Image Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters/LandovAs someone who went to Comic-Con three years in a row until she realized all the cons had started to outweigh the pros, I had mixed feelings when I read that the pop culture extravaganza could be moving to Anaheim. Comic-Con’s contract with the San Diego Convention Center ends in 2012 and Anaheim is taking advantage of the growing dissatisfaction about overcrowding, parking problems, and expensive hotel rooms by putting in a bid to host the event. Those issues are certainly no small matters. Overcrowding makes for ridiculously long lines, which require you to queue up hours in advance for a panel. Between that and all the overlapping panels, I barely get to see even half the things I’m interested in. What’s the point of attending if I can’t even go to the things I want to go to?
Getting a hotel room is not much easier. Even with the Comic-Con discount, these rates burn a hole in your pocket. And that’s just the beginning. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, an internal survey “found that attendees spend $60 million on lodging, food and transportation during the four days.”
A lot of that money goes toward fueling the economy outside of the convention center, which is where my fixed feelings about Anaheim start. Sure some things need fixing, but there’s something magical about having Comic-Con in San Diego. The downtown area surrounding the convention center becomes a little Comic-Con bubble city within the city. If the event moves to Anaheim, I’m afraid that bubble will burst. The Gaslamp District in San Diego has so much to offer and is always bustling during the Con. San Diego is also an extremely artistic city with a big art scene, lots of theaters, music venues, and museums nearby, not to mention Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and so on. Anaheim, try as it might, just doesn’t have the same cultural cachet and is too spread out.
So while Anaheim may have more space and cheaper hotel rooms, if I had to choose, I’d rather spend four days in San Diego than four days in Anaheim (not just because the humidity in San Diego in July is nothing compared to the sweltering heat in Anaheim in the summer). You’re not going to be able to stand on an outside deck at the convention center, overlooking the bay while a symphony orchestra plays music to a fireworks show in Anaheim. (Yes, I did that a couple years ago in San Diego.) You can have a whole second adventure outside of the Con in San Diego.
PopWatchers, do you want Comic-Con to stay in San Diego? Are you hoping it’ll move to Anaheim? Or do you have a better suggestion? Maybe we can borrow what’s leftover from the Olympics and move it to Vancouver? The weather is very nice there in July and it is Comic Con International.
Photo Credit: Mike Blake/Reuters/Landov