So you have decided to go to your first Anime Convention huh? Whether it was your idea, or your kiddo begged you to take them to meet their favorite voice actor, going to your first can be quite overwhelming! Especially if you are visiting one of the larger conventions that are out there. But as tiring as it can be, it will also be one of the most fun weekend of your life! Spending the weekend surrounded by like minded people who love the same thing you/your kids love and getting to immerse yourself in the experience is so fun and exhilarating. With that being said, there are some tips I wish I would have known before going to one of the largest Anime Conventions in the country a few years ago, and I wanted to share what I learned from that experience, as well as the several I have been to since then. Going by yourself, or with other adults, is one thing, but taking the kiddos along with you is a whole new ball game, and it will be more enjoyable for everyone if you have do a little research ahead of time and get everyone involved! Ready to check out what I learned? Lets go!
Here are some of my Tips for your first Anime Convention with kids
1. Technology is your friend! When it comes to planning you day, checking your schedule, purchasing tickets, technology will be your best friend. Almost all conventions (especially the larger ones) will have an app that you can download that will show you the layout of the space, the schedule for events, a list of vendors, parking options, etc. Use it! It’s so much easier than trying to keep up with everything on paper or figuring it out when you get there. Digital tickets are also much easier to keep up with than paper tickets ( in my opinion, anyways lol)
2. Flexibility is key. We all know how kiddos can be, sometimes they need a break, sometimes they think they want to do something, and then change their minds. They might get overwhelmed with the noise, the amount of people, the crowds, etc. It can be a very overstimulating environment, so keep that in mind when planning your day. You might need to take a break in the middle of the day, you might need to hop out of line and get some fresh air, etc. Just remember that when you have kiddos with you, everyone is having a good time when they are, and no one is having a good time when they aren’t. Be flexible and everyone is happy! Which brings me to my next tip…
3. Stay at the convention hotel! Seriously, this is 100% something I wish I would have done when I took my (at the time 10 year old) kiddo with me to out first convention. If you can afford it, it is the way to go. Most conventions will have a special rate deal with the hotel (sometimes up to 50% off the normal rate!) when you book through the group. If you go this route, make sure you book early because they WILL sell out. Having a room to go to to grab a snack, a nap, or even just a quick change in and out of cosplay was seriously the best thing we could have done. Conventions sometimes run 10-16 hours of the day, so having a place to recharge (especially with kids!) is SO wonderful.
4. Bring a backpack. Another thing I learned quickly after taking my kiddo to a convention is to bring a comfortable backpack. You will need it to carry snacks, water, merch, and any other provisions you might need. It’s much easier than having to go back and forth to the car to grab things/put things away.
5. Comfort, comfort, comfort! Now dressing comfortably can mean different things to different people, so keep that in mind. But when you know you are going to be somewhere all day, you want to make sure you are comfortable. Even if you plan on cosplaying (which you totally should because it’s so much fun and brings an entire new element to conventions as a whole) make sure you are choosing something comfy for you and/or your kiddo to wear. Make sure you break in any shoes before going (wearing brand new shoes when you are going to be doing a lot of standing/walking is torture lol), and dress for the weather. Side tip- if you do cosplay, bring a pair of street clothes with you, just in case you need a break from your costume!
6. Join in on the fun! I know it can be a lot when you visit your first anime convention but it really is all about community. Take a look at the panel selection before you go and ask your kids which ones they want to visit (side note, some panels are going to be for adults/older teens, so be mindful of that when making your selection. Most events are family friendly but there are for sure adult only spaces at almost all conventions). Some of the best time my daughter and I have at any convention is at fun panels. We meet new friends, learn new things, and really just join in on the fun!
7. Be prepared to wait in line, a lot. Something I for sure wasn’t prepared for was the amount of time I would spend in line. There will be lines for almost EVERYTHING. You want to buy food? There will be a line. You want to get an autograph from you favorite Disney princess? (Such as the amazing voice actor for Meg from Hercules above) there will be an even longer line. You want to play the hot new arcade game in the game hall? You guessed it, a line. So when planning your day, make sure you really take into account how much time you will be in a line. If you want to meet your favorite voice actor, but you have a panel you want to catch in the same hour, pick which one you want to do the most. Also, bring things to keep the kids entertained while in line. A a powerbank to keep their phones charged, ha!
8. Be prepared to see things you might not like, might not agree with, or might not understand. As with any sort of fandoms, you will see good things, and bad. You will see people in cosplays that are sexual by nature, you might see gore, things that gross you out, things that you simply don’t like. in the vendors room you might see adult themed art work. You might see people running through the crowd screaming at the top of their lungs just to annoy people. Do you best to ignore the things you don’t like, and focus on what you do. Your kids will feed off your energy, so make sure you stay in your lane, and let it roll of your back.
9. Budget before you go. If there is one thing anime conventions are, it’s expensive. SO many expenses. Food, drinks, tickets, hotels, travel, parking, autographs, and merch. So much merch. If they can charge you for something, they will. So make sure you sit down and think of a budget you want to stick to before you go. This will help you from overspending. I would also recommend carrying cash, as sometimes with so many people running on wifi it’s hard for the vendors to take cards. It also makes everything go faster when purchasing the fun stuff.
10 Have fun! My last tip is the most important, have fun! That’s what an anime convention is all about. Above everything else, have a good time. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned, it sure beats spending the weekend at home, right? Keep an open mind, and make some of the best memories you may have for yourself and your kids!
Do you have any tips to add? Leave them below for others!
Looking for more fun tips for kids? Check these out:
- 10 tips for tie-dye fun
- time saving tips for back to school mornings
- 10 things to pack when taking kids on a road trip