If you know me personally, you know the last few months have been pretty difficult. Without getting into too many details, my husband was laid off totally unexpectedly and we didn’t really know what the future held for us. I was physically and mentally exhausted – I couldn’t sleep and I spent most of the waking hours in physical pain because of the stress. A week or two in, I got an Instagram notification – a friend tagged me in a photo (that no longer exists for some reason) announcing that Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi and William B Davis would all be in Chicago for Wizard World Comic Con. I had to be there.
It was the worst possible time for me to be planning a trip, but thankfully I had quite a bit of extra money coming in that month and my amazing husband said to go for it. I booked a flight to Chicago and bought my Wizard World ticket. Fast forward a few weeks later and at 4:45AM on Thursday, I was leaving for the airport. Yes, I took a 7AM flight….it was the cheapest option!
- What I wore
- To be honest, I wore my airplane outfit all day long. I was seriously too tired to think about changing clothes and we were pretty short on time! I wore a black oversized t shirt from Old Navy, black leggings and black booties. We were only at the con for a few hours, so I was all about comfort.
- What we did
- We spent the majority of our time getting to know the layout of the con. To be honest, I’m really glad we did this because the maps were useless so you really needed to figure everything out. We spent lots of time in Artists Alley and the Exhibition Hall, scoping things out and (of course) buying a few items. I bought my husband an amazing Spike Spiegel print from Jordan Gibson, who was probably my favorite new artist I discovered. His work is lovely and he was a doll to chat with! It was also nice to check in and get our wristbands before there were giant lines (like there were on the busier days).
- We also went to a panel that was all about diversity in pop culture, so you know that was right up my alley. It was like I was back in college in my classes about race and diversity so I was in my happy place, despite the fact that I was running on three hours of sleep.
- What I wore
- I had originally planned on doing a mini cosplay for Friday, but I changed my mind and wore a comfy black romper, black lace tights and black booties. I also made sure to take my denim jacket because y’all it is COLD in those panel rooms!
- What we did
- Friday was our first full day – I can’t remember what time we actually arrived but our first panel was “Where are the Asian-American Movie Stars?: White Washing in Geek Culture” and it was quite possibly my favorite panel of the weekend. I took tons of classes on race in college (hello, Race, Gender and Ethnicity was my major) but honestly I don’t has as much knowledge on Asian American portrayals in film.
- Next up was the Milo Ventimiglia (aka Jess from Gilmore Girls) panel. Even though he has a horrible mustache now, it was a lovely panel and yes ladies, he’s just as charming and wonderful in person as he is on screen. He seems like a genuinely nice dude, which is always a good thing.
- After that we headed straight to the William Sadler panel. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything, but it was still fun! He had some great stories and now I feel like I really need to see Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (I’ve only seen the first one!)
- This next panel was weird, y’all. Just as a side note, both of the main guys from Boondock Saints plus their friend (ya know, the cat guy) were all at Wizard World, so I assumed all three would be at the Boondock Saints panel. Wrong. Norman Reedus was apparently like “nah” and cat guy was a no show (I guess?) so we walk in the room and it’s just Sean Patrick Flannery. We stayed for less than five mins and then peaced out because it was so awkward.
- Thankfully there was still a little space in the Screen Junkies panel so we grabbed some seats. They’re the guys who make Honest Trailers and they were pretty hilarious!
- Who we met
- This was definitely the big event of the day – photos with Mitch Pileggi, aka Skinner from The X-Files! Side note: I have been rewatching the X-Files over the last year or so and I realized that being attracted to Skinner means I’m officially a grown woman. Anyway, my friend and I were both SO nervous but I feel like this photo was just a warm up for the next two days (I mean, no offense Mitch). Photo ops go by SO fast but I asked if we could hug and he replied “Of course! I insist!” So yeah, that went well.
- SLIMER! This Ecto-1 replica was seriously too freaking cool. We were able to climb inside and we took about 20 photos!
- What I wore
- I wore lots of black again on Saturday (sensing a trend here?) with black jeans, my faaaaavorite black tank, a tattoo choker and booties (I think? It might have been sneakers.) By day three, I was feeling pretty tired so a comfy tank was much appreciated.
- What we did
- Traffic meant we had a bit of a late start so we headed straight up to the celebrity panel room to get the scoop on when we should line up for the X-Files panel. The volunteer told us they don’t clear the room between panels so we would be able to see the Back to the Future panel before the X-Files panel if we get in line now. I was blown away – I had already told myself there was no way we could get in to the Back to the Future panel. So yeah, we sat in on a panel with Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Christopher Lloyd. They were all just lovely and I’m so thrilled that I was able to see Michael J Fox in person. Sorry this photo is horrible quality, but I really wanted to include it!
- Next up…the X-Files panel. This was a doozy, y’all – Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, William B Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man) and Mitch Pileggi (Skinner). I’ve seen Pileggi and Anderson on their own in Dallas and they were AMAZING so I had pretty high expectations. I’m not sure if Gillian Anderson was nervous because David Duchovny was there or what, but she was acting so strange. It was like pulling teeth trying to get answers out of her. The questions weren’t great, so overall it just wasn’t a great panel. I’m just being honest! That being said, I’m so happy I got to see the four of them on stage together. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
- The last panel of the day was John Barrowman. If you’ve never seen the dude in person…I don’t even know what to tell you. He’s the most charismatic human I’ve ever seen in person. He’s hilarious, he has almost no filter, no shame and it’s just spectacular. We walked in a tad late because of our photo op and he was wearing heels and Pokemon dress (of course he was). About midway through, he decided he was tired of that look and changed into shorts and a t shirt behind the couch. Per usual, the guy had me in tears. If you’re ever at a panel with John Barrowman, you MUST go. Throwing in an old photo with John Barrowman for reference – he’s the guy on the left 🙂
- Who we met
- What do you say about Carrie Fisher? She’s way more petite than you think, she brings her dog Gary everywhere, and you can legitimately tell she is grateful for where she is now. You could see in her face that she wanted to chat with every single person who took a photo with her. I think next time I’m going to do an autograph just so I can have a few minutes to tell her how amazing she is. She did grab my hand though, so that was cool. As I said on Twitter, “Don’t meet your heroes-unless your hero is Carrie Fisher, in which case you DEFINITELY should.”
