I did NYCC a few years back... my first and currently only overseas convention.
Not sure how Chicago tickets go, but I picked mine up from the venue the day before (didn't have to queue then either).. however, the queue to get into the venue on the day was a good 4+ blocks walk. Didn't seem to take too long though as got chatting with a few US guys on the way.. killed the time nicely.
Picked up a few MOCs there, and got them home no problem... always worth grabbing anything free too.
Gutted I missed out on this one, as off to Chicago the end of May instead...
Wanted - Nothing... I'm done with it all.