My Rough-and-Tumble Comic-Con FAQ

I will be adding to this FAQ over time, as more questions are asked/answered. Ask your questions here. Or visit http://comic-con.org for answers.

*** 1. When is Comic-Con? ***

This year Comic-Con will take place July 21-24, 2016, with Preview Night taking place on Wednesday, July 20th.

*** 2. Where is Comic-Con? *** 

Comic-Con takes place in San Diego, just as it does every year. Comic-Con is not affiliated with any other convention, other than WonderCon. There are other conventions which are Comic Cons, but they are not THE Comic-Con.

*** 3. When do tickets for Comic-Con go on sale? *** 

Comic-Con 2016 Open Registration will open on February 20, 2016. You can access the registration waiting room beginning at 8:00 AM Pacific Standard Time (PST). Badges will go on sale shortly after 9:00 AM PST. Check your email for your personal registration code and instructions on how to participate.

*** 4. How much are tickets? *** 

Preview Night (aka PN):
Adult – $40
Junior/Senior/Military – $20
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Thursday:
Adult – $55
Junior/Senior/Military – $27
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Friday:
Adult – $55
Junior/Senior/Military – $27
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Saturday:
Adult – $55
Junior/Senior/Military – $27
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Sunday:
Adult – $40
Junior/Senior/Military – $20
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Total for 4 Days w/o PN:
Adult – $205
Junior/Senior/Military – $101
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Total for 4 Days w/PN:
Adult – $245
Junior/Senior/Military – $121
Child – Free w/accompanying adult

Adult = Everyone ages 18-59
Junior = Ages 13-17
Senior = Ages 60+
Child = Ages 12 and under
Military = Active military w/ ID (does not extend to dependents or inactive)

*** 5. How do I buy a ticket/badge for Comic-Con? ***

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/badge-faq is your new best friend.

http://sdccblog.com/2016/02/san-diego-comic-con-2016-open-registration-visual-guide/ is also awesome.

*** 6. I’m press/media/have a blog and want a free badge, how do I get one? *** 

The deadline has already passed to apply for media/press. Try again next year. Deadline was December 11th, 2015. You can find out more information about applying to be press/media here: http://www.comic-con.org/cci/press-faq

*** 7. I keep seeing people talk about “Pro” badges, what are they and how do I get one? *** 

Professional badges are for people who work in the industry, either as those who create content related to Comic-Con (comics, movies, books, television, games, etc.) or who assist in development & production and/or sales & distribution of said content. Those who create or assist in creating are considered Creative Professionals, others are considered Trade Professionals.

The deadline to apply for a 2016 Professional badge was October 31, 2015. They are strict on who they accept, as quantities are limited (the vast majority of badges are available for sale to the general public).

*** 8. When do hotels go on sale? *** 

The block of hotels for Comic-Con are unofficially scheduled to be put up for grabs on April 5th. CCI has not confirmed this yet, but the company which handles the booking has confirmed it. It could change between this posting and that time, however, and this post will be updated when a date is confirmed.

*** 9. How much are hotels? *** 

It depends on how many people are staying with you, where you are staying (your chances of getting a hotel room in the Gaslamp Quarter are extremely slim), and which nights you are staying.

They typically range from around $110/night (far from the convention center) to over $400/night (very close to the convention center), when booking through the company which handles the block of rooms (which accounts for 62,922 nights at area hotels surrounding the time of the convention).

Price lists will appear in the next month or two and will be posted here once available.

*** 10. What’s the deal with the Membership ID? ***

You NEED a Membership ID to be able to get a badge. Every person in your family/group needs their own individual Membership ID. It is free to register for one and you only need to create a Membership ID one time. Once you have created an ID, you will continue to use that ID every year you want to attend. Go here to create one NOW, if you have not already done so: https://secure2.comic-con.org/memberid/
I say NOW* because they will close the ability to create new ones soon. They do this generally about a week or two before badges go on sale, but they may do so sooner without warning. Make sure all of your family members over the age of 12 and friends have their own individual ID, as you will need their ID to purchase badges for them.

* NOTE: If you did not create your Membership ID before February 11th, 2016, you are ineligible to participate in badge sales this year. There was ample warning ahead of time that the deadline would be approaching. You will be able to purchase for next year, however… next year.

*** 11. Are badges being mailed out this year? Can I still pick mine up? *** 

Yes, badges are being mailed out this year to attendees within the United States. So log into your Membership ID account and make sure your mailing address is correct NOW, so you don’t have to scramble when badges are being sold: https://secure2.comic-con.org/memberid/login.php
If you are an international attendee, you will still need to line up to pick up your badge upon arrival.

*** 12. I can’t attend / I was given a guest badge and want a refund… can I get one? *** 

The Comic-Con 2016 badge refund deadline is May 13, 2016. After this date your Comic-Con badge purchase is non-refundable. All refunds will be subject to a 10% handling fee and are at CCI’s discretion. You can apply for a refund here: http://www.comic-con.org/comic-con-refund-request-form

*** 13. I heard you get in free if you volunteer… how do I volunteer? *** 

The volunteer interest list has closed for this year. However, try to register early next year, as you can get a free day pass if you commit to working three hours on that day. For every day you work, you will get a free pass for yourself.

*** 14. Can I buy a badge from eBay/Craigslist/StubHub/etc.? *** 

No. You are being scammed. Don’t risk it.

*** 15. I heard Comic-Con is moving to Los Angeles/Anaheim/Vegas/etc.? ***

No.

*** 16. Can I cosplay at Comic-Con? ***

Yes.

