Ladies and gentleman, as many of you now I was at Animeland Wasabi between March 1st and March 3rd. What many of don't know is that I was not along. I had a few friends helping cover the con. Here are their impressions of this years convention.
Animeland Wasabi - Year 5
On March 1, Animeland Wasabi started their 5th year running in Colorado. Below are a compilation of notes I had taken while at the convention, after the convention, and setup in a cleaner, easier to read manner than my random notes.
This year, ALW took place at a DoubleTree Hotel in Aurora. When I walked into the hotel, there was one large item I noticed: it was small. All the panel rooms, dealers room, and gaming rooms were all located on 1 fairly short hallway that extended into a lobby/cafe area, then onto the actual hotel. Things such as a small hallway like this are rarely issues until you start to have people stop in the middle of the hallway to talk to friends or stand in line for something. Sadly, both occurrences happened a fair bit throughout the weekend.
Badge Pick-up - Friday night:
This year, ALW decided to try a new procedure out for badges. When you picked up your badge, you gave the staff your name, age, and smiled for a photo that was then placed onto your badge. It’s a rather neat idea when you think about it since there would be less chance of people borrowing badges or anything else like that. The problem? There was one person doing the badges. Which meant that Friday night, most people were waiting in line for 2-4 hours just to get their badge. Saturday morning, they skipped the photo and name information which meant a large portion of people were walking around with the blank badge, which meant badge borrowing was still happening. So the idea of photos was great, but the execution was lacking. Also, the long line Friday night for the badges meant that certain rooms were harder to enter than others and the small hallway was almost impossible to direct through during this time. There were many attendees that spent a large portion of Friday night in line and complaining about the line, the amount of people, and the hard-to-get-to panel room and dealer’s room.
Badge Pick-up - Saturday:
The line for badges was reduced since they stopped taking photos which meant the hallway was easier to manage and panels were easier to get to. The panels that I was able to slip into were very enjoyable and those that ran them seemed to enjoy what they were doing.
This is an interesting subject. I personally, and those I spent my time at the convention with, never had any problems with the staff. They were polite to us and we never had any issues. However, there are many complaints posted on Facebook, Tumblr, and the Hotel’s website that would indicate that there were a lot of people that had bad experiences with the staff. ALW has already stated they will not be going back to the hotel due to these issues.
Knowing that this is ALW 5th year running this convention, I was not pleased. By year 5 for most conventions, certain hiccups are cleared out and incidents such as 4 hour waits (for such a small convention) for badges and negative hotel staff should not have occurred. However, the panels and guests were an enjoyable time for those that went this weekend.