Everything You Need to Get Ready for Celebration
If you’ve been to a comic con before, you may think that you know what to expect for Star Wars Celebration, but Celebration is unlike any other convention experience. While there are many similarities between Celebration and your local comic con, the kinds of preparation, planning, and equipment you need for a successful experience is on a whole different level.
To find out exactly what is needed to have a fun and successful Star Wars Celebration experience, I took over 100 responses from veterans of past Celebrations and distilled them into this essential guide for the con. You’ll learn exactly how to plan out your trip, what you need to bring, and some of the most important lessons learned from those who have been through the experience before. So hold on to your lightsabers as we get you ready to enjoy the ultimate Star Wars fan experience.
How to Prepare for Star Wars Celebration
Check the Star Wars Celebration page for updates on panels, events, and activities so you can plan out your days. It’s tough to fit in everything you want to, so the more you can plan and prioritize the better. When the schedule of panels/events/activities comes out, make notes of everything you want to do and plan ahead. Rank them in terms of things you must do, want to do, and would be cool to do, that way you prioritize your itinerary. You won’t be able to get everything in, no matter how hard you try so make sure you at least don’t miss out on your highest priorities.
Once you have an idea for what you want to do, you can start to consider how much it will cost. After tickets, lodging, and meals are accounted for, you’re going to need to budget for incidentals. The one word of advice I can offer here is prepare to go over budget! Celebration is many things, but it is not cheap. Prepare to spend more than you planned to when all is said and done. If you see a bit of merch that you must have, it’s probably best to buy it while you can, because things do sell out. However, past conventions have seen a restock of exclusive merch on Saturdays so there may be a chance to get sold out items if you missed them the first time around.
What to Bring to Star Wars Celebration
When I put out a call to past Star Wars Celebration attendees to find out what the must-bring items were, I was surprised. The #1 must-bring item for Star Wars Celebration that was cited time and time again was deodorant. Apparently the convention hall has a tendency to start smelling a little like the swamps of Dagobah towards the end. The fact that deodorant was at the top of so many lists tells you how much of a physical challenge the four day adventure is. There’s high points strewn across all four days of Celebration, between celebrity signings and guest panels, broken up by long waits in lines and a lot of walking back and forth. By the end of each day, everyone is dead tired.
That is why comfort and personal hygiene are of chief concern at Star Wars Celebration, much more so than at a typical convention. The following list of recommended products therefore has a whole section dedicated to must-bring personal hygiene items along with the essentials and items to help pass the time. Of course you’ll want some additional items like your luggage and extra clothes in your hotel room, but the following are meant to be carried with you on the convention floor at all times!
Essential Items for Celebration 2022
There are some things that you absolutely can not go without at Star Wars Celebration. The cornerstone of your packing list should be your backpack. You want something big enough to hold everything you need for the day. It should also be comfortable enough that you won’t mind wearing it for hours on end. I use the Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men’s Backpacking Backpack. It’s built to be comfortably worn all day and boasts ample storage for everything you’ll be taking to the con.
Once you’ve got a quality backpack sorted, you’re going to need to consider your footwear. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes. They should be already broken in and ready to go. A big part of the Celebration experience is unfortunately going to involve standing in line, so having good shoes is a must. Because a lot of the con is simply a waiting game, chances are that you’ll be looking down at your phone a lot to try and pass the time. Therefore not only is a power bank recommended, but many Celebration-goers recommend that you bring two. The Anker PowerCore 26800 is a good choice for keeping your devices charged. It has a high capacity and the ability to charge multiple devices at once. Another product that you’ll be happy you brought is a collapsible chair. Having somewhere to sit at all times is priceless. Otherwise, you’ll get tired of standing or sitting on the floor real quick.
Wellness / Personal Hygiene Items for Celebration
Taking care of your body while at Star Wars Celebration is essential. Most people don’t realize the amount of endurance it takes to experience all four days. Make sure you have constant access to water by carrying a YETI bottle that will keep your drinks ice cold. Fuel your body by bringing lots of snacks like CLIF energy bars and trail mix. These are dense foods. They pack a lot of energy, but also won’t take up too much space in your backpack. You’ll also thank yourself if you bring Advil or some kind of pain relief product after a long day at Celebration.
Now on to a more sticky subject. I’ll be honest, not only are there incredible sights to see at Celebration, but as previously mentioned, the smells can also be described as, well, let’s just say out of this world. Even if you aren’t a diehard fan who’s willing to sleep in line and forgo a shower in order to get a coveted seat at a panel, after a long day of walking in crowds, you will likely benefit from carrying around a pack of body wipes to keep even just your face fresh. Hand sanitizer and of course that travel sized deodorant will go a long way.
How to Get Autographs at Celebration
If you plan on purchasing autographs at Celebration you can buy your tickets in advance from Epic Photo Ops. Once you know whose autograph you’re getting, it’s best to come prepared. Start by labeling your items with post-it notes. Annotate to whom you’d like them dedicated and any quote or inscription that you’d like the actor to add. It’s best to bring your own pen if you’d like a specific kind of ink or color. However, make sure you test it out before going to the show, you don’t want to find out the pen is dead after it touches your item. You would also do well to bring a portfolio with photo pages like an Itoya for your autographs because plastic top loaders tend to rub ink off and/or scratch your photos.
If you have larger items that you’d like to get signed like flats, or you think you might pick up some prints while at Celebration, it’s best to bring a poster tube. You can rest assured that whether it’s autographs, prints, or collectables, you’re going to walk away from the convention with a lot of new stuff.
Tips for Success
Remember that COVID-19 vaccinations are required for convention-goers. Have an app like CLEAR that stores your vaccine information. Make sure your other apps are set up and updated like Uber and your hotel’s proprietary app. You may also want to consider mailing your prized purchases home to avoid taking them through TSA or lugging them around for the duration of the convention. There is a FedEx inside the convention center. It may be pricey, but it beats having TSA manhandle your collectibles that you paid a fortune for.