Star Wars: Celebration Orlando 2017 Feedback

Dustin

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How was your Star Wars: Celebration Orlando2017 Experience? Please list off the good, the bad, and the UGLY!
 
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Over all , really good ! 40 years of Star Wars was amazing in the Galaxy stage ! Closing ceremonies were only ok imo. Although I did get to give Warwick Davis a low five as he rode past on his Segway ! Pretty awesome !
 
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This was my first Celebration and I had a great time. Plenty to nitpick about but I'm thankful to have even had the opportunity to attend.

The Good: Tons of exhibits, vendors and fun fan interactions. Favorites included the amazing cosplay, the custom Droids and the gathering of so many like-minded people. I was also surprised that not all the vendors were just charging ridiculous prices. I picked up a Sideshow Rogue 5 Luke Pilot figure for about $50 less than retail.

The Bad: Unhelpful convention center staff and access points. If the NFL can get 70,000 people into a stadium with lots of entrances I don't know why the OCCC couldn't do a little better with signage and entrances. The Celebration Store: how could they not either have a) more store locations or b) smaller stands selling the basics (t-shirts, lanyards, programs, etc.). I also felt the Celebration app was pretty lacking, especially the maps that were not very detailed.

The Ugly: Lines, lines and more lines. Also, having to wait 2 years to get another Celebration. How else do I get my "in-person" Star Wars fix???
 
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I only have 2 "bads"
1. The line on Thursday morning to get into the building was beyond terrible. That was an embarrassment to the convention/organization/planning.
2. Topps and the autograph area was also an embarrassment. I don't think it could have been MORE disorganized. (I'm curious as to why they thought it would be beneficial to have people line up every day to get their photos at a different location AND you had to come back EVERY day and do the same thing because they wouldn't give you your photos from different days)

What I loved:
1. Loved being there with my family (1st time for my family, although I've been to all of the U.S. Celebrations).
2. Main Hall was very well set up and organized.
3. Lots to do.
4. Belgium Prop builders and what they brought (awesome).
5. Pin trading was fun. I'd like to see even MORE booths/vendors participate!
6. Collector's panels (although I only made it to 1) are always a great draw with the free Star Tot!
 
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I was an exhibitor so I can't comment on the lines - but all of my interactions with OCC staff confirmed that none of them really knew what they were doing. On Wednesday I went to the store pick up area to get my official convention program/souvenir book and the staff didn't even know what that was. They tried to give me the free little booklet. I kept telling them it was a glossy book that cost $20. Finally the one person who seemed to be in charge came by and told us that they hadn't gotten the books in yet.

The security staff weren't much better. One day they'd search bags and the next you'd just set them aside while they ran a wand over you. What's the point of a security check if they don't search bags? And one day a guy told me to take my phone and wallet out of my bag and put it into a dish while he wanded me. What????

Finally... maybe by Celebration 40 someone will figure out how to run a truly fan friendly store. While no one forces you to go into the store it is criminal that anyone that goes in after about 10-10:30 can expect to spend HOURS there just to get in and then checked out. Every employee of Reed Pop should be made to go to the store around 12:00 and forced to stand in those lines and have to buy something. I guarantee they'd find a fix then. I haven't been to the Celebration store in years and won't until they fix that disaster. They need t-shirt stands and smaller retail outlets spread through out the facility - as a start.

Otherwise se I had a blast and can't wait for the next one.
 
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Cool someone started a thread of this. I was going to but felt horrible last night.
Pros: The Disney Store:They were pretty much on point. Another Scummer and I agreed that they need to take over the Celebration Store. Never had to wait more than a few mins each time.
The security check fri-Sun: Much better than Thursday.
Art Show: Thought it was ran pretty well. It was congested at times but I never felt it was BAD.
Panels: Didn't go to Any collector ones but those are always fun and the free tot is great. The 2 BIG panels were great as a Celebration of 40 years of Star Wars and to continue the hype of the upcoming Saga in TLJ! I did manage to go to the Disney Parks Star Wars panel and thought it was great.
The Crowds: Seemed like A LOT of people attended this weekend, so hopefully that means more and more Celebration!
Exclusives: Thought there were great exclusives despite the toughness to obtain them.
Cosplay: Cosplay was awesome! There was great kylos, and Reys and Sabines, etc! There was some funny stuff too. Aquaman Jedi. Guy Slave Leias! Guy Ariels!
Disney: Again as mentioned above, they had a great booth. Also the Galactic Nights event was a good compliment to SWCO.
The Collectir clubs. Spent a lot of time around them grabbing swag and patches! Had fun/challenging games.
Star Wars Live area. Really liked their set up. Crowds a plenty when the panels were shown and when they had guests.

