So come on guys, those of you that were lucky enough to go this year, what did you think? I've seen lots of mixed reviews on Facebook, ranging from amazing room sales to horrendous queues. Interested to know how you all got on there.
I had the time of my life. Don't really do panels as they are all on YouTube straight away. The queue for the 40th Anniversary Panel is the biggest queue I have ever seen, and that includes 10 Glastonbury Festivals. But you can watch it streamed to your phone.
I go for the people. Old friends in and out of the collecting community and new ones. That's where the fun is to me.
Jez's Stormtooper Run booth was amazing for so many reasons. I'll let him discuss that one, but a pure joy.
Collecting wise- there was a shit ton of vintage. More than Essen, Anaheim and London combined. The room sales was the best I've been to, some incredible rare items from all areas of collecting. Some stuff was overpriced, but so is every sale thread these days. There was some serious bargains to be had as well. I've totally lucked out on a shit ton of bargains.
Nothing will beat Celebration Essen. It was my first Celebration, there was no queues, Disney had only just bought Star Wars and new Star Wars was 2 years away. We had easy access to the stars both in the convention and in the hotels. Never gonna meet my heros for the first time again.
This was my second favourite Celebration- it's the people that made it. I'll spend the next few days watching the videos on YouTube- but I thought it was amazing. Bank Manager will not be happy though.
As long as I'm surrounded with my cult of Star Wars maniacs- it cannot fail.
Other than the line to get into the building on the first day. I had a fantastic time. It was a pleasure to meet some of you guys in person. That was the main reason I went. Didn't get much to add to the collection, other than some cardbacks & some figure stands from Iain.
Mine was a slight different perspective than the rest of the lads as it was a working session for me - however the overall feel of the place was great - amazing to see so many fans - young and old
There was a lot of decent vintage on the floor - especially first day (before Grant bought it all!) and the room sales were amazing
I think some of the venue staff/security were over officious and that caused some problems - especially the first day - also not a fan of having to wait in the van for 2 hours at the end of 4 very long days so that we could clear away
However as others have said - my biggest highlight is always seeing friend - both old and new - the UK was very well represented over there and what Jez did was little short of amazing. Kudos for Rich_H to be there as well even with a damaged leg. I should also say a big thanks to Todd and Neil (Jackabina) who were amazing at the booth - Todd learned more about Black Series peg holes then I am sure he cares to know - also to Daz for helping us pack up
I will be honest - a break next year isn't a bad thing for all - give us a chance to re-charge the batteries - however I would seriously recommended attendance in 2019 where-ever it may be (probably Anaheim)
"I'll probably be broke and homeless but I'll have a hell of a collection!"
As Iain said, I had a little different perspective. It was nice to see my friends I haven't seen since Anaheim and also to meet collectors I have never met face to face. As Grant said there was a lot of vintage and some rarer items at top prices, but bargains were there if you looked hard enough. I would have loved to go to the vintage panels but all the tot collectors and/or flippers (Aka Non-Vintage collectors) took up most of the lines which is a real shame as I would rather skip the tots and just go to the panels. The organization was a mess. The security made sure no one got thru any of the doors in exception to the main entrance when it came to the show floor (Thousands of people forced to go thru 3 open doors). They were rude or as Richard told me, possibly just ignorant. I think I also enjoyed Anaheim as city far better than Orlando as well. Overall it was fun, plus I spent a lot of time with two extremely sexy British boys behind the counter a lot.
In for the photos. I've been following it on Instagram and it looked great. Interesting about the comments on queues. London was pretty manic especially on the Friday. I went to Celebration Japan and had no problem queuing for Mark Hamill Q & A. However, there wasnt the volume of people like there is in the last couple of years. Still, looking forward to more stories and photos.
just got back yesterday , so will add my photos once I have sorted my shit out. This is a picture of the 40th Anniversary queue in the early hours. Just tried to chance my look like London but so did the other million people in front of me
Will add my thoughts about celebration later but in short it was amazing
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Well Holy Crap that was amazing!! I'm home now and haven't even unpacked yet! OK, first of all this was my 4th Celebration. I've witnessed every one of them get bigger and bigger as Star Wars fandom has exploded. Each of my Celebration experiences has been so different and so amazing.
