Wizard World is not new to comic conventions, in fact they have several every year all across North America. This was, however, the first time for Wizard World Fan Fest in Chicago and they did a few things right that many other cons seem to be missing out on.
This is the best idea ever at a con. Countless cosplayers have to take public transportation, those cosplayers have to endure weird and frequently lewd looks, if they have a weapon of some sort it is even worse. The best way to cut down on the personal discomfort level is to cover up or put stuff in bags. Unfortunately when you get to the con there is no place to put coat or bags. This gives us a place to put it. Even better would be if they had a bank of rentable lockers like at a bus depot so you could store your purchases or costume components. I think a lot more of us would make purchases if we had some way to store them while we wandered the con floor
Ticket cost is a big reason that many don’t go to the big cons, and when they do go they spend nothing. You take a high priced ticket, add in the cost of transportation or parking and you have just spent an entire day of employment. Forget about getting food or drink. On top of that there is no way you can even afford to a comic book, let alone anything else you really want. Cons are expensive.
Many of these cons have the aisles so close together that it is hard for regularly clothed people to walk through them and look at some of the vendors. If you have a costume with wings, weaponry or horns, then some of those aisles are impossible for you to get down and you never get a chance to look at the vendors or artists that are there. If you do manage to get into one of these aisles and someone stops you for a photo then you are blocking everyone else in the aisle.
Q&A Panels that were easy access
At a con it is very easy to loose track of time. If you really want to go see a panel, you frequently miss the time. When you do put aside specific time for a panel, you then have to wander the back hallways until you find the room you want. Wizard World Fan Fest had the panels out there in the open, in the middle of the floor, where it was easy access for everyone to see and hear. I understand that it might not be the easiest thing to do with the really large cons, but at least make it easier to find some of the panels by setting up road signs so we don’t wander in circles and miss the panels.
For those (like me) who have trouble keeping track of the time, Wizard World announced when panels were starting and let you know where those panels were. Again, not the easiest thing to do at the large cons, but a nice big sign showing the current time and maybe a list of upcoming panels?
Most cons have a game room, but patrons hardly ever see them. If you are new to cons you never even know they exist. You might see them on the program and briefly wonder about them, but then there is so much else going on that they quickly fade from your memory. If you are a gamer that looks for these rooms, they are often hidden in the back or tucked into a dark corner like an after thought. At Wizard World the gaming room was right in the open, a huge wide open area with lots of lighting and a huge game selection. For families this is a perfect area to take the kids and wind down with a simple game of checkers (I think I also saw Candyland and a few other kid games) or to let your child get their pokemon fix while you rest your feet.
As an old school gamer, I was delighted to see an arcade set up (courtesy of Galloping Goose Arcade) filled with old retro game consoles. This is a great introduction to the old games for the new generation, a trip down memory lane for us old timers and just plain fun for everyone.