It’s Easter weekend, which must mean it’s time for WonderCon to return to its (relatively new) home at the Anaheim Convention Center. This is the fourth year for the con in Southern California after 24 years in the Bay Area.
WonderCon has certainly settled in down south, easily selling out 3-day and Saturday badges over a month before the show. But with Friday and Sunday passes still readily available, it’s got plenty of room to grow – and space to welcome families and community members who aren’t quite up to the daunting challenge that many other sold-out shows can be.
Remember that WonderCon badges are only available online; there are no tickets sold at the door. So plan ahead and grab your pass before heading out. Expect WonderCon to fully sell out before the weekend is through.
Let’s take a look at some of the happenings in Anaheim this weekend.
See our post from last year on alternate routes and parking options. Note that the daily rate at the Convention Center lots and GardenWalk has increased to $15, and the Disneyland Toy Story lot will be charging their regular rate of $17. (Ouch.)
Saturday is the most popular day for costume group meetups. A sampling:
- Geek Girl Brunch: 9:00am Saturday; RSVP required
- Supernatural meetup: 2:00pm Saturday, near the fountain in the entrance plaza
- Marvel cosplay meetup & group photo shoot: 3:00pm Saturday, on the South Terrace (accessible via the second floor on the Marriott side of the convention center; see Facebook event for more details)
- 405th Pacific (Halo cosplayers) meetup & photoshoot: 3:00pm Saturday at the fountain in the entrance plaza
- Bob’s Burgers cosplayer meetup: 4:00pm Saturday, at the fountain in the entrance plaza
- Geeky Mamas Cosplay Nerd Club: 5:00pm Saturday at Geeky Mamas Anaheim (at GardenWalk, 312 W. Katella #142). Featuring a mini cosplay fashion show, raffle, light refreshments, music, and photo area.
- Sherlock cosplay photoshoot & Cluedo game: 6:00pm Saturday, meeting outside the Arena and playing Cluedo downstairs outside Hall D; prizes for Cluedo winners!
- Unofficial WonderCon afterparty: 8:00pm Saturday at Bowlmor Lanes, 321 W. Katella, Anaheim. Free admission; VIP tickets $30. Drink specials and buy one game get one free bowling (must show WonderCon badge). 21+
- Carol Corps (Captain Marvel) meetup: 8:30pm Saturday, outside the Lego Store at nearby Downtown Disney.
- Disney cosplayer photo shoot: 12:00pm Sunday, near the fountain in the convention center entrance plaza
- SparkFun offers a workshop teaching you how to make a fabric Arc Reactor or a Flux Capacitor using conductive thread and sewable LEDs – materials are provided! Learn about wearable tech and make a really cool craft for free. The panel is Saturday at 3:00pm in Room 210.
- Nerdstrong is offering free wristbands at their Friday panel, 3:00pm in the Elite Ballroom.
- Nintendo actually offers giveaways for Splatoon fans at home via social media; they’ll demo the game at their WonderCon booth.
- comiXology offers up limited edition t-shirts and Kindle Fire tablets at their slate of panels throughout the weekend: Friday, 2:00pm, Room 209; Saturday, 12:30pm, Room 208; Saturday, 2:00pm, Room 207; and Sunday, 11:00am, Room 211.
- At Friday’s Geek & Sundry Twitch trivia battle, winners will get something from the limited edition International TableTop Day promo kit. The Nerdist Industries booth also promises more giveaways.
- A fan-hosted scavenger hunt begins at the convention center: look for hidden patches and watch Instagram for clues.
- ConQuest makes their WonderCon debut with an exclusive custom WonderCon cover for their popular geek convention scrapbook & journal. Pre-order for pickup at their booth.
- The Varèse Sarabande booth offers signings with composers, a rare sight, throughout Saturday; however, it’s the exclusive chance for an early copy of the Chuck Original Television Soundtrack that will be a big draw. The Chuck soundtrack drops on April 7th, though “all fans that come to the booth at 3pm on April 4th” can buy the soundtrack and “have the album autographed by series composer Tim Jones.” Yes, it includes the Jeffster songs.
