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Photo Trip Report - Atlanta Labor Day Week (Dragon*con 2021 & Six Flags Over Georgia)

Finally - Six Flags Over Georgia (part 1)

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Starting off with pics of myself and friends, but I promise will get to the costume stuff. . and to SFOG :)

so. . . after Covid killed off so many plans in 2020, Dragon*con 2021 was actually gonna happen.

Dragon*con is a unique convention in that unlike bigger Conventions (like San Diego ComicCon), Dragon*con is "hosted" by 5 hotels in downtown Atlanta, + 4 levels of the Expo Center, 2 levels of the Merchandise Mart, and even takes over the Georgia Aquarium for one night.

Because it is hosted by the hotels tho (utilizing multiple grand ballrooms, conference rooms, and event areas), unlike other conventions?  Dragon*con runs 24 hours from start on Thursday at 10am until close on Monday at 4pm.  

That means that at 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, etc. .  there will be multiple things to do: panel, concert, drum circle, dance, rave, performance, anime/video rooms, etc. . . .something that isn't' true of other cons - where once the dealers room closes ~7pm?  the con is done for the night unless you've made your own plans to do something away from the convention hall.

In 2020, due to the unprecedented health crisis, the State of Georgia issued restrictions that forced cancellation of Dragon*con.   DCon actually ignored the "all sales final and non-refundable" fine print, and offered roll-over or refund to those who had purchased badges in 2020.     

Absolutely not getting political here, but just stating fact, that because Governor Kemp in Georgia refused to issue any mandates as Delta began to surge?   Dragon*con was gonna happen this year - even as multiple other conventions/concerts/events around the country started cancelling again.   Without any legal shutdown mandate to point to?  I believe that if DC did cancel, then likely insurance would not cover them.     note:  I don't know this, but I do believe it to be true.

Anyways,  so con was gonna happen.   Precautions were put in place:  Proof of Vaccine, or neg Covid test (within 72 hours),  Masks required at all times in official con spaces (meaning all hotels, exhibitor/vendor hall, gaming halls), reduced capacity (con capped at ~42K instead of the over 85K from 2019), reduced room capacity (chairs spaced out, and only 2/3rds crowd allowed into concerts, dances, dealers room, etc).   Less overnight programming (only a couple of things offered instead of many options). They also did not sell 1 day tickets this year, only Thurs/Fri or Sun/Mon. . so no Sat 1 day, which *greatly* would reduce crowding thruout the con on Saturday - which tends to be the day that all the locals swarm DC, due to the Parade Sat morning.


I also knew that I have a lovely group of friends, most of them members of a group called "Digitribe" who every year set up the Digitribe Dungeon of Doom - a con-suite that's invite only, where I typically spend a portion of the con, relaxing, drinking, game playing with friends.   This year, the head of the group asked that Digisuite be restricted to members only (no guests), and that everyone be vaccinated - meaning that masks could be less restrictive if in Digi.    So that made me feel much safer, and I figured I'd be spending way more time in Digi than roaming around the con all hours of the night (as usual)

with these precautions in place, and feeling safe enough?  I took a deep breath and set off for Atlanta.

--> I'm gonna cliff's notes over the horrific week/weekend prior to leaving on Wednesday  - when we got a call from my Spouse's Oncologist telling us we needed to rush him to the hospital *NOW* and she had secured him a bed (which was very difficult to do with the hospitals overwhelmed with Covid patients).  So he was in Hospital from Friday night until late Monday afternoon.. and was finally able to get him released (with Picc line and daily antibiotic infusiions for the next 8 weeks) on Monday evening.    If we hadn't been able to get him out of the hospital?  I would not have gone to Atlanta. . but since he was home?   I felt ok to leave, and had multiple friends checking up on him while I was gone - as well as talking to him every day multiple times.       

So the 6 days prior to my leaving were  a horror show that left us both stressed the hell out, and concerned, and I didn't' really pack until the day before I left.  "Pack" is being kind. . really it was just throwing things into a suitcase, and I figured I'd make "outfits" out of what I ended up bringing.     (it did work out OK tho).

on Wed I had an early direct flight from Austin and my Spouse insisted on dropping me off at the airport.   Really the plane was not full and no issues with Mask compliance at all.     

We made great time, and I got to Atlanta almost an hour before I had expected to, and before I knew it was off the MARTA and meeting my friends at the hotel (we always stay in a Host hotel. . makes the con so much more enjoyable).

 

Every Year DC chooses a  charity, and this year was Big Brothers/Big Sisters Atlanta.   One of the events added this year for Charity was a "virtual marathon" where everyone who signed up and donated, would get a virtual runners bib, and an actual "trophy medallion" in the mail.    It's a great cause, and a great idea, because with so many unable to attend (due to travel restrictions, or simply feeling unsafe in a crowd of 42K) quite a few folks were going to be experiencing the con thru the virtual streaming option. . and this gave them (and attendees as well) another way to participate.      They only wanted 3500 steps tho.. LOL. .we did that the 1st day!

we could create our own virtual bib. . so here's mine:

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Austin airport was dead:
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and before I knew it? was in Atlanta and in the MARTA on the way to Peachtree Plaza - where the Dragon*con Host Hotels are (Hyatt, Marriott Marquis, Hilton, Sheraton, Westin).   Such an easy ride from the airport, and only cost $2.50 (vs an expensive cab ride)

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a quick check in at the front desk (and some schmoozing to get the "special" stuff we like to have. . a benefit of getting there on Tues or Wed before con?  the desk clerks are not frazzled from dealing with so many demands and if you're nice to them (and tip them) you can get all kinds of bonus stuff that others don't end up with access to :)

here's the view of the Hyatt Lobby looking up in the main atrium. . . kinda schmaltzy. . but really. . I took this pic, and felt. . "home"   (I've been coming to DC since 1997)
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I quickly made my way up to the room and my friends Marce & Neal - that would be my home and family for the next 7 days and sent "proof of life" pic home to Nick:
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it was really early (I think maybe 11), so our first course of business was to head down to the mall (that's between all the hotels) and get some coffee from Caribou Coffee.    There's a Starbucks across the street, but for Dragon*con?  ONLY Caribou Coffee. .they have some amazing flavors on the menu, do special drinks just for Con, and best part?  the owner is a big ol nerd, and each day of con there will be a nerdy trivia question that can save you 10cents off your coffee price..LOL.   
(on the 2nd day he handed me the ring and told me it was "so heavy" and could I carry it for him?     Then he kept track of the answers, and I was one of only 6 that kept the ring for myself. . the others carried it to Mordor to toss in Mt. Doom. . LOL. . he showed me the results the next day) 😛

