I bought a Saturday only ticket. The decision seemed solid at the time but it was totally insane in retrospect. Saturday is so crowded, there needs to be a more emphatic word than crowded. It's like that scene from World War Z when all those people are trying to climb up the wall and they're climbing all over each other but imagine about half of those people in costume and the wall is actually the Atlanta Marriott.
You will stand in line for everything. I think this is just part of it. Hope for shade or that it is inside because the line may not be. I did get to stand in line with nice friendly geeks who really weren't complaining or irritated by the lines so that made it more pleasant. And there were fuzzy bear costumes behind me which were also amusing. Which brings me to my next point...
I have never sweat so much in my life. Consistently, excessively, constantly sweating all day even when I was inside. When it gets so crowded air conditioning just can't keep up with all that body heat. I did bring hygiene items with me so I didn't smell like a hot dog stand and that was an excellent decision.
I wore a costume, I was 1950s pin up Thor. I loved being asked to take pictures it was very flattering and made me feel like I did a great job with my costume. It really did make my experience more fun and I would recommend going in some kind of costume. BUT be careful with shoes and accessories.
I walked over 7 miles on Saturday, even my sensible flats which were comfortable but still looked cute with my costume became foot torture devices. It makes me want to plan costumes that could have tennis shoes.
Wigs are just the worst. Every time I ate anything my wig slipped a little. I kept having to re-adjust it later I found out that my wig cap had totally shed itself from my head and was balled up inside the wig. I think the wig also greatly contributed to my sweating.
I made this great Mjolnir hammer prop that was also a case that opened so I could have necessities but not have to carry a purse. It looked great but it was a little heavy. As the day wore on and I got more exhausted it became very heavy. I pretty much had to hold it with two hands which greatly reduced my ability to take pictures or hold a drink.
8. Getting Lost.
I got lost multiple times at Dragon Con, mostly it was outside trying find the other con hotels. They all start to look similar after you have sweat out all the calories that are supposed to be helping your brain function. I got help from an information kiosk and the attendant set me in the right direction, they are a great resource.
9. Weird Stuff.
You will see weird stuff, but this is what makes this experience unique. In my normal daily life I don't usually see My Little Ponies humping, nor do I usually witness Belle from Beauty and the Beast cussing like a sailor. There will also be partial nudity and costumes that defy explanation from even from the most knowledgeable geek. And this is just Dragon Con during the day, it got weirder at night.
10. Great People.
In a world that sometimes feels like it is populated by jerks it was amazing how many friendly and nice people I met at Dragon Con. I never felt judged or that I was strange for wearing a costume. I tried to do my part and be helpful to people as well. I helped a fawn turn on the sink sensors in the bathroom at the Hyatt and I helped Deadpool find the Hilton.
At the end of Saturday I was utterly exhausted, dehydrated and my legs and feet felt totally destroyed. Sunday I went home, slept and recovered. It was then that I realized that even with my noobness I still had an amazing time! I have already been thinking about costumes for next year and I will absolutely attend DragonCon 2015, just not so much on Saturday!