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Dragon Con Related (More or Less) => 2009 and earlier => Archive => General Discussion => General Discussion (Archive) => Topic started by: KaleidoKatie on June 01, 2009, 05:58:04 PM

Title: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: KaleidoKatie on June 01, 2009, 05:58:04 PM
I've never been to a con before, but I've always wanted to check one out! I sort of have an idea of what to expect, but I'm a little nervous since I'll be going there alone. I'm mainly going to meet a lot of the Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, and Whedonverse people. (yay!)  ;D

I started thinking about this pretty late, so I noticed the hotels listed on the Dragon Con site are already sold out. It should only be about a 4 hour drive for me, but I figure I'll need a hotel anyway. Do you guys know of any good hotels that aren't listed? I don't mind driving a block or so. Since I'm pretty shy, I most likely won't be going to any of the after parties or socializing much. But I would still like to be close enough to get to the Con easy. And would parking be a problem?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!  ;D

Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: scarfyrre on June 01, 2009, 07:20:11 PM


The hotels listed on the DragonCon site are pretty much it (not necessarily the host hotels, they do have others listed).  I hate to break it to you, but you'll be driving a lot further than a block. :(
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: KaleidoKatie on June 01, 2009, 08:50:17 PM
Ohh, I guess what I'm really looking for is anything somewhat in the area. I just don't want to have a hotel that's like an hour drive away. I'll do some more research. There has to be something out there.  :-[
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 03, 2009, 12:04:14 AM
I stayed at the Day's Inn many years ago... I would call all of the overflow hotels listed on:
http://www.dragoncon.org/location.php#overflow
and see if they have any openings.  You might get lucky.  

Also, many if you find a group or are willing to pay for your fraction of the room, people will find slots open in what they have as time goes on.  
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Kevin Bachelder on June 03, 2009, 01:31:14 PM
As a fellow 'Scaper and Whedonite I can tell you that you'll be among friends and I suspect that you'll have a great time at the con!!

As far as securing some hotel space that will be a bit of an adventure.  I'd suggest you check out the threads, websites and Live Journals linked below as a great way to learn about the con and to stay in the loop since so many other folks are probably in a similar situation.

The DragonCon community is very willing to offer advice and assistance.


DragonCon Live Journal
http://community.livejournal.com/dragoncon/

Recent posting on that Live Journal from a newbie with lots of helpful advice offered
http://community.livejournal.com/dragoncon/1953773.html

DragonCon rooms Live Journal
http://community.livejournal.com/dragonconrooms

DragonPod - the DragonCon podcast ** self promotion warning ** I'm a co-host  ;)
http://www.dragon-pod.com

Here is a link to the PDF version of the 'Pocket Program' from last year.  This guide is over 150 pages.  This is usually posted online about a week before the con so you can download it and try to plan your activities in advance.  A copy of this is also given to you when you pick up your badge at registration.
http://www.box.net/shared/jj7rp4vui8

Here is a link to a PDF page from last year's 'Pocket Program' that listed many of the nearby hotels
http://www.box.net/shared/ta3242az4i

Also keep in mind that many people make reservations well in advance and then need to cancel so room availability can be a very fluid situation especially as we get closer to the con.  You might need to just make phone calls to several of the hotels on an almost daily basis in the hopes that something may open up. 

Finally, to give you an idea of how much fun the con can be check out this recap from DragonCon 2005
http://www.dvdtalk.com/features/dragoncon2005/index.html


Feel free to ask any questions.


Good luck,

Kevin
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: KaleidoKatie on June 06, 2009, 03:52:38 PM
Thank you so much for all of that info, Kevin! I'm going to go through all of it!