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coffee secured, we headed back up to the room so I could unpack, relax, update them on what was going on with my spouse, and plan out the rest of the day.

some errands had to be run to fix a phone card (since Marce and Neal are Canadian and she needed to go to a Tmobile store to activate something here in the US).    And of course, we had the important need to go hit the Vortex for lunch (a tradition), and by coincidence (LOL) go to the Liquor Store and the Publix next door to stock up the room for the next 6 days.    Marce brought along an empty Carryon with wheels - which was perfect for transporting way too much liquor back to the room.

a hop on MARTA - 3 stops up at Midtown, and we were at the Vortex.

another tradition.. the Phallus shrine.   Rub on it for luck.
(hey, there's a sign right there explaining it :P)
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I ignored Marce's advice, and went with what my belly was telling me and got my favorite:  Hell's Fury  (as described on the menu: Pepper jack cheese, Atomic Death Sauce, habanero relish, and a roasted jalapeño. Not for sissies. )

So good, but boy did it burn (going in and going out if ya know what I mean. . . :P)
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luckily the Acid Trip (a rum / blue curacao drink I love at the Vortex) helps calm the heat.

liquor and snacks bought, we headed back to hotel to relax a bit until Marce reminded us there was a BSG (BattleStar Galactica) meetup at Trader Vics at 5:30.    I'm not into that fandom, but I had friends who had been pinging me to see when I'd be in and if I'd be at Trader Vic's on Wed night.   There was a big meet up from members of the Queerios Group there too, but I didn't want to eat, having just gotten stuffed at Vortex. . but we changed and headed over that way, and I messaged my friend David & Jesse that we were headed that way.

we were on 22nd floor of International tower. . and on the way down, the elevator stopped at 10, and who gets on?   David and Jesse.    Just the kind of stuff that ALWAYS happens at DragonCon.

here was are at Trader Vics

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and here's how "not crowded" it was on this night. . which is HIGHLY unusual. . this bar area is typically *packed* the night before con start.  they had removed many of the tables, but didn't seem to be restricting entry.  (tho the lack of tables kept people from standing around long, since not anyplace to put down your drink).

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Marce & Neal visited with the BSG group, and David and I talked. . but Jesse had disappeared.    So I asked eventually where he had gone, and David said he had a group he was meeting on the 5th floor of the Hilton (Trader Vics is in the basement). . . so after a while, I said, let's go up and see if we can find him?

so we headed up there and found a small group of nerd-ish guys hanging out. . which eventually turned into a group of about 40 guys, an organizer (she was very nice), and one very pretty goth girl.   
I whispered to David - it's like an Incel meeting!   

and it turned out?  it was one of the DragonCon singles groups that were meeting up. . . BWAAAA-HAAAA-HAAAAAAA
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boy. . did *I* stand out among the introverts.    I think I kinda maybe took control, and started talking to the goth girl (as guy after guy came over and awkwardly said hello to her). . . LOL. . I got an IM later thanking me for crashing the meetup and saving her from being bombarded by horny boys who didn't know how to express that they were horny. . . .


eventually I decided I was tired (and pretty buzzed. . those Mai Tais at Trader Vic are strong), but swung by the atrium of the Hilton - which was themed to Stranger Things (I have pics later on coming up of that) - to see if the traditional "inflatable Dinosaur Dance Party" that happens in the Hilton on Wed night before the con really starts on Thurs was happening.    Disappointingly, there was only 1 or two in the atrium. . but then I heard music, and followed it. . to find they had moved the party outside

i guess to make it safer - even tho, yes, most of the participants are sealed within their own inflatable dinosaurs.  LOL

they were having a good time tho:

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and then it was time to go back to the room and crash hard. . . it was only ~10:30, but I'd been up since 3am.   Tomorrow things would really start with the con, and we'd see how weird things were going to feel this year.

to be continued.

(with some costume pics coming if not in the next update, then soon after) :)

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31 minutes ago, PKI Jizzman said:

Vortex is one of those travel channel restaurants that I've wanted to visit since a teen, haha. Glad to see it's still going and you had a great time!

they actually have two locations in Atlanta (fairly close to each other). . .the one that always makes it on Food Network/Travel Channel is the "main" one, that's at Little Five Points MARTA stop (2 stops before the Con location) - and is famous for it's giant skull entryway.

the location we always go to is the Peachtree location, 3 MARTA stops past the Con location (the Midtown stop), and that is the more *adult* one - even tho both locations ARE adult only, and you must be 21+ to enter, and yes they check IDs.       The Peachtree location is more adult because of the Phallus shrine at the entrance, but also because it's more of a "bar" set up at the entrance, and is attached to the Vortex Comedy Club.

Typically I eat there at least 3 times during con, tho this year only made it twice.   you can certainly tell they have been impacted by Covid - we only waited ~10 minutes for a table on a Friday night during Con (typically it would be an hour + wait), and the stop above was "seat yourself walk in". . . .but they have not down-adjusted the menu at all.    

And I still say the only burger I've ever had there that was disgusting (but is still on the menu, so SOMEONE likes it) is Fat Elvis. . . I'm sorry, Peanut Butter just doesn't go on a burger!

just wait until you see the pic from Friday. . . . it was just a standard pic, until I noticed "the judgment" coming from a gentleman behind me in the pic (who happens to look like Frazier). . I laugh hysterically every time I see it now.

come one year to Dragon*con. . you'd prolly love it!   and we can all go to Vortex.


@IntaminLove. . next year, come with us to Vortex as well.  It was nice to meet you. .and for sure a group of us from Queerios (you met some of them on Saturday when you swung by to say hello) are already planning on going to SFOG on Labor Day next year.   They were all iffy this year, until they saw my pictures of how dead the park was.  Then spent the day texting me how sad they were they hadn't come with 😛

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1 hour ago, bert425 said:


@IntaminLove. . next year, come with us to Vortex as well.  It was nice to meet you. .and for sure a group of us from Queerios (you met some of them on Saturday when you swung by to say hello) are already planning on going to SFOG on Labor Day next year.   They were all iffy this year, until they saw my pictures of how dead the park was.  Then spent the day texting me how sad they were they hadn't come with 😛

It was nice meeting you too. I'll definitely go with you to Vortex next year. I wanted to go on Wednesday, but plans got screwed up after my group checked in. A few people told me the spectrum party is fun so I'll try to make it to that. If I can get a cheap flight home then I can stay Monday and crash at another friend's room for the night. It would be fun to go to SFOG with you and I have a year to figure it out. I'm looking forward to the rest of your report.

