How to know when a line is worth it

21 JULY 2017

By now, you've heard the stories about Conan and the Game of Thrones experience: people waiting 12+ hours in line and sometimes not getting in. Then there's the Westworld offsite, which only admits 120 people a day - so people are determined to line up earlier and earlier to sign up each morning.

I am a big believer in enjoying the Con you're at - and it's hard to do that if you spend all of it in a line. I know some people work in groups with complicated systems involving assigned shifts, but the vast majority of attendees just have their friends to rely on.

Obviously the Conan situation was new - a few people who actually had tickets were turned away because they overbooked, and the standby line for both A and B shows were sent away. In previous years, some standbys did get in. The Westworld offsite limitations weren't communicated well either. But the Game of Thrones offsite line wasn't a surprise and there are lines in every direction for other events.

You can read my Q&A on lines here but I'm going to repost this: knowing when a line is worth it. Last night I talked to several people who didn't even set foot in the Con because they spent all day in line without seeing their intended destination. Not a great way to kick of Comic-Con.

Deciding when the wait is worth it partly depends on your fandom level. But you also need to ask yourself if:
  • You would be okay seeing the panel on YouTube or in the Playback room
  • You'll feel let down if your favorite cast member only speaks once, while the director and star dominate the panel
  • You'll be disappointed if you get stuck so far back in the room you have to watch the panel on a screen anyhow
  • You'll be disappointed if the offsite experience is over with in 3 minutes and doesn't offer significant swag.
  • You haven't gotten a chance to thoroughly explore the Exhibit Hall
  • There's anything else going on at the same time that you really want to see.
If you answer yes to most of those - I wouldn't spend more than a few hours in line.

I'd also advise checking Twitter for real time updates on lines - not just for what you want to do, but what you've already written off. My first-timers assumed that Hall H and Ballroom 20 would be impossible but both were walk-in at various points of yesterday.

Also, look around at other offsites. It's probably better to do 3 B-level offsites than wait 8 hours for an A-level offsite you never even get into it. Hit up Netflix at Hilton Gaslamp or do the Tech Pavilion at the Omni. (I'll review this later - it's worth visiting.) The Blade Runner experience is getting popular but it's worth a try; same for the Kingsman offsite; there's also the Tick and so on. I realize coming home from Comic-Con with those cool GOT videos of yourself is a major get - but make sure you're okay with sacrificing an entire day for them.

Finally, as Conan taught us, don't count on this year being the same as every other year. Crowd preferences change, new management teams institute new policies, and attendees get more skilled at accessing certain activities. Something that's penetrable one year can be a madhouse the next.

I'll post an update on the various Con announcements and developments later today. Till then, have a happy Con and make smart choices.


  1. Last year, most of my friends spent most of their time waiting in lines. The only real line I stood in was the funko line, and that was for my best friend who begged me to. The line was horrifyingly long, the heat oven-like, and the humidity made me sticky and wet. I think if a person wants to wait in line, that's cool. But as you said waiting in line also limits seeing the other stuff CC offers. I tell my friends to just go to Youtube and see it in the comfort of your house. Last year I so enjoyed my time because I didn't feel rushed. I saw nearly all I wanted to. This year no passes but I can enjoy CC seeing all the events and festivities on TV especially today since I had to work. Maybe I'll snag a pass for 2018 and enjoy all that's offered at CC. But for me I'll skip the long lines.

    1. You have a good attitude. And I'm glad you can still enjoy SDCC from home. Good luck next year!