I think it's a great idea to keep calling the hotels to see if they get any openings. I'm sure something will work out. :)

Do you happen to know the rules on getting things signed by the celebrity guests? I want to be able to get a picture signed, but a friend of mine would like me to have his BSG DVD set signed for him too. I'm sure it depends on the actor or whoever, but does Dragon con have any specific rules against having two things signed?
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: scarfyrre on June 06, 2009, 03:58:59 PM


Nope, all up to the actor/guest.  Expect to pay for it, though.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: KaleidoKatie on June 06, 2009, 06:25:08 PM
Oh ok, thanks. About how much is it per signature?
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 07, 2009, 10:03:46 AM
I think $10-$50 is fairly standard.  (I think)
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: TheDrunkenJedi on June 07, 2009, 10:35:35 AM
As far as the hotel this goes, in both '06 & '07 I was able to book at the Hilton about 5 weeks prior to the start of the *Con.

This was possible because Hilton charges a pretty hefty fee on your credit card if you cancel close to a month or so.

Things may have changed-and this is by far not a sure bet-but I called pretty much every day, twice a day for about 3 weeks before I hit pay dirt.

I usually book in October, but I made the error by letting a friend make the lodging bookings 2 years in a row...anyway you may still have some hope with host hotel.

Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Martele d'Acre on June 08, 2009, 01:05:23 AM
In 2006 I was able to get a room at the Hyatt in July. Some of that might have been because FEMA had taken over a lot of the hotel that month due to a hurricane.

Typically I book my room when I check out now.

Are you willing to use MARTA? There are quite a few motels in what is commonly referred to as Mid-Town Atlanta. It is just two stops to the Peachtree Center. However, MARTA doesn't run 24/7 so don't count on staying really late.

Cabs do run all night though. I think the last time I stayed at the Hyatt (March 2009) I got a cab to Mid-Town for $7.00 + a $3.00 tip. That's probably more tip than needed but it was easier just to hand him a ten. We went both ways so it was $20.00 but we got picked up and dropped of at the curbside of the exact place we wanted to go. We might have walked 50 feet total before being inside restaurant and hotel, both legs included.

Check out the Marriott Mid-Town, very nice. It's right off Spring Street if I recall. MARTA station is a 1.5 blocks and it's a safe area as far as I could tell.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: KaleidoKatie on June 08, 2009, 06:44:18 PM
Ohh great! Thank you, Martele! I'll definitely check out the Marriott Mid-Town.  ;D

Transportation won't be a problem, since I'll be driving my car there. I live about 4 hours away. My only concern is parking at the Con. Do they have a section for guest parking, or is it only for people in main hotels there? I would think they would, but I just want to be sure.

And thanks for the signature cost, Trathor! I'll have to be very selective on my choices then.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: scarfyrre on June 08, 2009, 06:53:09 PM


Just as a reminder, people who have rooms reserved at the main hotels do release them closer to the con, so be sure whatever hotel you book now allows you to cancel in case a better option opens up.  Keep your eyes open for posts on the Yahoo groups, MySpace groups (where I got mine at the Hyatt last year...woot!), FaceBook, here, and other forums.  All you have to do is get the reservation number from the person and then call the hotel to change the credit card.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Martele d'Acre on June 09, 2009, 12:55:14 AM
Transportation won't be a problem... My only concern is parking at the Con. Do they have a section for guest parking, or is it only for people in main hotels there? I would think they would, but I just want to be sure.
No, parking is first come first parked. It is not cheap either. That is why I suggested staying in Mid-Town and taking MARTA to Con. You will have parking at your hotel, but not at Con.

Parking is like any downtown area. If you don't lease a spot then you just hope for the best.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 09, 2009, 01:38:37 PM
Yeah, parking is a bit of a pain.  I would say that by 3:00pm Friday, most of the hotel and parking deck parking in the immediate area is gone. 
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: scarfyrre on June 09, 2009, 02:35:04 PM


I don't know if I posted this previously, but here's a tip I might follow this year.

