Ultimate Guide to Fan Expo Dallas 2019

Great Scott! Fan Expo Dallas is ready to host thousands of pop-culture fans from all across the galaxy. With guests including the cast of Back to the Future, and interactive exhibits and activities like Escape Rooms, Cosplay Contests, and more! 

When: May 3-5, 2019

Fri: 4:00PM – 9:00PM, Sat: 10:00AM – 7:00PM, Sun: 10:00AM – 5:00PM

Where: Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
650 South Griffin Street
Dallas, TX 75202

How Much: Many ticket plans (including deluxe, and family plans available)

Basic day ticket prices:

*Note, the below are prices for Adults. Youth (Ages 13-17) and Children (Ages 6-12) have separate priced badges. Kids 5 and under attend for free and do not need a pass.

Friday $25 Advance $30 Door

Saturday $50 Advance $60 Door

Sunday $40 Advance $50 Door

Parking costs may vary, as lots fill up quickly. If you do not want to walk far (there is a chance of rain!) I highly advise getting to the convention center around 9 am CST to take advantage of on-site convention center parking. Don’t worry though, if you do arrive after the garage is full, there is plenty of parking around the convention center – you may just have to bring your walking shoes.

Fan Expo Dallas fills the convention center with iconic celebrities and this year is no exception! So far on the list of attending include the time traveler himself – Michael J. Fox, OG Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Shazam! himself – Zachary Levi, and Baywatch Babe Pamela Anderson!

A few FAQ:

  • Can I bring snacks? No, there are bag checks and no outside food or drinks are allowed. There are vendors inside the convention hall. If you have dietary restrictions and need to bring in your own food, please speak with an official convention staff member.
  • How much money should I bring? This depends from person to person. I would bring the amount of cash you are comfortable spending. While many vendors take card, the wifi is not always perfect, and sometimes may not be possible. Also, situations like parking will most times need to be handled with cash. I would plan $50-$100 as a safe amount to cover your parking and a souvenir.
  • Do I need to be in cosplay to attend? Definitely not! Wear what you are comfortable wearing; whether that is a cosplay or a fun nerdy shirt and jeans! If you have never cosplayed before, Fan Expo Dallas is a fun time to do so! Just remember to bring an extra pair of comfy shoes just in case your feet get tired.
  • Are autographs free? Usually not. Most celebrities will charge for an autograph and/or selfie. Before getting in line, be sure to check for a sign with pricing, or ask a staff member.

THE FULL SHOW SCHEDULE CAN BE VIEWED HERE.

Convention floor map can be seen at the end of this article.

Planning for the Show:

Lines & Wait Times

When it comes to conventions, especially large shows like Fan Expo, it’s safe to plan for the long haul. As fantastic as the guests, events, and panels are that the convention offers, these unfortunately lead to long lines equally a lot of waiting time. Come comfy, and prepared to set aside some wait time. If there is a panel or autograph you are wanting from a popular guest, try to avoid waiting until the last minute. Typically, Sunday is the best day to grab autographs if the guest is still in attendance. Lines are shorter – giving you opportunity to talk a little bit longer and not feel so rushed.

Meeting Guests & Celebrities and Attending Panels

The most common question I get it how long to plan to wait to meet a celebrity or see a panel. This is a tough answer, as it can vary due to many different factors.

If there is a celebrity you want to meet or a panel that you are planning to attend that will make or break your convention experience, make this a top priority. I have seen in the past where celebrities wind up having to leave early, or a cap has been put on the attendance for a panel. Whatever the case, I would plan to arrive early and plan to dedicate your day to this one thing. Make everything else for that day a secondary option.

 

Photos & Photographers

Celebrity photo ops are just the beginning of photos that are taken at the convention. Cosplay is exceptional at this convention, and most cosplays are happy to stop for photos. On the flip side, the convention is full of talented and professional photographers, who take time and attention to getting exciting and exceptional images! Whichever end you are on, the photographed or the photographer, please exercise all proper manners when asking for a photo, or when getting photos taken.

Asking for a cosplayer, or anyone, for a photo is easy! Make sure they are not in the middle of eating or interacting with another attendee. If they are in conversation and you really want a photo, be courteous. A simple, “Excuse me, can I take a photo? If now is a bad time, will you be free a little later?” is definitely acceptable. Do not, under any circumstances, take photos that you do not have consent to take. This includes interfering with photographers who are in the middle of a photoshoot. Always ask permission.

If someone asks to take a photo of you, great! That is a great compliment and usually, they are just excited about your costume, or work, as you are! It is important to be respectful, and if you do not feel comfortable having your photo taken, do not feel obligated to allow it to happen. If someone persists and takes a photo you did not consent of, or touches you inappropriately in any way, alert convention staff immediately.

 

Advice

Out of any advice I can give, my strongest piece is to be ready for your plans to change. Guests cancel, panels get pushed, and lines can get way longer than anticipated. Go into the convention with goals, but also go in with an open mind. At the end of the day, the point of the show is to celebrate our favorite fandoms with the people who make us love it.

Have fun and I hope to see you at the con! 

