It. Is. Time.
Not for the Jedi to end, not to enact Order 66, but to plan my second Star Wars Celebration; it’s already a doozy! To provide some backstory, Star Wars Celebration (SWC) Orlando in 2017 was my first ever convention and SWC and it was a spontaneous night-before decision. My mom and I drove from Gainesville, FL to Orlando, FL around 5 A.M. to finally make it in line at 6 A.M. and were very lucky to snag Mark Hamill’s panel wristbands. It was a surprisingly smooth experience, however, I heard from lots of fans that SWC Orlando had not gone as smoothly as other Celebrations in the past. Without any prior knowledge I chose to shrug off this information.
As a newly-minted SWC veteran, I am hoping my planning for this time around helps this experience go just as smoothly. What does one even do to prepare for crowds of hundreds of thousands of cosplayers and exhibitors and celebrities in a giant multi-floor convention center? The tickets were bought, the flights and hotel were booked, and the travel route and method from hotel to convention center has been mapped out…that was the easy stuff, what’s next?
Waiting. That’s what came next. As an event planner, I understand the quality of releasing a full schedule instead of bits and pieces, so the time it took to upload the panel schedule, while excessive, was understandable. I stressed and stressed until the full panel schedule was released and the moment it dropped, I printed all 24 sheets. YIKES. When I figured out that that was not a compact, organized option, I created my own panel schedule based off of my interests. I attached the image below because I know a lot of people create theirs in Excel, I created mine in Word, so whatever keeps you from falling down a Sarlacc Pit of disorganization… use it. (P.S. excuse if any formatting didn’t transfer to this post).
Friday, April 12
|11a – 12p||Wintrust Arena/Celebration Stage||Episode IX Panel||Galaxy/Twin Suns Stage|
|11a – 11:45a||Star Wars University Stage||Cinema Quality Cosplay Photography||Show Floor|
|12pm||Galactic Senate Stage||Saber Guild Performance|
|12:30p||Group 1||Sam Witwer Photo Op|
|2:15p-3:15p||Fan Stage||Movie Trivia (Schmoedown)|
|3pm||Grand Concourse Stairs |
|Mother of Falcons Cosplay |
|3p-3:45 Beyond the Outer Rim Podcast: TPM Trivia|
|3:30pm||Group 4||Peter Mayhew Autograph||Reschedule|
|4pm||Group 4||Daniel Logan Autograph|
|6pm||Fan Stage||Costuming w/ 501st||Show Floor|
You’ll notice I still included things in the schedule that overlap; I did that for two reasons: 1) There needs to be time to get sidetracked, it’s one of the best things about being at any convention, 2) I’d rather have all my options written down, especially since there’s no guarantee that I’ll be getting into any of the lottery panels. In our post-Celebration pods/blogs we can shed some light on how the lotteries worked out so keep an eye out for that!
Planning what to pack was one of the first thoughts I had after my tickets were bought; But I couldn’t do anything about that yet besides take stock of what I had and if there was any outfits I wanted to buy before Celebration. This is my first time cosplaying which also means my first time packing a cosplay. [I’ll be writing a piece on first-time cosplay after SWC so keep an eye out for that here on Kessel Run Weekly and my blog]. My cosplay is a simple Qi’ra so while there isn’t a lot to pack, nor is it bulky, I want to make sure I do everything right. Only being at SWC for two days allows for one day of cosplay + a change of clothes (because I plan like that) and one day of representing my favorite Star Wars things.
I will not tell you what all of that is because I want it to be a surprise, but to see my Star Wars Celebration experience in real time — follow me on Instagram @cjerrica.
Thanks for stopping by & May the Force Be With You!