Most fans who have attended at least one Star Wars Celebration event in the past have both good and bad things to say about the biggest in-person convention a galaxy far, far away has to offer. But many first-timers are most concerned with not knowing what to expect — or how to make the most of a sometimes overwhelming experience.
If this is your first time attending Star Wars Celebration, here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re preparing for what could be one of the most wonderful experiences of your life.
1. The best way to make new friends? Stand in a lot of lines.
There are plenty of ways to meet new people at Celebration — it’s impossible to avoid literally bumping into people in a packed convention center, so even without meet-ups and other “after hours” gatherings around town, you’re going to end up making small talk with other Star Wars fans even if you’re not the type to engage in an often seemingly mortifying human social behavior. The best way to accidentally make friends? The lines.
At Celebration, you’re going to be waiting in A LOT of lines. Lines for panels, lines for autographs, lines to buy merch — even lines to use the restroom. Don’t be afraid to turn to the people in front of or behind you and strike up a conversation. They’re likely in the exact same boat as you — sort of bored but still in love with Star Wars. You never know — the person you randomly meet in a line could become a friend for life.
2. Expect to spend more money than you originally budgeted for.
Is it possible to attend a Star Wars convention without draining your entire bank account? Absolutely. But don’t underestimate how much you might be inclined to spend once you’re there.
This goes beyond everything shiny the vendors are selling at the actual convention center. You might end up getting invited to a get-together that’s slightly out of walking distance and need to pay for a ride. You might decide to eat somewhere a little more pricey than you planned one evening, or spend more on another splurge you still won’t regret. Celebration doesn’t come around as often as it used to. If you can afford to splurge a little, do it — you deserve it.
3. Fans at Star Wars Celebration don’t act the same way they do on Twitter.
It’s totally understandable that you might walk into Celebration worried that some fellow fans aren’t going to be on their best behavior. And sure, there are always going to be people who show up to ruin things for everyone else.
But for the most part, those attending Star Wars Celebration aren’t there to get into arguments or pick fights with other people. We’ve all been inside and stuck on the internet much more than usual for a while, and it’s easy to forget that places like Twitter aren’t like real life. Most of the people you’ll meet are genuine fans of Star Wars who just want to have a good time.
If you are concerned about your safety, however, and you’re going to the convention alone, make plans to meet up with online friends or allies who will stick by you while you’re walking around. You can also find others who are alone or groups of people that probably won’t mind you tagging along with them. Celebration is a thousand times more fun when you’re traveling in groups anyway!
4. You don’t have to dress up to have a good time.
Cosplay is a huge part of Celebration. But you don’t have to dress up if you don’t want to or if you’re unable to make or acquire a costume — you can still enjoy the walking, sometimes talking art you’ll meet along the way.
Don’t stress if you run out of time to make the costumes you wanted to — or any cosplay materials at all. It’s fun to dress up as your favorite Star Wars characters, but you won’t miss out on the costuming just because you aren’t wearing one. There will be a lot of people wandering around in a costume that are doing that for the sole purpose of interacting with you — including snapping some photos.
5. It’s impossible to see and do everything at Celebration — and that’s OK.
The point of Star Wars Celebration is to have fun — and you won’t have fun if you try to fill every single moment with all the experiences available to you. There’s enough to do so that every kind of fan can enjoy themselves, but it’s not designed for everyone to be able to do every available thing even across four days.
Don’t stress yourself out trying to experience all of it. Choose the panels you want to see, the tables you want to visit, and the other experiences you absolutely don’t want to miss. Then give yourself the freedom to decide what else you want to try without feeling like you have to see it all.
Also keep in mind that you’re going to wear yourself out a lot faster if you don’t rest. It’s OK — maybe even necessary — to take some time out of each day to sit down and take everything in. You don’t want to get to the last day and feel so worn out you can barely roll out of that possibly too comfortable hotel bed.
Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 takes place from May 26 to May 29 with more guests, panels and more to be announced in the weeks leading up to the event. Stay tuned for more coverage before and during the convention.
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