More information will be added periodically

Show Map from FanExpoDallas.com – click for HQ PDF:

SHOW GUIDE MAP COPY_April 25_FOR UPLOAD_USE THIS ONE

Adventures in Costuming – Recommendations to New Buyers

It’s always nerve-racking pulling the trigger when purchasing items for a costume. I feel like once I buy the first piece – I’m committed. There’s no going back. Maybe I have a large fear of buyer’s remorse, or maybe I’m still warming up to the fact that that to really get a good quality costume I need to be prepared to shell out some dollars.

Since there’s less than two months until Dallas Comic-Con and I’m preparing a new costume (exciting!) it’s crunch time for me to order
my materials. I’ve had quite a few friends ask me for some advice when it comes to putting together a costume. So, instead of telling you all separately at the risk of forgetting something, I’ve narrowed down what I think are the most valuable tips I’ve learned over the years into this nice little post.

Plan in advance

Get your costume planned out in full detail at least two months before the convention you are planning on attending. Not only does this give time to figure out the exact materials that you want but it also majorly lowers the risk of not getting your order on time. If you have a costume idea that you think is going to require more than two months worth of work (this is sounding pretty intense) and you have less than two months to do it, it might be worth trying to enlist some crafty friends to help. Cookies are always a nice incentive.

Order from a place you know is reliable

My favorite place to purchase materials is Amazon, especially when I’m in a time crunch. It’s easy to find competitive deals from brand name sellers who offer quick shipping dates and are reliable.

Ebay is risky, but can pay off if you’re willing to wait. The thing with Ebay is that you are able to purchase from international sellers which in most cases results in lower prices. For my Captain America outfit ordered the red under-bust and my red boots from a seller in China via Ebay.  My items arrived in the mail roughly 3 weeks after they were ordered. One of my friends wasn’t so fortunate and had ordered similar items only to have them get stuck at customs and she didn’t wind up receiving them until 3 months after the convention.

Always, always, always check reviews

Reviews are your best friend. I go through as many as I can before placing an order. Maybe it’s some sort of paranoia but I always want to make sure where I’m ordering from is reputable and the item is the quality I expect.

For most costumes I’ve put together, the items come from the same place, so I really want to make sure this place is reputable before I completely put my trust in them. For international stores and smaller businesses I usually just Google “store name review” and in my experience a forum on either a cosplay website or on another social media platform will pop up and several reviews will follow. In some other cases I’ve seen reviews posted on the items website but not correlate to the item. Spambots are out there and so are trolls! Be wary.

Fabric stores are awesome resources

meikki

Eevee costume I put together for Ikkicon 2010. I did everything with fabric glue! No sewing required! Amazingly all the pieces are still sitting in my closet in-tact.

I’m not the craftiest person on the planet and I’m pretty challenged when it comes to sewing. That said, I usually try to find any other method of adhering fabrics. Although it’s pretty easy to search the interwebs for solutions on alternate ways to attach two fabrics, my best results have come from the people at my local craft store. There I’m able to show them the fabrics and they can tell me whether any sort of craft glue will do the trick or if I need to suck up to a friend to get them to sew it for me. Coincidentally  I found out most of the younger people who work at the craft stores in my area actually go to conventions. They have a lot of experience with the fabrics and understand just how much wear and tear they will go through. You may be surprised what new friends you can find!

Etsy is magical

I was really apprehensive the first time I ordered something from Etsy. I ordered a custom set of ears and a tail for a Rigby, from Regular Show, costume I did a couple years ago for AnimeFest. Before I ordered anything I contacted the seller to make sure I could get the items in time and got a really fast response. The seller had ears and tails ready-to-ship in her shop that would have worked for me, but when I messaged her I was surprised to get feedback saying that for the same price she could custom make me a set that was modeled right to Rigby’s. I got it way before I expected and the quality was fantastic!

CIMG4900

Me in my Rigby costume (circa 2011) with a very cute Fionna!

For my newest costume that I will premiere at Dallas Comic-Con I ordered from a new seller on Etsy. Her shop had no reviews and she had just recently opened her store, but she had the exact item that I wanted. I really lucked out on this one. The seller not only went out of her way to contact me but actually hand-delivered the item to my place and refunded me the shipping! Not only is the item exactly as it was described but the experience with the seller helped put my mind at ease for future transactions.

Party City – My last minute costume headquarters

I know a lot of people give criticism to those who wear Party City costumes to conventions. I don’t really understand this unless someone is trying to pass off a costume that is obviously purchased as hand-made. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of my favorite costumes came from Party City. For last minute accessories, Party City really is the best place to go. They carry costumes and accessories year-round and are usually well stocked with a good selection. Most of the accessories I’ve purchased from Party City I use as bases to build upon. For example, I got a pair of cat ears that were on a durable headband. I covered them in fabric and shaped it to be the headpiece that I was wanting. The price of the headband plus the price of the fabric was a large percentage less than buying an exact replica item from somewhere online.

What are your favorite places to get cosplay/costume materials? Have you ever had a bad experience?

Can’t wait to see all my friends at Dallas Comic-Con!