So here it goes. My 35 year old exhausted brain is going to try and remember as much as possible from the events of last week. My favorite time of the year. The week I spend the other 51 weeks out of the year looking forward to.
(cue law and order sound)
This year was a bit different from the rest. This was the first year that I drove to Atlanta by myself. I've driven in Atlanta hundreds of times, but never all alone. I was a bit nervous, but confident I could make it. Luckily, my con bestie Lana was to meet me there. She and I met in line for the Matt Smith panel in NOLA a few years ago and we've been con besties ever since!
The drive to Atlanta was fairly uneventful. Just me. In the car. With music and my own thoughts. Fun to be sure. Lana and I had planned to meet at a Target ten minutes away from the hotel to buy some food items and odds and ends. We then drove to the hotel to drop off our luggage. This year we decided not to park at the hotel, but to instead park off site and save SO much money. We parked for 1/4 of the price and it really didn't take us too long to park the car and make it back to the hotel. We dropped off our cars. Rode the shuttle to the airport and then picked up the MARTA back to the hotel. After checking in (we were given a room on the 39th floor. YIKES) we walked to the Sheraton to register for the con. The line moved SO quickly. I feel as if they become more efficient every year. We walk back to the hotel and change for dinner.
One of the best parts of Dragon con is walking around and seeing everyone. Meeting new people. Checking out the cosplay. It's really a wonderful experience. We walked over to food court and grabbed a quick bite and then cruised the Marriott.
This year instead of spending a million dollars on drinks, Lana came up with some signature cocktails for us to make ourselves at the con. Night one was what she named "The Dragon Con" and it was DELISH.
We tried to check out the Nerdy New Year, but it was a bit of a strange vibe. Everyone was sitting down and nothing was really happening so we didn't stay very long. Maybe it got better later, but if I wanted to sit in the dark with loud music playing... Well I don't know that I would ever want that. We walk around for a while and then head upstairs to try and grab the last bit of sleep we will get for the next few days and prepare for day one. (And for some reason, I found myself waking up before the flipping sun every single day but who knows. My body is a masochist.)
Day one! A day that will forever be known as the day that Daphne hugged Daredevil (I'm sure Fred will understand). A day that I KNOW I will never forget. I can never thank Lana enough for making this happen. But I will get to that. You can be sure I will be describing that in great detail.
First thing in the morning was the Charlie Cox Daredevil panel. It was scheduled to start at 10 am in the hyatt. We knew it would be a full panel and we would need to line up early so we planned to get up at 6 am to get ready. Needless to say, the snooze button may have been hit a few.. hundred times and we were a bit behind. Today our cosplay plans were Daphne Velma (or Amy Pond and River Song at a costume party if you will). Lana is Always River and therefore all of her cosplay has a River Song aspect to it. Velma Song. We were pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.
We head down to the Charlie panel a bit later than we expected and find that the room is already being filled. We wait until the line goes in and then walk in and are shocked to find that we get front row seats. The room ends up being completely full, but some how we got super lucky and are in the front row. It was AMAZING. I hope that someone recorded the panel and eventually uploads because I would love to listen to it again. Twice he did this adorable laugh, where he kinda squeaked and it was 100% the cutest thing I've ever witnessed. Lana and I were basically swooning. And with my new camera I was able to get some awesome pictures.
|That mouth though.|
|I know he looks bored, but he was actually just listening intently.|
After the Charlie panel we walk through the walk of fame a bit and then wander around the Marriott taking pictures and having pictures taken of us. At one point we run into a cosplayer with a saxophone who's playing Careless Whisper on repeat. Good luck getting THAT out of your head. He sees us and began playing the Scooby Doo theme. It was pretty funny. Time passes. Fun is had, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Other than while we were walking through the walk of fame, suddenly a doctor who cosplayer looks at us and says, "I'm sorry Daphne, but Velma is cuter." To which I said, "Wow! Maybe don't say that to my face." and then he says, "Well you're cute." Um no thanks, sir. Don't throw me a pity 'you're cute'. I mean, rude. But whatever. I get it. Velma is and was really cute :) But maybe keep it to yourself, partner. After that, it wasn't long before it was time to line up for our photo with Charlie.
