MegaCon, short for Mega Convention, was founded in 1993 and is South-Eastern America’s largest pop culture event covering everything from comics and anime to TV shows and gaming. Celebrities, online stars, and groups from all over come to this event to do panels, autographs, and hang out with the crowds.
Aside from the panels, shows, and the celebrity meetup booths, con-goers can enjoy one of the largest convention shopping areas in America with over 400,000 square feet of artist alley and retail participants selling prints, goods, and a variety of other things, including photo opportunities. MegaCon also sells packages to meet different voice actors and comic artists as well as tickets to their popular Maid Cafe. After the convention closes for the day, MegaCon keeps going with official afterparties hosted offsite around Orlando. There’s a ton to do at any given time, and this field report will tell you all you need to learn to get the most out of MegaCon!
|LENGTH OF EVENT||Four days, Thursday-Sunday|
|LOCATION|| Orange County Convention Center (North/South Concourse)|
9800 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
|COST||A Deluxe Pass for all 4 days is available for $115. Single day passes vary in price depending on the day, with Saturday being the most expensive at $60. Megacon also offers a discounted daily Family Pass, good for 2 adults and 4 children. All Passes are further discounted if bought in advance.|
|HOTELS||The Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza Hotels are both adjacent to the Orlando Convention Center, while the Hyatt Regency Orlando is connected to the Convention Center itself. These ones can be expensive, but Orlando is a popular tourist destination with hundreds of other hotels nearby. Many offer shuttles to the convention, but you should ask when booking.|
MegaCon is also partnered with two airlines to provide Megacon exhibitors, guests, and fans discounts to the event.
Delta Airlines offered up at a 10% discount on certain rates which Con-goers could receive by booking on https://www.delta.com/ and using the code NMSYR. However, this discount was only valid for U.S./Canada travel and couldn’t be used with any other offers.
American Airlines offered a 5% discount to Con-goers which could be received by going to http://www.aa.com/ and using a discount code. However, this discount excluded basic economy and non-discountable tickets.
|Company/Event Message for Fans/Attendees||The Southeast's premier Comic Book, Anime, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, & Pop Culture event!|
What to Expect
Expect a little bit (a lot bit) of everything when you go to MegaCon Orlando. The arguably best and busiest day to go is on Saturday. Most people have off work, can bring their kids, and the majority of the voice actors, celebrities, interesting panels, and fun things to do are all on Saturday. However, if you want to beat the crowds and still meet some of your heroes, Friday’s the second best day to go since the kids are in school and it doesn’t start to get too crowded until mid-afternoon. Can’t make it on Friday? Sunday’s still a great day to go with more shops that have popped up now that some of the celebrity tables are gone!
If you don’t nab a hotel with a MegaCon shuttle, chances are you’ll probably be driving. The North and South Concourse parking lots give you easy access to the convention, but if you happen to accidentally park in the West Concourse lot like we did, have no fear because there’s a speedy complimentary shuttle bus to take you to and from the convention entrance. Parking on site costs $10. Get there early, as spots near the front go fast!
Once you’re in the convention it’s easy to get lost in the huge crowd of shoppers, cosplayers, and fans. But never worry, you’ll easily make friends as nearly all Con-goers are super friendly and very accommodating! Just try not to photobomb any cosplayers shoots accidentally. There are hundreds of people going in all directions, so remember to stay calm and try to get your bearings before jumping into the fray.
What to Bring in Order to Enjoy the Event
Snacks and Water
As with most conventions, food and drink prices are higher than what you’d find at the local gas station, so if you have a bag to bring some snacks and water bottles in, it’s highly encouraged! Otherwise, there are food stalls lining both sides of the shopping areas in addition to a small restaurant that served Boar’s Head sandwiches. The stalls have everything from Papa John’s pizza to local asian cuisine, and the variety makes it easy to eat each lunch there every day of the convention if you need to.
