The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014

The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 11:56am CDT

Categories: Site News, Event News, Site Articles, Collector's Club News
Posted by: ScottyP   Views: 29,734

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With a week to go, I figured it'd be time to drop some knowledge for any first timers to the convention. Botcon is a great time but there are some things you can do to make the whole thing a lot smoother. Without further ado, I hereby present...

Scotty P's Botcon Pro-Tips

Or, what I've learned at Botcon


Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


This year will be my 6th Botcon and 4th consecutive one, as well as my 3rd in Pasadena. While I haven't been to as many shows as some folks, I feel like I've been to enough and learned enough to help out others with some knowledge. So here we go.

Tip 1 - The Hotel

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 1: Stay at one of the official hotels and book it early.

I'm not a travel guru - no extra knowledge here on how to get a cheaper flight or anything like that, you're on your own there. Quite frankly, paying the extra coin for the "official" convention hotel (or first alternate, depending on the city) is well worth it. Room parties, sales, and general proximity to the actual events will greatly enhance your convention experience. So, while it's tempting to look around town for a budget motel, I don't recommend that.

For this year's show, the Sheraton is very, very booked. The Hilton is not full but the rate may not still be available - but don't be afraid to call them and see if they can work you in to the block for at least some of the nights. I unwisely waited too long to book this year and had to do that. This is why Tip 1 says to book early - you'll end up paying a regular rate for some nights if you don't, and that can be catastrophic to your trip budget.

Tip 2 - Food

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 2: Find a local store to grab some quick meals that you can keep in your room.

Gotta eat, right? Unfortunately, this can be one of the more challenging things at the show to do without breaking the bank. Some years, like 2012 in Dallas, there were extremely limited options for restaurants even near the convention hotel. I can already tell you, you won't give a damn about most of your meals, you're just gonna want to grab some calories and move on. The easiest way to do this is to find a local store.

This can be a challenge. Pasadena's Gelson's, which was right across the street from the convention center, has apparently closed down. In Dallas, there was nothing remotely close. In San Diego, one had to take a trolley to find a store. Map things out beforehand and have a plan, and set aside some time to go buy some cheap stuff you can scarf down at the ready for breakfast and lunch. Non-perishable is best, but sometimes hotels will have mini-fridges that you can either use for free or pay a small fee per day for, you just have to ask. Just remember to be polite even if this option isn't available.

Trust me on this one, taking a couple hours on day one to get some cheap eats from a store will help your travel budget immensely, and take some of the stress out of having to "find" food while at the show. And yes, this can also make any alcohol-related expenditures a bit better as well. A $15 case of beer to share with friends will cost you as much as 2 pints at many hotel bars.

As a bonus tip for Pasadena, run across the street to Paseo Colorado and grab some Rubio's fish tacos if you want a tasty meal in a hurry that isn't stupid expensive. I know some California natives will groan at that, but this Carolina Boy has to go to a Rubio's at least once every time in CA. Deal with it 8)

Tip 3 - Lines

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events
Can you find me in this picture?


Tip 3: Do a tour or class and show up Wednesday.

How is that a line tip? Pretty simple, actually. If you register for a class or tour, you can pick up your box set and any other attendee stuff (comic, freebie, etc.) on Wednesday night - even if that class or tour is on Thursday! I've done this the past three years and it's made the entire experience better for several reasons. For one, the classes/tours/trips to theme parks are a lot of fun, and you get to hang out and meet other fans in a cool setting. Also, getting in on the Wednesday pick up means you can go straight to the club store line on Thursday, saving you literally hours. This of course ignores the Golden Ticket option, which I think is only practical for some folks and not a majority of con goers.

Of course, if you can't exercise this option (for instance, way too late this year to do so), make sure to bring something to do in line. That something can indeed be yourself - reach out and talk to the other folks in line with you! If you're not all that social though, pack a book, game system, something. These can get long, especially in Pasadena. [note: lines have been getting more efficient through the years, but bad timing on your part can make for a long wait.]

Tip 4 - Cash

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 4: Bring plenty of cash for the Dealer room.

Make it rain! Well, if the dealer doesn't mind. I don't think they'll want you to get too creepy about it though.

Seriously though, cash is king. Most dealers cannot take your card. ATMs will run out. I'm not advising you to travel with $4,000 cash in your pocket, that's dumb. What I am advising you to do is to have a plan on how to get some cash out before you hit the dealer floor. If you use a big bank, it's pretty easy to find a branch near the convention center to make a withdrawl.

Cash also helps with the club store - there are usually two lines, one for cash and one for cards, and the cash one typically moves faster. There have been exceptions to this some years, so don't hold me to that one too hard.

Just remember to be careful when traveling with cash, especially large amounts. Redeposit anything you don't use as soon as possible. Pasadena is very safe, so I don't imagine you'll get mugged and robbed or anything, but still be careful.

