Make Booking the Trip Easy
The trip needs to start out on the right foot and finding the right airline tickets is a great place to start!
Choose Panels Wisely
If at all.. While there are definitely kid-friendly panels on the schedule, the lines are almost always incredibly long with tedious waits attached. Superfans shouldn’t omit panels from their experience because of this, just plan ahead. Make sure to bring your child’s favorite traveling toys and tech gadgets (even a lightweight blanket for sitting) and get comfy. This is also the perfect time to have a “picnic” with the lunch you packed.
Pro Tip: Sit towards the back of the room with toddlers so they will have room on the floor to wander a bit without disturbing the flow of the panel.
2. Food is your Fuel
Comic Con offers the usual convention food for sale, but it’s often overpriced and much less tasty than what you can bring from home. The convention floor doesn’t seem like a workout, but it takes a lot of energy to work the room. Make sure that you bring lots of small (non-messy) snacks to allow your little ones (and yourself) to graze while still wandering the floor.
Pro Tip: The Gaslamp District is also a great place to grab a bite to eat. While it seems like the crowds will cause major waits, most of the restaurants in the area have been planning for comic con crowds in advance. Many restaurants have changed their menus to only offer a handful of options, which makes the quality of the food better, and the waits much shorter (They also are almost always Comic Con themed, which makes it even more fun for the family). And finally, the farther up (away from the convention center) you walk, the shorter the lines tend to be.
3. Pick Less Crowded Days
The truth is all days are going to be crowded, but there there is a noticeable difference in convention floor crowds on Thursdays and Sundays. If you were just planning on going one day, consider one of these two days. If you want to go the full four days, another great option is to try to arrange adult days. Comic Con provides KiddieCorps, professional child care which offers age-appropriate activities and and snacks for the kids. The child care is free, you just need to provide full meals, diapers, and a change of clothes.
Pro-Tip: Invite non-comic-loving in-laws along for a weekend getaway in San Diego and ask if they’ll watch the kids at the hotel pool one or two of the days you’re at Con. The other option is going with another family with kids. You guys can split up child care duties and have grown-up time on the convention floor while everyone else relaxes at home base (the hotel).
4. Dress for the Chaos
A San Diego summer is often hot in the day time and chilly in the mornings and evenings. If you’re not planning on making trips back to your hotel for a wardrobe change, then you’ll want to plan ahead. Light layers that can be thrown in the lightweight backpack or bag is the best bet. The convention center tries its best to crank up the AC and create an arctic climate, but with all the bodies and walking, the heat generated is hard to combat with simple air conditioning. This is also the time to bust out those sensible shoes. You’ll be doing much more walking than you’ll probably anticipate, and nothing is worse than you or your child having sore feet and attempting to power through the day. Comfort will make you invincible.
Pro Tip: Let your kids dress up in costumes. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but dressing up as one of their favorite characters is a great way to really make the event even more exciting for everyone. It’s like halloween on steroids thanks to the fans at Comic Con. (Just don’t forget about those sensible shoes.)
5. Allow your child’s unique needs to direct the day
Children on the spectrum, with sensory processing disorders, or any other mental/behavioral disorders are often told that there is too much stimuli at Comic Con and children should be left at home. However, we met several parents who have not only allowed their superfan kids to attend a Comic Con, but also thrive in this setting. The goal is to allow the child’s unique needs to soar during this time. Even choosing one activity a day can be fun for the whole family. For example: Let them play at the LEGO booth all day with no other plans and maybe the next day check out their favorite artist in “artist alley”.
Pro Tip: You can email your child’s favorite artist who will be attending comic and explain his or her special needs. Many of the artists are not only talented, but have reached high popularity due to their love for the fans. Many will take special consideration for your child’s needs when they are given a heads-up in advance.
If Comic Con isn’t really your jam and you prefer international trips, consider getting some flynas tickets and bon voyage!