Last weekend I went to Anime Weekend Atlanta with the team from Wasabi Anime. While there, we hosted a number of events including the now (in)famous DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate! Overall the event was a success and our events were well received by everyone who attended them.
For those that have never heard of it, Anime Weekend Atlanta is the largest anime convention in the southeast United States boasting over ten thousand attendees. This year was the event’s sixteenth year, and it took place at this wonderful place…
That’s the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s really nice… almost too nice for an anime convention, but that’s not a bad thing. Main events, the Video Arts Track and a number of smaller event rooms are scattered around the hotel. The setup inside the hotel makes for a great experience at an anime convention.
Inside the hotel, that is.
You see, you have to leave the hotel and enter the Cobb Galleria Centre to get to Artists Alley, the Dealers Room and the fan tables. The area is laid out well enough with attendees going in and out of the Dealers Room and stopping by and visiting fan tables like this one:
(Yes, Lyn is wearing a Decepticon Zombie tshirt from Transformers Masterforce.)
So to recap:
- Hotel: nice
- Events set up: nice
- Dealers Room: nice
- Fan Table area: nice
Here’s where Anime Weekend Atlanta may want to rethink some of their guest flow procedures:
Once you are in the Cobb Galleria Centre among the artists, clubs and dealers (oh, my!) you can not exit the way you came. The ONLY way you can exit the Galleria and get back to the hotel is to go outside and walk through the smoking area.
As a non-smoker – this sucks. It sucks even worse due to it being hot and humid outside when you pass by the cloud of tobacco smoke lingering between the two doors.
I can only imagine how much worse it must be to go by dressed up and then smell it on your costume afterwards.
Anime Weekend Atlanta is a fantastic event. We’ve hosted events for them for the past two years, and each time our staff and the Wasabi Anime fans have all had a great time. It’s just a shame to see something this small mar an otherwise spectacular event for the attendees. Hopefully this is something the AWA team will look at in 2011.
As with all the posts on the Tom Croom blog… this is merely my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.