Tip 5 - Bags

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 5: If you plan on making purchases, bring bags.

I can't stress this one enough. I've even forgotten to do this as recently as a year ago. That wasn't smart! Most dealers will not have bags for you to carry your things. A few might, but don't count on that. Just pack a few extra leftover grocery bags in your luggage and you'll be way happy you did. Most plastic bags you can even bunch up and throw in your cargo short pockets (or purse, for the ladies) for easy access (fade, haters, cargo shorts are super useful).

If you bring too many bags, they can be useful for tip 8 below - use them as packing material! And of course, please recycle.

Tip 6 - Haggle (politely)

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 6: Haggle politely if you think a price is too high.

My apologies to dealers for this tip, as some may read into incorrectly. I urge readers of this post to carefully read this one, as over-haggling will make you "that guy".

First, when should you not haggle? If you walk up to an item you want, and you like the price, pay for it and move on. Pretty simple, right? Also, if the dealer is an established store (BBTS, TF Source, etc.), you probably aren't going to get any discounts, so I wouldn't bother there.

Now that that's out of the way, here's when you should haggle - when there's something you want that you feel is just priced way too high. Sometimes an item is just a hair too much to stomach. Don't be afraid to make a dealer an offer. However, and this part is important, if they aren't willing to negotiate or say no to your offer, then be polite, thank them, and move on. Some dealers didn't mark prices just to reduce them anyway, and that's ok. Also remember to be reasonable. Offering $50 for something marked $120 has a 0% chance of success.

Tip 7 - Panels

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 7: Go to some panels, and not just the ones you know you'll like.

So, I'm going to safely assume that almost everyone will go to the Hasbro panel, and most folks at Botcon will go to the TFCC panel. My only tip for those is to go to the panel beforehand so you can have a decent seat for the "main event".

My other tip for panels is to pick out at least one that sounds "meh" to you at first glance and go check it out. Broaden your horizons! Learn fun things! Or, you know, end up not liking it at all and leaving halfway through. At least you tried.

Tip 8 - Ship Your Stuff

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events


Tip 8: Ship any large items purchased back to your house for easy packing.

You know what's way cheaper than an overweight checked bag or replacing a broken toy because your luggage was too full and the TSA threw it around like a sack of potatoes? Shipping out your purchases, at least the big ones, while you're at the show. There is a Post Office near the convention center in Pasadena, and for other years, I recommend tracking down a close by US Post Office when possible. Or even just a regular UPS store or something.

The other important part of this tip - DO NOT use the shipping services on the convention floor! The rates are a complete rip off. As in, "$100 to ship just your box set home domestically" level of rip off. Just avoid it. Oh yeah, and remember, you need to do this before the PO closes on Saturday, so check hours carefully!

Final suggestion on this tip - if you need boxes, hit up the club store. They've got a ton of them and are happy to give you one or two.

Tip 9 - You're Here For Fun

Transformers News: Re: BotCon 2014 (Pasadena, CA) Discussion: Toys and Events
Sunburn Level > 9,000. Craps given level = 0.


Tip 9: Conventions can get busy and tiring, but remember, you're here for fun.

Man, sometimes, on that Sunday morning, you're all hungover and exhausted and your dopamine levels are spent and then you have to go be social and stuff and, well, remember at that point, that this is supposed to be a fun experience. Don't let stuff bog you down. Do what you can to keep feeling good. Drink lots of water, take a shower, change your clothes, get a good night's sleep, and make new friends. Botcon can be a really good time, but it's also only ~4 days of your year - make the most of it!

Final Tip


So with all that said, here's my final tip - post yours as well! There's a ton of collective knowledge and I could've droned on even longer, but I'm anxious to learn from others on this too. I'll see you next week in Pasadena!


(Many images ganked from The official Botcon Website. Please don't kill me for hotlinking. Thanks!)

Credit(s): ScottyP


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Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581531)
Posted by xyl360 on June 12th, 2014 @ 12:51pm CDT
I've got a tip for those NOT attending the convention, such as myself (I never go to them, usually due to geography cuz I HATE flying :P):

1. Keep your eyes on Seibertron.com's homepage for the news feed. Seriously, I know it seems obvious and whatnot, but if you don't watch it closely and constantly (if possible, i.e. if work/life allows) you might miss some HUGE (or important to YOU at least, even if no one else thinks it's a big deal) news about the latest in the world of the Transformers. I can't remember how many times I've noticed a small blurb or image showing something that was overshadowed by more 'significant' news and got pushed down the page or off the front page that ended up being the most important reveal to me as a fan due to my own personal tastes (anything Beast Wars comes to mind :P).

The news crew/Ryan/et al do a great job of covering the show and the reveals, but there's only so much space on the front page and as the big news starts rolling in, the stories and pictures are all competing for limited slots so stay tuned in to make sure you don't miss out on some 'holy grail' news that others may or may not think is such a 'big deal'.

