We’ve got just about two and a half months till Gallifrey One comes back around. I have some summary advice as I start to look at ways to spruce up #GallyHelp for the coming year’s conference.
As most of you know, this is not an official resource of Gallifrey One, ISL, or anything else. I’m just an attendee who doesn’t have the attention span for forums most of the time and wanted to gather the information that was useful for me and might be helpful for others. So take this as my own thoughts, and don’t blame anyone else for them. Don’t blame me either, of course, but if you have to…
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So on with the quick update.
For the latest official news on Gallifrey One’s 25 Glorious Years, go to gallifreyone.com. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter. There’s even an event page for the 2014 convention on Facebook if you’d like to join the virtual event. You still need a membership to get into the actual event though, and they’ve been sold out for months.
Getting a membership
If you want a membership but don’t have one yet, don’t give up hope. You may still be able to be on the receiving end of a registration transfer from someone who can’t make it anymore. The convention has a Registration Transfer Page which explains the process. You can check the Facebook page as well as the Gallifrey One subsection of Gallifrey Base’s forums for people looking to transfer their memberships. A lot can happen over the year, and some people’s plans change.
Transfers are only allowed for the original ($80 adult, $35 youth 12-16) membership registration rate, so you won’t get people demanding a premium. And if you find someone with a youth membership, you can upgrade it to an adult membership.
Gotta sleep somewhere
As many of you know, the convention staff work hard to get a reserved block of rooms at a special price at the convention hotel (the Marriott LAX Airport hotel), and this year they got an overflow hotel very close to the Marriott, the Renaissance Los Angeles Airport next door. However, as I mentioned in my DON’T PANIC post a few months ago, that comes to fewer than 1426 rooms in the official hotels, so some people will need to stay elsewhere.
Luckily, there are at least five other hotels within half a mile, and several others within easy driving distance. Check out the convention Hotel Reservations page to see what your options are. Feel free to try getting a room with the convention codes (note that they’re different between the two hotels, and may be different from codes you used in past years), as some people cancel their reservations when they either change hotels or change plans altogether.
You may want to shop around for hotel rates… sometimes the hotel chain’s website will have the best rates, or a best rate guarantee at least; other times, aggregators like Booking.com or Expedia will have the best deals. Sometimes if you find a good rate on an aggregator site, you can get the hotel chain to match it and get your miles or points anyway.
What’s with the ribbons?
For the first time ever, this year I’ll be ordering my ribbons before the first of February.
There’s a thread about ribbons on Gallifrey Base, if you’re wondering what the deal is. The short form is that it’s a convention tradition for some people to get ribbons printed with catchy phrases or artwork, that they give out for other people to attach to their convention badges. Sometimes they’re themed, for example for certain groups (Gallifrey Base members, subscribers to a given podcast, people cosplaying Ursula Blake in concrete), and other times they’re just memorable bits of Whovian history.
You don’t have to buy ribbons, or collect them, or wear them. But if you do choose to get involved in the ribbon subculture, check out the details at the convention site here, especially the etiquette notes. Remember that you’ll want something somewhat unique if you’re making ribbons, and “Allons-y” and “Geronimo” are not all that unique anymore. Also remember that it’s a family convention, so ribbons that are overly graphic or not kid-friendly should be kept private or (better yet) not chosen.
I’ve bought a couple of times from Marco Promotions. Other than a shout out on Twitter, I’ve gotten no consideration from them for mentioning them. So you can choose any ribbonmaker you like, but I’ve had good experiences and good pricing/delivery time with them in the past. Note that their per-ribbon price is based on total ribbons ordered in one order. For example, I got 125 of my “Dalek Bumps” ribbon last year, and 125 of my “Sofa of Reasonable Comfort” ribbon, and paid the qty 250 price, plus the $10 per design setup charge.
How many ribbons should you order? Depends on how many you want to give out and how much money you have. I think I started with 100 my second or third year and still have two or three of them left. Consider setting a budget and going with that… you can do 250 (2 designs) for about $75 if you plan a couple of weeks in advance and get free shipping.
Can I use my cell phone?
Short answer: Maybe to probably.
In the past, people with GSM phones (i.e. T-Mobile, AT&T) have had better luck with reception in the convention area, which is deep within the bowels of the hotel basement. People with CDMA phones (i.e. Verizon, Sprint) have had suboptimal to abysmal service within the hotel. There is wifi in parts of the hotel but with about 5000+ devices trying to use it, don’t count on it.
The management at the Marriott told me that they’re working on improving Verizon service (and possibly others), when I mentioned this detail in a TripAdvisor review. But if you have a major need for Internet access during the event, plan to either step outside, or consider a prepaid/pay-as-you-go GSM phone or hotspot device if you’re not already on TMO or ATT.
And as a general clue that I hope everyone reading this will already have… don’t ruin other convention-goers’ experience by blocking other people’s view with your phone, phablet, or tablet taking videos. Check out this video to see what it feels like for those of us not shooting with an iPad. (No endorsement of Nokia Lumia phones intended.)
So what do you suggest?
If you’ve been to Gallifrey One before, what did you find useful during your stay? Feel free to comment in the comments on this entry, or check out the other themed posts on my site.