Cons: Thursday Line: I was one of the Lucky ones who didn't have to wait in line for hours OUTSIDE the CC. That line was dumb.
Celebration Store: The wait was crazy and I never even attempted to go in. Again Disney should run it. Also what was up with putting curtains all the way around it?
Auto Hall: we had some great guests but I still felt like some quests were missing. I know we didn't have the great services of Chris and Opix with Send ins/Drops offs, but they should have at least had a drop off. It's just me but I would've liked to see different groupings of Guests. Put all the Rebels cast together in a row, all the Rogue One together etc. Just a suggestion. Also felt from where they were signing to the end of the line was FAR away. Could barely tell who was signing where as the picture behind them weren't easy to see.
The Campout logistics: they needed to have a better game plan for the 2 panels. If you say a specific time when you can line up then stick to it! I didn't campout for any but should've had the campers stationed on the carpeted section for a certain time. Les than A handful of hours on that hard concrete is prob better than 10 or more hours! Not everyone had blankets or those inflatables.
The Crowds: Part of it was mismanagement.
Reed in regards to their lotteries: This is more dealing with me. I entered Funko and Lego and got the confirmation for entering. Did not get an email for both regarding winning or losing. Called them multiple times. Found out I lost Funko via an email to Reed. Lego I had to call a lot and finally got anmessage back that I had won and would get an email. Again no email, and was told I had to track down a certain person at celebration. I just gave up. Funko and Lego should hold their own lotteries.
Funko: I'm a huge Funko fan and they know they're a popular product. Their line was handled well despite how hard it was to get their product.
Exckusives: Part of the bad things that come with exclusives are that those vendors doing them have to worry about people lining up or hounding their booths. It clogs up their booth in regards to people coming in to check out their booth. Funko just had product to seek and didn't have new stuff on display. Where I saw this worse was Gentke Giant. The line for their lottery would get in the way I saw if people browsing their booth. Hasbro too.

If if I think of more I'll post...
 
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major complaint about the show was the disorganized chaos of the autograph/photo-op area and the insane line on Thursday. I was on line at 9am and didn't get in till 11:45am. I had a photo op and autograph with Mark Hamill for Thursday so I spent the remainder of the day on line from 12pm - 6:50pm so day 1 of the con was completely lost.

day 2 was much smoother as far as lines and the autograph sections (was able to get 4 autographs and a photo op with Sarah Michelle Gellar (an autograph) all by all by 2:30pm (Garrick Hogan, Denis Lawson, and Freddie Prince Junior) and be able to enjoy the show as well.

day 3 was my short day unfortunately as I had to fly home that night so I was only at the show from 10-2:30 (and was able to catch my first and only panel Star Wars Rebels - on the overflow stage)

Galactic Nights at Hollywood Studios was awesome and one of my favorite Disney experiences since CV and the Last Tour to Endor.

my only other major complaint was the weekend they choose to hold the event...... being a family man myself it was hard for me with Sunday being Easter. I was fortunate enough to have family watching my 5 year twins but I had to cut the celebration short to come home for Easter.

all in all I think the OCCC needs to retrain some of it's staff to be a little more knowledgeable about what's going on and more friendly as well, and Reed Pop / Disney / Lucasfilm needs to get back Official Pix as the autograph people as Topps had zero clue what they were doing and their staff was just downright rude at times.

PROS:

I loved seeing everyone at the show and had a great time chatting with friends and making new friends
the showroom floor was great and well organized
the panels (even though I only made the Rebels one) were great
the guests were awesome
the surprises.... George Lucas, Harrison Ford, John Williams etc were mind blowing


definitely looking forward to Celebration IX.
 
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major complaint about the show was the disorganized chaos of the autograph/photo-op area and the insane line on Thursday. I was on line at 9am and didn't get in till 11:45am. I had a photo op and autograph with Mark Hamill for Thursday so I spent the remainder of the day on line from 12pm - 6:50pm so day 1 of the con was completely lost.

day 2 was much smoother as far as lines and the autograph sections (was able to get 4 autographs and a photo op with Sarah Michelle Gellar (an autograph) all by all by 2:30pm (Garrick Hogan, Denis Lawson, and Freddie Prince Junior) and be able to enjoy the show as well.

day 3 was my short day unfortunately as I had to fly home that night so I was only at the show from 10-2:30 (and was able to catch my first and only panel Star Wars Rebels - on the overflow stage)

Galactic Nights at Hollywood Studios was awesome and one of my favorite Disney experiences since CV and the Last Tour to Endor.

my only other major complaint was the weekend they choose to hold the event...... being a family man myself it was hard for me with Sunday being Easter. I was fortunate enough to have family watching my 5 year twins but I had to cut the celebration short to come home for Easter.

all in all I think the OCCC needs to retrain some of it's staff to be a little more knowledgeable about what's going on and more friendly as well, and Reed Pop / Disney / Lucasfilm needs to get back Official Pix as the autograph people as Topps had zero clue what they were doing and their staff was just downright rude at times.