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...I miss conventions so much right now.  Crossing my fingers that Atlanta is in my future again this spring.   If it is, I'm putting the Vortex on my must-do list!  I need that Hell's Fury burger.

Nice pics and it looks like a great time, I can't wait to see more!

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4 hours ago, IntaminLove said:

It was nice meeting you too. I'll definitely go with you to Vortex next year. I wanted to go on Wednesday, but plans got screwed up after my group checked in. A few people told me the spectrum party is fun so I'll try to make it to that. If I can get a cheap flight home then I can stay Monday and crash at another friend's room for the night. It would be fun to go to SFOG with you and I have a year to figure it out. I'm looking forward to the rest of your report.

I can't believe didn't even think to grab a pic. . . sheesh. . sorry!   

2 hours ago, Rai Fox said:

...I miss conventions so much right now.  Crossing my fingers that Atlanta is in my future again this spring.   If it is, I'm putting the Vortex on my must-do list!  I need that Hell's Fury burger.

Nice pics and it looks like a great time, I can't wait to see more!

there were way less costumes this year - I think because really no international attendees came (and they capped the attendance to a little less than 1/2 of usual).

why are there so few costume pics I have this year? (tho I do have a bunch coming up). . two reasons:
1) I spent so much time in Digisuite I really only went out in the "general" areas for a swing thru in the evening (which is where I got most of my costumed pictures)
&
2) as I told a friend who asked me why I hadn't really taken any pics on Wed/Thurs:  "I don't need 40 Freaking pics of "Loki"

(it seemed a lot of folks were at their 1st Dragon*con, and had an idea to dress up. . and didn't realize that "Loki" isn't all that unique at a larger con. . so there were a LOT of them.    More Loki this year than Deadpool, Harley Quinn, and Jon the FedEx guy combined. . .and there were a LOT of those three as well.. . . LOL

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Thursday - Day 2.   The first full day of Con.

we got up fairly early, since we had all gone to bed by 11pm (Marce and Neal were already back in the room by the time I got there at 10:30 the prior night) and headed down to Caribou Coffee for the morning pick me up.   My go-to is the Turtle Milk Chocolate Mocha hot.

Badge pickup started at 10am, but we heard that they had opened a bit early, so we headed over to the Sheraton - along the way bumping into my friend JeanPaul in the Hyatt Lobby, and then my friend Eddie in the mall (where we made tentative plans to go to Vortex on Friday evening - since I usually go with Eddie and Rick and a bunch of dealer friends after the Dealer's room closes (hi Haven, Toni, Casey, Michelle, and Karen) - but none of those dealer friends were here this year so he asked if I still wanted to go).   We also bumped into a couple of Marce & Neal's friends too -   like I said.. Dragon*con is a HUGE con, but we always seem to bump into our friends.

tho funnily enough, never saw a local friend from Austin - whom I almost never see at Dragon*con and didn't see him this year either. . . LOL      Oh well, I see him often when I go out dancing in Austin anyways.


cutting out the getting the badge info. . but soon enough we saw posted in the Digitribe Discord that Jason had arrived and the suite was open. 
So we headed back to the Hyatt, and headed into the suite (meeting up with Mike to help bring mixers and alcohol down to the suite - which would be used to make more communal punches this year instead of a "mix your drink at the bar" to help control how much/how many touched the bottles.   worked out really well and the punches I sampled thruout the weekend were all pretty good (well. . after the first one, they all tasted pretty good. . LOL).

 

On the way back up to our room to grab the bottles we had bought at the Liquor store for the Digisuite. . and a look at the Dragon*con Badge for this year:
(the hearts are a magnet I bring every year to stick on the badge over the name/location info, and the two ribbons are one Neal gave me (Rebel Scum) and one I had made last year (DGAF). . more on the ribbons shortly)

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the sign on the outside door of the suite. . .   which pretty much stays open all day/all night - unless someone has to sleep or go do something :)
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the Edicts that invitees to the Dorm of Doom must follow if they wish to remain an invitee into the Digisuite each year
(and at the top, the "Wall of Awesome" for those who have donated to help fund the suite each year. . typically a drink is named after each, but again, this year was punches)

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Gimp Bambi. .I love this shirt, and it's the first time I got to wear it since I got it during Pandemic.

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Early on Thursday - Digi now set up, and relaxing at the table area in the suite (which had 3 balconies, a large sectional sofa, and bar area)
LtR: Neal, Jason, Mike, Marce, Me - and the 1st punch mixed, which I think was a version of Sex on the Beach.

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LOL. . I actually posted this to my FB saying 1st Morning of official DragonCon successful - got badge, already drinking 😛

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Pic sent to Nick to show him how spacious the Digisuite is and how safe I'd be in here, as not out among the masses for most of the Con:
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Jason had brought copies of the Digitribe Book that several folks had put together for them back in 2019 showing the Digisuite at Dragon*con thru the years.. I ended up in some of the pictures:

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Jason and Mike. . .Babies!!

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Yup- tis me!  cosplaying as Courtney Love in the early 2000's
(and yes, I drank the whole bottle of vodka I was carrying as a prop - which I was trying to hide in the pic.. LOL. . not sure why)

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here I am again. . lower right, in my Super-Hero outfit "the Helping Hand" - that's actually the 1st year I ever met the folks in Digi:  I participated in the Masquerade as a lark in this homemade costume - it had a giant hand attached to my crotch that was motion activated and lit up
(Anthony Daniels was the host that year (and read what the contestants wrote on the cards while was "modeled for the crowd") and he couldn't even get thru my Masquerade spiel - the moment the "eyeball hand" stated to move and blink? he started Guffawing and couldn't continue reading. . . LOL

I believe the text went something like "Evil falls to it's knees, mouth agape, at the sight of the HELPING HAND". . . .but it was a long time ago, so don't really remember :)

I didn't even place, but the audience loved it and blew the doors off the ballroom with laughs and applause.

anyways, a Digi tradition is to watch Masquerade as a group on the TV in the room, and Marce happened to have met them earlier that day and was in the room and said "hey, that's my friend Bert". . so they made me a prize in the Scavenger Hunt that year - to find me and bring me to the room.    And that's how I met the members of Digitribe.

