4 MARCH 2015
Just a reminder that Early Bird ends on 24 March. That's Hotel Day; the annual legendary day when we all flood into the system and fight for the hotel room of our dreams. Right now, though, Early Bird is giving you the opportunity to skip the bloodbath and book a reasonably priced room of your choosing.
Virtually every first-timer I've talked to - and there are a lot of them this year - have ignored Early Bird. "We want to stay where the parties are." That's valid as long as you recognize that so do over a hundred thousand other people. And there just aren't enough downtown hotel rooms to go around. Remember that the top hotels like Marriott Marquis, Hyatt and Hilton Bayfront are going to be housing the other half of SDCC: celebrities, producers, famous artists and writers and all their friends. So if you want to go ahead and bet the farm on getting one of those rooms, go ahead - but know it's a gamble.
Again, you don't pick your room on Hotel Day. You go into the system and submit your top 6 choices. The system then chooses your hotel based on first come/first serve and the kind of room you requested. And you can land anywhere. It's a risk, which is why Early Bird is a budget-friendly option for those of you who would prefer to have more control over your room and save some money.
Below are the available Early Bird hotels, including their distance from the convention center and nightly rates. Each one is on the shuttle route. (And yes, these prices are as cheap as it gets for hotel rooms during San Diego Comic-Con. You won't find a better bargain. Even the Motel 6 out on Hotel Circle goes up to 242/night for the Con.)
Best Western Seven Seas: 6.4 miles - 168/night for a 4 night minimum stay.
Courtyard by Marriott Mission Valley: 6 miles - 204/night for a 4 night minimum.
Crowne Plaza San Diego: 5.8 miles - 186/night for 4 nights; 197/night for 3 nights; 208/night for 2 nights.
DoubleTree San Diego Mission Valley: 5.6 miles - 203/night for a 4 night minimum stay.
DoubleTree SD Hotel Circle: 7 miles - 204/night for a 4 night minimum stay.
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley: 5 miles - 189/night for 4 night stay; 194/night for 3 nights.
San Diego Marriott Mission Valley: 6.5 miles - 195/night for a 4 night stay; 205/night for 3 nights.
Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina: 3 miles - 210/night for a 4 night minimum.
Sheraton Mission Valley: 5.2 miles - 185/night for a 4 night minimum.
Town and Country: 5.6 miles - 185/night for a 3 or 4 night minimum.
If your badge type doesn't require the 3 or 4 night minimum, consider staying an extra day and taking advantage of the outside events. My pick is the Sheraton Hotel & Marina simply because it's close and a fast shuttle ride, or inexpensive cab ride if you don't want to wait for a shuttle. The Town & Country is convenient if you're going there Wednesday to get your badge.
But really, any hotel at SDCC is just a place to crash at night; you're not going to be spending much time there. I've seen many people pay outrageous prices for an independently-booked room at the Hilton Bayfront, say, because they were certain they'd be chatting up Nathan Fillion in the elevator or eating breakfast next to John Barrowman. Then none of that happened and they realized it was identical to staying at a Holiday Inn, except closer and more expensive.
The Early Bird system shuts down on 24 March, so you have just under 3 weeks to get moving on this.