PROS:

I loved seeing everyone at the show and had a great time chatting with friends and making new friends
the showroom floor was great and well organized
the panels (even though I only made the Rebels one) were great
the guests were awesome
the surprises.... George Lucas, Harrison Ford, John Williams etc were mind blowing


definitely looking forward to Celebration IX.
Ditto! I really agree with your post. The weekend they chose really stunk for me. I also had to leave on Saturday to get back to my family. In addition, (for those would do not celebrate Easter or bring their family with them) this week is also spring break for most K-12 school systems. Therefore, the costs of everything goes up (hotels, airfare, car rentals, gas, etc.) and the travel crowds/traffic is significantly higher.

As far as the show goes, Thursday was a train wreck all around in my opinion with the worst part being the autographs and photos. I honestly believe Reedpop, Topps and the autograph company got caught by surprise. I think if you look at their plans (on paper) it made sense, but the response and crowds were beyond what was expected. However, I was impressed that they seemed to really fight back and make things a little better each day. By Saturday, while the crowds were still insane, I think the photo guys had their act together. Autos were still tough, but at least they had staff taking control. As far as suggestions go, I would 1) give the autograph and photos a larger area. 2) This would allow each signer to have a dedicated line (no double ups with other signers), with adequate space for lines and have clear signage with their schedule for the entire convention (that is updated). That way you know where they are each day and when they will be there. 2) They need to have cash lines and allow online purchases at the show. 3) Have all pictures at the celebs table (no picture line). 4) Allow purchase of extra 8x10s at the show and have an all around better selection for purchase. 5) I know this won't happen, but I would get rid of the authentication (fewer scalpers) and cut the cost of the graphs.

As far as Reed goes, the only thing that comes to mind is please move the exhibit hall stage to some less congested area with more overall room. It really clogged up a main artery to the photo area/celebration store.

Collector's panels were well run and smooth. Excellent work!

I actually didn't get to anything on the big stages (I watched them afterward on youtube). That being said, I'm fine with the way it was handled. Basically, the people that wanted it the most (camped out for days in some cases) got in. Heck, they deserved it more than me!



All that being said, I really enjoyed the show overall!
 
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I'm curious if any scummers made it to the game show "This deal is getting worse all the time" on Saturday and what you thought of it? The room was packed and standing room only.
 
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pros:
1. the exhibitors i thought really brought some great vintage product this year. last celebration i found myself thinking ebay is my only venue to find good vintage anymore.
2. love the collectors panels they were well done and tots were awesome
3. swag was freely flowing and meeting the people was great and fun
4. cosplay was off the chain 501st and mando mercs really brought it this year
5. 501st droid hunt i thought was a nice touch

cons:
1. Thursday morning line was the stupidest thing i have ever expierenced. yes it did get better each day but come on these are professionals supposedly
2. the exclusives i thought were weak it's seems the stupid trash monster sure is making a comeback. i saw multiple cosplayers with the diagona around them ???? luke x wing ok i guess
3.people reselling swag on ebay
4. finally the celebration store didn't even attempt to expierence that train wreck


overall we had a great time lots of fun the pros definitely outweigh the cons
 
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major complaint about the show was the disorganized chaos of the autograph/photo-op area and the insane line on Thursday. I was on line at 9am and didn't get in till 11:45am. I had a photo op and autograph with Mark Hamill for Thursday so I spent the remainder of the day on line from 12pm - 6:50pm so day 1 of the con was completely lost.
Oh my god, thats Celebration 2 level s**t right there. The longest line I waited in once the show started was 90 minutes at the show store. And judging how terrible the show store was run at Anaheim this was a HUGE improvement and I accepted it. I'm really sorry you had your first day wasted, thats terrible. You shouldn't have to buy a ticket to spend 9 hours waiting in lines.
 
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3.people reselling swag on ebay
This happens after every single Star Wars Celebration, it shouldn't really come as a surprise anymore. I'll be honest, with how hard it is to finish these 10, 20, 30, and the eventual 100 piece patches happening at these shows I'm glad there are people putting up their loose patches on eBay so I have a chance of finishing them. Just don't check ebay and you'll never know better.
 
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Pros: Another great Celebration. The show floor was well laid out with alot of space. Even though I missed the awesome food trucks from Anaheim, they had plenty of food available for lunch. There was lots of things to see and do. I was saying to my friends you could have done the Celebration 5 times and done completely different things every time. The panels were great - I only got to seven of them but they were all fantastic. The 501st Bash was AMAZING! Definitely one of my favorite experiences from all seven of my Celebrations.

