You're probably sick to death at this point of hearing me talk about how tired you'll be, how overwhelming the Con is, how long the lines are. I'm a broken record, no doubt. But I'm going to dwell in that vein a little longer today and ask you - if you've never been to the Con before - to take a minute to realize how big the convention center is. Because you'll need a realistic idea of what you're working with when you make your panel plans.
Your panel-to-panel travel
First know that the center will be crowded in general. Attendees walking, groups of friends talking, people sitting and sprawled out and rubbing their aching feet, cosplayer photo shoots - you're always dodging and weaving people as you make your way from room to room. So if you're plotting your course from room 3 to room 25ABC, you might want to look at these floor plans and get a rough idea of what it takes.
Lines and room size
It's easy to be taken aback by the lines the first time you see them. Sometimes the smart thing really is giving up and going to Plan B; but sometimes you need to remember the room you're targeting can seat thousands of people and you still have a good shot at getting in.
Here's a handy room capacity chart:
- Hall H holds 6,500 people
- Ballroom 20 will hold about 4,908
- Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront holds about 2,660
- Room 6BCF will hold about 2,160
- Room 6A will hold about 1,040
- Room 6DE will hold about 884
- Room 11AB will hold about 504
- Room 5AB will hold about 504
- Room 25ABC will hold about 480
- Room 7AB will hold about 480
- Room 24ABC will hold about 420
- Room 23ABC will hold about 405
- Room 32AB will hold about 350
- Room 26AB will hold about 340
- Room 8 will hold about 340
- Room 2 will hold about 340
- Room 9 will hold about 280
- Room 4 will hold about 280
Outside the convention center
I show this photo all the time because it's useful. That's the convention center in the middle with the Hilton Bayfront to your right. The shiny mirrored-looking building to the left is the Marriott Marquis. The taller building beyond it is the Hyatt. Look at the car size for a sense of perspective and you'll realize why getting from room 7 to the Indigo Ballroom, or going from Hall H to the Nintendo Lounge, is going to take a few minutes.
As far as remembering where rooms are once you're inside, the center is laid out in a fairly comprehensive fashion compared to others I've seen. It's unlikely you'll get hopelessly lost. But it is a good idea to check the maps online or in your program guide before you set out for a panel, just to make sure you're headed in the right direction.