SWC17 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Discussion in 'Star Wars Celebrations' started by LAJ_FETT , Apr 16, 2017.


    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I've read plenty of gripes in threads about Celebration, but they couldn't have screwed it all up. For example, after the streaming problems on Thursday I had no further problems with what I saw (TLJ panel, Rebels panel). What were the good and bad points of your experience? (Let's keep it TOS friendly, folks..)
  2. Torz

    Torz Jedi Knight

    Aug 12, 2015
    Good - The actual content, variety and quantity of things you can be doing at any point in time.

    Bad - Lack of staff at times. It's not always clear which line is for what.

    Ugly - Wait times. If you want something, be prepared to miss out on something. Whether it be sleep, another panel, etc. I've heard quite a few comments that this has been the "lineist" convention they've ever been to. The security room which turned into an absolute cluster - meant people who were hundreds of places behind you in the line outside able to pass you.
    smith6373 likes this.
  3. 80ninjas

    80ninjas Jedi Knight star 1

    Apr 25, 2014
    Good - The panels were, by and large, phenomenal. From the 40th panel then showing us the first episode of season 4 of Rebels, I didn't go to a single panel I would have left early. Especially big shout out to the small stages. My absolute favorite panels of the weekend were on the smaller stages that weren't being livestreamed.

    Bad - I'm going to put wait times in the bad as opposed to ugly. I expected to wait in line for bigger things and especially the Celebration store. However, as was my complaint for Anaheim two years ago, once again Disney oversold the event so it just made the situation worse. If you didn't go to the Celebration store first thing in the morning (and weren't in one of the first two/three chutes in the queue hall) then you can pretty much forget about it.

    Ugly - This one is twofold. First, they handled the first day extremely poorly and it's baffling just how unprepared they were. Hours getting through the single security check, the lack of staff for the Celebration/Galaxy queue hall and just the general lack of knowledge by staff/crew was really bad. Opening up the additional entrances and getting the big stage queue hall right solved a lot of issues but just how unprepared they were for Thursday is mind boggling.

    The other half: the continued incompetence by ReedPOP for the autograph/photo op section. I opted not to get any this year and I'm glad I did. I still don't understand why they continue to let Reed handle autos/photos when they haven't gotten it right in three years. The fact that Official Pix had everything down to a science and things ran ultra-smooth with them just shines more light on how terrible ReedPOP is at this.
  4. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer Force Ghost star 7

    Mar 26, 2013
    Good - Getting into the TCW panel!

    Bad - It's ridiculous they couldn't hold the 40th Anniversary and other popular panels outside. I paid 75 bucks to get in, I should be able to go to whatever panel I want.

    Ugly - 200 dollars to get a picture with Mark and talk to him for maybe 10 seconds? I cannot describe how ridiculous that is. Corporate greed at its worst.
    Darth Dnej and Darthmaul208 like this.
  5. Rox

    Rox Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 24, 2000
    I just got home so I'll be quick. The bad, my son spilled a pop on my lap 10 minutes into our two and a half hour flight home. Great start to the day.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. ChrisLyne

    ChrisLyne Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 29, 2002
    This was my first time watching the entire live stream. I caught the big parts in 2015 and was there last year.

    The Good - Plenty of variety, most of the major panels streamed, no real "dead time". I remember there being much more down time in 2015 with top 5 videos and even full episodes of Rebels, it felt like there was much more content this year. George Lucas & John Williams, Mark Hamill & Harrison Ford, Warrick Davis (best host ever), so much good stuff! The Last Jedi, Rebels, the heroines/Forces of Destiny. Jaina Solo getting a figure (now I need Jacen as well and a proper Jedi version, not the LOTF knock off), Phasma novel. Boba Fett Vs. Cad Bane. All just epic! Probably saw more on the live stream than I would ever have managed in person.

    The Bad - Not all the panels were streamed. I'm greedy ok! I was hoping the panels that weren't live streamed would be uploaded over night. Unrealistic I know but pretty much all London panels were uploaded I believe (at least the 3 main stages) and I'd have like to see panels like Del Rey, Marvel & Hasbro. Maybe over the next few days we'll get them.

    The Ugly - The technical issues during the 40th panel. But to their credit they've fixed the issues now and you can enjoy the full panel with no issues. It was just really unfortunate on the day. Not being there. Sure I saw more on the live stream but nothing can beat the sense of community and family that comes with actually be there!

    And one additional category;

    The Awesome - My friend Scott was there, got to be in the live stage for the 40th panel and grabbed me some shirts from the store! Both jealous and extremely grateful!
    DieWompRatDie and Darthmaul208 like this.
  7. Jamtia

    Jamtia Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 5, 2016
    That's how it is now at cons with big lines/names. When I went to Wizard World the same thing happened with Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Your pretty much just paying to be in a picture with them. But I still say personally it's worth it just to say you did so.
  8. Leia's Twin

    Leia's Twin Jedi Knight

    May 19, 2016
    The good: surprises on the first day (Harrison ford and John Williams!) and all the nice people I met over the past 4 days.

