We finally got to experience Phoenix Fan Fusion for the first time since 2019 and it felt good. It felt right. My feet were sore, I was probably dehydrated, and I just plain out exhausted but I wouldn’t have traded that for anything. Let’s jump into it but this should go without saying; everyone has a different experience. What I enjoyed/didn’t enjoy could have been different for someone else. The following is from my perspective so keep that in mind before firing off a tweet to me.
Let’s get the only hiccup that I saw out of the way: badge pickup on Friday morning. I saw a few messages come across the Legion of Sand Discord *cough ask me how to join cough* about badge pickup lines getting pretty long at all three entrances. I made my way to the convention center around 11:30 and came up on the Monroe and 3rd St entrance which saw a line go down 3rd St, almost to the Sheraton hotel. Here’s the thing though, that line was for the very first badge pick up tent, people were joining that line thinking that was the line they were supposed to be in. I walked past that line and saw each tent had its own line. I jumped in a much, much smaller line and goth thru it after 20 minutes of waiting. There should have been some better line management and communication because it did look like a mess but there really wasn’t any direction for anyone to follow. Just a few photo examples below of what the area looked liked.
By the time 1PM rolled around however, it was a much different scene.
I do want to mention how fast the security lines were all weekend. I never hesitated to leave the “campus” because it was never a hassle to get back in because of security. I had a cooler of drinks and some snacks in my vehicle so I would take a break every now and then, tried my best to avoid the costs of the convention center food. I heard via some messages that getting food or drinks past security wasn’t an issue but again, I am sure everyone had a different experience. Speaking of food, the food court inside the convention center looked like the exhibit hall all weekend.
The exhibit hall was where all the action was this weekend, there was a good energy from both attendees and exhibitors. Everyone was glad to be back buying art, getting comic books signed, and showing off their cosplay. This year there was no Hall of Heroes on the 3rd floor like previous versions of the con, instead all the costuming groups were put back into the main exhibit hall like the early days of the con. I felt like on Saturday the convention could have benefited from having the 3rd floor to split up the crowd. It got hard to stop and look at booths or even navigate because their was a ton of traffic.
The gaming area with the arcades and tournaments and had moved into the North Ballroom. I stopped in their twice and it was a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of the exhibit hall (plus it had a few tables if you just wanted to relax for a bit). I didn’t attend any panels outside of one that my kiddo wanted to go to but as I walked past the various panel rooms, they all looked well attended.
Other than those few notes, I don’t really have much else to say. It was a pretty smooth weekend from my point of view: a lot of smiling faces, parking was a breeze if you had pre-purchased it, the food lines inside (even in the actual exhibit hall) were a little long but food was available in between the convention buildings (and plenty of restaurants outside of the campus) so I didn’t think that was a big deal. I had a few people message me afterwards saying how much of a good time they had and I would have to agree, it was a laid back Fan Fusion and I really enjoyed it.