Also don't forget to keep an eye out for any non-convention news/reveals, because often there are other things revealed/going on in the world of TFs that don't pop up at the convention, but come around the same time and make it to the front page (for example, that preorder you've been waiting to be listed over at BBTS or TFSource for one of the upcoming waves/figures/whatever).

2. If you aren't doing so already, start listening to the Twincast Podcast. It's one of the best resources for what's going on, not only at the convention, but in the collector community as well as other media such as the shows, movies and comics. The podcast from the show is always a hoot too because you get to hear Ryan and the others (usually) intoxicated as well as all the yelling/cheering/hoopla going on at the convention when it's recorded, so it's a little taste of what hanging out during the convention might be like for those of us who sit it out at home.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581536)
Posted by QBKiller94 on June 12th, 2014 @ 1:04pm CDT
Nice guide ScottyP! Very well thought out and organized. I'm not going, but I feel like you just walked me, step-by-step, through BotCon. This is an invaluable resource for first-timers and should be dusted off every year.

I may not be going, but I'm looking forward to the drunk Twincast recording. Last year's podcast was great.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581543)
Posted by xRotorstormx on June 12th, 2014 @ 1:13pm CDT
Excellent walk through Scotty!

*throws reusable shopping bags into suitcase*

There needs to be a huge emphasis on having FUN. Yes I understand the costs of attended Botcon can be high but that aside, it's a pseudo family gathering. This will be my 7th, 3rd in a row and once I get to the hotel and start meeting up with friends I forget about how much the plane ticket, the hotel and things like that cost me. It's about spending time with the coolest group of people that you only see once a year....make it count!

Too many times do I walk through the dealer room over hearing people complaining about this or that. No one wants to hear Debbie downers all weekend for goodness sake! Have fun, let bygones be bygones and just enjoy your time in sunny California. :D
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581550)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 12th, 2014 @ 1:33pm CDT
Okay, I have a Question, lets say hypothetically I go to botcon next year, and it's still in California. Who would any of you recommend reaching the convention, if i don't have driver's license? I ask because i don't have one, as i don't own a car, nor have had any need to, so without a drivers license i would be unable to rent a car. So should I carpool with someone, grab the airport shuttle from L.A.X to Pasadena, or should i get around to learning how to ride a bicycle 20 years late?
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581551)
Posted by ScottyP on June 12th, 2014 @ 1:37pm CDT
SW's SilverHammer wrote:Okay, I have a Question, lets say hypothetically I go to botcon next year, and it's still in California. Who would any of you recommend reaching the convention, if i don't have driver's license? I ask because i don't have one, as i don't own a car, nor have had any need to, so without a drivers license i would be unable to rent a car. So should I carpool with someone, grab the airport shuttle from L.A.X to Pasadena, or should i get around to learning how to ride a bicycle 20 years late?


I've never once rented a car during Botcon. Happened to drive there a couple years but one of those I never used my car, only had to do that in Dallas because it was so spread out.

For California, I've always just flown in, got a shuttle from airport to hotel (and back several days later), and that was that.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581555)
Posted by philswitch engage on June 12th, 2014 @ 1:45pm CDT
Other convention tips:

I have never been to botcon, but after going to lots of comic book conventions, I can give you some general tips.

Bring a messenger bag/back pack/ man bag/satchel/ Indiana Jones carried one. I personally carry a messenger bag with side pockets for bottles of water. You are going to walking a lot and getting dehydrated happens faster than you think.

In your bag, you should pack, a deodorant stick and gum, because no one wants to talk to or stand in line next to a stinky fan.

Also bring aspirin/Tylenol/what ever you use for a pain killer. I also recommend bringing tums and or pepto bismal. Who knows what your stomach may be like after eating convention food, or how hungover you may be. No one wants to spend a convention in the bath room or hiding your eyes from any lights cause your head is throbbing.

I hope this helps.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581558)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 12th, 2014 @ 2:02pm CDT
ScottyP wrote:
SW's SilverHammer wrote:Okay, I have a Question, lets say hypothetically I go to botcon next year, and it's still in California. Who would any of you recommend reaching the convention, if i don't have driver's license? I ask because i don't have one, as i don't own a car, nor have had any need to, so without a drivers license i would be unable to rent a car. So should I carpool with someone, grab the airport shuttle from L.A.X to Pasadena, or should i get around to learning how to ride a bicycle 20 years late?


I've never once rented a car during Botcon. Happened to drive there a couple years but one of those I never used my car, only had to do that in Dallas because it was so spread out.

For California, I've always just flown in, got a shuttle from airport to hotel (and back several days later), and that was that.


