Star Wars Celebration Orlando Tips and Tricks a Last Minute Survival Guide

STAR WARS CELEBRATION ORLANDO is nearly here! April 13-16, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. If you’ve never been to Star Wars Celebration, need a refresher, or are starting to panic, don’t worry, Skywalking Through Neverland has these Star Wars Celebration Orlando tips and tricks for you.  The hosts of the weekly Star Wars/Disney Podcast, Richard and Sarah Woloski, have been to every U.S. Star Wars Celebration since Celebration IV in 2007, and several other conventions in between. List-Master Matt Clifton (Fandom Podcast Network) has tons of tips. What to pack, your plan of attack, what to buy, what not to buy and how to prepare. So sit back, relax, and follow this last minute survival guide as you plan your trip to Star Wars Celebration Orlando.  Guest post written by Matt Clifton.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Your Plan Of Attack

Get all your paperwork together in a folder. Party tickets, hotel reservation, pre ordered merchandise, print out all your invoices and put them in a folder. DO. NOT. FORGET. YOUR. BADGE. Plan out your schedule.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Give the Star Wars Celebration Orlando stage schedule a look (click here for downloadable pdf versions of the schedule). You’ll have to make decisions and sacrifices. It’s all part of the experience. Popular panels will be slammed. You may have to get in line hours in advance. Keep it in mind. Know where the line is and scout it out in advance. Have a book or some kind of distraction on you for those long waits. Don’t forget your earbuds. When you plan your schedule, try not to get tunnel vision. Go over listings with a fine tooth comb. Sensory overload happens and you could overlook an important panel.

Download the Official Star Wars Celebration App

Before the convention you can look at the schedule, mark your favorites, set a To-Do List, and even make friends with others before you arrive! Especially helpful if you have to go solo this year.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

During the convention make sure to check the App and your notifications because you might learn of things going on you forgot about. Follow @SW_Celebration on Twitter for tips, or advice on when a line caps out, or a new event is starting.

Bring Snacks and Water

Stay hydrated, bring water. Get a 24 pack of water at a local convenience store as soon as you arrive. Try to keep water on you at all times of con. Don’t depend on sugar-juice (i.e., soda) the whole time. H2O is your friend. Keep snacks on you. Stock up on your favorite snack and breakfast bars. Cliff and Nature Valley are my faves. Nuts are good but try to keep it unsalted. Beef jerky is fun but it’s not the best bet. Try to stay away from the salty stuff. Sodium is not your friend at these things.

What to Wear

Take pride in picking out your wardrobe. Have fun with it. Represent your fandom. Have a favorite character? Love Rebels? Wanna show your love for K-2SO? Wear it. Don’t forget to pack something warm in case you get cold in the heavily air conditioned convention halls. Pack comfortable shoes. You can’t walk around great distances in flip-flops. I speak from experience.

Pack a bathing suit or some swim trunks. You might think you won’t have any time for the pool but you’d be surprised. You never know when you’ll have some down time for soak in the hot tub. And your legs and feet will thank you. Don’t forget sunscreen. The sun is pretty brutal and unforgiving down here.

Cargo shorts. I love them. The more pockets, the better. Always handy at conventions. Which brings us to…

How To Convention Packmule

Invest in a shoulder bag. Something small and manageable that you can keep water, snacks, or devices in. I really don’t recommend a backpack. That can be pretty bulky and you’ll be, often times, in a cramped area or in line with a lot of people. This will be for carrying freebees you never knew you needed. Or you can go the super-sporty route and grab this Convention Hoodie from HerUniverse and Nerdist!


Caffeine, Naps, Personal Hygiene and an Extra Shirt

Toiletries. Pharmaceuticals. Take airborne or your favorite vitamin C supplement. Con crud sucks and it always strikes at the worst time. Do your best to prepare your immune system from the hotbox of human pestilence that is a convention. Throat lozenges. You will be screaming yourself hoarse the entire time. You will not have a voice by Thursday afternoon. Pack some lozenges to help your poor vocal cords. DO NOT forget to use deodorant and toothpaste. The last thing you want is to get a pic with Dave Filoni and have strong BO or bad breath. Shower daily and brush your teeth. Always keep your personal hygiene in mind at these things. Keep some mints on hand. Have fresh breath cause you’ll be talking to a looooooooooot of people. Pack some Advil, Tylenol, or ibuprofen and keep some on you at all times. Headaches and leg pains happen and you don’t want one slowing you down.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

From Left: Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer/Director Dave Filoni, Executive Producer Simon Kinberg

The more people you know, the more you will want to hang out with them. You may find yourself going to the convention all day, and partying each and every night of Star Wars Celebration Orlando. Take a moment between the Convention and the evening’s party to freshen up. Either go back to your hotel room, or a bathroom and change your shirt, retouch your makeup (ladies), grab some coffee and maybe take a 15 minute power nap. This will help you make it through looking refreshed and renewed for the evening. If you’re cosplaying, have that outfit laid out in advance so you don’t have to think about the various pieces.

