Wizard World Cleveland just finished up last weekend, and thankfully I was able to attend with some friends just like we did last year. After a year of attending other conventions, getting a little farther into my cosplay journey, and just getting my toes a little more into the water of the convention world, I feel like I am well and able to form some.. opinions.
I always enjoy getting to go to conventions, and really, I am lucky that I get to go to as many as I do. Wizard World really isn’t an exception, but it does come with its pros and cons, just like any other convention.
Wizard World Cleveland – Pricing
One thing that the Wizard World family of conventions is known for is that sweet, sweet pricing. While I didn’t really notice it last year, the admission to the convention is EXPENSIVE. Like, beyond explanation expensive. I attended one day of the convention, on Sunday. In theory, on the last day of the convention, the last day should be the most affordable, right?
Not really for Wizard World I guess.
My single day ticket (after using a coupon) still was $50 for admission from 10-4. What. How. Why? I don’t really know.
I have attended large conventions where I paid less for the entire weekend (hey there Ohayocon) where there was mountains more to do. It seems that Wizard World really is a shopping based con, with little to nothing more to do other than a handful of panels, and some very high priced photo ops and some slightly less painfully priced autographs.
There wasn’t much that we wanted to do other than walk around the shops. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t adore shopping, but I really would like to see them bring more paneling and other entertainment options to Wizard World Cleveland. After spending so much to get it, I’d like to be able to do more than spend more money.
And god forbid that you are a fan of one of the attending celebrities…
Because that will cost you a small loan in addition to the admission, with prices going way up this year in comparison to last year. It would be a painful endeavor to do both attendance and photo ops or autographs. While I understand that they need to pay talent to appear.. the prices really, really hurt.
Wizard World Cleveland – Badges
Or, rather, the lack there of.
Okay, I admit, I am a complete sucker for a badge at conventions. Collecting them is fun, and when you pay the price of admission, it’s a good little souvenir from the day without spending anything more. I love them, okay.
For the price of admission, Wizard World should ABSOLUTELY be issuing attendees badges instead of cheap paper wristbands. They seem to only give their “VIP” (AKA obnoxiously priced admission) guests badges, which is silly. I have attended conventions with $5 admission that had custom badges that looked seriously great (looking at you Nyancon). So, really, all attendees should have badges so we can forgo those annoying wrist bands.
Plus, as a cosplayer, no one wants those wristbands in their photos of the day. No one. Sorry not really sorry.
Am I done complaining yet? Maybe for a little bit.
But as much as I love to complain, not everything was amiss this weekend. But, keep in mind the above things. I don’t really think the pros outweigh the cons here sadly. Yuck.
Obviously, my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt because its just my opinion, but, whatever. I’m always here to share.
Wizard World Cleveland – Shopping
One thing that Wizard World Cleveland does very, very well is bring in a really diverse set of vendors to shop with during the day. Whether you’re into anime or Star Wars, you’re going to find something that strikes your fancy.
There really is a good balance of resell and artists, and I have discovered some really cool artists and small shops while wandering around the dealers room (which seems to be the entirety of the convention). Most art is pretty tame, with the few exceptions of some awkward offerings, and it really is cool to get to chat with the people who work so hard to make amazing prints, plushies, and other goodies. That really is one of my favorite things about conventions in general, not just Wizard World.
Just be careful when shopping resale, because in a lot of cases, you can find the same items online for cheaper, like on Amazon or other vendors. Just be sure to shop smart!
Prices of the items range pretty wildly, from vendor to vendor. Some vendors will give you a bunch of prints for a super low price, while others charge through the roof. It’s honestly expected though, and not a big deal to me; I can always skip the vendors that I can’t afford. Plus, you can always grab a card if you like their work and want to shop online later.
So.. in conclusion..
Did I enjoy going to Wizard World Cleveland? Yes, I had a lovely time catching up and shopping with some friends that I don’t get to see too often, and really came home with some cool new art (check my instagram to see some posted over the next week!). I got to talk to artists, and see some really cool cosplay.
Would it be worth it for me to go alone or for a weekend. Nope. Too much money for admission, with next to nothing in return other than the large shopping hall. I love to shop, but I need a little more from my con experience to ask that price tag. Like, a LOT more.
Will I be back at Wizard World next year? Honestly, probably. It’s the only con of the year a few of my friends go to, and I really like a fair share of the artists that they bring in every year. Will I still be cranky about the pricing and programming? It’s pretty likely.
Are you headed to any conventions this year? Let me know in the comment section, I would love to see what kinds of cons you go to and maybe what your favorite find at one has been!