Let me preface this with how Lana and I message on the daily. Like a thousand times a day really. So she knows about my love for Charlie. Thought he was adorable in Stardust but really fell for him when he was Owen or Boardwalk Empire. I really wanted to get a 'hug' picture after seeing some pictures of others who had. I knew I would get too shy to ask him for one and told Lana as much. She told me don't worry, she would make sure it happened.
Okay, cut to us waiting in line for our photo. Lana tells me she's figured out our pose for the pic. She's going to tell Charlie to hug me and since she's Velma and has the magnifying glass she's going to 'investigate the situation'. Even just hearing her say this causes butterflies the size of pterodactyls to erupt in my stomach. Once we walk into the room and see him standing there my stomach begins a flip flop that I can't even describe. When our turn comes he does his usual (and WONDERFUL. seriously how is someone so nice? Such a good person) hand shake and asking of the names and nice to meet you's and all. And the thing is, you can tell he really means it. Truly such a nice person. After the greeting Lana tells him, "She is going to hug you and I'm going to stand here." (That's complete paraphrasing because my mind had already left my body at this point and I don't know what was happening.) I grabbed on, wrapping my arms around his waist. He put one arm around me and stood that way for a moment with me thinking "That's not a hug! Both arms!" and he must have read my mind because then he wrapped the other arm around me. It took a few moments for the photographer to reframe the photo so I was pressed tightly against him for a bit. Long enough for me to have the thought, "OMG my heart is slamming in my chest so fast and hard that I KNOW he can feel that! How embarrassing!" And honestly, he more than likely DID feel it. There's almost no way he didn't. It doesn't beat that hard after I run two miles. It's probably a good thing I don't actually know him or spend time with him in life because it would be hazardous to my health! After the picture is done and Lana and I are walking away I tell her about my pulse and she feels my wrist and couldn't believe it either. In all my celeb meetings, I've never had a reaction like that one for sure. Before we get our picture, I just KNEW I was going to look like a giant goofball and it would be terrible. I could not have been more wrong. It's my favorite celeb photo to date. I don't know that I can ever top it. Lana is a genius. Truly. It's SUCH a great picture. I could look at it forever. And I just might.
|How cute is this!?!?!|
Of course we had to. How could we not? What would Fred say?
|Cell phone pic from the panel|
Side note: I have heard many stories over my years at dragon con of people getting stuck on elevators. It happens decently frequently due to people way over crowding. Like ten people more than should be there. And it gets super hot. And sweaty. And smelly..... so yeah, I've heard of it happening many times. But it never happened to me... until this year.
We were stuck on the 36th floor for a good 25 minutes. In a hot, over crowded, smelly box. Luckily everyone was pleasant. We had an elevator party. Elevator selfies included. But it really was pretty terrible. The second the elevator stopped working all of the oxygen sucked out of the space. I had to look up towards the ceiling to feel like I was able to breath. Imagine being stuck in a sauna that is being pumped full of stale air as it passes through a locker room minutes after a double overtime game and this sauna is holding at least 15 people past capacity and is standing room only. Standing room where someone is pressed up against you on every side. I'm glad I can check that experience off of the Dragon Con checklist, but I definitely don't want to have to do that again. Unless I can hand pick who I am stuck with. Wouldn't mind being crammed in there with Charlie that's for sure. The door opened once and three people were able to escape before it shut again and we were stuck for about ten more minutes. Everyone was so afraid it would open then shut again so we all promised "No man left behind" and would try and hold the doors open if it happened. But luckily, it finally reached the bottom and we were able to get free. I'm sure we were QUITE the sight as we all come rushing out of there screaming "don't go in" "Stay away" "certain doom". And sadly... so many didn't listen. Enjoy your smelly hot box, people.