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relaxing in Digi at points in 2017

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we hung out for a few hours, and when Carling & John showed up with their stuff for the Suite - and a luggage cart, we took the advantage to have Mike recrate an infamous episode from years earlier
(if you zoom in, we had him hold the book open to that page. . .LOL)

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Carling and I on one of the Digisuite Patios

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John, Rich (who made Digi Facemasks!), and I on the patio

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we were deciding what to do for lunch/dinner and planned to head down to Sway (in the lobby of the Hyatt). . but due to Covid, many places either weren't open or had opened with only Buffet or limited service for Con-goers (another bonus to leave the con area for Vortex).  But Sway was buffet only, and didn't even have the Mac and Cheese that Neal was craving, so we ended up here:

SO good.

being in the lower level of the mall attached to the hotels, it was busy, but hidden enough that we only waited ~20 minutes.    They wanted to put us at a table right in the front, near the entrance, and I resisted that - asking for a table I saw open way in the back corner (seemed a bit safer to remove masks away from a high traffic area)

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full, fat and happy. . we headed back up to the room to relax for a little bit - it was starting to get too crowded for me to be comfortable even with mask on.   the Cult of Jon had started slapping googly eyes on everything in sight, and the memorials had popped up in the habitrail walkway. . so yeah, Con was truly on.    Tonight was the biggest kick off party - the Bunny Hutch, and tho we knew it would be crowded, our friend Sarah was going to be one of the go-go dancers at the party, so we had to go back to the room to change for Thursday night anyways.

but on the way off the elevator bumped into someone doing droid repair work in the 22nd floor elevator lobby  - yay. . .sorta a Costume pic!

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ok. . about those "ribbons". . a few years ago, Ribbons to attach to your badge became a huge thing.  It's not really something I get into, but many folks like to get as many ribbons as they can, and there are "ribbon exchanges" and "Swag & Seek" exchanges that happen all over thruout the con.   

as noted, some folks really like collecting the ribbons and some have hundreds attached to their badges, and they wrap them around their neck like the 4th Doctor's scarf.

I tend to NOT like that, and limit pretty severely what I put on my badge - tho I really do support the ones my friends make (because, of course, they are gonna have similar interests as me, so I'm gonna like em).

So here's what my Badge looked like by the time we got back up to the room after Digi & Dinner:

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^ and hey!  special cameo by TPR luggage handle wrap  in this pic :)
 

so what can I do to stop folks from giving me ribbons?   I "made" my own ribbon to stick to the bottom of my "comfortable length" ribbon string.
yup, it's a band-aid.  
and yup, it worked. . .LOL.. no more ribbons offered to me (tho I really should have used a sharpie to put a blood spot on it).  😛

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ok, showered, changed, and dressed for the Bunny Hutch:

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but first?  it's way too early to go to a party (which is gonna have folks lined up for hours to get in). . so we headed to Digi:

where by then, John had shown up!
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and I got to show off where I put my Cult of Jon Googly Eyes that had been given to me earlier
("hey, my eyes are down here!" is a line that got used a few times - more once I got buzzed)

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and his wife Bri. who was comfy as a Bat:
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hanging out for an hour or so, and enjoying the company and the drinks. . I then headed to the Bunny Hutch with my friend David who met me in the Hyatt lobby, and we started the long walk over to the Hilton.

Pic from Hyatt Lobby while waiting for David:  
(that's Elongated Man and Plastic Man. .  look!  a true costume pic!!!)

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to get to the Hilton, you have to go thru the Marriott (tho I guess we could have walked outside down the street), which was already getting pretty crowded (way too crowded for my comfort zone)

Mask compliance was good, but this was a lot of people - tho WAY less than a regular year Thurs. night would be.   It would get more crowded as Con progressed.  That giant "sail" is the Pulse Bar. . so eventually mask compliance over here got pretty bad, since everyone was drinking, so you need the mask down.

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but snapped some pics as we walked thru:

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and dammit.. got asked if I was "Loki" at least 4 times
(and no, that's not "coke" in my bottle.. i was well lit by this point, but didn't stumble once in my boots - which I kept getting stopped and complimented on, and asked where I got them.  Prolly shouldn't have even brought them, since they took up a whole suitcase by themselves practically)

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so we get to the Hilton, and it's close to 11 - the party has been going on for an  hour already, and the line for Bunny Hutch goes outside the hotel, down the courtyard, down to the street and all the way back to Courtland street.

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we totally *could* have waited in line, but with the reduced capacity?  I just really didn't want to, since it would take a while to get in the room (which once they cap the room becomes "1 out - 1 in"
so instead, David and I wandered the Hilton and back to the Hyatt (where I went back to Digi for a bit).

but did take some more pics on the way back:

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but by ~12:30 I was pooped, and there were no bands playing that I wanted to stay up for - for the most part, very few of the "big" guests cancelled. . but many of the bigger bands did (couldn't get into country, or covid exposure, or some other reason). . so tho very A-Typical for me to go to bed before 4am, I had done so much visiting already in Digi, and no bands I wanted to see?  I headed back to the room (Marce and Neal already asleep too. . .yeah, it was a weird ass vibe at the con for the first couple of days) took a shower, and hopped into bed.

to be continued. . I even went to panels this year!

 

Bonus pic I forgot to post from the prior night when I passed the Hyatt bar on the way back to the room and spotted Marce/Mike/Neal & Kendra having a nightcap.

Kendra had actually tried the Bar's Dragon*con special:  "the Unicorn Burger, with Tots that are Magically Delicious"

From what several friends who had it said, the burger itself (on a rainbow bun) was quite good. . but the Magically Delicious tots?   yeah. .they were tater tots sprinkled with Lucky Charms Marshmallows.

as disgusting as it sounds (as you can see the pile of marshmallows remaining on Kendra's plate - and I saw that every time someone ordered it. . . . ewwwww. . WHO thought that was a good idea??)
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22 hours ago, bert425 said:

And I still say the only burger I've ever had there that was disgusting (but is still on the menu, so SOMEONE likes it) is Fat Elvis. . . I'm sorry, Peanut Butter just doesn't go on a burger!

