An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon

An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 12:40am CDT

Categories: Site News, Event News, Site Articles
Posted by: Savage   Views: 71,677

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Okay, so you've decided to attend BotCon, but you probably have a lot of questions. Hopefully this article can put a few of your fears to rest and answer some of those questions. There are many elements to BotCon, including Hotels, Registration Packages, Exclusive Figures, Sales Room, Panels, etc., and we are going to examine each one in some detail.


First up, Hotels and Travel:

Depending on the location, many people choose to fly to BotCon each year, others turn it into a roadtrip. If multiple collectors from your area are planning to attend, a carpool roadtrip can save everyone some money on gasoline. If flying is your preferred mode of travel, it is a wise idea to buy plane tickets early (often before BotCon Registration opens) to get the best price.

Every year, there are several hotels (2-3) that are within a block or two (or attached to) the convention center where BotCon is held. These hotels usually offer reduced prices for the convention. BotCon.com usually provides this information after the dates and location are announced. Bear in mind, however, that these are generally 4 or 5 star hotels. Even with the BotCon discount, you are looking at approximately $150 per night. Many people choose to stay at a cheaper hotel within a short driving distance. This can save you some money on hotel costs. However, you will also have to pay for parking at the convention center each day, and that can add up. Or you could take a taxi from your hotel to the convention. The major downside to an offsite hotel is that you miss out on a lot of the room-to-room trading and general hanging out that happens during the evening and nights in various hotel rooms. It's a lot easier to stay up until three am talking TransFormers if your bed is right down the hall.


Registration Packages:


Primus Package- This package generally costs about $300 (for club members. Also, prices vary slightly from year to year) and includes the following:
Full admittance to the convention, sales room, panels, and autograph lines
Admittance to the Saturday Night Awards Dinner
Five-Figure Boxed Set
One Free Attendee Figure

Minicon Package- Can only be purchased as an add-on to a Primus Package. This package ranges in price from $80-$105, depending on the year and whether or not the person is a club member. Minicon Package includes:
Full admittance to the convention, sales room, panels, and autograph lines
Admittance to the Saturday Night Awards Dinner
No figures

Protoform Package- This package generally costs between $180-200, and includes:
Full admittance to the convention, sales room, panels, and autograph lines
No figures, no Awards Dinner

Iacon Package- This package is for NON-attendees who wish to purchase a boxed set and have it shipped to their home.

General Admission- General Admission is available for walk-ins on Saturday and Sunday ONLY. Inludes admittance to sales room, autograph lines, and panels.


Picking Up Your Package:
If you are enrolled in one of the Customizing Classes, you will receive your Package on Wednesday for Early Pickup. Otherwise, you may pick up your Package (name badge, boxed set, convention comic book, etc) on Thursday evening. Times will be assigned by FunPub prior to the convention, so you will know when it is your turn to get into the first of many long lines.


Customizing Classes:

There is usually one class on Wednesday and one on Thursday. They are not included in the cost of any of the above Packages. They cost extra. You will be given one figure and the instructor will walk the class through customizing it. These classes are very small and fill up quickly. If you want to get into the class, you need to register within the first hour of Registration coming online. If you are lucky enough to get into one of these classes, you will receive your name badge, boxed set, etc, on Wednesday instead of the normal Package Pickup on Thursday night.


Exclusive Figures:

The Boxed Set- five figures in a box with certificate of authenticity. These are limited in number and available only to those who buy a Primus or Iacon Package. Primus Package holders receive them at Package Pickup along with their name badge, club comic, etc.

Loose Set- Primus and Iacon Package holders have the option to purchase an additional loose set of the figures from the boxed set. Many Primus Package holders choose to buy these to turn around and sell them to other convention goers to recoup some of the cost of their trip.

Free Attendee Figure- Each Primus Package holder receives one free figure at Package Pickup. This figure is usually a repaint of a mold used in the boxed set.

Souvenir Sets- Each year, the club provides two or three "Souvenir Sets" these are additional pairs (or trios) of exclusive figures. They usually complement the boxed set and/or a previous year's set. Souvenir Sets may be purchased from the Club Store after Package Pickup on Thursday night, or anytime throughout the convention until they sell out. If they do not sell out by the end of the con, the remainder will be sold in the Collectors' Club online store.


Speaking of the Club Store:

The Club Store opens Thursday evening after Package Pickup. Once you pick up your name badge, etc, you are free to get into the Club Store line. There is usually one line for cash and one for credit. The cash line has moved slightly faster in previous years. At the Club Store, you may purchase the Souvenir Sets, t-shirts, other TF memorabilia, other Club exclusive figures (like Astrotrain, Airrazor, Nightbeat, Punch/Counterpunch if he wasn't sold out, you get the idea). Friday evening, the Club Store booth will be dismantled and rebuilt inside the Sales Room on Saturday morning, where it will remain for the duration of the show.


The Sales Room / Dealer Room:

Primus, Minicons, and Protoforms gain admittance to the dealer room for a few hours Friday evening, and Saturday morning before General Admission opens. The dealer room usually closes at 5pm on Friday and Saturday, and at 3:30pm on Sunday (when the entire convention officially ends).


