DragonCon 2013 Retrospective

Once again, DragonCon has come and gone. Maybe next year I will force myself not to plan until 6 months out, so I’ll feel better about the amount if time I spend preparing for 3 days of fun! I’ll definitely be taking a small break from sewing while we move, and I am feeling the gaming and crafting itch a bit.

In the spirit of agile software development (Scrum Master Sally would be so proud of me!), this post is my attempt at a retrospective for the convention. Typically at work when we do these, we discuss what went well, what needed improvement, and ideas or suggestions for the future. I’m going to be adding a few other lists to those musings, though.

What Went Well

  • Costumes – The Bioshock Infinite costumes and my ice fairy costume got asked for quite a few pictures.  I wore Bioshock for about 12 hours on Friday, and Ice Fairy for 8ish hours on Sunday.  Steampunk, while still one of my favorite costumes, is still overshadowed by my little clay dragon in the cage – he got more pictures than I did hah.  I wore Steampunk for maybe 4 hours on Saturday afternoon.


  • Panels – I actually stood in two lines for panels this year!  On Friday, I saw George Takei and Garret Wang from Star Trek.  On Sunday, I went to a Face Off Panel where 4 local makeup artists had one hour to create their different makeups.  Three contestants – RJ, Roy, and Laura – from various seasons of Face Off were the MCs for this panel and answered lots of audience questions about the show while the makeups were done.
  • Meeting Laura from Face Off – On Thursday night, prior to the official start of the con, we stumbled upon Laura, who happens to be one of my favorite Face Off contestants ever.  We stood around while bazillions of other folks talked to her, and then Colin finally managed to ask her for a picture together.  I, however, could not stop babbling at her about how much I wished she had won her season, so please forgive my mid-sentence expression in this photo.


What Needed Improvement

  • Wireless data bandwidth – Last year, I didn’t have fantastic reception while at DragonCon, but this year, my ability to use my phone for anything other than a paperweight was severely reduced.  It was hard to use the app, hard to tweet or post to facebook, hard to send text messages to friends about meetups.  This has got to get better next year.  Hotels need to set up more access points or something.  It is sad, but the BASEMENT of the Hilton Hotel (where the gaming area was) provided the best access to the internet via my phone all weekend.


  • Game Selection – It is hard for me to tell what the reason was for my unhappiness with the game selection in the gaming hall.  It could be one of three things – (a) more people and thus all the ‘good’ games were frequently checked out, (b) we play/own too many board games these days so there are fewer new ones for us to try, or (c) the selection really was just lacking.  We did try several new things, one of the ones I really enjoyed was called Suburbia.  I was also glad we brought one of our new ones to try, Robinson Crusoe, which the boys are learning here.


  • Picture Taking of Others – Even though I always had my iPhone on me, since I was in costume for most of the convention, I did not carry my DSLR around.  Therefore, I only have a few pictures of other people’s costumes, and the image quality is not great.  Maybe I need to make an effort next year to not be in costume ALL the time so that I can also enjoy taking pictures of the other cool costumes.  I certainly see a TON of them.  Here’s a great Twi’lek and a Stormtrooper for example.


Ideas for Future DragonCon

  • Bring more ‘ready-to-drink’ selections – We definitely had plenty of beverage for the weekend.  But the things I enjoyed and wanted to drink the most were things like wine, sipping liquors (Alize anyone?), and beer.  We brought bottles of liquor and mixers, which while more potent is much more of a hassle.
  • Get ice early in the day – We brought coolers this time, which was fantastic … although the supply of ice for said coolers was less than sufficient, despite our room’s close proximity to the ice machine.  This seems a simple fix, but it’s pretty important, since ice goes in water too.
  • Group Costumes – While I loved having my husband in costume with me for the Bioshock Infinite stuff, he did not enjoy it as much, and I am not sure he will want to do this again.  Next time, I’d love to have buddies who are interested in standing around on the Marriott Atrium level and plan a group costume together.