1, Essen: Everyone remembers their first love. Essen was brilliant, but it wasn't a sell out. Disney had only just bought Lucasfilm. There was no Rebels, the most recent film was ROTS. I managed to get in every panel that I wanted to and there was still spare seats. Our secret wasn't out yet. We all knew Star Wars was cool, but the rest of the world didn't. 2, Anaheim: My first USA one, it was brilliant, some queues but the panels were still totally doable. I managed to fluke an exhibitors pass (as did Grant), so life was pretty easy and we were able to get in early every day. I was also recruited into a Military/Trooping Panel with John Morton (Dak). The SWFUK Podcast also managed to rock a pretty cool live recording so that was fun. But the big deal was the hugely anticipated Trailer for The Force Awakens. To ensure that we got in the main stage for the trailer we got to the queue at about 5.30am. Anaheim was awesome. 3, London: Was great for so many other reasons, The Vintage Rebellion Podcast had a fan booth and there was a great showing of SWFUK in the house. Some queues but the wristband system seemed to work well. Again we had exhibitor passes. 4, Orlando: As I had organised my own Running Stormtrooper Fan Table I was fortunate enough to have an exhibitor pass, so I missed all of the hassle of queuing etc. Except for the Opening Panel. Remember that we rocked up at Anaheim at 5.30am and managed to get in? There was no chance this time. At 5.30am the queue had stretched outside of the packed building and for about a mile around the block. Absolutely insane.
So what's happened? Two pretty awesome films have been released, both films have strong female leads, Funko Pops, Rebels, Star Wars Lego is still huge and the never ending exclusives bring out even more collectors. The secret is out, Star Wars is huge now and is a muti generational, family friendly day out for boys, girls, lads, chicks, in short everyone. Celebrations will no longer be like Essen.
The Running Stormtrooper Booth. For those who don't listen to the podcast, I found out in February that Lucasfilm had agreed that I could have a Running Stormtrooper Fan Booth. My pitch to them late last year was that 'Celebration has never had a Stormtrooper running around or even on a treadmill, why don't I do a half marathon every day for charity'. They thought it was a cool idea, and after getting me to sign a legal waiver they welcomed The Running Stormtrooper onto the Celebration scene. Since mid February I have been desperately trying to get hold of a treadmill (no mean feet, as everyone in the USA appears to be shit scared of getting sued), fortunately last Tuesday i had confirmation that a Treadmill had been delivered by the Orlando Police Department. I managed to deck the booth out with loads of bunting, balloons and posters, explaining all about my Make A Star Wars Wish project. Lucasfilm gave me permission to collect charity money and the rest is history! True to the pledge, 4 Half Marathons were run during the Celebration, on what turned out to be a very ropey treadmill. I could go on for ages about what happened on the booth, but suffice to say it was extremely popular and successful. Every day I needed to get a bigger collecting box and I managed to raise over $5100! I must say that the lads of the forum all did me proud and everyone made sure that I was ok and well fed and watered. One of the highlights was getting interviewed by Lucasfilm as part of The Star Wars Show. About 32 minutes in
Plus every time I see this IGN quick piss take video it makes me laugh
Star Wars has become so big now that these huge panels need to be shown in big stadiums rather than conference hall auditoriums. However when you appreciate that all of the main panels are now live streamed and available on Youtube the pressure is dropped to get up early and get a wristband. You can double dip when you get home. Watch the panels then and simply enjoy the rest of the Celebration whilst you are there.
The socials were great, the camaraderie was great, the amount of vintage was great, the cosplayers were brilliant, I bloody loved it.
I agree with Grant that Essen was better for the queue system and has other bonuses such as first Celebration, first time meeting many collectors etc but got to say.... Celebration Orlando was amazing.
