This past weekend was my first time at an ACE event. It was held at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL. If you have not been there, this is one of the best venues in the Chicago area for comic cons with lots of space and easy to get to parking.
I arrived for Friday’s opening to a packed lobby and staff running around efficiently getting people into the proper lines for wrist bands, badges, and VIP perks, all while fans anxiously awaited for the doors to swing wide open to their weekend of shopping, autographs, photo ops, and cosplay. ACE seems to have stepped up their embrace of cosplay, which for myself is welcomed. It has always been one of my favorite parts of any comic con. I also need to say a quick kudos to Jacquelyn and her media staff for doing an excellent job of taking care of us and getting us on our way. (Applause)
My first impression upon entering the receiving area of the main hall was one of a spaciously welcoming, well-lit pop culture waiting room. The area was complete with distractions, carpet, and park benches. The benches were a nice touch.
I flowed in with the VIP patrons 30 minutes early and walked up and down the aisles to get a feel for the flow and layout. I liked that the celeb area was at the back. This way, the patrons would flow through Artist Alley and the vendor areas on their way to their ultimate goal. A few of the aisles felt a little tight and the placement of Wild Bill’s Soda booth really caused a huge bottleneck to the patrons who were not in line for that.
On the flip side of the hall, I loved the main stage area. It was a huge area with two large screens, so even the people in the cheap seats could see what was happening on stage. I also liked that the staff would clear the area of everyone after the stage event was over. The downside of this huge area with lots of seating was that the queue line was poorly planned leaving people in long lines blocking booths, aisles, and general traffic flow. I wished they would have given this area for panels as much pre-thought as they did with the autograph area. One of the biggest complaints I heard from the crowd was the lack of access to the washrooms. The only washroom that was available once through the metal detectors was in the lobby just behind the detectors. It’s a long way from the far side of the hall if you really needed to use one.
On the whole, I liked ACE Comic Con Midwest and would go again. I would even recommend people check the show out for themselves, but it would be nice to see a few changes that would improve the experience for all.
I give my Friday and Saturday experience at ACE 4.5 Stars out of 5.
This has been another Reptile’s Random Review.
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