Panels:

Many Panels are conducted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These generally include a Hasbro Panel (which includes sneak peeks at future figures, you do NOT want to miss this!), an IDW panel where they talk about recent and upcoming TF comics, a videogame panel to promote and discuss the latest TF videogame.

Your convention name badge will have a complete schedule of the weekend's events on the back of it. This will become your best friend.


Autographs:

Many guests will sign autographs. These are done at certain times (see the back of your name badge for times), and it is wise to get in line early, ESPECIALLY for guests such as Peter Cullen whose line will be exceptionally lengthy. Be prepared to sit in line for an hour or two. In previous years, people have been allowed to have two items signed and a quick picture taken.


Saturday Night Awards Dinner:

For Primus and Minicons only. This is the only time that food will be provided. The type of food varies from year to year. There will be food, socializing, and a small presentation that varies from year to year. For 2010, we are being treated to the induction of the first of the TransFormers Hall of Fame. 2009 was a Stan Bush concert and sneak peek at a few scenes from "Revenge of the Fallen."

The show officially ends on Sunday afternoon at 3:30pm. Of course, many people tend to mingle, say their goodbyes, grab dinner on their way out of town, etc. BotCon is an amazing experience. Despite the exclusive figures, awesome guests, huge sales room, it is the people you meet at BotCon each year that will make it worth the trip time and time again.


Well, that's all for now. I hope this guide has answered a few questions for you.

Credit(s): Savage


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Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078723)
Posted by LiKwid on May 26th, 2010 @ 2:19am CDT
Wow Savage..this is awesome man! mThanks for putting in the time to type all of this out...This answers more questions than the botcon FAQ LoL!

In all honesty I'm looking more foward to meeting some of the members of seibertron than the convention itself.. That fact that the worlds best Transformers convention is going on is just a bonus IMO :P
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078732)
Posted by Rated X on May 26th, 2010 @ 3:23am CDT
Thanks homie !!! I printed this out so I could bring it with me since I am a first timer to Botcon :D

Thanks !!!
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078753)
Posted by --B-- on May 26th, 2010 @ 5:21am CDT
As another "Long time-first timer" this is pretty helpful!

Thanks Sav!
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078760)
Posted by It Is Him on May 26th, 2010 @ 6:17am CDT
Great stuff!

Just one question: if I drive in early Friday, arriving between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., will I still be able to register and hit up the club store to pick up my set at that hour?
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078762)
Posted by Savage on May 26th, 2010 @ 6:29am CDT
It Is Him wrote:Great stuff!

Just one question: if I drive in early Friday, arriving between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., will I still be able to register and hit up the club store to pick up my set at that hour?


If you have registered for a Primus or Protoform Package online, yes, you will be able to pick your stuff up on Friday morning when you arrive.

If you are not pre-registering, but instead plan on attending as a walk-in (general admission) you will only be able to get in on Saturday and Sunday.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078764)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 26th, 2010 @ 6:31am CDT
It Is Him wrote:Great stuff!

Just one question: if I drive in early Friday, arriving between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., will I still be able to register and hit up the club store to pick up my set at that hour?


Yes.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078767)
Posted by Prime Evil on May 26th, 2010 @ 6:34am CDT
Savage wrote:It's a lot easier to stay up until three am talking TransFormers if your bed is right down the hall.


Psssh, you and I probably coulda chatted until the sun came up last year. It's funny cause we had to get some rest only because we had a full day ahead. And wasn't it like 4 am last year. :P Srsly folks, best part of Botcon will be the friends you make. There is almost NEVER a shortage of conversation with anyone. We all speak geek, and weather opinions are same or different, it's just good to be with a group of people that know exactly what your are talking about regarding video games, movies, comic books, transformers, other toys. Only time of year when I can let my full inner geek out, and not just my TF geek side! I'm looking forward to meeting up with old friends and making new ones!

Oh, and if you ever forget my name, please don't hesitate to ask, look at my badge, or just call me by my screen name if it's easiest. I understand that there are a lot of us that have never met before and only know each other through the boards. FUN BEGINS IN LESS THEN A MONTH AWAY!! :D
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078769)
Posted by Prime Evil on May 26th, 2010 @ 6:38am CDT
Oh, I'm not sure if anyone can really confirm this, but I found the pricing to be better on Saturday then Friday. More figures were put out on Sat as well. I did all my shopping Friday because of all the panels and whatnot on Saturday. But you still meander around with friends and in between panels. And there was a lot of stuff that I saw and thought, "that wasn't there yesterday, WTF". And you can probably do the best negotiations on Sunday as it's the last day, but remember, most of what is desired could also be gone by then.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078801)
Posted by Julie85 on May 26th, 2010 @ 8:02am CDT
If normal package pickup time is Thursday night, does that mean I can't pick up my package on Friday? I live about an hour away, and will be driving back and forth three days in a row as it is, I don't want to have to do it on Thursday too.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078805)
Posted by Prime Evil on May 26th, 2010 @ 8:27am CDT
Julie85 wrote:If normal package pickup time is Thursday night, does that mean I can't pick up my package on Friday? I live about an hour away, and will be driving back and forth three days in a row as it is, I don't want to have to do it on Thursday too.


