Megacon 2014: Was The Convention A Fail Or Just Overcrowded?

Megacon 2014 has come and gone and already the grumbling about the Orlando Convention Center event is starting to be felt all over Facebook and social media.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the fan favorites for Megacon 2014 photos seemed to be Star Wars, Assassin’s Creed, and Attack On Titan.

I’ve been to a good number of Megacon conventions in the past, so I thought I knew what to expect from a Saturday. The first warning that 2014 would be different is how long it took just to get inside. Normally there is a decent wait time but this time around the parking staff seemed clueless and people were being redirected in circles and toward parking lots already full. All in all, once we came close to International Drive it took us almost two hours before we were able to get inside.

The next big change up was that Megacon was moved from the West Concourse to the South Concourse and it seemed like there was a lot less room. In past years, the ticket lines were handled in the hallways, but this year they were shifted into the main area. The good news is that the advance tickets line went quickly but the bad news is that a huge section of space on the right side was left empty.

The arrangement of the various sections was markedly different in Megacon 2014, as well. In past years there were clear demarcations between the stars, merchandise, art, and misc. sections. This time around the merchandise booths were all crammed in the middle with the other sections surrounding them. In practice, this meant the space between booths seemed very cramped and made it extremely difficult to get around. The best decision they made was to put Stan Lee in his own room. Otherwise, I imagine the celebrity area would have been an impassable wall of geek.

To give you an idea, there were many times I was trying to find room to take photographs but everyone was so shoulder-to-shoulder I was forced to do closeups. There were times I spotted cosplayers I wanted to photograph but they were too far to catch up to in the crowd… and by far away I mean about seven feet. The only humorous part to this story is when I was rubbing shoulders with a Gandalf character who was trying to work his way through the crowd. I could not move out of the way when he said, “excuse me,” so instead I cried out: “You shall not pass!” That got a chuckle out of Gandalf.

The darker side of all the crowding came when it was time to shuffle past any scantily clad females. Quite frankly, there was one time I literally said aloud, “Wow, she’s brave.” Megacon has also been trying to be more family friendly, supposedly, but this year in the artist booths I noticed a good number of nude art that didn’t have stickers covering up the naughty bits like in prior years.

Which reminds me… here’s a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Spiderman:

cosplay does not equal consent

All the stress from the crowding probably led to attendees getting on each other’s nerves. I heard about one poor girl whose League Of Legends costume was broken in the crowds within an hour of her arrival on Saturday, and then an apparently jealous doppelganger sabotaged her costume on Sunday. Still, none of these things rival the riots and vandalism of Megacon 2006.

Megacon 2014 = Epic Fail?

To a certain extent, the organizers of Megacon 2014 can’t be blamed for all the problems. Saturday was sold out and predictions claimed over 75,000 people might show up, which was significantly higher than 2013. Even the volume of Google searches was almost double. I’m guessing these estimates were spot on based upon my experience, since this has been the worst time I’ve ever had at Megacon since I first began attending.

Do you think Megacon 2014 was an epic fail? If so, what do you think should be done for 2015?