    The bad: the lines are always bad, but after 4 of these events, I am used to it. I have to say I spent less time standing in line at this swc than I did at Anaheim.

    The ugly: I did notice on occasion the lack of staff. I had a problem trying to find the chute to get a wristband for Friday's movie screening but after 10 minutes and 3 staffers, I found it. Someone in line later yesterday said they had a problem with staff showing up. I think the guy I was talking to was referencing the volunteer staff.

    I had a great time and would go by myself again for a 5th celebration.
  9. star_wars_is_good

    star_wars_is_good Force Ghost star 5

    Jun 14, 2002
    I had a great time at Celebration and it was pretty much what I hoped it would be.

    I was fortunate enough to get a VIP for this year, so I was able to avoid the headaches that some faced and get great seats to all of the panels and get through the photo op lines without much trouble.

    The panels were fantastic. The 40th Anniversary panel is the kind of event we will likely never see again and TLJ panel met the hype to me.

    I am a huge Hamill fan, so being able to meet him and see him in four different panels was truly a dream come true. Major props to Mark for powering through his panel today with no voice. He easily could have cancelled his panel today, but toughed it out for us.

    I also got to meet Felicity, Hayden (who seemed truly humbled by and appreciative of the support) and Alan Tudyk.

    The autograph area was a mess. It got better as the week went on, but Thursday was so unorganized and without the VIP, I would have been greatly frustrated. They also needed more and better trained volunteers. I came across several who were working hard and doing the best job that they could, but they were just overwhelmed.

    I got to meet Motivate and Padmé from this forum. Both seem like good people and it was nice to put a face to the username. I met and talked to a bunch of other people in various lines and just enjoyed talking Star Wars for four days.

    My one disappointment was not getting picked in the Funko lottery, so I missed out on a lot of those exclusives, but you can't do everything.

    For those who had a less positive experience, I'm sorry. It has to be dissappointing to spend so much money and not have a good time. Hopefully ReedPop will learn from their mistakes and you'll consider giving Celebration another shot because it can and should be such a great experience.
  10. Xinau

    Xinau Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 22, 2015
    Honestly, we didn't have too many bad experiences, and I think a lot of the reason we didn't is because of the advice & info shared on this forum, on the two Celebration Facebook groups we joined, and the YouTubers & podcasters who did Celebration prep episodes. Leading up to the event, I felt like I planned somewhat obsessively but in the end I'm glad I did. We ended up having to chuck good parts of that plan out the window, but we still ended up having a great time and got to see & do nearly everything that was on our list.

    A few good things I haven't seen others mention:

    1. The 501st Bash. It was awesome -- everything I've ever wanted in a party. Just wish my wife and I weren't so wiped out from the day's activities so we could've stayed longer & partied harder.

    2. Angus MacInnes, Garrick Hagon, and Denis Lawson. All were friendly and gracious and absolute gentlemen.

    3. The Nissan VR experience. If you could look past the fact it was a glorified car commercial, it was very effective. Much cooler than I expected.

    4. The Rosen Plaza. Perfectly fine. Close and w/easy access, wasn't stupendously expensive, nice little 24-hour deli & convenience store. Will stay there again for sure.

    5. Mark Hamill. Saw & heard so many examples of this guy giving so much to fans. I know some had issues with their scheduled meeting times with him, but I don't think it was his fault. We had an autograph & photo with him on Saturday and he'd nearly lost his voice and looked absolutely exhausted. Despite this he never seemed to lose his patience or seemed in the least bit curt or unfriendly with anybody. As far as I'm concerned, this guy walks on water.

    6. Doug Chiang. Man, if you ever get to take his master class panel where he goes thru his process for developing concept art, TAKE IT. Didn't want that panel to end. Would've happily stayed there all day listening to him and watch him create.

    7. David Collins' Music of Rogue One panel. Tremendously cool if you were a musician or musically minded.

    8. My friend who, even though he knows I'm not into the Funko/Pop thing at all, still scored me the only Funko I've ever wanted - Garindan.

    9. The image that closed the Carrie Fisher tribute, and printed on the poster -- hoo boy. Projectile tears.

    10. The recap video at the closing ceremony. I don't know what it is about these things, but seeing all the cosplayers, all the kids, all the unbounded joy that just reverberated thru that place for 4 days, man. That was another ugly cry.

    11. The guy from Force for Change with the Star Wars gowns for hospitalized kids. I saw them on the Star Wars Show stage and thought it was just another apparel push, and was kind of annoyed to see them at first. Boy, did I feel like an ass.

    12. The category of cosplay I can only describe as "Imperial Dominatrix", IYKWIM.

    Some of the bad:

    1. This just isn't a very user-friendly event. I shudder to think what people or families were in for if they hadn't been to a major con before, or hadn't really kept up to date the with constantly changing stream of information. All the details seemed to arrive pretty late, and if you didn't dedicate a pretty serious amount of time to planning & prep, man... you were in for a rough time.