*** 17. I have a stroller/wheelchair… is that allowed? *** 

Yes, wheelchairs are allowed as long as they’re not being used solely for storage purposes (i.e. you need it to get around, not just to haul stuff). Yes, strollers are allowed as long as they are not oversized (bulky, double-wide, etc.).

When bringing a stroller, please consider bringing a light, collapsable stroller as a back-up for a tired child, as opposed to a large carry-all stroller which takes up lots of space. It will be easier for you to maneuver through the crowds and courteous to those attending.

***18. Is this the first year Comic-Con has mailed out tickets/badges?***

No, it is not the first year. Many years ago, Comic-Con offered mail order as an option to purchase tickets. Passes were mailed to attendees. This was before Comic-Con attracted sell-out crowds annually, however. In recent history, yes, this is the first time Comic-Con is mailing out badges to attendees.

***19. Do I need a ticket for the Hasbro Booth on Preview Night?***

Historically, yes, you need a ticket for the Hasbro Booth on PN, with tickets being given out at the beginning of the evening, but they go quickly. There is never a guarantee for future procedures, though.

***20. I’ve been trying for a decade to get tickets, but they keep selling out, HOW DO I GET IN?!***

First of all, stop; no, you haven’t been denied tickets for a decade. For general attendee sales, tickets haven’t been selling out for ten years.

In 2006 and 2007, badges were still available until day-of. Badges first sold out ahead of time for 2008’s convention, but not until less than a month before the convention itself.

For 2009, badges were still available for quite a while and resale badges (badges which were returned/refunded) were available shortly before the convention.

The first year badges sold out the same day they went on sale was for 2011 and even then, it took about eight hours.

2012 was the first year it took less than two hours to sell out of general attendee badges. That was four years ago.

Keep trying or get a group of friends together to try to buy badges for one another. There are better chances if you have three people trying to log in to buy badges for your group, rather than just one. If you are buying for family, log in on three separate devices; you all have unique membership IDs. Use them.

*** 21. What are the offsite events this year? Where are the best parties? ***

These change every year. Most parties don’t start getting announced until late April/early May at the soonest. The majority of parties aren’t advertised until just a couple weeks before the convention itself. As I find out details for the annual events, studio parties, badge-holder exclusive offsites, and free all-access events, I will list them here.

*** 22. Is Comic-Con worth the cost/effort to attend? ***

Nobody can answer that for you. Only YOU know what your time, energy, and personal finances are worth to you. We can’t prioritize your life, only you can do that. However, if Comic-Con is something you’ve wanted to attend for a long time, if you are interested in multiple facets the pop culture, and/or you are looking for a very unique way to spend a week or so of vacation time… then Comic-Con is probably worth your time, as long as you can a) afford it both monetarily and energy-wise & b) be patient and flexible enough to understand Comic-Con requires a lot of planning and compromise at the same time.

If you can leave your expectations at home and just go bask in the awesome nerdery… then sure, Comic-Con is totally worth it.

*** 23. How much money do I need for Comic-Con? ***

That really depends on what you want to get out of the convention experience itself. How long are you attending? Will you be purchasing art, collectibles, and/or comics? Where are you staying? How many people are you sharing your hotel room with? Do you have dietary restrictions? Does your hotel have a fridge and/or microwave? Are you over 21? Do you plan on taking part in the nightlife aspect of the convention? Do you plan on attending offsite events? These – and more – are all factors in how much you’ll need.

Good rule of thumb is to budget at least $30 per person, per day for food and beverages (if no drinking will be involved).

Hotel will run between $175-400 per night after taxes & fees, so divide that by the amount of people sharing the room and number of nights needed (don’t forget to look at parking, resort fees, internet cost, etc. the hotel may tack on). Always plan for at least one person to drop out of a sharing situation (you may need to cover their portion).

Transportation cost will depend on if you are parking near the convention center, taking Uber/Lyft, or utilizing public transport/the hotel shuttles; parking near/at the convention center can run as much as $30+ per day.

Spending at the convention itself really depends on what you collect or what you may want to purchase. On the minimum, bring at least $50 per day for spending… and then add an extra $100-200, just in case you see something amazing you just HAVE to have. You should have emergency funds available, too, because you never know what could happen…. just like any vacation.

*** 24. Will there be celebrity photo ops? ***

Yes, there is an entire section of the convention for celebs to autograph items & take photos. Most of them will charge money for both and prices vary, but they are obligated to sign your Comic-Con souvenir guide for free (little known fact).

There are also scheduled signings (rarely photo ops), run by Comic-Con, for panels & special guests. These are usually ticketed (free, but you have to line up for your chance to get a wristband… to line up yet again for the signing itself) and free of charge. More info on these will be posted here closer to the convention dates.

There are also photo ops (free & paid) hosted/sponsored by various booths on the expo floor. The best way to find out about these is keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media… celebs/artists/writers usually mention where they’ll be for signings/photo ops. I may make a list closer to the convention, if time allows.

*** 25. When can I find out about which panels will be there? ***

Panels and other events are – usually – officially announced two weeks before Comic-Con, one day at a time. Preview Night panels/screenings/etc. are announced on the Wednesday two weeks prior to PN of SDCC. Thursday panels/screenings/etc. are announced on the Thursday two weeks before Thursday of SDCC. Lather, rinse, repeat for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Many celebrities, artists, writers, and other panelists will mention their panel details ahead of the official schedule, so you may see these leaked via Twitter, Facebook, etc. – but the official schedule will be available on comic-con.org two weeks prior to the convention, as stated.

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More questions will be added later… if you have a question, ask and it may be added.
Last edited: February 13, 2016