Once we finally escape the elvators we grabbed a quick dinner at our favorite diner in the mall and then walked the Marriott for a few hours making friends and taking pictures. Great day!!!
Already, by Saturday AM I am starting to realize I am in fact 35 years old and I started feeling every single day of those 35 years. I am exhausted and sore and the weekend had barely begun! But the fun is worth every ache and pain. We get dressed for the day and head out for our first activity. Another Charlie Cox panel. We weren't quite as close this time but we still had pretty good seats! I didn't take any pics at this panel since I had gotten so many awesome ones from the first panel. It was a fantastic panel! Charlie was as charming and adorable as ever. And once again, such a nice guy. When he sat down, he poured himself a cup of water and then turned and poured one for the moderator as well. So sweet! Truly just a genuinely nice guy. If I didn't love him before this weekend then I surely would now! He truly deserves all the success in the world. He's brilliant at what he does and he's a genuine person. Just love him. I mean... in case you hadn't gotten that from all of my ramblings here. *insert winky face*
After the Charlie picture we do some more wandering and then it's time for my solo picture with Charlie. Once again, I am nervous, but I knew there was no way to top our previous picture so I decided to just go with it. I knew I didn't want the simple side by side (especially since Charlie doesn't really usually smile very big in his pics. It's so weird. Before AND after the picture he will have the biggest most beautiful smile on his face and then he looks so meh when they take the picture. Except for our pic in St Louis when I told him he could be in trouble and he smiled HUGE. And then the smirk in our daphne/velma pic.) so I decided to kind of turn in to him and make it a little more personal. As I walked up he looked at me and exclaimed, "You look AWESOME!" and rather he meant it or not he genuinely seemed like he did! We take the photo (which is adorbs) and then he says something like have a great weekend or something BUT I DO remember he ended it with , "Darling." HELLLLOOOOO swoon city. I am now your mayor. I know Charlie has a girlfriend and is about to be a father and I respect that completely. But dude, you can't call me darling in that accent, looking like you do... and expect me to behave. I mean OBVI I did since I didn't get escorted out but I can't explain how hard it was. Such a sweetie. I was really pretty sad to know our Dragon Con time together was over. Until next time, Charlie! You are an awesome person and I'm can't wait to see what you do next!
|Adorabletown (and mini daredevil got to meet Daredevil!)|
After my Charlie picture we head to get in line for the Legends of Tomorrow panel. We wait in line for about an hour and a half but it's totally worth it when we once again score front row panel seats! I can't believe it. We've really gotten lucky with the panels! And it was a great panel! Arthur Darvill!!! Rory! So excited to see him! And he's so funny! I'll admit I've never watched the show but I definitely now plan to! They were so awesome and told some great stories. And watching Falk Hentschel can DANCE. Hot.
After the panel we head out to dinner to meet up with our awesome friends we made last year. Bob wasn't able to come with us, but it was great to see Scott and Cathy. They are so fun! So glad we've kept up with our friends and were able to see them again!! Had a great dinner and a lot of laughs!!!
After dinner we decided to stick around the Marriott again (with another Lana drink. This one called the Teselecta. SO YUMMY) and then headed off to bed to try and get at least a small amount of sleep before the next day of awesomeness!
Big day! The day started early and was going to end late with LOTS of stuff going on in the middle, but all amazing stuff! Today was my trusty Amy Pond Kissogram cosplay. It fit perfectly seeing as how I would be taking the Pond family photo! Just thinking about it is exciting!