    2. The "warm-up" acts on the big stages. Is it just cuz I'm an old fogey, or does the DJ and the bouncy bubbly personalities trying to raise the energy level of the crowd with bad jokes and dopey games really annoy anyone else? This is the thing that gives me the willies about Disney doing this thing -- I just know that if Disney starts calling the shots, this kind of thing will just go to 11.

    3. The woman staffing the Rebel Legion booth/area/whatever. Waited patiently for 10 minutes to ask when & where the Rebel Legion group photo would be taken while she entertained endless detailed questions from two prospective members, only for her to rudely walk away when she was finished speaking to them so she could check on one of her static displays. Except for the line jumpers (see below), really the only negative experience we had the whole weekend.

    4. OCCC Security. The less said, the better.

    The ugly:

    1. The store. Heard it was a nightmare -- multi-hour queues to get in & get out, and was out of stock by Friday. We didn't even bother with it. There's no reason that a retail operation at a con needs to be run like this. It's a disgrace.

    2. The cluster with the autographs & photos the first two days. We did our autographs & pictures on Saturday and it seemed like most of the kinks had been worked out by then. Thursday sounded like a horror show, though. I don't know who gets the blame for this. The buzz I heard on the floor was that the celebrities (at least the big names) felt they were simply overbooked.

    3. The cluster with the 40th post-wristband queue process (and elsewhere, from what I heard). After they gave out wristbands for the 40th, they didn't seem to have a plan for what to do with everyone after they got the wristbands. It became clear eventually that they wanted us to return the long way back to the same chutes we had just exited from, but there was mass confusion in the moment, allowing some line jumpers to do their thing.

    A couple of little stories that kind of sum up the whole thing, at least for me:

    My wife wasn't really all that much of a fan before this -- she's patient & accepting of my Star Wars obsession, but it's really not her jam -- but now she's talking enthusiastically about going back for the next one (but this time in costume, that she wants to make). Despite the campout, despite the lines, and all the time on our feet -- she was buzzing. She's an artist herself and was enraptured at the Doug Chiang panel. I'd kept the Hamill autograph & photo as a surprise and when I told her, she cried. We got a great picture with him that we'll treasure forever.

    We stayed after the closing ceremony to let traffic die down (we're locals) and by 6pm, most people had cleared out and the OCCC had largely returned to "normal". The crowds & the costumes, all but gone. And man, it was really sad. We had this palpable sense that something really special and joyous had just happened, and we missed it.
    Padme501st likes this.
  11. Chewies_bandolier

    Chewies_bandolier Force Ghost star 4

    May 5, 2002

    (Edited to remove copied wall of text) - just a word about the bolded / 40th panel fiasco (and not sure if you were referring to this incident and another) ...

    Here's what happened:
    People at the front of the lne had been waiting for their wristbands since ~ 11 am on Weds (the first couple actually camped out on Tuesday night). Everyone at the front of the line by 6 am on Thursday, pretty much knew who everyone else was.

    The first 100 or so people got their wristbands and then were directed by the volunteers to stand IN ThE WRONG LINE - no one actually knew where to direct us, but made us go to the streaming stage queue and made us show our wristbands so we thought it was all legitimate.

    After 15 - 20 minutes, they pulled us out of the line without telling us why or telling us where to go.

    At this point, we realised that we had been put in the wrong line and were now way, way back in the queue.

    As you can imagine, the people (especially those who had been there all day on Tuesday) were very unhappy since it was absolutely not our stuff up - the line volunteers and staff were ignoring us so as a collective of 50 - 100 people, we decided that we would go to the front of the line where we SHOULD have been.

    The line volunteers or staff members and the people who had found themselves at the front of the proper line presumably realised this as no one stopped us from cutting in to the front of the queue. It helped that we all knew each other by then and also, what order people had been in. It was nevertheless absolutely delightful to be verbally abused by the others in the line far further up, who presumably assumed we cutting it without having waited as long as them.

    In any case, it made bugger all difference at the end, since once the doors were opened:
    1. no one seemed to know where to direct us
    2. it was a free for all and very very dangerous (some lovely people had thought it great to camp out with kids in prams who were now in a potential crowd crush)
    3. The only two (!!) escalators for ~! 6000 people was crammed and people - it was, even more fun when one of them broke

    I have special thanks to give to the absolute idiots who yelled "run" (because you know - that is so much more safer in an uncontrolled crowd situation than "walk") and to those special twinkles of starlight who despite being in the first few rows, thought it wonderful to stand up during the panel so that the rest of us (who couldn't see the stage anyway on account of the auditorium stage being level and therefore completely unsuitable for a crowd of that size) had to see the stream on the screens like the rest of people who weren't in.