I could not possibly agree more, years ago I tried one at cowfish at CityWalk and it was easily the most disgusting thing I've ever eaten. Doesn't go at all to me either but like you said clearly others think it does lol

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No worries about not getting a picture.

I thought people were just going to cosplay as Loki from the movies and the versions on the show. I wasn't really a fan of anything can be a Loki, but I'm happy people had fun with it. Hopefully it's not as common next year because we don't need to add Loki to the over done list with Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Deadpool.

I got in line for the bunny hutch around 11:45 pm and only had to wait 30 mins to get in. There was about 20ft of people on the sidewalk and I was surprised how fast it moved. You didn't miss much though. The music was decent and the energy was low. 

Your DigiSuite seems like fun. I have to urge my friends to get their Hyatt suite up and running again. There's new blood in the group so hopefully the increased interest can make it happen.

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so.. Friday.  Really short update (tho I DO promise some more costume pics coming!)

 

Marce woke me up fairly early to see if I would go with her to a Ribbon Exchange (like I mentioned above, some are very into it) and since it was in the Hilton, decided to go with her as there was a panel on DC Animated universe - and I try to go to at least 1 panel every year (mainly to prove that I didn't spend the WHOLE con just drinking and partying).

She had success getting lots of ribbons, and I interacted a little bit - tho the only ribbons I handed out are ones that Marce gave me and I handed out for her.

then we peeked our head into the Animated Universe panel, and it seemed to be a very bored moderator just reading (flatly) off the back of the DVD packages, while they flashed the cover art on the projection screen.

Marce and I took a look at each other, and decided.. nope.    Not worth the risk to go sit in a room full of people (even tho it was only 1/2 full) for that. . so we explored a bit on the lower level of the Hilton and found a deserted seating area with back entrance into Trader Vics (noted for next year).

Tho the Hilton was decorated for Stranger Things?  Trader Vics seemed to still have some of the Jurrasic Park stuff up from 2019 back here:

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we decided it was time for some coffee, so we headed to Caribou to get our morning cuppa, and then Marce went to go meet some friends and I decided to take a look at the dealers room / rooms.

 

yeah. . this was the line to get in - the convention center houses the Dragon*con dealers rooms on 4 full floors (tho the top floor tends to be Comic specific/artists alley guests rather than all vendors).  

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Despite the line, it only took ~25 minutes to get in - and close to the entrance I saw Eddie coming the other way to the end of the line, and grabbed him to cut in with me.
we didn't hang together long, but long enough to confirm a trip to Vortex later meeting at 5:30 at Hyatt lobby.

the Dealer's room was crowded, even with the restrictions on capacity, and how spread out it was - and I ended up spending ~4 hours total in there on this day.  
I really regretted it too, as I felt a bit unsafe being inside for THAT long. . and really what I should have done is 1st floor, step outside for 20 minutes, 2nd floor, step outside, 3rd floor, etc.  
But I didn't do that, and beat myself up about it quite a bit for the rest of the day.

(as I said, the con felt "weird" for the 1st few days). 

I had promised my spouse:  No T-shirts (Dcon shirt being the exception) and no Wall Art - and I managed to stick to that. . tho I did buy a few things - mainly gifts for people - and a bunch of hardcover Trade Paperbacks for myself since there were a LOT of comic dealers this year with a lot of great deals.

by then it was close to 4pm, and I wanted to go to the Queerios meetup at the Hyatt bar, hoping to bump into my friend Jennifer who helps run the group (no luck meeting up with her, she was being super covid safe all con mainly staying in her room watching panels on Dragon*con TV, but I did see her long enough on Sunday for a quick hug hello).     

one of the Queerios members had decided to Cosplay as Klinger all weekend - with a different outfit for each day!   I thought this was brilliant, but only thought to get pics of him on 2 days, tho I saw him a few times.  (he was handing out Klinger dog-tags too, if you took his pic).

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I visited with the Queerios until ~5, then popped back up to the room to drop off what I had bought and to say hello to Lisa (who was gonna crash with us for this one night).   She didn't have any plans, so I invited her along with us to Vortex, and then realized I should invite David along and he also agreed to come.

I learned them the way of MARTA (every year when I go with the dealer's group that includes Eddie and Rick, we Uber it, but I told them with only 3 of us (before I had invited David and Lisa) it was way cheaper just to take MARTA at $2.50 each way).  I think I created a monster for next year tho, as now they know how to easily get to Vortex from the con.

but it's not Vortex unless you rub the phallus.

--> and the best part of this pic is the judgement on the guy behind me (the one who looks like Frasier). .which I didn't notice until looking at the pic later and zoomed in on him.  Hysterical.

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info on the shrine - tho I didn't get a pic of the sign on the other side that tells you to rub it:
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even my very straight friend David got in on the fun (and he'd be THRILLED that I posted this. . bwaaa-haaa-haaaaa)

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I seriously LOVE the Vortex. .the decor:
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and the burgers:

this one is the Four Horsemen:  A blackened patty topped with horseradish sauce, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms & jack cheese.

with loaded potato salad as my side.  (and of course, an Acid Trip cocktail)

(tho Hell's Fury is better in my opinion)
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my friends this evening:
LtR: David, Lisa, Eddie, Rick, me
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after eating way too much, we made it back and I headed up to digi to visit and hang with folks for a few hours, until deciding to go take a stroll to see if I can get some costume pics ~midnight.

I walked over to the Hilton 1st, to get some pics of the Atrium cosplaing as Starcourt mall from "Stranger Things" - with one of the creatures on the lower level:

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On the way back thru the marriott, I saw Oogie and Sally
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and this guy. . who I know is Anime (rule of thumb at con. . if you don't recognize a costume?  it's from Anime).
a Digi friend told me later its from an anime done by the husband of the lady that made Sailor Moon.

regardless, his balancing skills are impressive

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and a WHOLE lot of Loki, Harley Quinn, Deadpool, and FedEx Jo. .that I didnt' bother taking pics with.

