Fan Expo Dallas (formerly Dallas Comic Con, “The Big One”) is Dallas’ largest comic book convention. Held at the Dallas Convention Center, the convention is hosting some of Sci-Fi’s largest stars including Dr. Who star Matt Smith, Firefly heartbreaker Nathan Fillion, and comic book legend Stan Lee.
I’ve created this guide to Fan Expo Dallas in hopes that it helps those who are new to the convention scene, or are curious about what to expect. I have compiled questions from my email, tips from seasoned cosplayers and attendees, as well as advice and personal favorites based off personal experience. Enjoy!
Friday May 29: 4pm-9pm
Saturday May 30: 10am-7pm
Sunday May 31: 10am-5pm
Dallas Convention Center
650 South Griffin Street Dallas, TX 75202
Kids $10 with adult ticket
All 3: $89
(deluxe 3 day pass only available as pre-registration, buy in advance and get in on Friday at 2 p.m.)
New to Dallas Comic Con?
Your questions answered!
Q. I’ve never been to DCC. How can I decide whether I want to go or not?
A. Are you nerdy? Do you love comics, sci-fi shows, and get excited when someone mentions Marvel, Dragon Ball Z, Dr. Who, or any related nerdy content? This is the place for you! If you’ve never been to a convention before, or have been but it was really small, I would plan to expect the following:
– Large dealers hall with many vendors, artists, and guest celebrities
– different rooms around the convention center hosting numerous panels (*it is very important to have a map on you, even if you have been to DCC before, rooms are always changing!)
– tons of photo opportunities
– long lines and short lines; plan your time wisely!
Q. What does a typical day consist of? What’s a simple play-by-play of the day?
- A. A typical day varies from person to person. It depends on what your interests are and why you’re attending the convention. But, here is a very basic run-down of what a very standard day could be!
- 1.Get dressed and ready to go
- 1a. Cosplaying? Make a checklist the day before of everything you are planning on wearing so that you can check it off as you get ready the next morning. Not cosplaying? A checklist is good to have anyway. Camera? Water bottle? Phone? ID/Credit card?
- 2.Get directions and drive to the convention
- 2a. If you are planning to get there when the convention opens, plan on getting there at least 2 hours in advance for the best parking/spot in line. Especially if you haven’t pre-registered. If you do not care about lines/aren’t in a rush, take it at your own pace.
- 3.Arrive: pay for parking, park in garage/available lots
- 3a. Bring cash for parking ($10-$20)
- 4.Get in line to get your badge
- 4a. Don’t forget your license/emails with receipt barcode of badge purchase
- 5.Enter convention
- 5a. Grab a schedule and establish a good meeting place in case you and your buddies get separated. Go over the schedule and narrow down what you want to do if you haven’t already pre-planned. (Sometimes there are some last-minute schedule changes, too!)
- 6.Plan your attack
- 6a. Grab a map and explore! Before you commit to doing something, it’s always best to get a feel for the convention floor and where everything is. Best bathroom? Panel rooms? Dealer’s room? Food? You never know when you may need to make an emergency run to the artist alley for a last-minute print! This is also a good time to scope out your food options like where the food trucks are parked, what’s available at the con, and what restaurants are nearby for after-con endeavors.
- 7.Wander around
- 7a. Wandering around is some of the most fun. A lot of the day consists of just walking back and forth to the same places. While this may not sound thrilling, just wait. There is always something new to see and always something happening. Cosplay red carpet, celebrities roaming the convention floors, and random acts of awesomeness make each experience unique!
- 8.Attend at least one panel
- 8a. I usually aim to go to one or two panels. More than two sometimes eats up the day too much for me. Between waiting in line for the panel, waiting for it to start, and then getting out, it all ends up being anywhere from a 2-4 hour experience. Worth it for some panels, not so much for others. Especially since the convention hours are relatively short (10-7, 10-5) there may be other things you won’t want to miss out on.
- 9.Talk to artists/dealers and buy something unique
- 9a. Artists work is unique and a lot of times are convention exclusives! I always try to buy at least one piece I really like and go out of my way to meet the artist. This gives you a deeper connection to the piece you get and makes you really treasure it! Although a lot of things you find in the dealer’s room you can find online and at retailers, there are a lot of vintage and rare pieces that you can’t! In addition, some of the dealer’s are some of the coolest people you will ever meet!
- 10.Remember to take pictures
- 10a. This may sound obvious but I always seem to forget! If you see something cool, take a picture. Chances are you may not see it again!
- 10am: arrive, park, get in line
- 11am: enter building/get badge
- 11:15-12:30: explore dealer’s room, artist alley, convention floor
- 12:30-12:45: Grab food to eat in line
- 12:45: get in line for 2 p.m. panel
- 2:00: enter panel
- 3:00: exit panel
- 3:30: go get autographs
- 5:00: back to dealer’s room
- 6:00: Final walk through
Children’s admission: $10 with adult ticket purchase
Q. Is Dallas Comic Con kid friendly?
A. Yes! A lot of conventions go out of their way to make sure that children are welcome. Dallas Comic Con is no exception! There is a lot for kids to do, and there is even a kids cosplay contest!
Q. Do cosplayers take pictures with kids? Is that okay?
A. Absolutely! Ask any cosplayer – posing with kids is usually the best part of a convention! Don’t be afraid to stop someone and ask for a picture, most are more than happy to pose!
Q. Any advice for parents bringing kids?
A. Bring a snack or budget for snacks for your kiddos. Establish meeting places in case you get separated and plan time to sit down and relax. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are many things for kids to do at the convention, but you may want to read over the schedule beforehand to have an idea of what is going on, otherwise it may seem boring for the kids to constantly roam around until you find something.