    It was super uncool, btw, for there to be all of the pronouncements about the sleepover people not being allowed to line up before 8 pm when that was blatantly ignored (it seems from the day before). I was shocked to see people there in the afternoon but joined them as no one was moving them.

    I can't add any more about the really strange security system (which was utterly overwhelmed and therefore deficient), especially in a place where the walmart up the road sold handguns for 20 bucks :\ We were all just very lucky that nothing bad happened as at least for the first two days, no one seemed to be really checking the bags properly.

    I was honestly very disappointed with the organisation of this con - I do know that they were trying to recruit volunteers very late in the day (so were presumably short staffed). From my experience of working with ReedPop as a crew member last year, I know that a lot of the volunteers (the ones in the orange, not the black-shirted, professional staff member shirts), may have had zero experience with crowd control of any description and minimal training (and it seems, supervision). In some instances last year anyway, they were not een fans, but rather, Disney staff members coerced into "interacting with the market" - I worked with someone who was openly contemptuous of the fans (and this in an area with kids) whose disinterest in being in the slightest bit helpful was not at all incidental. If the organisation wanted to do things properly, they would presumably pay a decent wage and actually hire and train people who could run these events properly rather than relying on unpaid volunteers (as was the case in London last year) or minimally paid "volunteers" here in Orlando - but then, of course, they would be making less of a profit for their shareholders.

    A final note: on Friday morning after the second sleepover night (for the TLJ panel), some people DID try and cut into the front of the line after helpfully breaking over and causing to fall, several of the barrier poles. They were evicted - not by the security or line staff - but by the people in the line itself.

    So eh. Extremely grateful (beyond measure) to have the opportunity to be in the same room ("see" was optimistic) George Lucas, Mark, Harrison and of course John Williams and say goodbye to Carrie in the perfect way possible for a fan. Super appreciative of Rian Johnson's genuine appreciation of the fandom and the chance to see the trailer for his new independent film. Very grateful for the company and the conversation with many of my line buddies, but now happy as well, to say that on this high note, I'm prob not going to repeat this experience again.

    BTW - closing ceremony: nice to see the convention video but that was pretty much it. The screeching from the hosts on the other stages was tedious. The content: well - it was just the credits for the convention - the chance to ? applaud the organisation that made the event such a F-up. I gave up my spot in an autograph line so as to make the ceremony - my mistake - shoul've hung around the show floor instead. Anaheim set a high bar, I guess.

    For people who attended the pre-Disney celebrations - were there any difference post-Disney wrt content or organisation? I am leaving Florida this weekend with mixed feelings - I I mostly wondering how as a fandom (and pretty established one), we are permitting ourselves to be manipulated by the big mouse into one giant marketing opportunity (galactic nights at the Disney park anyone?) It is the 40th anniversary of a landmark cultural cinematic event and I was massively disappointed that the only recognistion of this was the opening panel. As a FAN, i was hoping that there would be more opportunities to see the ANH props, costumes, meet those involved in the production (I am gutted that I missed the "Rebel Reunion" since some one told me it was costuming fan event rather than an chance to hear Denis Larson talk about the OT for the first time in 40 years).

    If anyone wants to organise and independent FAN run, FAN centred international celebration of ANH and all things SW, let me know. I will happily be there.
    Padme501st and Darthmaul208 like this.
  12. Rox

    Rox Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 24, 2000
    OK now that I actually had more than 3 hours of sleep I can function properly. My top three of each.

    The good:
    1. The sleepover for the 40th panel. I had a great time. Met a bunch of cool people and seeing Deadpool dance battle some Jedi was fun. The Panel itself was amazing. I didn't know what to expect going into it but boy it did not disappoint. From the start with George Lucas being there and to end it with the John Williams concert. I will never forget getting to spend this experience with my wife and son.
    2. Galactic Nights. Disney knows how to run an event. The scavenger hunt with the photo ops was cute. The parade was fun I got some good pictures right in front of the Starbucks. 5 to 20 minutes waits for all the rides including the very popular Toy Story ride was awesome. I never bothered with the movies ride in the past because of time constraints but got to here.
    3. The 501st bash. Incredible people. Incredible party. Incredible time. Weird Al was awesome and I was like 20 feet from the stage the whole time. We hung out with some people from the Ohio Garrison(forgot their names) and they were the nicest people we met all week. Kept welcoming us to the 501st family and hugging us. I finally have to finish my costume to get finished so I can join in the fun this summer.

    The bad:
    1. Ignorant people in the convention hall. Anytime I saw a family with a stroller or a wheel chair I always made sure I stopped to let them pass me. All to many times people just pushed thru to cut them off.
    2. Dealing with the 40th panel wristband debacle. Others have gone into it I won't bother working myself up into a frenzy again.
    3. My portable battery charger breaking on day 1. Very sad.

    The ugly.
    1. The store. There was plenty of empty space. Having a second store in the opposite corner of the convention hall would have been a super help and would have cut down on lines and broken hearts. I saw vendors buying hundreds of items to flip in the hall or eBay it wasn't right. I would like to see a bar code on badges going forward to cut down on scalping.
    2. The medical badge line. I saw the same person take in at least 4 different people to the store while waiting in line over a 3 hour span. It was BS. Again the bar code could have stopped this from happening.
    3. The lotteries and the way exclusives were handled. The Thrawn book in particular made me mad. After I got out of the 40th panel they were already sold out for most of their weekend stock and the pin. The guy running the eFX booth was a douche, he would only sell you a pin if you bought an X wing helmet.
    CaptainRegor likes this.
  13. Darkslayer

    Darkslayer Force Ghost star 7

    Mar 26, 2013
    It just stunk because I don't have a lot of money right now (this whole trip was a graduation gift) so I felt like I really shouldn't drop that amount of money.
    Valency Jane likes this.
  14. ticapnews

    ticapnews Jedi Youngling

    Dec 21, 2015
    No good, bad, ugly. Just a few observations for now.

    My experience with the people at the OCCC, whether it was security, ReedPOP, volunteers or Disney was that they (for the most part) were incredibly nice - but that doesn't mean they were helpful, knowledgeable or well-trained.

    Signage would have helped a lot. We went to the Queue for the Celebration/Galaxy Stages and found two different lines and no one in charge. No sign indicating which line was which. When they opened the second security section they stationed a guy between the escalators to shout periodically that this was not an entrance to the exhibition halls. Why? Put up a few signs. There was already a security guard at the door who could have told people who ignored the signs to go elsewhere.

    Speaking of signage, put a board up at the other security entrances/around the convention hall that displayed the (non) availability of wristbands for panels. I arrived at Gate C on Saturday at 10. I didn't want to walk all the way down to Hall F to find out there were no wristbands left. It turns out there were hundreds of wristbands left for the Rebels panel. By the time I found out the panel was already half over. I did manage to snag one of the last for Smuggler's Revenge which turned out to be a fantastic experience.

    A second store would have been heavenly. A limit on how many of one item a person could buy would cut down on scalpers and let actual attendees purchase items. Also, have a few smaller stores throughout the convention that specialize in smaller items like pins, patches and hats. All I wanted was a hat but I wasn't going to wait in a line for three hours to buy one.

    That's all for now. I'm sure more will come to me.
  15. Jedi_Jade-Skywalker

    Jedi_Jade-Skywalker Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Oct 8, 2000
    I was following via the live stream.

    The Good: John Williams, Harrison Ford & George Lucas. In. The. Same. Place. Together (ish). Getting to see the trailer for TLJ. The Rebels panel.

    The Bad: The interruptions in the live stream. It happened during more than just the 40th Anniversary panel for me. Why no Kenny Baker tribute in addition to the Carrie Fisher tribute? Why no ST actors at the end of the 40th Anniversary panel? I don't think there was any trailer breakdown like they did in Anaheim, right? I'm really not a fan of Andi and Anthony at all. The lack of diversity in the panels. We always get the same thing during the live stream (opening ceremony, movie coming out this year panel, Rebels panel, Ray Park, Ian McDiarmid, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, video games, etc). I really wish they'd either A) mix it up a bit and not show the exact same actors every single year during the live stream (personally I'm a bit tired of Park, McDiarmid & Daniels) or B)keep doing what they're doing during the live stream but video all (or most of) the other panels going on and post them later. I wish I could've seen the book and Marvel panels, more of the Cosplay competition and some of the other panels.

    The Ugly: The 2 times the live stream imploded: during Smuggler's Revenge and right before the closing ceremony. After all the talk from Kathleen Kennedy about inclusivity and all, I really wish they'd recognize that there are Star Wars fans like myself....who'll never be able to go to a SWC for medical reasons and we had some ability to access some of the SWC exclusive merchandise. There's a couple things I would like to have, and I'm sure there's other folks in the same boat. But for me I can't justify paying a scalper an inflated amount when I have live saving meds to buy. I'd be different if I could buy direct from SWC. Few things sting more than hearing someone talk about how wonderful and inclusive things are, while knowing you and others are being locked out.
  16. ChrisLyne

    ChrisLyne Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 29, 2002
    The tribute to Kenny was in the droids panel on Sunday but I agree it should have been part of the 40th like Carrie's. No ST I think was because they wanted to save the "surprise" for the TLJ panel the next day and the 40th was also focused very heavily on George Lucas and he's not really involved with the ST or the new stars. But yeah it would have been really nice to see them up there and in the group pictures they released after.

    There was definitely a trailer breakdown on the livestream on Saturday. It was interesting to hear some discussion on it but it's definitely been discussed more in depth on the boards :)

    Last year they put a load more panels online after the event. Hopefully they'll do the same this year as I'd love to see the Del Rey & Marvel panels as well.