Extra External Battery Packs

DO. NOT. FORGET. YOUR CHARGERS. Cords, plugs, adapters, get them all together. It sucks going on a long trip and realizing you forgot your phone charger. Before you leave your house, make sure you have all your chargers and such and put them in your carry bag.

Portable batteries for your phone. This is very important. You’ll be posting. You’ll be tweeting. You’ll be snapping HUNDREDS of pictures. This’ll be putting your phone battery through the ringer. No one has time to hug a wall for an hour for a little bit of a charge. You’ve got things to do. Invest in a quality battery for your phone. Cheap ones will cheat you at your most direst hour. I’ve seen it. Splurge for a good one. Something that you might overlook. Your phone memory space. Time to make space for the AVALANCHE of pictures and videos it’s about to receive. You don’t want a “memory is full” alert when you’re in the middle of taking an important pic. Manage your storage space accordingly.


When To Part With Your Money (or Dealer Room Of Doom)

Have a budget. Don’t shock yourself with your next month’s credit card statement. Remember, cash is king in the dealer room. BEWARE OF PRICE-GOUGERS. If you’re after a hard to get toy, con dealers have a tendency too jack up the prices. Use Amazon a reference if you have to. Don’t buy toys at high prices. Wait till Sunday if you can. Sometimes dealers lower their prices on the last day.

If you’re after autographs, get all your prints, pics, and items together. Invest in large hard plastic portfolios. They’ll protect your pics and prints and they’re easy to pack. Make them large in case you like to buy large art. A heavy duty strapped poster tube is good to take along. But be careful. They can be cumbersome if you’re in line and have been known to slip off the shoulder and bonk someone sitting down. I have been guilty of this.

A nice alternative for photos for autographs is, of course, art. Itching to get an autograph of your favorite character from Rebels but you just can’t find a photo you like? Consider getting an art print signed. Sites such as Etsy or Society6 are loaded with incredible pieces by many talented artists. It’s something a little more unique and different than a photo and has been known to be the cause of an interesting conversation with the celebrity signing it.

Everyone is different. Some people see something and MUST HAVE NOW, so they plunk down their money (me) right then and there. However, sometimes a little anticipation before you buy is good. If you see an item you like, write it down or take a picture, and then NOTE what aisle and booth it resides. Trust me, after several aisles, you WILL forget where you saw it last. While perusing the dealer room, you may find that same item 3 booths down for $20 cheaper. That is why it’s good to wait just a bit before jumping into a sale.

If you are on the fence about an item. Wait until the final day of Star Wars Celebration Orlando, even the last hour. Vendors do NOT want to transport all their items back to where they came from, and are more willing to sell their goods for less just to avoid this.

Take Home Message

Socialize! Talk to people! When you’re in line, conversations happen. Stories are shared. You’re gonna make connections. Get Facebook names and Twitter handles from people you connect with. Have a blast! You’re about to have the time of your life 😊

We hope these convention tips help you get ready for Star Wars Celebration Orlando.  If you need more tips, take a listen to Skywalking Through Neverland for Part 2 of the Star Wars Celebration Orlando Survival Guide where Elliot Hansen (DJ Elliot – Main Stage pre-show DJ) talks about his past experience and what to expect from the main Celebration Stage this year. He also shares with us some Behind-the-Scenes stories from previous years.

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Finally, Skywalking Through Neverland will appear on the Star Wars Celebration Orlando Podcast Stage on Saturday, April 15th from 7:30-8:30 PM. This is not just a Live Podcast, it’s an Interactive Celebration of 40 Years of Fandom full of fun, games and prizes. Think of it as a perfect wind-down time after the con. Also, the debut of something very special created by Skywalking Through Neverland podcast composer, Rob Dehlinger. It will be a true one-of-a-kind experience! This is a fantastic place to connect with friends and fans. Hope to see you there!

Star Wars Celebration Orlando

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