General Observations

  • The convention felt even more crowded than last year.  I know 2012’s attendance was around 50k, I would guess it was at least 60k this year.  Saturday is always the biggest day of the convention, lots of people coming for one day only and such.  I felt like I accomplished nothing on Saturday, amidst all the standing and shuffling and trying to move through hallways …
  • The gaming hall was more popular this year than it had felt in years past.  It was difficult to find a table to sit at that was unoccupied, and as I mentioned before popular games were often already checked out from the library.
  • I know I did a lot of fun things this year, including all the things I mentioned from years past … but I somehow left this year’s convention feeling a little down, like I hadn’t seen everything or done as many things as I wanted to.  Even though my 2 panels is probably a record, hah!  The ‘in-between’ hours weren’t well used, I barely went to the dealer hall, and I saw nothing really on costume construction.  Still had a blast, but I left feeling just a tad let down.

Favorite Costumes

  • Yip yips! (Bad photo, sorry)

photo 2 (1)

  • Beauty and the Beast Group (Lumiere’s candle hands were very impressive especially)
  • Tron siren


Most Popular Costumes

  • Harley Quinn
  • Poison Ivy
  • Tardis
  • Stromtroopers
  • Adventure Time
  • Leelu Dallas


Costuming Opportunities

  • My fairy crown, since it was more teardrop shaped than round and the point of the teardrop was behind my head, was constantly attacking my wings.  Cause issues catching the too together and my hair get getting caught as well.
  • Apparently as good as crystal beads look on wires and branches, those same beads do not feel nice when they scratch against the bare skin of your shoulder blades for 8 hours.  No broken skin, but nice red patches from the scratching.
  • The fairy sandal ties came loose after a while and sagged around my ankles a bit.  It still didn’t cause me to have to retie them; they still functioned well.  But the look was a little sad once they slid down.
  • The monocle for my steampunk costume hurts my face where the leather edge presses around my eye.  I will need to add fur or a cushion material of some kind for next year.
  • My steampunk necklace broke midwear.  It will be easy enough to fix, but I could have lived without that malfunction.
  • The steampunk bustier definitely needs rework.  The fabric glue did not hold the one boning channel that had ripped last year, and in general it just does not fit very well.  Too big and not long enough.
  • The shoes for my Elizabeth costume were comfortable for most of the day, especially considering I wore them for 12 hours.  The part of my feet that was bothered the most was my toe area, just from the pointy part of the boot; however, when I took the shoes off, they had left red burn marks on the inside of both ankles.  They must have been rubbing, and I didn’t even realize it until after.
  • The shield infusion flask leaked.  This made it super annoying to carry anywhere, as the bottle became slippery and gross and I was paranoid about getting yellow tonic-water-highlighter-fluid-stuff on my white corset.  I tried swapping out the electronics cork for a simple rubber cork, but I still had the same problem.
  • As I suspected, the fix for the garter belt kept it on my leg, but it definitely hurt.  The elastic left some marks.
  • The corsets held up phenomonally well, and I could not ask for more out of those.  The Elizabeth one did leave a fairly red mark under my arm on my left side, but other than that, both wore very well.

I had an opportunity each day I was in costume to wander to restaurants that were not really in the immediate vicinity of DragonCon.  Definitely more stared at, but it wasn’t so bad, and the hostess at one even asked for a picture with me as Elizabeth.  Next year I promise to do better at picture taking, but for now, the cycle of costuming begins anew!  Anyone have ideas for next year? 😀


4 comments for “DragonCon 2013 Retrospective

  1. September 9, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I’m so glad you had a good time, buddy! You looked fab in all of your costumes.

    • Tyraenna
      September 9, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Thanks 🙂 One of these years I am gonna drag you with me you know!

  2. Liz
    September 9, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Very awesome! One thing you might think about is doing less costumes. BLASPHEMY!!! you say- I know, but hear me out…. If you focused on just one or two REALLY awesome costumes you might spend less time planning and prepping before the con and could then have a whole day devoted to doing stuff and taking pictures of others costumes at the con- Just a thought 🙂

    • Tyraenna
      September 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      Haha it’s something I will definitely consider. I’m a little burnt out on costumes at the moment, and sewing in general. Thanks for the advice 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: