Navigating the ginormous annual convention Comic-Con isn't for the faint of heart. These tips from seasoned pros will help.
Step 1: Plan ahead Decide in advance what you most want to see because there's no way to do it all. The complete schedule is posted on comic-con.org about 2 weeks prior to the convention. For the latest information, subscribe to the Comic-Con newsfeed, follow them on Twitter, "like" their Facebook page, or download their free mobile app.
Step 2: Prepare for battle Dress comfortably to survive Comic-Con, especially when it comes to footwear: Almost every attraction requires standing in line, and waits can be several hours. And consider carbo-loading the night before: Comic-Con isn't a sprint; it's a marathon!
TIP: Pack water bottles and snacks so you're not at the mercy of the overpriced and underwhelming food court options.
Step 3: Prepare to shop Bring cash; many vendors don't accept credit cards and the ATM lines can be long. Carry a bag for swag -- preferably one you can tote hands-free -- and an empty poster tube for artwork.
Step 4: Head to your favorite spots Arrive early to browse the main floor, where the smaller booths are featured; that area gets unbearably crowded by midday. And no matter what the schedule says, stop by your favorite exhibitors in person; some signings and events aren't announced in advance.
Step 5: Arrive early for popular panels If there's a popular panel you really want to see, consider attending the previous one to ensure a seat; except for VIP sections, rooms aren't cleared between panels.
Step 6: Go with the flow Be flexible. Though it's smart to have a plan to survive Comic-Con, it's even smarter to take advantage of the surprises you'll inevitably encounter.