Cons: I know the line on Thursday was bad, but I didnt see it becuase I was in the queue hall from 5:30 am to 10:30 am on both Thursday and Friday mornings, just to see the screening of the first panels. If you wanted to get in live you had to show up at 7pm the night before. People who showed up at 10pm and slept there overnight didnt get into the live panels. Anaheim was better because they have that arena for the main panel - it feels like Orlando CC, for as big as it is, doesn't have that one big space for a panel like that. The celebration store was a cluster, and I am glad I didnt have to go through it. My roomate had a medical badge (he was the plus 1 for someone else) and could get through literally in 15 minutes, so he got stuff for all of us. Agreed that this should be set up more like a stand with the items behind a counter and less like Wal-Mart. The wristband thing was kind of dumb. It meant you had to plan out your entire day ahead of time, OR just get all the wristbands in the morning and pick the things you wanted to go to. I got into the Disney parks panel without one by waiting in the standby line. The autograph hall was okay for me, but I understand it wasn't the best system ever. I didnt like the pre-order system because you had to be watching the website every day for new talent to pop up. The individual day system meant you were better off getting everyone for the earliest day they were available, because they accepted you the next day, but not the previous if there was no line and you had the next day's ticket.
 
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Pros: great content, awesome fan and collecting panels, surprise guests (Harrison! George! John Williams!), a cool trailer

Cons: LACK OF ORGANIZATION BY REEDPOP STAFF

For context, we went to Celebrations 5 and 6, both in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). We also went to Anaheim. Even with long waits, those three cons were very well organized, with a lot more staff to answer questions. I know there are long lines at a con, I expect that. A wait to get into the building is expected. But the experience at Orlando 2017 this was unbelievably horrible, and unacceptable.

In summary, there were NO clearly marked medical queues (except at the Store and Celebration Stage). NO staff outside managing lines. Not enough staff inside managing the lines. Orange shirted staff giving conflicting answers. Rude Black shirted staff giving conflicting answers. Some OCCC staff utterly clueless as to where medical queues were. Utter chaos.

In more detail:
We have 4 day badges that we ordered last year when they went on sale. My partner broke his ankle in October, has screws in his ankle, so he walks with a cane. (I can provide proof of his injury if needed.) We arrived Wednesday evening. Our hotel was the Rosen Center, so we had to walk the entire length of the venue to the queue hall to get our tiny Medical stickers. By Thursday morning, his ankle was so swollen we had to order a wheelchair to be delivered to hotel. While waiting for it to be delivered, I decided to go alone to the con to scout out the line and find the medical queue, which should have been marked with clear signage.

Thursday morning was complete chaos outside. I had asked OCCC staff nearest the Rosen where the medical queue started and they said to "go look for the line, we couldn't miss it". So I walk alone to the line.

There were NO signs for a medical queue. There was NO staff from ReedPop or OCCC outside to manage the line. There were no temporary barriers to manage line flow. Somehow, the fans had organically formed a line that snaked around about five times in front of the venue then wrapped around to the back of the venue, and then back to the front entrance. I waited about and hour and a half alone in this line, not seeing any staff, not seeing any medical queue signs.

At about the hour and a half mark, I am at the back of the venue, which I see is open, but only for restroom usage. So I go in to speak to OCCC security. I hold up my medical badge and explain "My partner is in a wheelchair, do we have to wait in this long line outside? Where is the medical queue?"

She tells me "you may come back to the venue and enter through the main entrance". So I walk back around to the front of the building and proceed in to the main entrance, and again I explain my situation. This OCCC staffer tells me to come back to the main entrance and we could get in. He then tells me to wait, checks with someone, and tells me he thinks we can enter closer to the Rosen.

I go back to the hotel, get my partner, now in a wheelchair, and proceed back to the venue and are finally able to get in the ground floor entrance nearest the Rosen Center it is now about 1pm. My entire morining is gone.

Friday is also horrible. We try to enter the way we came in Thursday at ground level nearest the Rosen, but I guess it's too early and Black shirted staff member rudely yells at us "No! Only exhibitors and media at this entrance!" There are NO signs to point out where a medical queue might be.
At this point an OCCC staff memeber sees the wheelchair and and lets us in the building, contradicting what ReedPop staffer just rudely told us.

We get in and make our way down to the queue hall "holding room". There are very few staffers managing the lines. We want to get into the simulcast live stream of "The Last Jedi" panel on the Behind the Scenes stage. It clearly states in the Insider's Guide and on the website that wristbands are NOT required for the Behind The Scenes stage, only for the Celebration and Galaxy stages. We ask a Black shirted staffer about wristbands. All gone. I ask about the Behind the Scenes stage. She says we cannot get in. We ask where the medical queue is. We are told "Go that way", and she points in the direction of the show floor. We head that way and ask another person where the medical line is. They say that "I think it's down at the end".

We get to the wall nearest the show floor. There is a hand written sign aboout five feet off the ground that says "VIP/Medical". There are barriers controlling the flow of the line here. We follow the line towards the back of the hall, where the barriers end and the line turns into a mass of people, just milling around. No staff to be seen at this end. No barriers to help control the line. An fan tells us the medical line is against the wall, but it continues around the corner and the back of it "is down there somewhere". We cannot reach "down there somehere" because we have a wheelchair and cannot get through this unorganized crowd. I spot someone in a motorized chair, in what looks like it might be a line, see they are pointed toward the show floor, and muscle us into a position near them. Doing this was easier than attempting to find the back of a medical queue that was "back there somewhere". Again, NO staff back here to help.