- Stuntmen/Stunt Actors of Your Favorite Movies highlights the stunt crews from films like Thor, Iron Man 2, and Jurassic World. 12:00pm, Room 211
- Batman probably wins for shortest panel title, but you have to forgive this look at the caped crusader; after all, he did just celebrate his 75th anniversary, and Batgirl herself graces the cover of the WonderCon event guide & souvenir book this year. Spend an hour learning about the Batman of yesterday and today, and all the colorful characters that have sprung up around him. 12:30pm, Room 300DE
- The Last Man On Earth brings star Will Forte as well as producers Chris Miller & Phil Lord (you know them as the brains behind The Lego Movie). 4:00pm, Room 300AB
- Hollywood Consultants’ Secrets: Your Story to Success offers live pitch & logline critiques from TV writers, script consultants, and writing coaches. 4:30pm, Room 300DE
- World Premiere: Batman vs. Robin is the marquee event of the day, and possibly the weekend, with the new animated DC Universe Original Movie premiering, and followed by a panel with the cast and crew. 6:00pm, Arena
- Tournament of Nerds returns to WonderCon: the UCB pop culture comedy debate show pits two comics against each other as they argue for their selected character as they progress through a “March Madness type bracket.” Absolutely hysterical and not to be missed, although be warned you might lose your voice from laughing (speaking from experience). 8:00pm, Room 207
- Superman: The Richard Donner Years Celebrity Super Reunion brings Margot Kidder and company back together for this retrospective of Superman The Movie and the only Superman sequel that counts, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. 10:00am, Room 300AB
- The Her Universe Fashion Show Update brings back the winners of last summer’s competition at San Diego Comic-Con and provides a preview of the winners’ line as well as the company’s upcoming Marvel collection.
- Big Hero 6: The Art of the Story breaks down the storyboard process at Disney Animation. Similar panels have been held at previous Comic-Con events that cover the story process for several Pixar films. If you go to big film panels to learn about the story and not for celebrity sightings, you’ll get a real kick out of this panel. 12:00pm, Room 300AB
- Warner Bros. Presentation takes over what is sure to be a packed Arena, filled with fans expecting a sneak peek at Batman vs. Superman. But be warned: the official panel description has been updated to only make mention of footage from San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road, and the panel runs just 30 minutes.
- E-Textiles & Cosplay, as mentioned above, teaches you to hand-sew a working LED light circuit in the form of an Arc Reactor or Flux Capacitor that you get to take home! No wires or soldering required; materials provided. 3:00pm, Room 210.
- Celebrate Liberty! The CBLDF Live Art Jam is creators making live art, right before your eyes, that you can then bid on if you are so inclined, with proceeds benefiting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Live art. LIVE ART. What would a Comic-Con be if you missed some live drawing? 7:00pm, Room 209
- WonderCon Anaheim Masquerade. It’s the Comic-Con Masquerade you know and love, on an ever-so-slightly smaller scale, in a room you can actually get a seat in.
- Image Comics: Where Creators Own Sci-Fi promises a look at two two sci-fi books from Image; considering how impressive Image’s titles have been lately, it’s worth a look. 10:30am, Room 300DE
- The Flash Special Video Presentation and Q&A brings the cast (sans star Grant Gustin) of the surprisingly awesome freshman show to the Arena. Brave the crowds and find out what preview they’ll share, and wonder why WB keeps trying to make the phrase “Special Video Presentation” happen. 1:30pm, Arena
- Starship Smackdown: The Geekspert’s Court II is exactly the kind of thing people think goes on at a comic convention: a bunch of nerds in a room arguing over who would win in a battle. And it’s great.
- Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is the traditional end to WonderCon and the sister tradition to the closing sing-along at Comic-Con, where the musical episode of Buffy is screened.
Top 10 Most Popular Panels
These are the ten most popular panels on Sched, the social scheduling service WonderCon uses. Plan ahead for crowds.
- Warner Bros. Presentation, Saturday, 1:00pm, Arena
- World Premiere: Batman vs. Robin, Friday, 6:00pm, Arena
- The Flash Special Video Presentation and Q&A, Sunday, 1:30pm, Arena
- Gotham Special Video Presentation and Q&A, Saturday, 3:45pm, Arena
- The Nerdist Panel with Chris Hardwick, Sunday, 11:00am, Arena
- iZOMBIE Special Video Presentation and Q&A, Saturday, 2:30pm, Arena
- Marvel: Next Big Thing, Saturday, 4:00pm, Room 300AB
- Special Preview Screenings (Warner Bros.), Friday, 2:30pm, Arena
- Felicia Day Talks Geek & Sundry, Her New Book, & More! Saturday, 11:30am, Room 300DE
- Orphan Black: BBC America, Saturday, 6:00pm, Room 300AB
Fortunately, all but one of these most popular panels are in either the biggest or second biggest room the convention has to offer: the Arena and Room 300AB, respectively. It’s a good sign that the programmers at WonderCon have a good grasp on crowd expectations; while that’s no guarantee of a seat, it’s at least helpful that, say, Orphan black isn’t relegated to Room 210.
Estimated Room Capacities
Note that these are all estimated based on rough numbers provided by the Anaheim Convention Center and the Marriott Anaheim; actual seat counts vary based on room arrangement.
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Some friendly neighborhood Twitter users have shared photos of setup and early badge pickup on Thursday.
— Kristin Winslow (@ItSeamstress) April 2, 2015
— David Lozeau (@DavidLozeau) April 2, 2015
— Marie™ (@mkjoezy) April 2, 2015
Will we be seeing you in Anaheim this weekend? What are you looking forward to at WonderCon? Let us know below!