    The store seems to have been a nightmare for the last 3 events now. Massive queues, quick sell outs, they're really leaving money on the table and they don't need to. As others have said, have a second store on site, you'd double the flow of people through the store. Plus didn't they have the store open 24 hours at some earlier events? Bring that back! They had 2 official over night queues. Give the VIPs their early entry Wednesday evening then open it up from those queuing over night, they have no where else to be, it lets them do the store without sacrificing show floor time & means less people in line during the day. Do that & make more stuff (they should have a pretty good idea of what sells out by now), any leftovers will sell online which in turn would make more people happy.
    CaptainRegor likes this.
  17. 80ninjas

    80ninjas Jedi Knight star 1

    Apr 25, 2014
    I'm curious about this. Can you elaborate? My wife and I were exhausted the night of Smuggler's Revenge so we went back to the hotel and I live streamed the whole thing from my phone without an issue (I even used my cell data because the wifi at the Rosen Centre is garbage).
  18. torjoreyri

    torjoreyri Jedi Knight star 1

    May 9, 2014
    I understand lines are gonna be a thing at a big convention. This was my 4th Celebration, so I thought I knew what to expect from this one, too. I'd prefer to avoid waiting in line, but I accept it. What ruined my entire first day was the disorganization of lines. You get there some amount of hours before whatever, there are people ahead of you and people behind you. But somehow, by the time the event starts, people who were behind you are now ahead of you, people who were ahead you are now behind you, and you're next to people who weren't even in the line to begin with.

    The queue for the cosplay contest was pretty good, they had solid crowd control to organize the line and prevent people from sneaking in, but once we got into the theater, people just started running.

    Friday, I got to the show floor queue at 6am, so I was pretty close to the front of the GA line. But again, once they opened it up, I saw people in a full-out sprint to the show store.

    Best line of the weekend was Zahn's signing on Sunday. Those Barnes and Noble people have it locked down. Timothy was signing for 2 hours, so they let 100 people in line as "definites," and then told everyone after them that they were welcome to wait in line, but couldn't be guaranteed. Everyone went in proper order, they had a foolproof system to make sure no one jumped into the line. It was definitely easier to manage a line of a couple hundred than a few thousand that Con Staff had to deal with every other time, though.

    I really believe most of us wanted the lines to stay civilized, but with no clear rules or enforcement, as soon as someone tested those boundaries, others jumped in and it was just mob mentality afterwards.
  19. MotivateR5D4

    MotivateR5D4 Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 20, 2015
    The Good:

    Obviously, the people in attendance. There wasn't a single person there you couldn't just turn to and strike up a conversation with about Star Wars, Cons, anything.

    Wristbanding in the morning for ALL of the main popular panels happening throughout the day. It gives people the opportunity to get a wristband for something so they know they have a place there and that they don't have to spend half a day waiting in line for it, or worse, wait all that time and not get in at all. I know some people will say they don't like having to get a wristband at 6 am for something that isn't until 2 pm or later. It's not going to be perfect, but it's still a much better system than waiting in line all day for things.

    Live streaming of panels on the show floor. I think if there was more of an effort to alert people that the show floor is basically another streaming room then a lot less people would wait in line for an actual streaming room. So while informing people could be improved upon, I still list this item as an overall good thing. It was great being able to enjoy a live streamed panel while also taking in the show floor at your leisure. Also just having the Star Wars show and live stream recording being there in the middle of everything was cool, instead of it being off to the side.

    The fact that many of the complaints about Thursday were listened to and acted upon accordingly, so by Friday things were run much better. Not great, everybody knows that, but better. The main thing is that people were listened to.

    The Bad:

    The staff. First off, the lack of staff was unforgiveable. ReedPop executives need to be held accountable for cutting staff volunteers at an event this large. At Anaheim, there were several volunteers outside of each panel, walking around, and able to assist however they could. In Orlando, there was hardly a ReedPop staff member anywhere near at any given point. Secondly, even when you were given an answer to something, you couldn't trust that it was the right information. So no continuity of information at all between staff members. OCCC staff were very unskilled at utilizing the metal detectors and sifting through a bag to check it. They seemed uninterested in what they were doing and couldn't care less about attendees. Also, there was no coordination between ReedPop staff and OCCC staff other than what was done on the spot. At this rate, I can't help but think Disney needs to take over Celebration, put their staff in place, and manage it properly.

    The size of the Galaxy stage that held the 40th Anniversary and TLJ panels. To hold a 40th Anniversary panel of the greatest film franchise in history in a room that is basically the size of something you would see at a hotel convention is almost laughable thinking about what the decision making process was like to put it there. What a missed opportunity that was.

    More entrances, not just into the convention center, but into the show floor. I hated leaving the show floor and then having to walk to that specific point in the middle in order to get back in. I don't know what is or isn't true about there being new ordinances put into place after the shooting, but if that is the case, and those ordinances requiring so few entrances stay in effect for the long term, than that should definitely be viewed as yet another reason not to have Celebration in Orlando.

