Phoenix Fan Fusion is nearly upon us and we will all be enjoying four days of bliss (that is, if you have prepared the right way)! I’m putting together a guide of tips and tricks that I have learned over the years to make my experience at Phoenix Fan Fusion that much better.
Lets tackle a few general convention going tips:
It is okay to bring a bag with you into the convention and while I encourage you to do so to help store your purchases in, I would also suggest bringing in a few useful items that can keep you going through the weekend:
- Blister bandages
- Cell phone charge cable/external battery pack
- Travel size deodorant and hand sanitizer
- Body wipes
- Anti-Chaffing product
If get to Downtown Phoenix and are in need of some of these supplies, you’ve got a couple of options. There is a CVS Pharmacy located at Cityscape which is a quick 10 minute walk from the convention center. Also, many of the surrounding hotels such as the Hyatt have gift shops that may have what you are looking for as well. There is a Fry’s going right down the street from the convention center but it will not be open until October 2019 (yay for next year!).
Take Care of Your Feet
It should go without saying but wear comfy shoes. If you are attending Fan Fusion for all four days, you will probably be on your feet a LOT. Invest a decent pair of Sketchers or New Balance which may not be the most stylish but your feet will thank you. The Phoenix Convention Center offers three floors and two buildings of space taken up by Fan Fusion, you will be wandering around quite a bit without even realizing it.
Also, I might suggest leaving the flip flops at home for this one. You can read about the 10 Reasons You Should Never, Ever Wear Flip Flops and apply some of those scenarios to what you’ll be experiencing at Fan Fusion. Give your feet the comfort and support they will need to hold up over the four days. Also, if you are purchasing new shoes, give yourself a few days to wear them and break them in before the convention kicks off.
Keep Hydrated and Fueled
Lets get the rules of the Phoenix Convention Center out of the way: “With the exception of single-use bottled water, all outside food and beverage is strictly prohibited. There are several locations to purchase food and beverages throughout the Convention Center including the METRO Marche food court, exhibit hall concessions, vending machines and Starbucks, which is located in the West Building.”
With that said, I have never seen anyone get busted for having a couple snacks in their back pack. If you are trying to bring in a large, two topping pizza from your pizza joint of choice to share with your D&D group to enjoy during a panel, a staff member will probably have something to say about it. If you are going to take snacks, be smart with your choices and take things that can actually help keep your day going (meaning don’t load up on Strawberry pop tarts). Snacks that have energy boosting effects:
- Trail mix
- Fruits such as apples, bananas, and berries
- Protein bars
If you are bringing in a bottle of water, don’t throw it away after you finish it. A lot of the restrooms in the Phoenix Convention Center are equipped with water fountains, just re-use it and save yourself a few dollars. It goes without saying but it is HOT in Phoenix by the time Fan Fusion rolls around. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
If you do plan on sitting down for a meal, make it worth your money (meaning avoid purchasing meals at the convention center food court). What about food trucks? Well, my experience is that the location is convenient for attendees but the prices and portions are not the best. Do you research ahead of time for prices and portions with restaurants in the area, walking a few minutes might save you $2 and get you a substantially more food. If you are driving and parking at the convention center every day, bring a cooler, pack it with ice and store sandwiches or what not and leave the cooler in your car. You won’t have to walk far and won’t have to spend extra money on food.
So what about tips and tricks for Fan Fusion specifically? Here we go!
- Do you have a hangup about using public restrooms that are usually busy with people? Look into using the restrooms on the first and second floors of the West Building. These are not as usually crowded and are generally a little cleaner than the restrooms found in the exhibit hall.
- If you are asking a question at a guest panel, put some thought into it a head of time. Don’t ask a “Was it fun…” question, the crowd is going to moan about it and generally the answer you get from the guest will always
- be “Yes”. You can only get away with asking those questions if your 6 year old child cosplaying as Doctor Who.
- Take advantage of the large room in the north building that is setup with tables and chairs. It is very spacious, usually not too crowded and a great place to catch your breath for a few minutes. The room also has outlets around the walls to charge your electronics.
- When taking the escalator down to the exhibit floor or taking it back up to the main floor, use the escalators that lead to the West Building which lets you avoid navigating the large crowds that pop up in the North Building.
- Upon entering the area in front of the convention center, you will need to go through a security check. Before it is your turn, already have your bags unzipped and opened, pockets emptied and anything else that may make the process faster.
- Getting bad service with your phone and don’t want to pay for WiFi? The food court in the convention center typically has free use WiFi.
- Don’t want to pay the $20 a day for parking? Park at the 38th St/Washington St Park and Ride lot. It is free parking and a $2 light rail ride each way. Its a 10 minute ride and the light rail stops near the convention center.
- Hoping to get a comic book signed or get a commission? Double check the creator’s schedule, not all of them will be at Fan Fusion the entire four days.
Accounts to Follow
Changes can happen quickly at a convention, such as a panel time change, guest cancellation, etc. Maybe a booth is giving away free swag or you’re wondering if there is a huge line for a certain guest. I’d recommend downloading the Phoenix Fan Fusion app as well as following the official Twitter account. Another account I recommend following are my friends over at Parks and Cons who are great about giving updates on various things at the convention. Finally, I’d like to give a shameless plug for my own Twitter account, I’m constantly tweeting during the con.
Have any tips and tricks you would like to share? Tweet them to Legion of Sand on Twitter!