What’s New in 2013?

We couldn’t begin to dive into the changes for 2013 without recapping the successes of our past. Since opening our doors in 1987 as an outgrowth/evolvement of a local SF and Gaming group, we have proudly grown from 1,400 fans to over 52,000 last year. We are currently listed by the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau as the 6th largest convention in the City of Atlanta with the largest parade on Atlanta’s streets. We are proud to offer over 3,500 hours of non-stop programming, concerts, a film festival, the South’s largest costume contest, and the largest Art Show in all of fandom.  Each year we review the highs and lows of the past and make changes to help support the show. We are happy to share with you some of the planned changes for the 2013 convention, which is sure to be the biggest and best yet thanks to our amazing fans and volunteers.

Since you are here, you have obviously found our first change for the 2013 convention. For your convenience and viewing pleasure, we have completely redesigned our website for our tech savvy and wonderfully imaginative fans. It is designed around three primary questions: Who to See? What to Do? Where to Go? After all, what else do you need to know when checking things out, showing off the convention, or preparing for the convention? You will also notice a much more visual feel of the site, with the goal of giving anyone who visits a mini “con experience” – allowing you to either reminisce about the great times from past conventions or check out all the cool things that are in store for you if you have not yet joined us for the best Labor Day party around. All the content from our old site is here, categorized into simplified groupings to help navigate through the site with ease. We hope you enjoy and check back often for updates!

Additionally we are pleased to announce that in 2013, our vendor halls will be moving from the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, Building 1, floors 1 and 2. This move is going to offer some much needed room to spread out with more programming space for our attendees, while giving us the opportunity to expand our vendor halls by approximately 20%. The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart is located one block west of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and can be accessed via breezeway from the Westin Peachtree Plaza. In addition, it will be added to our bus route, during dealer hours, in 2013 for easy access. More vendor space equals more great booths and space to pick up on those wonderful items only available in the Dragon*Con vendor halls. Additionally, as a part of this much needed expansion, the Walk of Fame will also be moving to a larger, more central, space.

With the continued growth of the convention, we will eventually be in a position that demands that we cap attendance as other shows do, or have done. While we do not believe this will happen in 2013, thanks to our expanded footprint, it is a possibility for both four-day and single-day memberships. We will advise members as soon as we know if this is a likely scenario for 2013. We also plan to again offer the Saturday ONLY pre-registration option to our fans at some point, to help the flow in the registration area during the busiest day of the show. Additionally for our members’ convenience, we will have all Saturday-only memberships available in one area. Preregistration Saturday-only and purchase will enter one room and be separated into different lines for member service. We are currently planning it for the Capital Ballroom of the Sheraton.

Looking back on at the last two years, the hotel badge checks continue to offer many great benefits with the reduction of crowding, allowing our members to interact with members in a “protected” environment and truly enjoy all of the wonders of Dragon*Con each evening. In 2013, we will continue to expand the badge check program to including the parade hours as well as other times, in an effort to thin out the crowds of non-badged individuals that have a serious impact on flow for our members, impeding our ability to get to the much cherished programming, beverages, and other places and things throughout the show.

Each year we review our tracks to look for opportunities to expand our offering and/or realign our programming. It has become impossible to continue to offer fan tracks for individual fandoms, no matter how much we love them. This year we will be folding programming for Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time and Anne McCaffrey’s Worlds into a Fantasy Literature fan track. Have no fear…fans of the works will still have Pern and Wheel of Time programming available.

Rest assured there will be plenty more changes before show time but as always, members will be kept up to date in our membership newsletters, progress reports, and e-blasts and our faithful social media followers on Twitter and Facebook will be kept up to date by our regular posts.