We finally get to the show floor. I decide to take matters into my own hands, and we finally find an elevator (I found exactly two elevators in the ENTIRE building. I don't recall seeing a sign for an elevator). We go upstairs to the Behind the Scenes stage. We hold up our medical badges, and a Black shirt sees our wheelchair, and motions for us to come in a different entrance and we are escorted to the front row to see the simulcast. Contrary to what some of the Orange shirts told us downstairs.

In Anaheim, "The Force Awakens" panel was streamed into several different rooms, including the Collector's Stage. Why wasn't "The Last Jedi" panel streamed into more rooms? More people could have seen it, and it could have relieved some the congestion. The fact that is was only on three stages in Orlando makes NO sense, and is yet another example of poor planning on the part of ReedPop.

I found two information booths in the whole venue with the black and white Insider's Guides to give out. I recall at other cons there were tables/kiosks set up with stacks of free guides. I also recall seeing more info booths before.

Fortunately, I did not get an autograph or photo op this time, but heard from many people that Topps dropped the ball on both fronts, with fans having to organize themselves into lines. If fans are managing themselves, exactly what are paid staff doing?

I feel that a lot of corners were cut here to maximize profit:
-print less signs to save money
-print less guides to save money
-hiring less staff to save money
-not spending the man hours to meet with OCCC staff to train/inform them also saves money

Seeing photos on Twitter of Mary Franklin (head of ReedPop) giving out pins at the con, while the line of fans outside is left unmanned, is unprofessional on a level that I cannot even begin to describe.

I do not blame Lucasfilm/Disney for this. LFL had some excellent content, with surprise guests, great panels, and a new trailer. The fan and collecting groups had some excellent content.

ALL of this was tarnished by the poor organization of ReedPop.

Star Wars fans deserve better. We PAID for better.
 
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Oh my god, thats Celebration 2 level s**t right there. The longest line I waited in once the show started was 90 minutes at the show store. And judging how terrible the show store was run at Anaheim this was a HUGE improvement and I accepted it. I'm really sorry you had your first day wasted, thats terrible. You shouldn't have to buy a ticket to spend 9 hours waiting in lines.
it was a bit ridiculous but worth the wait (not the pain as I was in full Jedi Gear and my feet swelled up in my boots that day.. took a while to get my feet out of them and then spent the rest of the trip somewhat limping from the pain). I've never run into a problem before with getting the photo-ops and the autographs. I think at CV I waited 15 minutes to get Carrie Fisher's autograph and the majority of the autographs I've got over the years the longest before CVIII was for Robert Englund at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill NJ and that was only 45 minutes...

I think for C IX if Topps is still the company in charge of autographs they should open 1-2 hours before the show and allow the fans to purchase the autographs beforehand to avoid the crazy 3 hour queue lines. they should also have representatives that can collect money at the smaller tables of guests as well. there were times that Billy Dee Williams line was only 10 people deep... if they had allowed fans to pay at the table it would have been so much easier for the fans in general.
 
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As a first time attender (yeah don't know why it took me so long lol), I have to say that for the most part I really enjoyed it. The only thing I was really bummed about was arriving around 10pm and not being able to make the Last Jedi panel on the Galaxy stage. Really wanted one of those posters they handed. I walked over to the Hasbro line (which already people) and pulled my chair and camped out there instead. Now I regret not lining up for at least the Carrie Fischer tribute line. Also not being able to walk out of there with any Funko Pops whatsoever bothered me.

It was also cool meeting some of the old school FL members from the group in person after interacting online with them for so many years. The forum badge was a nice touch for me as well.

I agree on everything else that has been said though...there didn't seem to be many helpful employees with info around. It took me almost all day to finally realize there was a second floor with the panels since everyone I asked would tell me that all the action was downstairs. But the crowd for the most part awesome, can't really say I had any bad experiences. Definitely will like to make the next one. Is there a picture thread anywhere? I'll be the first one. I'm the one on the right.

 
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Biggest complaint were the jerks who lined up days in advance for the 40th panel. They set the tone for the weekend and caused everyone to panic and line up extra early when the original rules were no one could line up before 8pm
 
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Biggest complaint were the jerks who lined up days in advance for the 40th panel. They set the tone for the weekend and caused everyone to panic and line up extra early when the original rules were no one could line up before 8pm
That seems like an over reaction. They didn't set the tone for the weekend. That's just how it is. From what I heard pre-con, the queue hall was scheduled to open at 8. It did.

I heard people were lining up at least at noon if not earlier in Anaheim. In Anaheim I arrived at 6:30 pm and a volunteer told me there was 1500 people in front of me. That's just how it is. There was nothing different this time around.
 
