This will be my third year going to Phoenix Comicon. In past years I’ve wanted to bring my son. This would be that year. He’s three years old, loves Transformers and is generally not much of a pain in the rear. I could do this.
I showed Lucas, my son, pictures of past Comicon years. This got him excited. Especially the big transformers and he wanted to know if they would be there! All leading up to the week of Comicon he would ask, “How many sleeps until comicons?” And if that’s not the cutest thing I don’t know what is.
To play it safe I had already decided to just take him Thursday. There were some more adult things I wanted to do Friday and Thursday would be a lean crowd day. In hindsight I should have taken him both days.
I will talk in another post about the great job Phoenix Comicon did with use of floors, crowd control and general feel.
Note: I played it safe and went downtown early (11:00AM) on Thursday by myself to pickup badges. I highly suggest doing this as I got through lines in less than 15 minutes!
We arrived downtown around 2:00PM and promptly checked into the Renaissance for the night. Lucas got his badge pinned to him. My shoulder bag was packed with snacks and water for our afternoon and off we went.
Badge: The Sidekick Badge is very well done. It has an information box on the back of the badge that you fill out with the parent name, contact info and notes about your kid. The badge holder pins onto your childs clothing instead of a lanyard which is also smart.
Thursday starts up at noon but the main fun really starts at 4:00PM when the Exhibitor Hall and Hall of Heroes opens up. Not to worry though the Youth events were in full force. Multiple panels had already been going on in the West 100 rooms.
My favorite addition that I didn’t see last year: Padawan Room. A place for quiet time, reading some books and specific nap time in the afternoon! We made a point to check out the room and the Phoenix Comicon volunteer was extremely nice. She talked directly to my son which he loved. And when we left she gave him a sticker.
Now if you really want to pass some time though I highly suggest the Lego Build room. It’s open from 12:00PM to 6:00PM on Thursday and is free build time. Tables are full of Lego’s and it even kept me entertained as Lucas and I attempted to build a Transformer’s Devastator.
Then 4:00PM hit and we made a beeline for the 3rd floor Hall of Heroes. And guess who was near the Mos Eisley Cantina? Arizona Autobots! Upon first arrival no one was there in costume but Lucas stared at the helmets and toys soaking it up. We walked by R2D2 who beeped at my son. Chatted with some Mando Mercs. Took our picture in Gotham Asylum. Watched Lego trains go by. And then met Ratchet and Wheeljack!
From there we made our way downstairs to see what cool things there were in the Exhibitor Hall. I did have a goal in mind of finding a Transformers lunch box for my son who would be starting pre-school this year.
We wondered around about a third of the Hall looking at every toy booth there. The great thing about Comicon’s vendors is you can find new and old of just about any toy, book, comic you want. At least four of them had a great mix of older toys repackaged to dig through. Perfect for finishing a collection. Or in my case getting away with buying an Optimus Prime without breaking the bank! At this point Lucas was getting worn out and fell asleep in my arms.
Strollers. While I was carrying this 40 pound weight around the rest of the Exhibitor Hall looking at everything I wished I had a stroller. In hindsight though I’m glad I didn’t. As the crowds got thicker a stroller would have been in the way, I would have bumped someone, or been frustrated by trying to manuever around people. So I’m glad I didn’t. Napping is what the Padawan Room was for. Or the multiple seating areas all around the Exhibitor Hall. I suggest no stroller and timing to use the Padawan Room in the afternoon.
We made our way outside in hopes of checking out the usual stream of vehicles that parked outside the convention center. Alas they were not showing up until Friday, duly noted for next year, but we did come across some Food Trucks just in time for dinner.
As the evening hours set in we took one more trip to the Hall of Heroes to wonder around and take pictures. Soon enough it was 8:30PM and time to get Lucas back home to mom for bed. He wanted to have nothing to do with that of course wanting to stay at “Comicons”.
The entire drive home to drop him off all he wanted to talk about was everything he saw, his new toy, the Autobots, the Lego’s and when he could come back.
Next Year. Lucas will be staying the night in the hotel with me. Friday he would have loved the vehicles that showed up on the street. And Optimus Prime showed up at the Arizona Autobots booth.
My final words for you if you are thinking about taking your child is DO IT. The Sidekick Badges are a mere $10 which gets him/her in for all four days. While you will still spend a $100 on toys, comics and posters for your kid it’s all well worth it for the experience.
Pack snacks and water. Plan on nap time in the Padawan room or your hotel. And let your childs imagination soar.
P.S. I did find a Transformers lunch box the next day which Lucas will be proudly carrying to school with him this year. Along with another toy. A poster. And a couple of comic books. I spent more money on him when he wasn’t with me then when he was with me.