Unload your stuff at the hotel, and if there isn't any parking left (or if you don't want to pay like 20 bucks a day!), after unloading head up to the MARTA station on Lindbergh.  You can park there safely for the whole weekend much more cheaply ($7 a day!), and then pop back down via MARTA.  Honestly, you won't need your car the rest of the weekend.  Even when I lived in Atlanta, the Jeep was parked and never moved until I was going back to Alpharetta. :)

http://www.itsmarta.com/getthere/stations/lindbergh.htm

Then come Monday morn, get your stuff downstairs (which is a total pain, btw), have someone babysit it while you go fetch the car at MARTA.  You'll be taking the train from Peachtree Center, which is like a block or two away from the host hotels, back to Lindbergh to the get the car.  Obviously, after parking at Lindbergh, you head TO Peachtree Center to get to the con. ;)

Obviously, just like you'd do at the hotel parking, keep valuables out of sight.  Car is perfectly safe, though, and if you stay all four nights, you save like $70 on parking and tipping alone.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 09, 2009, 07:24:11 PM


I don't know if I posted this previously, but here's a tip I might follow this year.

Unload your stuff at the hotel, and if there isn't any parking left (or if you don't want to pay like 20 bucks a day!), after unloading head up to the MARTA station on Lindbergh.  You can park there safely for the whole weekend much more cheaply ($7 a day!), and then pop back down via MARTA.  Honestly, you won't need your car the rest of the weekend.  Even when I lived in Atlanta, the Jeep was parked and never moved until I was going back to Alpharetta. :)

http://www.itsmarta.com/getthere/stations/lindbergh.htm

Then come Monday morn, get your stuff downstairs (which is a total pain, btw), have someone babysit it while you go fetch the car at MARTA.  You'll be taking the train from Peachtree Center, which is like a block or two away from the host hotels, back to Lindbergh to the get the car.  Obviously, after parking at Lindbergh, you head TO Peachtree Center to get to the con. ;)

Obviously, just like you'd do at the hotel parking, keep valuables out of sight.  Car is perfectly safe, though, and if you stay all four nights, you save like $70 on parking and tipping alone.


Yeah, these are REALLY good points.  I know I will still end up parking in the parking garage, just so I could get to the car if I wanted to... and may even load up some stuff Sunday night - but the smarter thing to do would be what you have said here. 
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Martele d'Acre on June 16, 2009, 02:32:52 AM
Yeah, these are REALLY good points.  I know I will still end up parking in the parking garage, just so I could get to the car if I wanted to... and may even load up some stuff Sunday night - but the smarter thing to do would be what you have said here. 
They are good saving money points, but it's an inconvenience. You just have to decide on what is best.

We typically start loading the car ( in the garage ) Sunday afternoon. We do more on Monday but not until 1800 at least. It is way crazy on Monday. We finish loading all the costumes on Tuesday. We don't leave until Wednesday so we have very little to take to the car by then.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 16, 2009, 11:03:30 AM
Yeah, these are REALLY good points.  I know I will still end up parking in the parking garage, just so I could get to the car if I wanted to... and may even load up some stuff Sunday night - but the smarter thing to do would be what you have said here. 
They are good saving money points, but it's an inconvenience. You just have to decide on what is best.

We typically start loading the car ( in the garage ) Sunday afternoon. We do more on Monday but not until 1800 at least. It is way crazy on Monday. We finish loading all the costumes on Tuesday. We don't leave until Wednesday so we have very little to take to the car by then.

If I could get that much time off, that is how I would want to do it too! 
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: scarfyrre on June 16, 2009, 01:50:17 PM


Oh, it's totally inconvenient, Martele, but a good option for those on a budget.  I can afford to park in the hotel garage, but with many other people sleeping on floors to save money for con, I wanted to give that option.  Seventy dollars is a lot!  I don't go to con unless I can afford the whole weekend being able to pay for the room myself, which I am blessed to be able to afford, but then I'm middle-aged and married to a lawyer. ;)

And just to see who is reading this thread, I'm taking orders for "pie" for con.  More details on that later, but if you want some, I'm making it again this year and willing to make extra, for only the cost of the ingredients, for those that want some.
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 17, 2009, 10:09:56 PM
And just to see who is reading this thread, I'm taking orders for "pie" for con.  More details on that later, but if you want some, I'm making it again this year and willing to make extra, for only the cost of the ingredients, for those that want some.

me me me me me! 

