My daughters and I have attended Comic Con for the past 5 years! It is the BIGGEST comic convention that draws in attendees from all over the world. Here’s your complete guide on how to attend and what to expect at San Diego Comic Con. I’ll also share some photos from the 2019 event that just happened last week.
Get a Comic Con Member ID
This guide will be of no use to you unless you obtain a member I.D. on the Comic Con website – https://www.comic-con.org Once you are registered you will receive an email when attendee registration will occur.
Comic Con Badge Lottery and Sale
This is not your average sale. This guide will show you why this Comic Con disclaimer is so important. They recently wrote on their website – “Although we strive to make attending our show as easy as possible, obtaining a Comic-Con badge can require the persistence of Superman, the patience of a Watcher, the ingenuity of Tony Stark, and the readiness of Batman“.
Not everyone that registers for a member I.D. will get a Comic Con badge. Most people are unaware that they use an online lottery system for badge sales.
Members never know when the exact sale date will be, but they inform the public ahead of time so be ready. Beginning at 8 a.m. on sale day, you just log into the Expo Logic Registration Waiting Room. You will need your Registration Code and the EXPO Logic Waiting Room link. These are e-mailed to you 48 hours prior to the sale or you can log into your Comic Con account for the info. Be sure to have your Member ID, last name, and credit card information. At 9 a.m., you will be moved into an online “waiting room”. Comic Con randomly sorts you into a virtual line to purchase budges. No one knows what order they are in. Just keep watching your screen. If you are selected you will be moved into a screen to purchase badges.
You will be able to purchase up to three badges – including one for yourself. If purchasing for others you will need their last name and Member ID. You will not be able to purchase for anyone without this Member ID.
Types of Comic Con Sales
Comic Con has two types of sales. The first is Returning Registration. You must have attended San Diego Comic-Con in the year prior as a general attendee to be eligible. This gives first choice to those that just attended in July 2019.
Then there is Open Registration. This sale is open to anyone with a Member ID.
There are also badges that you can get as a teacher, professional, artist, or a member of the press. There are also free volunteer badges if you sign up and are chosen to volunteer at Comic Con. Be sure to check out the Attending the Show section on applications and instructions for these types of badges.
Yay, You’ve Got a Badge
If you are one of the lucky ones to obtain a Comic Con Badge then be sure to check out The San Diego Comic Con Unofficial Blog. They are a wonderful group that has information on what to expect during the event. They also have info on off-site events, special guests, schedules, and other fun tidbits. The group has a wonderful YouTube channel as well where they hosts group chats and Q&A sessions. They are a wealth of information.
Travel, Hotels, and Transportation
The official Comic Con event is held every July in sunny San Diego, California. They have already announced next year’s event dates – July 23rd – 26th, 2020.
San Diego has a large airport and every major airline flies into the city. They also have public transportation that is easy to use. I was not able to obtain a hotel near downtown so I used Lyft to get back and forth. It was only $7 each way for a shared ride. My oldest daughter lives there and shuttled me around when she wasn’t working.
Most of the hotels block out dates for Comic Con and will not reserve rooms ahead of time. The rooms are blocked off for the yearly convention Hotel Lottery. (Yes, there is a lottery for everything…sigh). Just click HERE to see the hotel list and information on how to navigate that process.
What You Can Expect to See
Comic Con is an international event. I’ve met people from the Netherlands, Australia, and London. Every age group is represented from babies, to adults, to senior citizens. Attendees also dress up their dogs to enjoy the events too.
It’s not all about comic books. Almost every major network and movie studio attends. They promote upcoming television shows, movies, and video games. This year’s show had companies like Fox, Marvel, ABC, Prime Video, NBC, FX, Adult Swim, and more. They each have outside exhibits that are absolutely free and no badge is required to attend them.
The cosplay costumes at Comic Con are beyond spectacular. I dressed as my favorite – Hello Kitty this year. As you are walking around you will be entertained by all of the creativity of the attendees. They love taking pictures with people so be sure to snap a photo or two with your favorite character.
Comic Con Shopping & Free Stuff
If you are looking for exclusive merchandise, cool t-shirts, and more then Comic Con is the place to be. The showroom floor is filled with never seen before merchandise that is highly sought after. The Funko line is always the longest, as they always debut new items at the convention. Please be aware that you must have a Comic Con Badge to enter the convention center to purchase these exclusive items.
You can get loads of free swag outside of the convention center. I got everything from cute water bottles at the Fox Fan Fair to canvas bags, comic books, and more.
Celebrity Sightings at Comic Con
San Diego Comic Con is the perfect place to meet celebrities. There are panels, autograph sessions, and you can spot a few just walking around. They are always nice too! This year we met Kristen Bell (The Good Place), James McAvoy (XMen & Dark Phoenix), Elizabeth Shue (The Boys), Jennifer Connelly, K.J. Apa (Riverdale), Jerry O’Connell (Actor/Comedian), Aisha Tyler (Archer), Ben Feldman & America Ferrera (Superstore), Diedrich Bader (American Housewife), and more.
Be sure to check out my Instagram story highlights for more photos.
To see more fun travel tips be sure to check out my Travel Guides on the blog.