While traveling to the Orlando area for the Warhammer US Open tournament we were able to stop at the MegaCon being held at the Orange County convention center. As a former Floridian I had been able to attend in the past but not since I have attended Gen Con, Origins, and Pax Unplugged. So, was MegaCon worth attending? How was a convention carried out in a hot zone for the pandemic? Let’s dive into some highlights from the weekend and find out.
Masking and Safety Procedures
The foremost thing on my mind being around a large group of people was how hard is it to enforce masking and safety for large conventions. Luckily MegaCon staff and security seemed to be on top of this throughout the weekend. Whether entering the convention center or walking the exhibit hall, staff were on the lookout for those not wearing mask. While some exhibitors would get away with it for a short time, they seemed to be wearing mask and social distancing on different walkthroughs. As far as social distancing went, there was none to be had. The entire convention center was swarming with people and even with an entire main hall, there was no way to distance amongst fellow convention-goers. Another negative that was noticed was the lack of hand sanitizer stations. Maybe we didn’t see them, but we know that it helps with normal “Con Crud”, so it would have been nice to have them accessible and visible.
Badge Scanning – Security Measures
After getting through security and grabbing our badges we made our way to an empty area with MegaCon staff that assisted us with something we had never done before, registering our badges. We had to log onto the MegaCon website and register our badge serial numbers. Then we proceeded to tap our badge with entry control staff to activate the RFID inside, essentially checking us into the hall. When we were done for the day, we had to make sure to tap the exit RFID scanners to check out. I could very well see this coming to Gen Con in the future to help control access and badge swapping.
The MegaCon Experience
I hope if you get the chance to visit MegaCon in the future you have your walking shoes on because there is a lot of ground to cover. To give you an idea the convention hall is about a size between Origins and Gen Con. There was a massive amount of geek media to check out. Between props, toys, art, and even live tattoos, there was something to really delve into in each section. Lots of local and regional vendors made the trip to set up shop at MegaCon and we found ourselves wanting to snag a lot of merchandise. Maybe it was just being caught up in a convention after not going anywhere for over a year? We did walk away with a lot of art and a couple of cool board games. While walking around we were able to find plenty of food with decently short lines, allowing us to take plenty of rest breaks. Walking through the exhibit hall definitely took a whole day and we were happy to sit down in the hotel room at the end of the day.
Speaking of board gaming we only found a handful of vendors selling some during the event. We did find a couple selling brand new games, such as “Oh, The Horror” (which we grabbed). Some gaming cafés were also in attendance selling stock you would usually see at a vendor booth at Gen Con. There were also some gaming events going on such as Magic the Gathering tournaments. These weren’t in the main hall but in conference halls off the main causeway. The gaming was very minimal, and the convention is more focused on pop-culture and anime.
Should you check out MegaCon in Orlando? If you are a massive fan of pop culture and in the Orlando area, then you cannot miss this convention. If you are looking for more board gaming-centric conventions, I would suggest sticking to the tried-and-true major annual conventions. While there is some to be found it wouldn’t warrant visiting just to attend MegaCon.