    All the issues with line control have already been covered, so I won't go into detail about it here. That, combined with the issues regarding the show store, autograph/photo-op debacles, and staffing probably make up about 75% of all complaints about Celebration, maybe more.

    The Ugly

    I saved this one, because it's the only thing I was really truly bothered by that still bothers me when I think about it now. The number of times I was able to walk into the show floor without showing my badge. Not just the convention center, the actual show floor. And throughout the whole weekend. Several times I had to run back to my hotel to drop some things off or shower, and I would put my badge in my pocket or backpack to walk there and back, but on my way back forgot a few times to put it back on, and was able to just walk right in to the show floor without being stopped. And I heard this same thing being echoed by people all weekend. Now, I'm not implying some bad person could get in or that anything nefarious was going to happen. All I mean is that it just makes you think what the hell did we pay for that didn't even matter apparently.

    Just some more thoughts:

    This isn't so much of a complaint as it is just an observation. The show floor seemed much less robust than it did in Anaheim. When I first walked in I actually wondered if there was another area to the show floor that I'm just not seeing. Don't get me wrong, it was great and had a lot going on. But if I remember correctly, at Anaheim, it was packed wall to wall full of booths, displays, and stuff going on. And it took me a while to walk through. Yet in Orlando, it seemed way scaled back, a lot of empty space, and took very little time to walk through and see everything.

    Anyways, these are just some things I'm listing off the top of my head. I'm sure as the week goes on and I digest it further I'll think of more things both good and bad that might be worth talking about here. I had a great time overall, which I've described in other threads on here. Definitely will do it again if and when I have the chance.
  20. Echosen

    Echosen Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 1, 2017
    The Good: the positive energy from all the attendees, lots of panels, plenty of food vendors.

    The Bad: Lack of staff. I don't think I saw any Reedpop personal or they weren't easily identifiable. Lack of signage, after the security checkpoint walking into the first hall, I found it abit difficult, when I first arrived, to find specific vendors. Then I saw the signs marking every few isles, the isle signs should've been placed more towards the center row of the vendors rather than at the edge. Not many vendors had large signs lifted above their booths making them easily identifiable, also their name and booth number signs could've been alittle larger. The vendor area also reminded me of a flee market the way it's set up. Many of the isles were abit narrow to accommodate the crowds. There seemed to be plenty of room to widen each isle by a few ft. The fed ex stores "convenience" charges are rediculous. More screens at the main floor for streaming.

    The Ugly: Thursdays line, there's no reason for it to have happened. They know the crowd size. The merch store, what a disservice to attendees. There was a sign showing the wait time of 2 hours from "this point" but nothing mentioned about the 2 hour wait to check out. This baffles me why set it up in this style.
    Doing some research on RP performance at cons, I've read a lot of the same stuff that guest say need improvement.

    On a side note, most volenteers that I've come across at events( music festival) are not very knowledgeable of the event but rather just their specific job.
  21. Silas Tri

    Silas Tri Jedi Knight star 1

    Sep 6, 2012
    This was my third SWC (all in Orlando) so I have been able to see a bit of an evolution at this venue.

    The Good: The surprise guests - Lucas, Ford, Williams, Ridley, Boyega, et al. The panels were "good" but not "great" IMO. The show floor was fascinating, but almost too much to absorb.

    The Bad: The whole wristband concept. Because of this, my friends and I (as well as most of you) had to arrive at the venue between 4:30-5:00 AM each day of the event. We got our wristbands quickly, then had to sit in line for the show floor for 3 hours. Why?? At the last 2 in Orlando, I never went until they opened the doors to the event and still made it to every panel I wanted to see. Also, the autograph and photo op prices were ridiculous. They have REALLY gone up sky high. Because of this, I decided not to bother with that aspect of the event.

    The Ugly: The total lack of cohesion or any sort of organization regarding the passing out of wristbands. None of the volunteers or staff members seemed to know what was happening. Even worse, we were given misinformation which delayed our getting in the proper lines, etc. The line for the official Celebration store was crazy. Three hours to get in, and then an hour+ to check out???? Come on!

    Overall ( and in spite of ) the "bad" and the "ugly" mentioned above, my friends and I had a great time! I can't wait for the next one.
  22. Torz

    Torz Jedi Knight

    Aug 12, 2015
    Maybe I'm being cynical, but could they not be too fussed with the Celebration store taking so long to get into?

    I mean, if you commit 3-4 hours just to get in, you're pretty much guaranteed to buy something. Otherwise you'd feel like you wasted your time.
  23. ticapnews

    ticapnews Jedi Youngling

    Dec 21, 2015
    OTOH I took one look at the line and decided not to bother. I would have been happy to spend some of my hard-earned coin in the store but oh well.
  24. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne Celebration Mistress of Ceremonies star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 4, 1998
    It's time to sum up my experiences as well. Now the only major panel I decided to get a wristband for was the 40th anniversary, and even then I decided straight away that I would go for an overflow room. This meant that this was probably the Celebration that I've spent the least time in lines, I had so much time to just go around and do other things instead.

