A new year, a new location. The con has moved to its largest location yet, the Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor.
As a facility, the Gaylord was pretty nice. Plenty of parking within walking distance as well as a couple hotels across the street. I doubt that they will have to worry about running out of space any time soon.
Unfortunately, the Achilles heel of the place is the resturant situation: overpriced and not enough of them. For Friday night, we ate at Ketchup, which was big on a fries appetizer with six different ketchups. Unfortunately, I didn't think the food was worth the price we paid, particularly when they were out of a lot of things because of the storm. That's probably the story for most of the eating places in the area, with the lone exception of Potbelly's.
Saturday was worse. After getting out of the Masquerade, we couldn't find any place that didn't have at least an hour wait. Cadillac Ranch (Probably one of the more reasonably priced places) was so bad that they weren't taking reservations anymore.
It didn't help that the veggie options were limited. There was an Italian place in the hotel, but Saturday night they were doing a Prime Rib buffet for $30+. Not really good for us. I did notice a lot of people ordering Dominoes in the hotel.
Another problem was that cell reception was questionable. If you were down on the bottom, where all the large function space, I was getting nothing with T-Mobile. It made things problematic when trying to communicate with your family when they weren't around.
Then there was the fact that the only function space was on the bottom and top floors, which left a rather lengthy trek to get from the bottom to the top. This is especially true if you are coming and going from the main event room, since it was the deepest in the convention center.
Personally, I prefer the Baltimore Convention Center, which has a more reasonable layout.
The con was fine overall, tho there were various snafus that caused annoyances most of the weekend. The AMV contest on Saturday was FUBARed by having no buffer for the masquerade practice, causing the contest to be a half-hour late. Then there were severe sound issues that lasted about 8 songs. It was annoying enough to chase my wife out of the room. They did eventually fix things, but things got screwy at the end when they wouldn't run the last video for some reason and started announcing the next event. The guy running the contest had to argue with the guys running the stage to get them to play the last video. Course, that probably ended up with Main Events running late most of the day (The masquerade was about 20m late.)
Sunday there was supposed to be a "greatest hits" of comedy AMVs, but whoever was running the panel didn't show up. Course, we waited a half hour past time in line for that.
The room that it was in, Live Events 3, was way too small for what they put in there. I'd say that there was a capacity of about 40-50 people, and it seemed for every event that was in there that they were cutting people off from going in.
Most of the rest is what I've come to expect from Katsucon. I saw some familiar faces, some surprising. Unfortunately, the interest level of the Bear was rather limited. While he did well at Anime USA, a weekend of Katsucon didn't quite go as well. I often had to give up my phone for entertainment purposes.
I have pictures up here. Not as many as I thought I took. I also missed some opportunities.