I had a good buzz and went up to Digi just in time for Jason to say that a band that had been playing over the speakers earlier (and I liked) was gonna be playing shortly, so a group of us headed down to the Hyatt Centennial Ballroom to catch Mayhayley's Grave

unfortunately, the band playing before them - Raspberry Sorbet or something, was running way way over. . . and they were pretty terrible (they sounded like a Wedding Band on a Carnival Cruise ship).
they played additional songs, including an 8 minute plus song they announced they were playing after saying that MG were backstage and waiting for them to get off. . sheesh.

anyways, the crowd was pretty non-existant:

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but the band I wanted to see DID eventually come on ~2am:
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they're really good too, and I recommend them. . it's like a New Orleans Funeral band crossed with Oingo Boingo:
 

 

 

 

I made it thru about 5 songs.. but by ~2:35 we pretty much called it and those I was with called it and headed back to rooms to crash.
it still felt very weird. . but was starting to feel a bit more normal. . even with everyone wearing masks.

to be continued.

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Interrupting this Trip Report to show that the science works. . .as does Masking up and taking the damn Vaccine.

around 42K people for ~6 days, and negative PCR result.

yay science!

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I've always wanted to go to Dragon Con, but the crowd size really puts me off. The biggest con I've been to so far was about 15k and that was... overwhelming. I might do a trip to Atlanta that just happens to be the same weekend as DC and go to the parade at least and then do other interesting things around the city.

I'm not surprised by the number of Loki cosplays. They filmed part of the series at the Marriott Marquis, so it'd be hard to pass up the opportunity to cosplay Loki at that location. My favorite Loki from the con this year was the Delta Variant:

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^ yeah, saw her. . but at the end of the day?  it's just another Loki :)

don't get me wrong. . it's good cosplay (and somewhat clever - tho I saw multiple "Delta Variants" this year) -  but I tend not to take pics of non-unique cosplays.

 

by non-unique, I mean: Harley, Deadpool, FedEx Jo, Loki (new to list this year), and maybe one or two more I'm not thinking of right now - so it's rare for me to have any pics of those characters (tho they often DO appear in a background, since you can't get away from them. . . LOL).

at a larger con?  there will be LOTs of these characters.     Tho this year, I only saw one or two "fat Thor" - that there were DOZENS of last Dragon*con (2019)

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Saturday - this was gonna be the big question mark at the con - they were NOT going to be selling one day passes this year, to help control the crowd (set at ~50% capacity, around 42K people).

Saturday is usually THE most packed day of the con, as its the day of the Parade (this year only badge members were allowed to observe it, but it was being broadcast on local television so the folks in Atlanta who typically would head to Con could still watch it).   

we got up and grabbed a light breakfast (and Caribou coffee) and went back to the room to eat, and watch the parade from our balcony.  Honestly, not something I ever spend much time doing, and I dont seem to have taken any pictures of it.

my friend JP had pinged me and asked what I was up to, and told him I was thinking about going to the Art Show (since it's held in the lower levels of the Hyatt, away from the main convention center). . so I headed down there and he met me there.

we wandered the art show, which was MUCH smaller than usual. . a lot of the regular artisans who set up there, but really none of the "amateur" art, that makes the art show so fun to wander thru.  I guess with the skip year last year, they simply hadn't put out a call for submissions?   Hope it's back to full amateurs/Pros next year, as the Art Show really is one of the fun things to wander thru (usually lots of pics of dragons and cats doing cutesy things from the Amateur artists) 😛

 

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tho I did like this piece:
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the area was so dead without the Saturday sales (I figured most had gone to the Dealer's room, or were still out at the parade) I decided that I wanted to check out the Dragon*con store that's in the Marriott (as I hadn't seen them in the dealer's room the prior day)

so we headed thru the habitrails to the Marriott. . but first. .anyone who knows me knows I can't pass a photo op:
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in the Marriott, we saw one of the Spiritual Leaders of the Cult of Jon - who was blessing folks with the Googly Eyes

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so of course:
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a quick stop at the Dragon*con store, showed that they were already almost completely sold out of most things (I guess they had ordered light). . but I was able to pick up a Dragon*con 2021 shirt with very short wait.   No reason to register for 2022 actually AT con, since it's all done thru GrowTix now, and the price was the same until 9/20 (so I waited until I got home to buy for 2022). . but I was curious about some of the other shirts they had already sold out of in adult sizes. . so I suggested to JP that we head to the Sheraton where there's a big Dragon*con store at Registration.  

(and I could say hello to my friend at Registration, since I'd seen him so briefly at Badge retrieval, and if was slow could actually visit).

but since we were right here at the lower level of Marriott - which happens to be where the "Walk of Fame" is. . curiosity got the better of us, and we wandered thru to see just how they were handling the Covid restrictions for autographs/pics, since many of the guests had shown up.

I must say, well done. . even if it looked like the celebrities were behind glass at the meat counter
(note: my pics are of booths were the celebs currently weren't there, so I wouldn't get in trouble for taking a picture without permission.. since most of them make $$ this way, selling autographs and selfies to fans):

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saw some good costumes in here while walking thru tho, and stopped to snag a couple of pics:

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this was clever:  Beloved old Marriott Carpet pattern Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen

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we walked thru, headed over to the Sheraton, where I visited my friend and JP rested from the walk over.

He got a text wanting to meet for lunch, and since I wasn't hungry, he headed off and I walked up the street to the Westin - a hotel I hadn't been in yet this year, but typically one I spend some time in since the Horror Track tends to have it's conference rooms there.

I also wanted to try to catch the tail end of a swag & seek meet up, that some of the queerios folks were attending and they had made some "minecraft" heart magnets similar to the one on my badge (and I got lucky and they were still there, so I now have a Leather Hearts, and a Bear Hearts magnet to wear next year) :)

but while I was over here, I figured I'd check out the rooms and see what was going on, and it turned out the Walking Dead cast panel had just started about 10 minutes prior, so peeked my head in to see if there was space.

to my surprise, the room was 3/4ths empty. . so feeling REALLY safe, I sat down and went to my first panel at Con.

that's LtR the actors who play:  Father Gabriel, Aaron, Magna, and Jerry!


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not a huge turnout for a pretty big draw panel like this one on a Sat. . so yeah, the no Sat. sales really kept the crowd down.

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view of the seats behind me in the room. . I was in maybe row 8?

