Are you nervous about Open Registration?

10 FEBRUARY 2016

Because it'll be here soon, ruining your Saturday morning and possibly your entire year, or filling you with anticipatory bliss for the next 6 months.

As many of you know, the double-punch of Open Reg and subsequent Hotel Day is in many ways the most stressful part of San Diego Comic-Con. The upside is that once you get those locked down, you can breathe easier and let yourself get excited when the announcements start rolling out; the other, less-appreciated upside is that once you know for sure you are not going to SDCC, you can make plans for other Cons this year. You'll have to move through the 7 stages of SDCC grief first, but you will get there eventually.

If you're an old hand at SDCC, you can disregard the rest of this. First-timers, this is what you can expect over the new few months.

Open Registration

If you haven't yet gotten a Member ID, do that now. At some point relatively soon, you'll get an email telling you the date and link for the Open Registration badge sale. This is an online sale in which you are competing with a gazillion people for a limited number of badges. The process itself isn't that complicated but is still an emotionally grueling experience for most of us. As we get closer, I'll post more info on navigating the sale. For now, just make sure you've got your Member ID locked down, that your comrades can say the same, and be sure you have enough space on your credit cards to pay for badges. Also look into joining a buying group; see me if you don't know anyone to join up with.

Early Bird Hotel Sale

Either right before or right after Open Reg - probably after - we'll have the Early Bird Hotel Sale. Here you can pick a hotel and book a room without going through the mind-scrambling horror of Hotel Day. (See below.) The drawbacks: you have to pay up front and the hotels are not downtown. But with downtown rooms in such limited supply anyhow, this is a great option for pragmatists and people who want to save money.

Hotel Day

CCI's very special hotel sale offers discounted rooms at all of the hotels they have a deal with - but these rooms have been increasingly hard to get in recent years. (This isn't their fault; in fact CCI has put serious effort into keeping rooms available and affordable for attendees.) Last year's Hotel Day was a circus that you had to see to believe, with people getting hung up (like me) and other people getting shapeshifting pages and a dozen other weirdnesses. I got in and timestamped three minutes into the sale and got nothing. Then when reservations opened back up, in addition to the discount rates, there were rooms available at insane prices like a thousand dollars a night. Want to sidestep this chaos? I recommend the Early Bird sale for those of you who aren't set on staying downtown. Shuttle rides just aren't that bad. For the rest of you, be ready.

Those are the 3 big events to anticipate over the next few months. (The parking sale is also a humdinger but that affects a smaller number of attendees.) So if you haven't already, watch the tutorials on YouTube, start saving money, start making friends online and get ready. Once all this gets underway, you'll be riding a psychological rollercoaster.

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