Cash, Cards, and Hand Sanitizer
If you’re worried about bringing cash, don’t be. Nearly all vendors have tablets with card readers attached for easy transactions, though cash is also welcome everywhere. After you’ve picked up and posed with a few samurai swords and touched a couple of escalator handrails, you’ll probably want to wash your hands. The bathrooms can get crowded quickly, especially around lunchtime, so bring some hand sanitizer with you. A lot of convention exhibitors complain about catching the ‘Con flu’ (or something similar) because of all the Con-goers who come by to shake hands, chat, and pick up their art or goods. You’ll definitely want hand sanitizer and maybe some tissues, too!
The Con’s App
The last thing we at Honey’s recommends is downloading and registering on the convention’s app, which was Fan! Guru this year. You can browse the schedule, create your own itinerary by adding panels and events you want to go to, participate in sweepstakes, leave feedback, and so much more. It’s free and definitely worth it since it tells you where you want to go. It’s also great to use to log which exhibitors and events you went to or liked the best.
What to Do While There
Just on the first day of MegaCon there was an anime car show, photo opportunities with celebrities, fan meet-ups, anime screenings, game shows, speed dating, gaming, Q&A sessions, shopping, and so much more. Each day is packed with so many things to do, you’ll have to pick and choose. The size of the convention space is rather large, so make sure to plan for travel time if your next panel ends up being on the other side of the center! Here are the details on the big things.
Anime Screenings: If you’re interested in anime screenings some of our favorites were 3-4 episode blocks of Attack on Titan, Hunter X Hunter, and Sailor Moon Crystal watched in a theatre-like setting. For both newcomers and dedicated fans alike, these are fun places to celebrate or discover shows. These screenings are also a nice place to have some downtime from the hustle and bustle of the rest of MegaCon.
Game Rooms: Wasabi Anime, a local convention, and event planner, hosted a Japanese console video game room for Con-goers to enjoy various consoles like the NES, Nintendo 64, and Playstation 4. Some of the games were imports of titles never released outside of Japan! On top of the supplied games, there were tons of people toting around Nintendo Switches and duking it out on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Panels: There are many other hosted fan discussions about topics like Shounen Jump! Manga, Japanese fashion, cosplay, Miyazaki films, and idol music among other things. Voice actors and anime production staff participated in details and often hilarious Q&A sessions about working in anime and video games, voice acting, and their own stories of getting involved in the industry.
More to Do While There, but Western
As Megacon isn’t just all about Japan and anime, there are various vendors and merchandise for comics (including DC and Marvel comics), cosplay goods such as wigs and corsets, tabletop games, and exhibits for shows like Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Ghost Busters. If you’re tired from all the panels, check out the different events like escape rooms, seminars about writing your own comics, or learning how to make an old T-shirt into a bag. There are even a few comedy and improv performances by the local group the Improvengers. New to There’s also Digicon where YouTube creators and celebs come for panels, meet and greets, and much more at MegaCon for an additional cost.
Cosplaying is huge at this convention and MegaCon is the host of the Southeast Qualifier for the Master of Cosplay Grand Prix which is run by Fan Expo. Walk-ons are accepted and cosplayers and divvied up into four categories and compete for prizes as well as a chance to compete for the $7,500 prize and to become Fan Expo’s Master of Cosplay International Champion. Winner of the Walk-On Division was Maleficient, winner of the Novice Division was Wonder Woman, winner of the Journeyman Division was Maleficient and Jafar pair, and the Masters Division winner was Xenomorph.
We saw a huge variety of cosplayers, especially from My Hero Academia, and even ones from Saiki Kusuo, Log Horizon, Fairy Tail, One Punch Man, and Bleach. Cosplayers ranged from pros to little ones wearing Halloween costumes. Cosplayers love their fans, so don’t be shy about asking for pictures with them when they’re walking throughout the convention!
MegaCon is a huge convention for a reason. Fans from all over come together to enjoy all their favorite TV shows and anime, heroes and villains, and stars of all kinds in one place. It’s a wonderful community where people want to support artists, meet their favorite celebrities, discuss their fandoms and ships, and get to know the people behind the voices they hear online. It’s a ton of fun and you’ll wish that you had enough time to see and do everything.
Did you go to MegaCon Orlando this year? What was your favorite part of the event? If you didn’t go, would you like to next year? If any Con-goers or wanna-be Con-goers have any questions or things to add about MegaCon Orlando, leave a comment down below!