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Celebration sent an email out looking for feedback. I hope all of you take some time to fill out their survey. It seems we all had the same pain points.
 
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I tried but I'm getting an error and the site is unavailable. Apparently they have a pretty good idea of what I have to say based on my email I already sent them. We will see if it unlocks at some point.
 
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That line Thursday was the most ridiculous thing ever. After standing in it, and walking nearly a mile from the convention center, we still had not turned around yet as it looped back to the front. I had my young daughter with me, we were already getting sunburned, so we left that ridiculous line and went back to the front and just walked on in. I'm sorry, that line was absurd, I refused to stand in it any longer. And then the 'security" check. LOL! They didn't even check bags OR run them through a detector?! So what was the point?! Absolutely ridiculous. At least that was fixed by Friday.

Topps autograph area: lol. I will NEVER understand how you can take something that was not broken and then totally screw it up. Every part of it was so bad, so wrongly managed, that I cannot even begin to describe it. The lack of photos for big guests, the line mismanagement, the overall cluelessness, it all sucked any joy from the show for me. The line to buy autograph tickets was absurd. I was confused on Friday when I saw a ridiculously long line to buy autograph ticketsyet it was announced on intercom and on screens that everyone of note was already sold out.What were they in line to buy? I REALLY hope those people weren't wating hours in line to buy overpriced Tim Rose and Mike Quinn autographs. But I guess I'll never know. Luckily I was able to get a friend to get my Ian McDiarmid autograph on Sunday for me, because there was no way I could get it on Friday, everything was running too far behind. I have never been so miserable at a SW "Celebration". I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Between all of the newbies clogging up everything with their interest in the Disney SW movies, which I couldn't care less about, and Topps horrible handling of the autographs. this Celebration was not fun. Sadly, it was my 5th and last one.
 
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I goto the Celebrations mainly to get my autographs on my posters.

This autograph hall was a complete disaster. Topps had no clue of what they were doing. Thankfully I pre-bought all of my autograph tickets besides two. My wife stood in line to buy two smaller guest tickets for 2 and a half hours on thursday, the line only got worst throughout the weekend. Who thought it was a good idea to have 3 check out stations for autograph tickets? Then, you have to go in ANOTHER line to get your photos for half the guests, and only could get them for the day of the autograph tickets. Not to mention, you had to talk to three people just to get the photos, scanned, stickered, and whatever else you had to do. Who thought of that? The autograph que for the smaller guests were all funneled in one line. Jeremy Bulloch's line blocked five guests at the end.

The photo choices were awful. They had Dennis Lawson had his first US appearance and 2 bad quality 8x10s, thats it. Official Pix had atleast 9 Lawson photos in their inventory so I know they have the archive files. They had 11x14 for most of the guests but they were cropped bad on most of them. And I really appreciate the 16x20s after you said you would have them in an email I sent. Thank god another scummer had an 11x14 OP for my Hayden autograph ticket.

With the over priced autograph tickets on the smaller guests, you arn't allowed to take photos of them, with them, or anything? Give me a break.

I talked to one rude Topps worker (Not a volunteer) and after that conversation, I will NEVER buy anything topps related again. I will not goto another Celebration if they are running the hall, I will not get anyone to help me out either.

I wont get started about all the rest of Celebration. After I got in (hours later) it was a fun time, when I wasn't in the autograph hall.
 
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The wife & I filled out a survey on Sunday night. We definitely informed them of our feelings on the debacle that was getting in on Thursday, & the screw up that was the autograph hall.
 
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I filled out mine and submitted it today. I doubt it will do any good, but you just know Topps is getting slammed hard by everyone who fills that thing out.
 
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I'm just back from Florida yesterday and my trip incorporated my first Celebration visit on the Friday - unfortunately I think it will probably be my last Celebration visit also .... the chaos put me off massively

I arrived at the Center having been dropped off by the rest of my family, bag search and entry into the venue was smooth walked along a corridor and into the first hall. From there until I was picked up again I spent 99% of my time in queues - the majority of which were unnecessary in my opinion

Getting into the main hall took 45 minutes - why ?

Once in I went over to the autograph section - I had pre-ordered 4 autographs ( all I could afford ) but hadn't received any email tickets from Topps. Went to stand in the Topps Customer Service line which took over another hour - I missed the Ep 8 trailer as the queue was behind the big screen so was getting messages from my friend in England who had seen it before me

Eventually got my four tickets printed and off I went into my autograph lines - why wouldn't they have screens / consoles set up to print tickets like at the cinema ?