You can pick up your package anytime after your designated pick up time. Most of us will just want it Thursday because there ain't much going on until Friday when the dealer room opens up. My first year, I drove from Philly to Providence, got there around...8am Friday and there was barely a line. I think most people had already gotten their package the night before. It's the souvenirs that you want to really get in line for. Oh, and when picking up your box set, MAKE SURE everything is ok. It's best to take care of any problems there then later. 2007 had problems with 2 left or right launchers for Thurst. Last year, I didn't check my Leozack and he was missing a part of his feet. I did get a replacement, but it woulda just been easier if I did all my checking there at the con.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078812)
Posted by It Is Him on May 26th, 2010 @ 8:41am CDT
Thanks Savage, CP. One more question:

Does anybody accept credit/debit cards? Or do most vendors only accept cash? Are checks OK, too?
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078895)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 26th, 2010 @ 11:28am CDT
It Is Him wrote:Thanks Savage, CP. One more question:

Does anybody accept credit/debit cards? Or do most vendors only accept cash? Are checks OK, too?


Typically cash only.

BBTS and TFSource usually have credit machines. The Club store will accept credit as well.

Cash is king though.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1078999)
Posted by LiKwid on May 26th, 2010 @ 4:26pm CDT
Counterpunch wrote:
It Is Him wrote:Thanks Savage, CP. One more question:

Does anybody accept credit/debit cards? Or do most vendors only accept cash? Are checks OK, too?


Typically cash only.

BBTS and TFSource usually have credit machines. The Club store will accept credit as well.

Cash is king though.


What are the odds of Fansproject having a booth at Botcon? I always kinda wondered what would happen if both they and hasbro/TT were in the same room..It kinda ends up looking like the fight scene in anchorman IMO :P
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079009)
Posted by Julie85 on May 26th, 2010 @ 5:00pm CDT
Thanks for the info!
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079071)
Posted by Savage on May 26th, 2010 @ 8:45pm CDT
Thank you all so much for the positive feedback on this. I remember my first BotCon (2007), and all the questions I had at the time. Plus, as BotCon draws closer, there have been more and more of those "BotCon Question! Help!" threads popping up. I felt like we should have a resource that answers those questions once and for all. I tried to make this article as thorough as possible, I'm sure I'll continue adding a few more bits and pieces as I think of them (and possibly more pictures of your favorite inebriated Seibertronians). I also tried to make sure it wasn't year-specific, so hopefully it can be just as useful for BotCon '11 or '12.

If anybody has any questions that the article didn't answer, please ask. You'll get an answer, and it will also likely be added to the article to benefit everyone.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079102)
Posted by Gandalf on May 27th, 2010 @ 12:59am CDT
Thanks for this, Savage! I'm another first-timer, and this post is very helpful.

One thing that would be great is a brief recap at the end detailing what events/happenings/lines usually occur on each day, Wednesday through Sunday. I know you covered most of it, but it would be so helpful to have a quick reference of what to expect, especially for those who are still planning things out.

Also, when is the best time to try to squeeze in a visit to Disney?
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079115)
Posted by Savage on May 27th, 2010 @ 2:44am CDT
Gandalf wrote:Thanks for this, Savage! I'm another first-timer, and this post is very helpful.

One thing that would be great is a brief recap at the end detailing what events/happenings/lines usually occur on each day, Wednesday through Sunday. I know you covered most of it, but it would be so helpful to have a quick reference of what to expect, especially for those who are still planning things out.

Also, when is the best time to try to squeeze in a visit to Disney?



I'd suggest Wednesday anytime or Thursday morning, if you arent taking any customizing classes. Sunday afternoon after the con ends would be a good time as well.

See the end of the article for day-by-day breakdown.

Also added a Raffles/Drawings section in the middle.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079422)
Posted by Stixx on May 27th, 2010 @ 7:10pm CDT
Queestion. I live right near there, and will I be able to go for general admission and get all of the new figs and go in the dealer room?
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1079524)
Posted by Savage on May 28th, 2010 @ 3:51am CDT
cingularman31 wrote:Queestion. I live right near there, and will I be able to go for general admission and get all of the new figs and go in the dealer room?



With General Admission, you can only get into the convention on Saturday and Sunday. You do not receive any of the exclusive figures. You do get access to the dealer room though.

For more info, see the "Registration Packages" section of the article.
Re: An Unofficial Comprehensive Guide to BotCon (1080003)
Posted by Counterpunch on May 29th, 2010 @ 3:11pm CDT
You know, in thinking about it, I realized how many people may be completely unprepared to deal with Florida heat.

If you're traveling outside the convention with your family, do not underestimate the sun and how badly you can get burned in short order. Especially your little ones should you be planning to hit up Disney and such.

Hit the sunscreen and hit it hard.

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