Oh well, that allot simpler than I thought XD. I know you and some other people don't exactly like how expensive it is to get from Midwest, east coast, and southern u.s to California from listening to the recent podcast, but I kinda hope it'll be somewhere in California next year, mostly because, well im in Oregon XD.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581613)
Posted by megatronus on June 12th, 2014 @ 4:41pm CDT
Thanks for the tips Scotty! Not that I'll be there, but interesting to see your thought process.

Also, is that final picture you and the fiancé? Adorable!
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581652)
Posted by ebonyleopard on June 12th, 2014 @ 6:19pm CDT
I've been to Botcon once in my whole live, but I know this is a tip that's true to all cons. Be sure to bring DEODORANT and TOOTH PASTE, hell, bring one for a friend. Bring some to pass OUT. But just bring some. :michaelbay:
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581658)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on June 12th, 2014 @ 6:28pm CDT
Ebonyleopard wrote:I've been to Botcon once in my whole live, but I know this is a tip that's true to all cons. Be sure to bring DEODORANT and TOOTH PASTE, hell, bring one for a friend. Bring some to pass OUT. But just bring some. :michaelbay:


THIS.

In fact, let me amend this for Ebonyleopard: Bring Deodorant that has anti-perspirant in it. I know it seems like it should go without saying, but TRIPLE CHECK, not all of them are both.

I made the mistake of bringing a deodorant without anti-perspirant to a con before. Wet and sticky is just as bad as smelly when surrounded by people.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581666)
Posted by ebonyleopard on June 12th, 2014 @ 6:47pm CDT
Midnight_Fox wrote:
Ebonyleopard wrote:I've been to Botcon once in my whole live, but I know this is a tip that's true to all cons. Be sure to bring DEODORANT and TOOTH PASTE, hell, bring one for a friend. Bring some to pass OUT. But just bring some. :michaelbay:


THIS.

In fact, let me amend this for Ebonyleopard: Bring Deodorant that has anti-perspirant in it. I know it seems like it should go without saying, but TRIPLE CHECK, not all of them are both.

I made the mistake of bringing a deodorant without anti-perspirant to a con before. Wet and sticky is just as bad as smelly when surrounded by people.



Amen brother.

Do it for yourself. For your friends. For your family. For the fandom. Don't be a Stinkatron at the con. Be a Smellgoodobot. The ladies will also thank you and the men will love you.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581670)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 12th, 2014 @ 7:17pm CDT
Ebonyleopard wrote: The ladies will also thank you and the men will love you.


Lol "Ladies, you'll like it, and guys, you're going to like it even more" XD
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581681)
Posted by mooncake623 on June 12th, 2014 @ 8:24pm CDT
Great advice ScottyP!! I've never been to a botcon and really have no intention to unless it's in the North East.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581734)
Posted by Thalack on June 13th, 2014 @ 12:32am CDT
Has anyone gotten their package pickup time email for botcon? I haven't seen one yet and we're close to botcon now.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581736)
Posted by UltraMarginal on June 13th, 2014 @ 12:50am CDT
Sabrblade wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:
Besides, the Vehicon molds make rather a spiffy Decepticon Clones pair - Click here

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Alpha Trion out of Thundertron would be a no-brainer,
Another spiffy choice - Click here



Dude, those customs are really nice, Love your work. Well, Cheetimus' work. :D
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581738)
Posted by Sabrblade on June 13th, 2014 @ 12:51am CDT
UltraMarginal wrote:
Sabrblade wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:
Besides, the Vehicon molds make rather a spiffy Decepticon Clones pair - Click here

JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:Alpha Trion out of Thundertron would be a no-brainer,
Another spiffy choice - Click here



Dude, those customs are really nice, Love your work. Well, Cheetimus' work. :D
They're not my work. I'm not Cheetimus Primal.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581743)
Posted by UltraMarginal on June 13th, 2014 @ 1:45am CDT
Scotty P and XYL360 both of you, good advice.

Being international attending the Botcons is indeed a rare event, as such most are spent drooling over the Seibertron news feed.

This year will be my second and that type of info is good to have as well, even if really just a refresher for most.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1581816)
Posted by ScottyP on June 13th, 2014 @ 10:25am CDT
Thalack wrote:Has anyone gotten their package pickup time email for botcon? I haven't seen one yet and we're close to botcon now.


I got mine quite a while back. I'd check your spam folder and if that doesn't help, I'd try calling them up.
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1582859)
Posted by El Duque on June 16th, 2014 @ 7:59pm CDT
Popular Godzilla and occasional Transformers artist Matt Frank has announced a special print for BotCon 2014 titled All Hail Grimlock. The print features Grimlock in his various incarnations throughout the history of the Transformers franchise. Check it out below:

Image
Re: The Official Seibertron.com Guide to BotCon 2014 (1582863)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on June 16th, 2014 @ 8:20pm CDT
Oh my god, something that makes energon grimlock look somewhat decent.

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