My biggest gripe happened then. When ordering my autographs before I left the UK I unfortunately found that Peter Mayhew had sold out for the Friday - but had availability on the Sunday. I could only attend on the Friday so had to let it pass .... in the customer services queue a Topps employee announced that autograph tickets could be redeemed on any day - which probably added to the chaos

While stood in the queue for Jeremy Bulloch I noticed that several other OT signers had minimal queues ( Blake, Rose, MacInnes ) but to go and buy a ticket for them would have entailed a 60 min wait for the sales queue again .... if I could have paid at the table or on a touch screen console I would have got another 4 easily

Essentially my entire event was waiting in line - partly through my own lack of experience but mainly through the event mis-organisation

I'll never get the chance to attend Celebration again and my overall experience was disappointing which is very upsetting

I'm going to chase OT signers through smaller conventions in the UK - pick up those who were at Celebration but for half the price and half the waiting time

Mal Skelton
 
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Topps could have made a lot more money if their system was better. Official Pix had a bunch of cashiers at the Celebrations they handled. It was much easier to purchase an autograph ticket. Also, having to stand in line to pick up a photo to get signed was beyond ridiculous. I can't think of too many autographs I would seek in future Celebrations, but I'm hoping there are major improvements before I feel the need to do that again.
 
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Yeah, Topps certainly has a lot to improve on for future Celebrations.

It's funny, I was listening to an interview that Radio 1138 did with a guy from Topps who seemed confident they'd be able to pull everything off. I guess they did make it through, but it certainly wasn't pretty. :\
 

ZX3

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This was my ninth Celebration- all of the North American Celebrations as well as London 2016. All of them have had issues (mud pits in Denver, freezing weather in Indianapolis, my sister in law tagging along in Anaheim) but it is still my favorite thing.
My biggest disappointment was that they didn't announce the date and location of the next one.

I'm a bit concerned though about the question on ReedPop's survey about paying for priority access.

Most of the scarcity the show had was artificial or due to poor planning and management. I'd hate to think that instead of realizing they should live stream the top tier panels to more areas of the show or integrate the show store into the store app or expand store hours or any of a number of fixes to the show they're just going to charge some people more to skip lines.
I loved Star Wars Galactic Nights at Hollywood Studios as an extension of the show, but part of me felt bad attending it while not everybody from the show could. Priority access seems against the "Star Wars is for everybody" message I think of when I think Star Wars Celebration.

That said, I sadly think I would probably pay for it.
 
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I will preface my comments by stating that I go to conventions for the Panels and walk the floor. We did SWC in Anaheim and got in line at 1am for TFA panel/trailer and got wristbands for main LIVE stage.


  • It almost seemed like ReedPOP had never done a Celebration before with the way this one was run.

Our plane landed on WEDNESDAY at 4:30pm and during the cab ride to our hotel (DaysInn) we saw on the various Celebration Facebook groups that the line outside the convention had grown very LONG. so we dumped out luggage, repacked our backpacks with chairs that fit inside of them and walked over to the OCCC and were in line at 6:30pm. So at 8am when the line SLOWLY started to move into OCCC. Serious WTF was up with security. I have never seen bag checks like that - going through every pocket of the backpack. Having to remove stuff so they can seen the bottom, then walk through the metal detector and then wanded. I walked by the person with the hand counter clicker to see that I was #1396 at 9:30pm (So it took 90 minutes to get inside). We got into the queue and unpacked our chairs and relaxed. I saw people were freacking out outside. So I started posting wristband screen updates to all 3 Celebration groups I belong to. I walked back to the "clicker counter person" and took photos of where the "number" was and posted them for those not inside yet. At 9:50PM it was #1706 and #2388 at 10:38. Mary Franklin took over as "Clicker person" and I tried to get a photo of the number but she would not let me me take a photo. She called it at 10:58pm that the Galaxy line was closed and started the line for the Streaming/Celebration stage. I kept updating the wristband availability all night and answering everyones questions on Facebook groups. Got to met Ray Park when he came into the hall and took selfies and did a lightsaber show for us. I didn't even sleep that night. I continued posting updates for those lined up outside of the wristbands screen status. So we waited 19 hours to get into the Live 40th Anniversary panel.

THURSDAY
- We got LIVE Galaxy wristbands in the morning and then got Dave Filoni wristbands too and got back in the queue line. I then went and got in the Hasbro line and got a ticket when they started handing them out at 8am. The 40th Anniversary panel was amazeballs with George Lucas and everyone went CRAZY when Harrison Ford came on Stage. Then as they were talking about Carrie, the left stage curtain dropped to John Williams and the Philharmonic playing The Princess Theme song and tears started rolling down my face. Was super surprised when the gave out Leia posters. We walked the floor, got some shirts at the Store (not the ones we wanted). I bought the Hasbro Luke X-wing Figures. I was super annoyed with security when they told us that we had to line up outside AGAIN for TLJ sleepover which was crap cause the queue hall was EMPTY. So I had to do that all again. Once again - security was ******** but not as in depth as Thursday. Continued to post updates of the wristband status and answer questions on FB. Was too awesome that Rain Johnson spent 3-4 hours talking photos and signing. I didn't sleep at all. It was freezing that night and my teeth were chattering. We waited 17 hours in line to get into the LIVE TLJ panel.