Thanks to Jez I had an exhibitor's pass which enabled early entry to beat most queues. Thanks to my ankle reconstruction surgery I had a medical badge which enabled me to use VIP entrance for the Celebration store and to turn up to non-wristband panels for first entry. Still had problems though.
The journey there was horrendous and mainly because of Manchester Airport. This was my journey there:
Bearing in mind I'm on crutches I had a 55L backpack and some hand luggage to carry. Gets to Newcastle train station for the 6am train. I then realise that I have 8 mins for the changeover at York! No assistance to be found, thankfully a fellow passenger carried my bags on. I slipped getting off at York and one of my crutches almost when on the track. Again no assistance but kind passengers saved it and helped with my bags. I caught the train with 3 mins to spare. Manchester airport... what can I say. A good 10 mins to the check-in desk. There were 12 wheelchairs and about 50 people wanting to use them. Must have been the geriatric party to Benidorm or something. A woman asked all of them if they were sure they needed a chair which they all said they did. BS. I had to queue 90 mins with my bags to checkin. Then I get told my bag needs to go to a different place because it's not a case. I made them take it as I was so pissed. I nearly collapsed on the plane I was so tired and painful around my ankle. Plane was shit, had 3 or 4 TVs playing some shit movies which kept buffering but I was too ill to take notice. One had Will Smith, another Jennifer Lawrence. Got to Chicago airport which is the size of a city. Find my bag and can't move anymore. From this point wheelchair assistance is brilliant - but they want tips so it was going to be. Flight from chicago to orlando was A+. TV in front of me, all cool. Got wheeled to baggage and then very grateful to be collected by Iain at the entrance. Iain took us to the Hotel - think Prisoner Cell Block H but I'm sure Grant or Jez can tell you more as I lasted just one night there. I was so ill that if someone said they'd take me home I would have gone.
Most staff did not know what they were doing. I was sent to the wrong floor many times - in a wheelchair that is tough. Very few elevators (one was central, the others were a good distance away) and many people were using them instead of the escalators which were 20 metres away. The door closed after about 2 seconds which meant I missed a few chances to get on. Disabled toilets were often at the end of a U shaped corridor. Apologies to the guy who has to replaster the gouges I made with the leg riser trying to get in. Queuing for exclusives for those at home was hard. Many people asked me to get x, y and z. These are not easy tasks. Some were just a scrum when they opened and there was no queuing system. Some wouldn't sell to those with exhibitor badges. No wifi in the convention centre. They did for wrestlemania a few weeks earlier The Tie Fighter being right in front of the main screen. I understand it looks good for those at home but it restricts viewing
Pros: Star Wars! Everywhere. I am Star Wars before toys. Lucas, Ford, Hamill..... all the newer stars it was great Got in the Billy Dee panel but he said very little. confirmed that he has not been asked to be in any SW movies. Was a bit OTT about Lando being the coolest character and him being the only guy cool enough to play him. Came across as bitter and a little arrogant. Vintage - due to access issues I didn't see as much as I wanted but there were several stalls selling only vintage and the room sales were amazing. Room sales were busy (not stupidly packed) but I couldn't view all I wanted) Fellow fans - no egos anywhere. Everyone was super friendly. People I didn't think would give me the time of day came up to me and talked and we had great conversations. Made a lot of new friends SWFUK - can't thank the lads enough for all of the help pushing me around and Daz for letting me stay with him. Top, top friends. the swfuk meetups were great I'm loading my photos to photobucket as we speak. I didn't take any with fellow collectors as that's not my thing. I got in one collecting track panel on how to display your collection. It was brilliant and I have some great ideas. I could have got in more but getting onto other floors was a problem Venue and location was great.
Return flight was far better. Didn't have much issue and arrived with 30 mins spare for my train to London. All in all a fantastic time.
I wasn't too bothered about not going when you lot were there as I've been mad busy, but reading this lot makes me feel out like I missed out on the trip of a lifetime....and yet like I was there, too.