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since I was right there, I wandered into Merchandise Mart to see how they were handling the Gaming this year at con (something I NEVER do - the tabletop gaming). . looked like they did a pretty good job spacing out all the tables, even tho it was petty busy in here:

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I was so close to the dealer's room, i went back in (no wait this time) and headed to a booth I had seen the day before. . where I ordered these 3 prints that should be here this week (shhhhh. .don't tell my spouse. . .LOL)

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I was starting to poop out, and it was close to 2pm, so I decided I'd head to digi for a little bit (nice to see folks again in the daytime), and then back to our room for a nap. 
The Queerios meetup was in the Hilton tonite, and that was at 5, with the big Spectrum party starting at 10pm - this year in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom.

So I figured the perfect time to grab a 2 hour nap. . . alas, was not to be, as when I got back to my room, there were 3 people in there hanging out (friend and some kids), shortly joined by another friend and another kid.. . so not much nap going on, since by the time I shooed them out?  spouse was calling me, as I had told him 2 hours earlier I was going to lay down for a nap.

oh well.. . con.  what ya gonna do?

eventually I showered and changed, and headed to the Queerios meetup (they really are a lot of fun, and it's different folks showing up each meetup, so that's why it tried to go to multiple):
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and it was fun hanging with these folks talking and drinking. . but eventually it broke up and it was way too early to line up for Spectrum party at 9pm. . so what to do, what to do?   Digi to drink and visit, of course:

on the way to Digi, I ended up in front of Gypsy in the Habitrails.  You're NOT supposed to take pictures in the habitrails.. can really mess up the flow of traffic.  
But I was walking and didn't stop, so technically didn't break any DCon rules:
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Hanging out, killing time, until time to go down to the Spectrum Party.  

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Cynthia (sitting next to me with the Red Hair) came with me to wait in line to get in and go to the party for a bit. . really one of the most fun parties at Dragon*con

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leaving Digi to head down..what happens when Drunk Bert meets Drunk Alan on his way INTO Digi?

why:
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and then we were in line to get in.    Yeah. . because of reduced capacity, once they hit the 2/3rds (or whatever they were doing) it became 1 out- 1 in. . so we had to wait:

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but while waiting in line (with my strong drink in hand, of course), I got called out by Beefsquatch. . . which was my friend JP in costume for the night. . LOL
he had mask under his mask, and I was buzzed. . so my mask came off for the pic 😛

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Eventually, Cynthia and i made it into the party.

for the most part, mask compliance was really good:

the "theme" was Toga.. but most came wearing whatever they wanted.

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Some costumes from the party:

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DJ Neon the Glo-Go-Bear (yes, that's what he goes by professionally)
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and one of my favorites - if you look close?  his mask has the beard/mouth printed on it.. so it looks amazing!  Comics accurate Hercules

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I actually shut this party down (it was fun and I danced). . staying until ~2:15 when they turned on the lights and made us leave:

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Rocky Horror was going on in the Centennial Ballrooms across the lobby, so I wandered over and stuck my head in - the film was at the point that Riff had just poked Rocky with the candles and had forced him to break his chains and run.

BUT. . the ballroom was packed to the gills.     (because Lips Down On Dixie, the local RHPS troupe was performing in front of the screen as they usually do).

I really, really wanted to stay, but I felt really, really unsafe.. . full room, with people shouting at the screen? 

 

yeah, so 1st time ever, I didnt' sit thru RHPS at Dragon*con and instead headed up to the room, showered, and passed out.

all in all?  a successful Saturday. .and I even went to a pretty fun panel.

to be continued.

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Sunday. . so. .this is really the "big" day at Con. .it's the last night one can "party" really late, and still have Monday (Labor Day) to recover. . so this is where the majority of the costume pics ended up, even tho I didn't really take ALL that many this year.

(but hey, it worked out, as noted earlier. . negative PCR test):

Marce and Neal had to get up really early to go get their Covid test - since they were flying back to Canada on Tues, they had to show a negative test prior to being allowed to board.
so they went off for their test, and were back by 9am.   I woke up when they got back and we discussed what to do for this day. . . it's the day of Masquerade, which by tradition we watch with the group in Digi. . but was there anything we wanted to actually do today?

Looking at the Schedule, Neal headed off to try and catch a Batttlestar Galactica Panel, and Marce and I headed . . somewhere (can't really remember, but I have no pics of it, so I think it was maybe another ribbon exchange?).   After that was done tho, she suggested we try to go into the "started 20 minutes ago" Christopher Eccleston panel.   

I figured it would be completely full - it was his first time ever at Dragon*con - but to my surprise, the badge checker told us there were still a few seats in the very back.   Marce wasn't being as uber-cautious since she'd now been tested (so wasn't worried about getting back home now). .so we went into the back of a PACKED ballroom:
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he was quite interesting, and funny, and although most of the questions were about him starring in the 2005 revival of Dr. Who as the 9th Doctor (of course. .I mean it's a con)..he actually lit up when a question came about his performances of McBeth in England.

 

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but hey, TWO panels this year.

as mentioned, since Marce had now gotten her test done, she was finally ready for the Dealer's hall.    I'd been a couple of times already, but really had nothing on my agenda as "must do", so decided to go with her to roam the dealers rooms again. . but first? 

yup. .we hadn't had our coffee yet.
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we were able to walk right into the dealers hall today - tho we only stayed for an hour or so, and the line to get in *had* formed by the time we left. .but it was still great to spend more time with Marce (since I only get to see her & Neal in Atlanta every year and last year had been cancelled. . LOL. . so yes, even tho rooming with them?  wanted to spend more time).

and picked up this great pin from the folks behind the Axanar Star Trek fan film:
(I ordered it here, since he was sold out, but it arrived yesterday):

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we didn't spend too long in Dealers room tho, and decided we really needed to eat.  And we hadn't yet eaten at one of her fave (my 1st time tho) - Aviva by Kameel.

Kameel is a well known Chef (Mediterranean food) in Atlanta, and is so well known partially because of how much he gives back to the community thru food banks - not to mention the quality of the food.

we got in the decently long line, and while waiting met up with several of my friends (passing by) whom I hadn't seen this year yet - makes sense as I was in Digi so much instead of out and about - and got to say hello to at least 3 friends and chat briefly while in line.

oh, and Kameel was actually in the kitchen in the restaurant boisterously yelling out to everyone "HELLO!  SO GLAD TO HAVE YOU ALL BACK!   LOVE YOU BRO!". . LOL

 

not sure why I didn't take a pic of the food (which we brought back up to the room to eat, instead of eating in the crowded food court), but I did take a pic while in line in front of some of the awards the restaurant has won.    The food was really good too.

