Thursday Outing!

Hello, Wincon attendees!

I am here to discuss one of my favorite parts of Wincon: The Thursday Outing. I’d like to give a little background information and then announce where the con is planning to go this year! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.

What is a Thursday Outing?
The Thursday Outing is an off-site activity, meaning that we leave the hotel and venture into the host city for some local fun. In fact, the outing takes place before the con has even begun. The trip is organized by Wincon attendees, for Wincon attendees, but it is not officially part of the con, so the cost of the event is not included in your registration and the trip is not considered a con space.

There are often other off-site outings that crop up as attendees find things and places they want to explore in our city. If you are interested in finding out what other outings are taking place, or what we have done in the past (ghost tours! karaoke!), check this tag.

Who should attend the Thursday Outing?
EVERYONE. No, really. For first-time attendees, it’s a great opportunity to get to meet some fellow fangirls before the whirlwind of Wincon officially picks up. For Wincon vets, the outing is great way to see some of the city! Once the con starts, it can be hard to tear yourself away from official programming—the panels and the Roadhouse are just that enticing—so getting to the con a little early to make the trip (if you can) is well worth it.

In past years, the outing has included visits to aquariums, wax museums, and tours, so we try to cover a variety of interests when planning things, too.

When is the Thursday Outing?
This year, the Thursday Outing falls on October 16th.

Where is the Thursday Outing this year?
This year, we’re in Sunny Central Florida, and that means THEME PARKS. Get excited.

Universal Studios
Universal Studios bills itself as home of the movies. It is also home to the newest of the Harry Potter areas, Diagon Alley. In terms of rides, there is one outdoor, inverted roller coaster; two indoor roller coasters; and many hydraulic and show-based attractions. Some of the other things you can find at Universal Studios include the Terminator, Transformers, Shrek, and the Mummy–basically, all of Universal’s successful movie franchises.

From September to November, Universal Studios also runs Halloween Horror Nights. During Horror Nights, the nighttime park is transformed into haunted houses and “scare zones” (haunted house elements such as creepy performers and mist/fog in the streets), while most rides remain open. It’s an adult event, so there’s lots of drinking, shows get raunchier, and it’s a largely 20-30s crowd.

If you are interested in Horror Nights, a benefit to going to Universal Studios is their “stay-and-scream” ticket program, a service that discounts Horror Nights tickets to individuals who visited Universal Studios. This year, Thursday night stay-and-scream tickets are $42 (prices vary based on expected crowds, with weekend nights being the most expensive). In contrast, general admission to Horror Nights is $96, so there’s a pretty significant discount when buying both. Additionally, you would not have to use your stay-and-scream ticket on Thursday. You could purchase the stay-and-scream ticket for any date you wanted to attend the event during your vacation—these are date specific, unlike daytime Universal Studios admissions tickets, which can be used any day—and use your theme park admission (purchased at the same time) for Thursday.

NOTE: Diagon Alley will NOT be open for Horror Nights, so if you are reading this and considering attending that event only (and not our Thursday outing), keep that in mind.

Islands of Adventure

When compared to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure is more filled with thrill rides. A number of their attractions are roller coasters or intense rides. They are also home to Marvel Super Hero Island, Seuss Landing, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade. Due to the recency of Diagon Alley opening at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure tends to be the emptier of the two parks (this was not always the case), so if you are looking for a quicker day, this may be your best bet.

If Harry Potter is not a major draw for you and/or you are not a fan of thrill rides, this is probably not the park for you.

Parkhopping

Universal does offer a parkhopper pass, so that you can enter both parks in one day. This does increase the price of your ticket, so it’s important to note that there is plenty to do in one park to have a full day. However, to ride the Hogwarts Express between the parks, a valid multi-park ticket is required.

Pricing
One day, one park ticket: $96
One day, two park ticket: $136
Two day, two park ticket: $176

What’s the plan, if I’m interested in attending?
If you are interested in attending, we will be taking a cab from the hotel to Universal’s CityWalk. CityWalk provides easy access to both parks. The parks open at 9 AM and they’re about a 25-30 minute drive from the hotel. We will meet in the lobby at 7:45 AM and the cab will be leaving at 8:00 AM. Once we’re in CityWalk, you’re free to choose your destination and take the parks at your pace. Because people are interested in seeing more or less of the parks, you are responsible for finding your way home. We don’t want to limit anyone’s experience. If you are interested in reserving a cab home, you may do so here.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Leave ’em here!

Pop-Up Panel Submissions!

Did you have a panel, workshop, or event idea for Wincon this year but didn’t have a chance to submit it? Has a new fandom taken up residence in your heart and you want a venue to squee about it? Have you been learning a new skill or craft you want to teach to others?

Now is your second chance to propose it for Wincon 2014!! From August 1-15, we are opening a Panel Proposal Lightning Round! So come one, come all and fill out this handy-dandy form, and tell us what you want to talk about. If you want to know what’s already planned for this year, have a look at the list of panels from the first round of submissions. Tell your friends! Tell your tumblr followers! Get excited because Wincon is less than three months away!!

If you have any questions, as always feel free to put them in the comments. <33

Panel Submissions Closing July 14th!

Panel Submissions are still open right now, but set to close July 14th!

Once again, remember that you can submit a panel idea without volunteering to run it or be on the panel at all. You can simply just put some variation of “Not it” where it asks for a list of panelists/participants, and that will let us know you are submitting an idea you would prefer to see from the audience. There’s no limit to how many panels you can suggest/submit, either!

Panels that have already been submitted are located here  and (this is the important part) none of the panels are final.

That’s right! We’re doing panels a little different this year. Similar to how we did it way back when we were Winchestercon, and sort of like Muskrat Jamboree, once the panel submissions close we’re going to put up a poll and takes votes which will help us figure out what panels we’re going to put on the schedule, and where.

In addition, you’ll also see we have a few game tournaments, some workshops, and events in the panel doc. Those are not going to be voted on, because they’re going to run concurrently and won’t need to fight out space in the panel room.

What are you waiting for? Go submit!

Panels and Off-Site Activities Are Now Open for Submission!

Panel Submissions are now open for the year! And, in addition, this year you can also submit Off-Site Activities as well. The Off-Sites will not necessarily need approval and are more so that we can help everyone keep track of the activities and their details.

One of the changes this year is that you can submit a panel idea without volunteering to run it or be on the panel at all. You can simply just put some variation of “Not it” where it asks for a list of panelists/participants, and that will let us know you are submitting an idea you would prefer to see from the audience.

There will also be a list of the panels submitted available here that will be manually updated by the programming committee. Feel free to bookmark that link as it will be updated often.

Panel Submissions are located underneath the Programming ribbon at the top of the page, by hovering over Panels, Workshops, ETC. and then clicking on where it says Submit to the right of it.

Off-Site Activities are located underneath the Programming ribbon at the top of the page, by hovering over Off-Site Activities and then clicking on where it says Submit to the right of it.

What are you waiting for? Start submitting!

Programming Opening Soon

Two weeks from today, February 1st, we’re going to open up panel submissions! It’s going to work a little different this year, and you will be able not just to submit panels you want to be on, but also panels you’d like to see.

In addition, we’re working on allowing everyone to see the panels that have been submitted, in case it sparks ideas, and possibly a few more neat things.

Please note: As always, submitting a proposal does not guarantee selection. All decisions are made by the Programming Committee with consideration to topic, time constraints and Wincon programming.