Dragon Con is a 4 day (almost 5 day) party that happens in downtown Atlanta Labor Day weekend every year.
This year 82,000 people are expected to attend the convention that serves as a love letter to everything pop culture. Dragon Con is unique when compared to other conventions because it's fan-run and fan-driven. You don't purchase tickets, you purchase memberships.
In 16 years of attending, my friends and I have learned a few things that I will now share with you:
Plan your weekend:
There's a lot to do and see throughout the weekend. Don't miss a panel or guest because you didn't know what time to be there. You won't be able to do everything, so start with the most important things and then fit everything else in between.
Download the App
The Dragon Con app is a perfect way to plan and stay on schedule. You can also connect with your friends and know where they will be in case you get separated.
Plan for traffic jams:
Atlanta traffic will be impacted by the convention and you will need to plan your arrival and departure accordingly... but there will also be foot traffic in the hotels and tunnels between the hotels. Getting to an event on your schedule may take considerably longer than it normally would to walk 200 yards.
Shower when you can:
Dragon Con is mostly indoors but there will be a lot of people. And hygiene will be important for your own enjoyment as well as the enjoyment of others.
Sweat doesn't just make you smell funky, it also dehydrates you. And if you are consuming a beverage that dehydrates you (coffee, alcohol, energy drinks) then you should probably drink even more water. I also recommend that you pack a sports drink or 2 just in case.
Don't be a jerk:
Have fun... just don't have fun at someone else's expense. Don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth hole shut. Be considerate to those with special needs. You will get impatient at times with crowds of people waiting for an elevator or trying to get through a corridor, but that doesn't mean you get to pretend you didn't see a fellow attendee in a wheelchair and push by. PRO TIP: If you are really in a hurry, offer to push the wheelchair and give their arms a break and get yourself to point B quickly. (It's a win/win)
Catch the bounce:
Elevators are very busy during peak times. If you're waiting for an elevator going up, don't be afraid to ride the elevator down and catch the "bounce" back up. (It also bounces back down).
Show your badge:
When you enter a "badges only" area of the hotels, there will be staff looking to see your badge. Have it ready and for them to see to help keep traffic moving.
Get a badge:
Memberships get you access to the everything at Dragon Con but anyone can enter the hotels and look around. At times, the hotels will be at capacity and anyone without a badge (or hotel key) can be turned away. So get a badge... and don't lose it.
Ask before you take anyone's photo:
People-watching and cosplaying is at the highest of levels this weekend... but taking someone's photo without permission is pointless, considering this 4 day costume party is full of people who want you to take their picture. Just ask politely. "Thank you" is also a nice thing to say.