Hall H Line – Are wristbands helpful?

2014 Hall H Line

This is such a dirty topic right now, but I haven’t heard very much talk about what I feel is the REAL problem this year with the newly introduced Hall H Wristbands at San Diego Comic Con. I hope that by posting this, CCI will take another perspective into consideration.

Before Saturday, I felt that the wristband solution was a fantastic idea. It meant that after camping out all night, new line-jumpers couldn’t just hop in front of you with their friends. This has historically been very frustrating. I was excited. I was going to get into Hall H on Saturday to see the Avengers panel and I was going to be relatively close to the front. We planned to join the line at about 5pm so the FOX panel would still be going and the current Hall H’ers wouldn’t have rejoined the line yet. Last year, we sat through the Metallica panel on Friday and then got in line. We ended up further back than we had hoped.

Then Friday hit and I jumped in on a twitter conversation with Peggy Gartin. Peggy was highly discouraged by the Game of Thrones line for Friday. She was so disheartened by the line, she posted that she may never attempt Hall H again. I sympathized for her, but wasn’t sure I agreed. I was still pretty excited about the new wristband system. I felt it was kind of inevitable that getting in line earlier and earlier each year was going to be a thing.

Then I got in line on Friday at 4:45pm for Saturday’s panels*. And I started to get a little nervous. I’ve never had to go back as far as the Marina and this was still 24+ hours BEFORE the Marvel panel. But it was a single file line generally and it wasn’t in the tents, so I still was pretty sure we’d get in. We hoped wristbands would be distributed around 7pm… around when the last panel got out.

They did not.

Then the line moved up. I’m not sure why or how. We were stuck in line and none of us could leave to shower or grab food to bring back because wristbands weren’t given out yet. So we kept waiting. Then as the convention center closed and panels let out something VERY FRUSTRATING happened. The line started to thicken in front of us. People that had not planned on being able to get into Hall H because of wristbands were suddenly able to just hop in line with their friends. The line got thicker and thicker. Then FINALLY around midnight, we got our wristbands. We could get food and individually ran to the hotel to shower. So I didn’t get to sleep until about 2am as a result.

Here is the one really really nice thing about wristbands that did happen this year. They didn’t compact the line so early. Usually compacting of the line starts around 4:30ish and happens every 30 minutes. So if you got to bed at 11pm, you would get about 5.5 hours of sleep. This time, the compacting of the line didn’t start until about 6:30am. So if you had already gotten your wristband and went to sleep around 11, you would have gotten 7.5 hours of sleep!

2014 SDCC-Avengers Panel

Eventually we did get into Hall H and were back about halfway. My guess when we first got in line there were maybe 800 people in front of us. By the time we got into the room, there were approximately 3,000. So that sucked. But we got in and had a good and sleepy time.

In summary:

  • I think wristbands are a step in the right direction, but for them to be effective, they NEED to be distributed as people line up.. WHENEVER that is..
  • It was nice to not compact the line so early in the morning and get a little extra sleep, thanks!

– Trevor

* Apparently there’s a bunch of controversy about whether the line should have even been allowed at that point. I don’t particularly care that they let the line form. If there’s that many people that want to get somewhere, a line seems kind of necessary and prevents a stampede of people when it does become available.

Trevor Nielson
Writer & Photographer at ComicCon.tips
Trevor began his forray into nerdom as a kid peddling his bike all the way to the local bookstore to purchase comic books. The boring superhero comics weren’t good enough for Trevor, he wanted the real ones. The ones with ducks. Now who's laughing while he’s on his way to cash in all those valuable Ducktales comics. Soon he’ll have his own money bin full to the brim. These days, to fill the time before the money bin construction completes (and begins), Trevor fills his time with photography, movies, television and comic book conventions. You can find his cosplay Meet & Greet mini-shoot and articles on this site as well as prints of his photographs being sold by cosplayers throughout the land.

P.S. Trevor converted to Marvel & DC comics and movies later on, so no heartburn on that one, right?