Q. How does getting a photo with a celebrity work? Do I just walk up with my phone/camera?
A. Very rarely can you take a photograph with a celebrity at their booth for free. At DCC most celebrities will have specific “photo op” times where fans will line up with pre-purchased vouchers to get a photo with their choice of guest. These photo ops start at $30 and are more expensive the larger the guest.
Q. What’s the basic cost for autographs, as well as group deals for autographs from entire casts that will be there?
A. Autographs run anywhere from $35-$100+. Typically there are no “group” deals on autographs and celebrities charge separately.
Q. Can I take photos of celebrities and cosplayers?
A. Always ask. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS ask. Usually, per policy, you cannot walk up and take a photo of a celebrity. If you don’t see a sign, ask a volunteer or staff member. Always ask a cosplayer before you take his/her photo.
Q. I’m cosplaying and I’d like a professional photo of my costume. Is there a service for that?
A. Yes! My personal favorite is SuperHero Photos! Joe is SUPER professional and his photos are really high quality! His booth is always my first stop before my costume gets all convention worn! Booth #390
Q. How early do I need to line up for a panel?
A. This really depends on how popular of a panel it will be and the day. Typically in the past at DCC the rule of thumb is to line up about an hour before the panel. However, with the attendance list expected to nearly double this year you may want to keep tabs on your panel up to two hours before it begins.
Full schedule of panels/updates/events can be found here: http://fanexpodallas.com/schedule/
Q. What should I wear to Dallas Comic Con (if I don’t want to cosplay)?
A. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one. For guys, typically a nerdy shirt, jeans (or shorts), and sneakers are a classic convention look. Ladies have looks all over the place – I’ve seen anything from casual tee and shorts to full decked out high heels and short skirts. If you’re planning on staying a while I’d just advise you wear something comfortable! Unless it’s for a cosplay, conventions typically aren’t the best place to test out new footwear!
Q. Is it required for me to cosplay in order to go to DCC?
A. Not at all! Even though cosplay is a big thing, typically there are less people dressed up than not!
Q. I want to cosplay but I’m running out of time! Who should I cosplay?
A. Pick a character you love and make it simple! Don’t stress. If you’re looking for something easy – Google “Disneybound outfits” to see some Disney inspired looks! I can’t tell you a specific character because I don’t want you to pick something you don’t like. Be true to you! Remember, hot glue and safety pins are your friend!
Q. Looks like it’s going to rain this weekend during the con. What should I do if I’m going in costume/body paint/ etc?
A. Bring a backpack and pack an umbrella, poncho, trash bags. Whatever waterproof stuff you can! Make sure you bring a bag big enough to carry your purchases! If you are really concerned about makeup and costumes with rain, my best suggestion would be to get to the con really early to get covered parking or bring your makeup and do it at the convention center. (There is a cosplay hidewaway for those planning to cosplay, last year they had a changing room and as I recall the convention bathrooms are decently sized.)
*NOTE UPDATED POLICY REGARDING WEAPONS AT DALLAS COMIC CON 2015*
Q. Can I bring a fake gun to the convention? It’s plastic and has an orange tip.
A. As of recent, DCC policy states under no circumstance is any type of firearm or replica firearm allowed.
“Live firearms including airsoft, modern, hunting or historic, either functioning or de-commissioned, are not permitted at any FAN EXPO HQ event. Replica firearms made from metal, solid resin/plastic/rubber are not to be brought onto convention grounds. All other firearms/projectile weapons are required to have orange safety tips at all times on convention grounds, however they can be removable for photography or competition purposes as long as they are re-attached when moving around the convention”
For more information on prop guidelines please refer to the official rules here:
After the Con
Q. I see the convention ends at 7 on Saturday. Is there anything going on after?
A. There will be an official after party Saturday night! Details here: http://fanexpodallas.com/saturday-night-shindig/?utm_content=buffer0ecd6&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
Q. Do I need to get a hotel room?
A. If you are going all 3 days (or even 2) getting a hotel sometimes makes things a lot easier, especially if you are in cosplay or planning to stay out late. Most of the hotels are filling up quickly, so the earlier you book the closer you can get.
Recommended hotel list: http://www.fanexpodallas.com/travel/
Q. How much money should I bring?
A. This really depends on how much you are able to spend and what you are looking at getting. Tickets at the door can be purchased using credit card. Most vendors take card, but it’s usually a lot easier to pay cash and sometimes vendors are willing to cut deals for cash sales. Plus, you can never be too sure that the wifi will be steady for credit card transactions. If you are looking to get some high-dollar items, bring enough to support that. Keep in mind food prices are typical event food prices (so a bit higher than average).
Dealer’s Room / Artist Alley
Q. Should I try to bargain in the dealers room?
A. Most vendors are willing to haggle a bit. Just make sure you are courteous and not pushy about it. In my opinion, it’s usually easier to strike a good deal on the last day of the con. Most times big retailers are unable to make further markdowns on their merchandise, but have convention exclusive sales.
Q. What kind of art is in the Artist Alley?
A. Expect fan art from all corners of Sci-Fi and comics! There is such a large variety of artists, exploring the Artist Alley (AA) is one of my favorite things to do! From local artists to ones you may recognize from popular websites like TeeFury, there’s bound to be a style you like! A few of my favorite artists are Eddie Medina Art (EdMed Art) (Booth #PA15 in the Artist Alley), Michael Champion (Booth #595 in the Exhibitor space), John Hughes (Overground Comics), and Shonuff Studio (Booth #PA12 in the Artist Alley)! Check them out if you have a chance!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, corrections, and updates!