Gallifrey One is quickly approaching, in just over two weeks as I write this. February 17-19, to be precise. And I decided that now is a good time to write about my past experiences and upcoming expectations. And I figure maybe I’ll pass on some advice and suggestions too.
So here goes.
Try to get a room at the convention hotel, though it might be a little too late now. Some nights can go until the following morning. But since the convention rate has been sold out for months, you’re best bet is to either hope someone cancels or find roommates who already have a room. There are plenty of other hotels nearby though, if you don’t have a room at the Marriot.
Okay, next is roommates. Make sure you like, or at least get along with, the person/people who will be sharing your room. If you’re a drinker/partier, you probably don’t want to room with someone who goes to sleep early. Last year I roomed with a woman I met online, and I don’t think I said more than ten words to her in four days. To see it was awkward is a painful understatement.
Lobbycon is the unofficial party of Gally. There are usually crowds of people, plenty of alcohol, and great conversations. I’ve met and made friends during lobbycon that I probably would never have otherwise found.
This year the hotel has asked that there not be any outside alcohol in the lobby. There’s a bar just off the lobby however, and it’s okay to have alcohol in your room. Take that information and do with it as you will. It’ll still be fantastic!
Ribbons are also an unofficial part of Gally. I wasn’t there when they started and I don’t where the idea came from, but I do know they’re a lot of fun and a very effective icebreaker. Some people give out ribbons to everyone. Some people have ribbons reserved for specific groups, costumes, events, etc. Other people will only trade ribbons. Personally, I’ll give ribbons to anyone, but I prefer to offer than than be bombarded with requests.
If you end up with a long train of ribbons, don’t be surprised if they start to separate. Tape is your friend.
Eating at conventions is always a challenge, but it’s important that you don’t completely forget to eat. You know you need to, but you don’t want to miss anything while you take the time. The hotel has a bar, restaurants, and a gift show, but there are also plenty of other places within walking distance. Plus the front desk can give you menus of places that will deliver. Just don’t forget to eat at some point.
I’ll preface this section by saying that I don’t cosplay. I do, however, have a lot of friends that do, so most of my knowledge is through them. Generally, people in costume are happy to let you take their picture. But they’re attendees, same as you, so if they’re in a rush or don’t want to stop right then, don’t be offended. Cosplayers put a lot of work into their costumes, so don’t be afraid to tell them you like them. But don’t touch someone’s costume without asking; pieces can be more fragile than they look.
The masquerade is a huge event, and in years I’ve been going to Gally, I still haven’t gone to it. So my advice is limited. The line can get very long, and you’ll do a lot of standing while you wait. Make friends with the people around you. You all love Doctor Who, lines are a good way of making new friends.
There is free wifi in the lobby. It’s not very fast. There is pay internet in the hotel rooms. I’ve never used it so I can’t tell you how it is.
Cell signal. Well, it exists. Sometimes. Don’t expect to get signal in the convention area. You’ll probably need to go upstairs to the lobby level or outside.
You might want to go to panels, you might not. But there are usually at least a few that catch my attention, other than the Q&A sessions with the guests. The important thing to remember is that you probably won’t get to all the panels you want to. Sometimes the times overlap, though if someone figures out a way of being in two places at once, please tell me! Sometimes you get distracted and forget to go to a panel. Sometimes you decide that you’d rather continue a conversation started earlier. And sometimes you may decide you just don’t feel like going. The chances of you getting to every panel that you’re interested in are pretty slim though. Don’t be disappointed, there’s always next year!
Miscellaneous other stuff.
Fedex. There is a Fedex in the hotel. If you buy things that won’t fit in your suitcase, you can ship them home.
Starbucks. It’s in the lobby. It gets busy in the mornings. It is a godsend.
Twitter. The official Gally twitter account is @gallifreyone. The unofficial hashtag is #gally. People use it year round, but it gets understandably busier during the convention. If you’re at the con, it’s a fund way to see what’s going on and find other people. If you’re not, it can be like living vicariously through the people who are there. And if you prefer not to follow it, that’s okay too. I warn you in advance though, I tweet a lot at conventions.
Sleep. Try to get at least a few hours a night.
Business cards. I’m terrible at remembering people’s names, twitters, facebook, etc, so I made business cards to pretend I’m not the only one with that problem. They’re inexpensive and it’s easier than trying to scribble down info on scraps of paper.
So that’s it, my pre-Gallifrey One ramble. I’ll likely have one more post about the convention before it starts, probably more specific to this year’s panels and guests. But for now I’ll finish by saying if you’re going to be there, come say hi. I always like to meet new people!