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Con Roulette

The superlative Heidi MacDonald discusses possible locations for WonderCon apart from Anaheim. One thing I've learned over the years about conventions is that they're a lot more difficult to arrange than people think, especially the big ones. Every so often, a friend says of the one in San Diego, "Aah, they should just move it to Vegas," as if that's as simple as using your Southwest Airlines App to change a flight itinerary. Heidi did some good research and reveals that Anaheim is looking like the only practical venue. That is, unless the folks who run the Moscone Center wise up and embrace WonderCon instead of treating it like a teenager with a standby air ticket.

I don't think Sacramento would work. Why? Because it's Sacramento. No one wants to go to Sacramento. Even people who are elected to state-wide office in California balk when they realize it means moving to Sacramento. I mean, I'm sure it's a lovely town and all but I think you have to stage a big convention in a city that has something else to offer besides that big convention. San Diego has the zoo and the harbor and quick access to Tijuana. Anaheim has Disneyland and all the touristy-type attractions that have been established in its proximity. San Francisco has San Francisco. I can't think of a thing Sacramento has that most of us can't get at home except for government offices. No one reading this has ever said, "Hey, you know where I'd really like to vacation some day? Sacramento." Also, it's a long, tedious drive from everywhere except maybe from Sacramento.

There's some merit to Heidi's idea about eschewing convention centers and staging the con in an aggregate of hotels. I just think you'd have to get a running start of several years to coordinate several hotels. They all have cons booked years in advance and it might be tough to achieve simultaneous booking and find a weekend they all had open. Also, some hotels wouldn't want WonderCon as we do not tend to be huge spenders on expense accounts. I suspect the conventions that sprawl across multiple hotels are mostly ones that started as small cons in one hotel and then expanded over several years…which is not applicable to WonderCon.

Heidi didn't mention Las Vegas or Los Angeles but I will. They're the two cities on the planet I know best and I think they'd both be disasters for WonderCon…or Comic-Con for that matter. Vegas has the wrong vibe and too much else competing for tourist money. It's also very hot at times. Like now, for instance. Or next month or last month or most months.

Los Angeles? Start with the fact that the L.A. Convention Center is horrible. It's gigantic and not in a way that makes good use of all that space. The (mostly) huge exhibit halls are a long way from each other, reached via confusing corridors. The street traffic, owing to all the nearby attractions that draw huge crowds, is terrible. The parking is worse. There are few hotels within walking distance and nothing comparable to the San Diego trolley system to bring folks in from faraway hotels…all of which would be too scattered to make a shuttle bus system feasible. The place is also beastly expensive and I could go on and on but since it's not an option, I won't.

Last time I wrote on this topic, I said that I thought Anaheim would be a bad place for the Comic-Con to relocate if it ever had to relocate. That was before this year's Wondercon was held there and I have to say I liked the facility more than I'd expected. There were dreadful traffic problems but (a) some of that was due to rain and (b) Comic-Con has dreadful traffic problems, too. But I want to retract about 50% of what I said about it before, which is not to say I don't still hope Comic-Con stays in San Diego and there are once again WonderCons at the Moscone.