FRIDAY - We got our LIVE wristbands for TLJ panel in the Galaxy stage and then got LIVE Mark's Tribute wristbands. TLJ panel was amazing and we also got posters. Cried at Mark's Carrie Tribute. The saw the Screenings of Rogue One and A New Hope which was awesome. Great THX sound system - you could feel it in your chest. We walked back to out hotel room afterwards and finally got to sleep in a bed. I was up for 67 hours straight.

Saturday - We entered through one of the new entrances they opened up - so it was way better and got wristbands for the Rebels Season 4 panel. And then got Battlefront wristband. Then got in the for the Hall queue. Jammed over and was finally able to get the shirts we wanted. We did the Cosplay and Screening of ESB, ROTJ & TFA too.

Sunday - We slept in a bit as we were exhausted and were fine with Streaming for Mark's panel. And did the panel with the ANH rebel pilots. WEDGE!!!!! We walked the floor again for a couple hours. Ran into my buddy Kyle (JediRainman) from this forum before leaving for the day and heading for the airport.We had a 7:30pm flight.

CONS
The Celebration store was a joke but we eventually got what we wanted but had to go twice. Line management was also crap and clueless. Most of the staff/volunteers had no idea what was going on - and when you spoke with them - they always said no one told us anything on what to do. I felt sorry for the Medical people as there was almost no lines for them. Security must have thought ReedPOP told them to check bags not badges. Guess they thought they were TSA. In Anaheim, all they cared about was "peace bonding". Never had any issues in Anaheim of just getting inside the building. I don't know what the hell was wrong with ReedPOP, but they were LOST like they had never done a convention before. I filled out my survey and turned it in with my thoughts and feedback. The preorder of THJ shirt was perfect - why can't we do something like that - so we are not wasting precious time in line for the store. Put limits on stuff if you have to.

So my major complaints - Getting into the damn building and the Celebration Store.
 
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So while in the big queue hall, I started thinking of when we were in LA for Celebration.

Why didn't they just use the big queue hall for the LIVE panels themselves? Just set up chairs and halfway from the front, have massive screens like they did in LA. I'm taking a quick guess, but we were easily over 5k in the queue hall and very spread out. I would think with chairs you could probably fit over 7k or even more! No one should have to be sleeping overnight to be able to hopefully get a seat in the LIVE stage IMO.
 
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Hmm...this was my twelfth Celebration. I've been involved in the past as a staff member, exhibitor, and volunteer in the autograph section. This year I had an exhibitor badge, VIP, medical sticker and experience laced with assertiveness. Easily this was one of the worst Celebrations I went to. The treatment my wife and I got at Topps left her in tears and vowing to never come back to another celebration. Others have already mentioned the specifics but as Bruce stated this all came down to two things, common sense and money.

They needed to double their staffing contingent. Line control is easy when you give your control people 2-3 simple operations max. Second, you have to educate your staff. Each staff member should know exactly how their area works, and who they can call in a moments notice for clarification. That education starts prior to the show. You need leaders who can lead, and not simply keep asking up the chain of command to people who are less and less accessible. These people need to have critical thinking ability, and the authority to use it. Each night should be followed with a staff debriefing of the day, if even by e-mail to all staff. More and better signage. I'm not going to go on about common sense (see 4 metal detectors for 70k people).

Security was a joke, they made Hamill look young for the most part and each time I saw one I quickly glanced around to note the nearest AED machine in case they needed it.

Inconsistencies, inconsistencies, inconsistencies. So much was simply inexcusable. Not to defend Mary, but in the past she has lamented at her struggle to get proper staffing and signage. Many volunteers were no shows as well.

Topps was an all but utter failure. They reached out to OPIX before the event for advice (good call) but utilized none of it (bad call). It showed. I saw some of their staff was very good but stymied by incompetent leadership.

This will be a Celebration quickly forgotten for me, and I only experienced a fraction of the issues most did all weekend.
 
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Don't know if this has been said already, but the some of the people working at Topps weren't Topps employees. They work for the convention center. I asked a lady working the line and she said that she didn't work for Topps. She said that she works cons all the time (her favorite being Mega Con) but this was her worst experience.
 
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Didn't get a survey email. Either they dont like me for blasting them about the lottery mess or my email just gets lost in their system. Gonna have to change my email for the next Celebration.
 
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I read all the post listed above.
I did not attend CVIII Orlando.
My 6th sense told me to pass on that one. I must say, I've only attended CV-CVII.
I enjoyed both visits in Orlando and my first visit to Anaheim.
If I'm not mistaken, I do believe this is the last time it will be in Orlando. (According to some fans. cough/gag!)
But I don't think so.
Either way, I hope those powers that be put on better Celebrations and finally listen to its fans.
 
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