Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the report you have all been waiting for!
…Okay, maybe not, but today we are covering OmniEXPO, which was held at the Marriott World Resort in Orlando, Florida this past May. This review will cover what every other review has touched on, such as the dealer room, Artist Alley, and overall con experience, as well as a personal note from me. So if you can sit through the first part of this review, I encourage you all to stick around for the second part, which will be much more entertaining.
For a first year convention, this was a poor choice of location. The room service food was more pricey than eating at one of the on-site restaurants, and if you brought food with you, you had better hope you brought a cooler as well, because mini-fridges (essential to any convention hotel stay) were not available. There was a small food court on the first floor, but waiting in that line was nothing short of ridiculous with the crowds.
And speaking of the crowds, I was shocked at how many people were NOT there for the convention. That’s right. Several other events took place over the weekend, ranging from weddings to children’s beauty pageants. However, most accounts I experienced with sharing this space with other events weren’t nearly as bad as ones I have endured in the past. Most, if not all of the other guests at the hotel were genuinely interested in the cosplayers and merchants, and in turn, we were polite to them as well.
Back to the hotel…the rooms were nice enough, although I didn’t find it necessary to pay over $350.00 for two nights for what was actually offered, which was next to nothing. Oh, and DON’T TOUCH THE SNACKS ON THE DESK. Yes, we were actually charged almost $9.00 for just TOUCHING the food on the weighted tray. None of it was actually missing, and we were not reimbursed the money by any means.
Something else that should be noted is that OmniEXPO was not the only anime convention in Orlando that weekend, so there was rightfully some competition.
One that note, moving on.
Starting with the Dealer’s Room…or what existed of it. The map provided on the site was highly misleading. The space was large, and more than capable of being able to hold more vendors than what were in attendance. Half of the room was dedicated to models of things like the Delorean and R2D2, as well as a ship from Star Wars whose name has escaped me. Another section of the room was where the guests were available for autographs in certain allotted times, and then finally, where you first walk in, and just before reaching the autograph tables, laid the small, eight tables of vendors, half of which weren’t even selling anime/sci-fi merchandise at all. What tables were selling merchandise was a little less than to be desired. One was even selling knock-off Dragonball Z key chains. (The faces looked like they were melting off of them). Another table had a much better quality selection, including figures, clear sheets, etc.
Artist Alley was a pretty decent size for a first year con. Set just outside the Dealer’s Room, there were about 30 tables with a multitude of different kinds of art. Overall, there is nothing spectacular to mention.
The guests for a first year convention were pretty huge. I was actually shocked. Names like Kyle Hebert, Chris Sabat, Kara Edwards, and Matthew Mercer were all in attendance, as well as the main three members of Team Four Star, KaiserNeko, Lanipator, and Takahata101. I had the pleasure of having dinner Saturday night with Kyle, Chris, and Kara, (and, indirectly, Matthew).
The panels were small, seeing as this was the first year. There was hardly any wait to get in.
That’s about all I have for you for OmniEXPO. Next year they plan to have a full line-up of the cast of Attack on Titan. Until next time, friends!
On a personal note: I have never met such wonderful, down to earth people. The dinner was only supposed to last for two hours, but we all ended up staying an extra hour, just because we were having such a good time. They even paid for my fiance’s meal and mine even though we were fully prepared to do so ourselves.