I heard about it last year, and never got to try it!  I've gotta try some of your pie this year! 

Let me know how much to pitch in, I'm glad to! 
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Martele d'Acre on June 17, 2009, 10:43:48 PM
Oh, it's totally inconvenient, Martele, but a good option for those on a budget.  I can afford to park in the hotel garage, but with many other people sleeping on floors to save money for con, I wanted to give that option.  Seventy dollars is a lot!
I meant no disrespect. I completely agree if your budget is tight parking at the MARTA station is a good way to save money. If you are staying at the Hyatt it's more than $70 too. I think maybe $108 for 4 days, plus tips. I give the guys $2 every time they have to put a key in the ignition.

I don't go to con unless I can afford the whole weekend being able to pay for the room myself, which I am blessed to be able to afford, but then I'm middle-aged and married to a lawyer. ;)
I agree completely. You can find my post somewhere on this board about how we do con. My wife retired from the military when she was 37. She has worked several jobs since then but isn't working now and doesn't need to. I'm a middle aged computer guy.

And just to see who is reading this thread, I'm taking orders for "pie" for con.  More details on that later, but if you want some, I'm making it again this year and willing to make extra, for only the cost of the ingredients, for those that want some.
I certainly want to try some. If you pass along the encoded ingredients and a special decoder ring I will make sure they are all available Saturday night.
 :-X

Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Darkly Noon on June 18, 2009, 04:28:16 PM
This is my first Dragoncon and I have reservations at the Hilton and the Sheraton.  Which one should I stay at?
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Trathor on June 18, 2009, 10:15:43 PM
This is my first Dragoncon and I have reservations at the Hilton and the Sheraton.  Which one should I stay at?

I would say the Hilton. But recent history would say:

Hilton Pros: 
 - Closer to 'heart' of the Con
 - Same hotel as gaming for the last several years
 - Good layout on the inside of the hotel, bars/ etc, but also much more quiet at night than Mariott or Hyatt (Hyatt is always nuts)

Sheraton Pros:
 - Last year they put all of the BSG and Trekkies in the Sheraton, it feels like you are separate from everything else, but that can be nice if you want to have more focus on that kind of thing... that is if they do the same thing again this year, and who knows... no one does really. 
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Kevin Bachelder on June 23, 2009, 01:28:05 PM
This is my first Dragoncon and I have reservations at the Hilton and the Sheraton.  Which one should I stay at?

I haven't stayed at either hotel but I spend a decent amount of time in the Hilton since the podcasting track is there.  Elevator access is pretty good and the rooms there seem nice.  No real experience with the Sheraton myself.

Kevin
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Martele d'Acre on June 25, 2009, 01:06:09 AM
Hilton!

This is my first Dragoncon and I have reservations at the Hilton and the Sheraton.  Which one should I stay at?

I haven't stayed at either hotel but I spend a decent amount of time in the Hilton since the podcasting track is there.  Elevator access is pretty good and the rooms there seem nice.  No real experience with the Sheraton myself.

Kevin
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: TheDrunkenJedi on June 25, 2009, 07:27:04 AM
+1 on Hilton
Title: Re: Thinking about making this my first Con!
Post by: Xblade42 on July 26, 2009, 07:11:08 PM
I agree completely. You can find my post somewhere on this board about how we do con. My wife retired from the military when she was 37. She has worked several jobs since then but isn't working now and doesn't need to. I'm a middle aged computer guy.


My sister is a middle-aged computer guy, too. (Insurance company, IT dept.)

2 out of the 3 Hoosiers would like to try PIE.  We'll contribute whatever you need.
Thanks!
Tony & Michelle