- What I wore
- I had to wear my “Mulder it’s me” baseball tee (available here!) for the last day. I just had to. I kept the rest of the look pretty simple with jeans, black booties, and (of course) a choker.
- What we did
- We spent the majority of the day in the celebrity panel room again, camping out early for the Daredevil cast panel. Unfortunately they were running really late so I had to duck out before they started – no worries, I have only seen a few episodes anyway. Oops.
- The next celebrity panel was Carrie Fisher and, well, I’m just going to let the tweets speak for themselves. She’s insightful, witty, kind, honest, and just a great human.
- Who I met
- This was a big day for me, y’all. First up, I had my photo op with David Duchovny. A little backstory…his photos from the weekend were about 80% awkward, y’all. I realized the people who had him do a certain pose were definitely the worst pictures so I nixed my original “prom pose” idea and thought “hey, why don’t we just capitalize on the awkwardness and do an awkward family photo type picture?” Genius, right? So I finally get up to the photo area and….there he is. Swoon, y’all. I mean come on, I’ve been a fan since I was like eight years old! It’s finally my turn and I say “hey can we do an awkward family photo?” Now at this point, he has already grabbed my arm to pull me in and I’m literally gazing into David Duchovny’s eyes. When David Duchovny pulls you into his body, your brain completely shuts down. I swear I forgot where I was for a second there. Photographer snaps a normal smiling pic and he laughs and says “I guess not!” Swoon. I walk away and head over to the photo print area…the moment of truth! Was he going to look awkward? Was I? NOPE. It’s the perfect photo. Pure happiness in my face, y’all.
After Carrie Fisher’s panel, I rushed over for my Gillian Anderson photo. I was much more nervous for this one than I was for Duchovny – I’m such a huge fan and honestly she is just so dang beautiful. I have an idea in mind for a goofy photo, nothing crazy, just my signature hands under the chin silly pose. Then I get to the front of the line and they say “No special poses today” (I’m assuming they were in a hurry because the line was insanely long). I was a little disappointed but also kind of relieved…the photo ops are so quick that, as evidenced with my Duchovny pic, sometimes special poses don’t work out. I walk up to her and *word vomit* “Oh my goodness you are so beautiful!” she said thank you and that’s pretty much it. So here I am looking like a troll next to goddess Gillian Anderson. For real though, how goofy is my smile?!
What it costs
Obviously there are a lot of variables involved, but in case you’re looking for a general idea of cost, here’s what I spent.
- Admission – $95 for a four day pass (which will get you into any panels plus the exhibit halls, does not include any photo ops)
- Photo Ops – $55 for Mitch Pileggi photo; $100 for Carrie Fisher photo; $80 for Gillian Anderson photo; $100 for David Duchovny photo (Note: you can have adults and two kids in each photo so if you’re with someone, you can split the photo like we did with Carrie Fisher)
- Food – There’s not much in the way of food at the actual con, besides standard “concession stand food.” I didn’t buy anything there.
- Transportation – Thanks to Flight Deal, I was able to find a direct, round trip flight to Chicago for less than $100. This is actually pretty common! The con itself is not in Chicago proper so if you are not local and you’re staying in a hotel, definitely stay in one of the nearby hotels and walk. If you’re (like me) and you’re staying with a friend, you’ll probably want to just take public transportation. I spent $33 on a 7 day pass that got me on any bus or train I needed. We took Lyft a few times but it took quite a while because of traffic and was very pricey – I wouldn’t recommend driving at all, the train station is very close.
If you’ve made it this far…BLESS YOU. Just a few quick things, in case you’re planning on attending Wizard World, or any other con in the future:
- Just like the Dallas Con, I recommend attending all four days of Wizard World if you can. Most of the larger panels happen on Saturday and Sunday, so you want to be there for those, plus it’s just the best bang for your buck. Even on the days when the celebrities aren’t there yet, you can catch some awesome small panels and do lots of shopping before the big crowds hit.
- Take food and water with you! You’re going to be short on food and most of the time food at cons is pretty sub-par so bring some trail mix, granola bars, nuts, etc. Anything that will keep you full between meals. Most days we only ate one “real meal” and supplemented with granola bars. I know, I know, it’s not super healthy but hey….sometimes you have to skip a meal to live your dreams!
- Public transportation is your friend! The traffic is brutal around the con so Lyft and Uber get pricey FAST. Yeah trains and buses take a little bit of time but they’re (mostly) reliable and the train drops you off pretty close to the con, it’s just a few minutes walk.
- Prepare to spend more money than you think. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but once you walk up and down the aisles of the exhibit hall a few times…you just can’t help it. Try to set a budget ahead of time!
- This one is really just for Wizard World, but if you can, try to get to the celebrity panel room at the beginning of the day. Since they don’t clear the room, you can really see a ton of great panels and get the most bang for your buck if you just get there an hour or two before hand and get your spot in line.
- Bonus: If you like wearing false lashes, they really make your photo ops look awesome. Note the difference in my makeup in the last two photo ops – everything is the same except the lashes.
I swear to y’all, I thought I was never going to finish this post. If you read the whole thing, you are seriously my hero.
- Have you ever been to a con before? Which one? Tell me everything!
- Have you met any of your childhood heroes? How did it go?