The panel with Alex Kingston and Arthur Darvill wasn't until 2:30 so we decided to get our Alex Kingston autographs first. The line was pretty long but actually didn't take too long to get to the front. Our friend Scott needed a few autographs and that meant more time for Lana to spend with Alex so she was more than happy to help! We would've been happy to help regardless but still a nice perk. Let me just say how GORGEOUS Alex is in person. I mean wow. Must be nice And she's also a super sweet person! She was amazing! And of course I had to ask the hair goddess what products she uses. And she so sweetly told me. Hopefully they are something a single income nurse from Alabama can afford ;-)
After the autograph we head to get in line for the panel. And while were weren't super far back in line, somehow we got pretty gross seats. They way they were sitting people down wasn't effective. They had placed us directly behind the videographer and we could see nothing. We were able to move closer but still not the best seats. But it was still an amazing panel! Love River and Rory!
|So much cuteness (and mini daredevil made an appearance)|
Next we head back to our favorite diner for some quick dinner then back to the hotel to get ready for the Dragon Con ball!!! One of the best parts of Dragon Con. Before the Ball started, Lana had arranged a Confluence of Rivers. Where River cosplayers would all come together for a phot op. And there was a good number of them too! It really was a pretty awesome event!! Hopefully they can do it again next year! After the photo we get in line for the DWB and see some amazing cosplay while we wait. It's so much fun to be among so many people who love what you love and love it as much as you do. Nothing like doing the Cupid Shuffle with a few hundred people all cosplaying Doctor Who characters. It's an amazing feeling! And I have to give a shout out to a particular cosplayer who was "Party Ten". This guy was having the TIME OF HIS LIFE and just watching him was making us have the time of ours. He was like a hummingbird of speed. He was dancing like it was his job. Truly. I loved it. I want to live just once like that. So carefree and happy. That was so nice to watch.
We head back to the hotel before it gets too late because at this point we are pretty close to dead. I'm not as young as I used to be. Don't have the hang time anymore. But still, I wouldn't trade it. Still the best time you can have. We went to bed at around 130 am and planned to get up at 6 am so we could finish packing and be ready to check out before we head to line up for the Alex panel at 830 (it started at 10 but we knew we needed to be in line early). Cut to.....
6 am. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze....... so we ended up getting up after 7. And I'm pretty sure I actually died for a least 2 hours and some how came back to life. I don't know that I've ever felt so drained in my life. And I pretty much looked the part as well.
SOMEHOW by 830 am we managed to get dressed, pack our stuff, get it checked in with the bellhop, and walk over to the Sheraton and get in line for the Alex panel. I still don't know how we did it. Especially seeing as how we had died. But not only did we get in line for the Alex panel on time but we also get sweet spots in line. Which transcended into sweet spots in the panel. We were fourth row and could see really well. For the most part we had excellent positions for every panel that weekend. Definitely a dragon con first for me! It was an amazing panel and I was able to get some great pictures!
After the panel, we head back to the Marriott for the Walk of Fame and so Lana can get her other autograph with Alex. Due to the line not being managed well, even though we are there at the time we were told to be, we are basically at the back of a REALLY long line. But once again, Alex was so wonderful that she made every minute of waiting more than work it! She makes eye contact and really is interested in talking to each person. She makes them feel like it is more than just give me your money and I'll sign this. She truly is amazing.
After we get our autograph, we do a quick outfit change in the restroom and then begin our journey to get our cars. First the marta (which was a bit smelly, but got us where we needed to go), then the bus back to the parking garage, then the drive back to the hotel. After a little over an hour we were ready to depart back home.
I can honestly say I had never been more exhausted when the weekend was over. It was a long drive back home (and I don't know HOW Lana did it. She had over double the drive that I did and I barely made it). But I can also honestly say I've never had more fun! It was an amazing weekend filled with events I KNOW I'll never forget. So many amazing things happened. (i.e. That Charlie hug). I already look forward to next year. I know, once again, it'll be a weekend filled with so many awesome things! I recommend going to Dragon Con for anyone who's considered it but never bit the bullet. Do it! It's worth it!
Peace, Love, and Who Needs Sleep