What’s this? An actual travel post from me, your delinquent travel (slash writing slash animal) blogger? Glory hallelujah! I’m doing a brief look at my experience in exotic downtown … Anaheim. Yes, the Anaheim Convention Center to be more accurate. WonderCon is usually held on Easter weekend in the Bay Area. However, the last three years have seen it in Southern California due to scheduling conflicts. Conference organizers claim that they hope to return the con to San Francisco soon, so there’s no telling where the con will be held next year.
Over all, WonderCon with its 50,000 or so attendants, is rather like a mini-Comic Con (which boasts at least 125,000 attendants, and spills out of the San Diego Convention Center to bleed garishly all over the Gaslamp District). It’s even put on by the same nonprofit organization. WonderCon, however, does not take over Anaheim with the same single-minded gusto that Comic Con takes over San Diego. Not only do hundreds of cosplayers (fans in costume) range everywhere, but buildings and buses are festooned with ads for TV series and movies and so forth. San Diego transit even gets into the mix by changing the transit signs to Klingon (past years) or Dothraki (Game of Thrones). See an example of this wackiness here.
Anaheim is not quite so obsessed with WonderCon. After all, they have DISNEYLAND. Yes, that was supposed to be in all caps. Mickey and Minnie Mouse gallivant all over Anaheim, not to mention the other Disney characters. They have all become passé to the regular inhabitants. The city welcomes the thousands of geeks which WonderCon attracts, but they don’t exactly know what to do with them. A case in point:
Last year I was waiting for a bus to take me down the street to my hotel room for a little well-deserved showering when a homeless man appeared, reeking of alcohol. Mumbling to himself, he lurched down the street. A young man and his girlfriend, dressed as some anime duo or another, walked past the homeless man. Upon seeing them he gave an exaggerated double-take. Not unlike this:
However, his amazement was soon lost due to his efforts at retaining his balance on a busy streetcorner. Not two minutes later another couple strode by, wearing something like this:
The homeless man now performed a triple – nay, even a quadruple-take. Then he proclaimed in loud, plaintive tones: “What is going on here??”
Ah, the stuff of dreams. That’s WonderCon for you.
Here is a little gallery with some other photos from this recent event.
Invariably, I am completely broke when I attend these events (let’s face it, that’s how I’m able to travel anywhere – saving money to get there and stay there, not buy stuff) but this year I managed to buy a few things from the wonderfully well-stocked Exhibit Hall. Behold:
WonderCon is a less expensive, less crowded, less crazy way to experience a pop culture event than Comic Con (whose tickets have become increasingly difficult to obtain). It’s not just for lovers of comics, but those who enjoy anime, cartoons, manga, books, movies, games, TV shows, and collectibles. You don’t even have to dress up. Chances are you’ll have a great time either way!