rule. A recording was played at random times reminding people to wear their masks, go home if they were sick, and wash their hands regularly while also trying to social distance.

Cosplay

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With everyone having to wait nearly two years to showcase their cosplay best, I was excited for this year. I saw a lot of family cosplays, specifically of the original Ghostbusters. The con-popular cosplay this year was Scarlett Witch’s costume at the end of WandaVision. I saw a few Harley Quinns but not the usual swarm (Deadpool was also scarce). Something that surprised me was how many black and white maid costumes I saw. There were girls and guys dressed in this attire and when I asked a vendor what it was about they simply told me it was a thing.

A memorable cosplay I saw was Mrs. Nesbitt from Toy Story. As a former friend of Buzz Lightyear at Hollywood Studios, I appreciated this one a lot. An impressive cosplay I saw through a friend’s Instagram feed was The Cat Bus. It even had a moveable head. You can see that in the video above. 

I had a tearful moment on the con floor when I saw a cosplayer dressed as The Emperor from Star Wars and instantly thought it was my 501st Legion dad only to wipe a tear away when I remembered he passed away earlier this year. You were missed, sir.

The cosplay groups also came out to play including The 501st Legion, Mandolorian Mercs, and I *think* I saw the Rebel Legion among them. They kind of blurred together in their shared space. Also in attendance were the WALL-E Builders Club, Droid Builders, a Ghostbusters fan club, and the Orlando MakerSpace. 

Artist Alley

Artist Alley was the most impressive area for me this year. The vendor floor was great, don’t get me wrong, but Artist Alley really shined for me. This is kind of surprising because, in the past, I haven’t been all that interested in it. This year, however, there was a nice range of creators to meet and check out their wares. I bought a few things too. I also met two of my favorite TikTok creators @ezeekat and @TheDapperDanielle. It was a lot of fun talking to both of them about Disney and books.

My favorite vendors were Enchanted Enigma Craft, The Little Rabbit Tree, and Red Bird Embroidery.

I bought an Alice in Wonderland terrarium display from Enchanted Enigma Craft but my son dropped it and when I asked if it was repairable, they offered to just swap it out for Belle. It was unbelievably kind of them and I’m looking forward to buying one of their Pokemon terrariums in the near future.

The Little Rabbit Tree was on my “I NEED THIS” list but I ran out of funds. Instead, I’ll be asking Santa to bring me one of their adorable and plush stuffed superhero rabbits. She even takes custom requests. Two words. Thrawn bunny!

Red Bird Embroidery had some unique items including inhaler holders (the only ones I saw at the convention) and water bottle bags. I bought her Toy Story Little Green Men bag almost instantly. It will go great with my Buzz Lightyear Loungefly backpack.

Vendors I wish I could have spent more time with include Owl of Athena (custom top hats) and Party Hero Games (adult-themed party games).

I wanted to buy more, but I was on a budget and had to watch my spending. Looking back, I wish I had allowed myself a larger budget to get some artwork, stickers, and a few other things I saw.

Vendor Floor

The main vendor area was no different than in previous years. We had the usual fare of t-shirts, toy vendors, POP! figures, and comic books. My husband bought a Transformer and I eyed the 48.5 inch Leonardo action figure but ended up passing on him. Instead, I bought a complete set of metal DC Comics Lantern rings (and they fit!). I saw a lot more Loungefly bags being sold this year along with light-up masks.

Hats by Owl of Athena top hat with fandom characters on a headband
Owl of Athena Hats \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Wild Bill’s Soda made its usual appearance with three spots on the convention floor to buy and refill your mug. Prices were a bit high for me this year ranging between $35 and $50. I get that prices were probably high so they could make up for lost events this past year. Despite the increase in cost, I saw plenty of con-goers drinking their share of the bubbly goodness. Straws were popular because of the mask mandate at the convention.

One thing I did this year that I haven’t done in previous years was buy some fudge from Copper Coast Confections. I don’t recall the individual price, but I know it was four slices for $20. My husband and I loved their fudge brownie fudge. My second favorite was the chocolate cheesecake fudge.

Panels

My husband attended two paranormal panels and he couldn’t get enough of them. I wanted to go to the Japanese Resin panel but by the time I learned about it, they were full (it was limited to 20 people and cost around $20 per person). The other panel I was interested in was the voice actors panel where they read the script to Ghostbusters but it was canceled. Bummer. They had a nice range of panels spanning all fandoms including the usual with the celebs. 

Memorable Moments

A new addition to the area was the He-Man photo opp set with Cringer and Panthor. For $20 single ($30 double) you could climb up on these massive replicas and for an additional $5 hold one of the weapons of He-Man, Skeletor, or Evil-Lyn. If you only wanted your picture with the big cats, you could pick one to stand in front of for $5. Part of the proceeds when to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

With He-Man: Revelations just coming out a few weeks ago, this setup doesn’t surprise me at all. It was impressive, to say the least. I’m not usually one for this kind of thing but I didn’t complain about climbing up on Panthor and holding Skeletor’s staff for a photo. After you climbed down, you were given a special token as a thank you.

WALL-E from the Pixar Disney movie robot with convention attendee
WALL-E Builders Club \ Image: Dakster Sullivan

Another impressive sight was the two WALL-E robots scooting around. One was more authentic to the movie and had an animated paint job look while the other had a bit more of a realistic paint job. One of them took a liking to a female attendee and played “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” for her and “danced” about. This little guy might have sealed my fate into joining the WALL-E Builders Club.

Overview

Leaving on Sunday, I felt accomplished in what I experienced. It felt a little more relaxed than previous cons because of the smaller crowd, the impressiveness of Artist Alley, and the He-Man set up made it quite memorable. I wish there had been more spacing on the convention floor with the vendors but since everyone was wearing a mask (I honestly saw no one disobeying this policy) it made me feel a little better. My husband enjoyed the paranormal panels he attended and we both got a kick out of the variety of unique cosplays. I’m looking forward to next year when the convention goes back to its usual schedule of happening May 19-22, 2022.

Disclaimer: GeekMom was given a press pass to this event.

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