    The Good
    The Rebels Reunion panel, the Cantinarchaeology panel, the Fan Fashion panel. Overall I felt that the the minor stages had so many good panels, and this is one really big difference to CE where it was basically just the major stage that had an interesting program.

    I went into the Galaxy stage twice, and I felt that the DJ and warm-up presenter there did a fabulous job. I definitely prefer them to the main stage warm up act.

    The people managing the lines for the BTS stage. That is how line managing should be done. There was no skipping in lines, but also no questions or confusion on where the line was and if you would get into the stage or not.

    The bad
    The information. Rebels Reunion didn't have any information, and was tagged as Rebels the tv show, if it hadn't been for me checking this forum on Sunday morning I would have skipped it and missed out on a great panel that was exactly what I wanted.

    It would have been nice to have information on which wristbands were still available, if you entered somewhere else than the main entrance. I usually waited until 10:30 and went in straight through the Rosen Centre entrance, but that also meant that I had to run through the entire convention all only to see if there were any wristbands left.

    The Ugly
    I wasn't affected by the bad line managing, but when you see Mary Franklin standing there on Sunday directing lines, then you know they were well understaffed.

    The photo op area was a total disaster on Thursday, I don't know if it improved later on. No information on when the delayed photo op times were actually going to start, and people just being directed to this corner were everybody were just standing in a big group, no lines at all. Due to the bad organisation I missed out on all panels on Thursday, because I didn't dare go away from the area and miss the 15 min window that was the photo op time for less popular guests.
    CaptainRegor likes this.
  25. Padme501st

    Padme501st Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2006
    The Good: The 40th panel by far was my favorite panel of all time, mostly because it knocked off several things off my bucket list. The Carrie tribute followed by John Williams was the perfect way to end the panel

    The fans in line. I got to sit next to a great group of people Wednesday night and ended up being in line with half that group again on Saturday. Meeting star_wars_is_good and MotivateR5D4 meant a lot to me. It really brought that sense of family home.

    The Rebels theater was great, I went up there several times when I just couldn't handle the crowds and lines anymore. They served Hot dogs and popcorn and had free water dispensers, plenty of seating even when the room was getting full. It was a great place to just kick back and relax and still be in that Star Wars atmosphere since you were watching Rebels. Only thing I wished they did different was they showed the same 4 episode the entire day but it's not meant for a marathon so I get that. And they stayed within a theme with the episodes which was cool.

    The cosplay is always one of the best things to see, everything from a legit Cad Bane, the unmasked Kylo Ren who had Adam Driver's features, the Jawa holding BB-8 to Darth Pikachu and the Muppets, it was just great to see.

    The 501st Bash was so much fun, they had the Tatooine theme down with the props everywhere. Weird Al was a lot of fun and I appreciated how well organized the 501st were. They said on their facebook page he would be on stage around 10, he was on there no later than 10:05. One of my favorite moments though was a group of Jawas who came by and tried to steal the table in front of me.

    The Bad: The Wristbands on Thursday, it's sad that due to lack of staff, signs and organization, MotivateR5D4 got in the queue line behind me once we got the wristbands when in reality he had been ahead of me the whole time. The mad dash upstairs when they could have had us queue upstairs once we got the wristbands and then escorted us row by row in the Galaxy stage. Vendors buying exclusives even though they weren't allowed to. The whole Thrawn book debacle. The fact that free pins and posters that were handed out are now on sale for hundreds of dollars, more than usual. DJ Elliot's 1am party.

    The Ugly: TOPPS. Thursday was a nightmare. The fact that even if you saw one of the cheaper guest with barely any or no lines, you had to wait in line for 1+ hours to get a ticket for an autograph. The photo op area being right in the middle of the autograph area with zero signs or queue line. The lack of staff knowledge and complete rudeness when you ask a question. Not all of the staff was bad, and Saturday was better ran than Thursday but overall, a huge fail. Not abiding by their own schedule which can be applied to both TOPPS and Reedpop. They say one thing, do another. They don't communicate that well to the fans who spent lots of money for this and gets pissed when fans finally have had enough. Failure to abide by your own rules too. Whether it's not more than 3 autos at a time and then you wait more, or no cots or chairs that can't be fit in a backpack. Overall disregard to the amount of sales you made prior to the show which made you totally unprepared for the amount of people that showed up. I'll excuse Anaheim's disorganization because they had a huge amount of sales happen right before when the JJ panel was announced and they were unprepared. But this was not the case for Orlando and they were even more ill prepared. The fact that people bragged on Facebook about not having a badge and just walking right in on Saturday (which was already the busiest day in sales) because only 1 out of 30 staff bothered to glance for your badge.