My Experience with the 2022 Fan Expo Chicago
I love checking out Expos and Conventions all over the Country, something always different and OH MY the cosplay! I get so invested in the fantasy of it all, like minds just enjoying their lives with a little bit of play we all seem to forget when we are grown. Since I hadn’t been to this one yet, I wanted to check it out and see what it was all about. Craig and I made it a weekend, including a great stay near Gurnee Mills area and a fantastic meal at the Rainforest Café there. But let’s talk Fan Expo.
My experience in the past has been mostly with Mega Con in the Orlando area, been many times and had such good memories with each one. I was excited for this, albeit nervous we had to drive and park somewhere we had never been. Located at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, we planned on a one-day visit, July 9th 2022 , a Saturday, to check out the fun. We had no perceived plans of what we were going to do, we were just there to check it out and see if it was like our beloved MegaCon. (Speaking of, I will be there in cosplay this year).
Buying tickets online was very easy, and assured us that we didn’t miss our day if they sold out. We showed our online purcses to the front gate which gave us our lanyard for the day. I believe we did go through security, they had their entrance kind of wonky with that because in Orlando there is usually people spilled out onto the sidewalks, the hotel lobby, you can’t move without tripping over a Spiderman. Here? People walking in, down their labyrinth of security into the ticketing area and then Main Hall. It was odd because the front areas were completely clear of any gathering or cosplay pictures.
Once in the Main Hall, we took the farthest aisle and just started walking. I LOVE the energy of these events, everyone is so happy and enjoying the art that they created. I have learned over the years at Cons to make sure to always ask for permission to take someone’s pic, with or just of them, and to not bother them if they are clearly busy with something else. The excitement of seeing a favorite movie or tv character can be so exciting that you forget that hey, they are human, they may not want you fawning all over them. Now, that being said, most of us dress up TO be looked at and complimented, let’s not kid ourselves. Anyways, I take the precautions to not upset anyone. Out of hundreds I have asked to take pics of or with, no one has said no yet, so there ya go.
It goes like this: look for Funkos, look for Loungeflys, look at anything 80s nostalgic, then as you get towards the back of the Hall it’s about photo opps with professional cosplay groups and Celebrities. We have always booked our Celebrity experiences online, but we weren’t sure who we wanted of IF we wanted anyone. All 4 Hobbits were there, and it was too pricey for me, although someday I would love to get all 4 in one pic. (Had that all booked before for MegaCon and then Covid paid a visit, and it was cancelled). So, for now, we opted to see and meet Sean Astin. He was $100 and you purchased it online, while we waited in his line, we booked it. HEADS UP- his line gets VERY long the longer of the day, so get there early and you’ll be in and out in about 15 minutes total for us. Sean has been a staple of our childhood, everything from “Goonies” to “Rudy”, and then in our marriage with “Lord of the Rings” and, of course, “50 First Dates.” We had been binging “Stranger Things”, so we chose the “Bob” photo for him to autograph- he had them for free on his table OR included with his price LOL We were SOOOO excited to meet him, although bummed it was just for an autograph and not a photo Opp (he wasn’t taking selfies that day) which was fine. We would get to meet him.
So, it’s our turn, we are crazy nervous, and I explain to Sean that I was the insane person to screamed at the end of his Princess Half Marathon “Go SEAN!!!” – I know he heard it because as he was running, he was looking around like “Who is yelling at me?” So yeah, I confessed. He laughed nd said “I actually remember that.” He said that was a tough race, and he loved running Disney. We than talked about “50 First Dates” and how much we loved him in it and he looked at Craig and said, “You better keep this one.” He was so nice, we talked about other stuff, and he had a plastic shield up which oddly enough now Craig and I both commented later how that probably wasn’t going to do much to protect him. Joke was on us. THE NEXT DAY it was announced on the Fan Expo site that he had Covid and would be out from appearances on Sunday. Craig would test positive on Sunday and me on Tuesday…so we like to tell people that Sean Astin gave us Covid LOL
The rest of the time we just walked around and looked for more people to take pics of and photo spots. The Star Wars one was pretty cool, you could be a Star Wars figure in the 80s packaging they had set up there. Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park always do a great job with their booths, people were so friendly. I want to cosplay as a Ghostbuster in the future, just not this year, and also one of the T-Rex inflatable deals. Yes, I think they are HILARIOUS and I WILL be one.
The food was ok, they needed a lot more tables for the amount of people they had, and the variety wasn’t the greatest. It was one of those “We are super hungry so you eat anything in that moment” kind of things. I didn’t leave the meal at all happier, but hey, I was full. We did NOT go to any of the panels or classes provided, so I can’t report on any of that, just day trippers checking it out.
Would I go back another year? Maybe. MegaCon is incredibly better. The vendors, food variety, and even Celebrities seemed to be bigger in numbers. Now that being said, I know these companies grow over time, get more clout, and so on. We shall see for the future.
****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.
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