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after eating, I think Marce wanted to take a nap (they had gotten up so early), so i decided I'd head downstairs to one of the smaller ballrooms in the Hyatt to check out a panel featuring Omid Abtahi (who plays Salim/Cab Driver) on "American Gods" - a show I love, as well as in many other shows (including Mandalorian).   But honestly, wouldnt' have bothered with the panel if it hadn't been just downstairs in the hotel I was already in.

the room wasn't super full, so easily got in - but then got a surprise in that the panel had morphed into an "Ameican Gods" panel, also featuring the other AG guest - Ricky Whittle (ShadowMoon - the main character). . who is funny as hell.     So yeah, the room did start to fill up a bit, tho where i was sitting was fairly close.

so THREE panels this year. .go figure:

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best part of the whole thing was when Omid got asked about the famous sex scene in season 1 (which was absolutely groundbreaking LGBTQ television so of course it got asked about). . . Ricky slyly facetimed with Mousa Kraish (who played the Djinn) so while Omid was talking about the specifics of the sex scene with the Djinn. . . the actor was sitting there watching him on facetime.   LOL

it really was funny, and great.

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Pleased with myself that I actually saw THREE panels this year, just kinda wandered a bit people watching until it was time for Today's Queerios meet up in the Marriott (which is where I finally got to meet up and say hello to IntaminLove, and we talked about my plan to go to SFOG the next day).

no pics from that, but here are some pics from walking around:
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the false idol worship from those trying to perpetuate the Cult of Jon (the hotels kept cleaning up the memorial each night, so a more interesting one would pop up the next day)

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and then it was getting close to time for Masquerade in Digisuite. . so I went back up the room to change for the evening, and then headed over to Digi to watch/do running commentary with the group - during Masquerade (which they broadcast thru the host hotels on Dragon*con TV)

yes.. I am a little lit at this point. . . LOL (pics I sent to spouse to show him the crowd I was hanging with - same folks been around most of con)
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Alan had his son with him tonight:
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and I showed off to them that I had run into Cult of Jon on the way to Digisuite:
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so hung out and visited (and drank) and had a wonderful time, and eventually Masquerade started, so here's the gathering of infamy at the cantina in this pic:
clockwise on sofa LtR: Kayli (Mike/Lisa's daughter), Mike, Marce, Josh, John, Bri, Neal, Sarah, me, Lily (Josh/Sara's daughter). .then behind the lamp is John, Cynthia, Nate, and Jason

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Masquerade was fun - as usual. . but then it was time to roam and try to finally get some costume pics.   So taking Cynthia and her hubby Gary with, we headed to the Marriott:

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Ummm ..nice tan line.
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but I'm not a "stalker". .I ASK to take pics. . and the funniest thing. .their wives (who were dressed as Han Solo, I think), stepped in and took their masks off so it would be a better picture.

yeah. . look at those smirks.  they know exactly why I wanted this pic.. LOL

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what's this?  a dance party in the middle of the Marriott mid level?

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Yup!

(and darn it. . got some Loki in my photo!)

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the Weasel!

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More Loki photbomb . . . 😛

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Daft Troopers

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Sunday's Klinger:

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Jason, just calmly stalking the Crowd in the Marriott

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NOT the same guy from last night.    Another Gender-flipped "White Queen"

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Sarah and Josh had put Lily to bed, and had found their way down to the Marriott Pulse bar area too.

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yeah..I'm a mess. . LOL. . but it's Dragon*con!

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Cynthia with an Anime cosplayer. . no idea who, but she looked great!

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another Loki. . sheesh!  😛

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I think he told me he's something from My Little Pony?
no idea, but he encouraged me to write something filthy on him.
(perhaps was flirting?  but if so, I completely missed it).   Think I wrote something about Horsey-Horny. . .

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Anime?

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From "Good Omens". .they looked great!

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Yeah, I gave in and INTENTIONALLY took a Loki pic:  Loki Thor. . the LED lights in the outfit were great. . so took a pic or two.

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BWAAA-HAAA-HAAAA. .they were cleaning/disinfecting products!

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very well done Jaffar.

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Gary & Cynthia at the Jo memorial.

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on my way back to the room to go pass out (since I was getting up early to go to Six Flags Over Georgia). . met these two Vendors. . .stopped to talk to them because I admired the skirt (turned out she had made it).

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to be concluded in the next few days with a full day at SFOG!

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oh, and I guess I really should explain "FedEx Jon" and the "Cult of Jon". . .

 

basically, FedEx put up a lifesize standee of a driver named Jon near a drop box (no longer there) just before Dragon*con 2019

well. . the congoers found ways to "fix" the standee thruout the con.  starting at first with just adding Googly eyes.


As con is over a holiday weekend, who knows what FedEx thought of these improvements.

but then on Sunday of Dragon*con 2019, Jon suddenly disappeared!  

Folks thought the Con or the Company had pulled Jon. . but it turned out he was STOLEN!   (and started appearing in places around the country in pics).

but that's when the memorial started popping up.. that Sun/Mon.

 

since Con 2020 was cancelled. . folks had 2 years to get the Cult of Jon in full swing.

here's the story in pictures from Bored Panda

https://www.boredpanda.com/adventures-of-fedex-guy-dragon-con/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

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Yay for costume pics. I didn't see most of the people you got pictures of. I'm a bit surprised considering the reduced capacity. The one slave Leia is SoloRoboto and he makes good props and costumes. His wife is KittQuinn.

I love how stupid things like putting googly eyes on a standee turn into the Cult of Jon. It's adds to the magic of Dragon Con.

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Busy weekend & work week, but finally getting back to this to post my Labor Day at SFOG.

 

I got up pretty early, as the park opened (I think, at 10:30) so I wanted to be there by 9:45 at the latest.   See, most years I blow off the Monday of Con to hit up Six Flags Over Georgia . . started doing that about 10 years ago. . since there's really not that much going on panel wise, and I end up just hanging out in the Dealer's room and spending money on Mondays.    This year in particular, I wasn't keen to hang around the crowds.

and I knew that 9 times out of 10, Labor Day itself at SFOG is pretty dead.

I had been convinced to download the LYFT app by my friends (who gave me a coupon code to save me some $$) after using Cabs in past years to get there -  or going with a friend who drove there and back.  

Lyft is way cheaper than the cab (which always cost ~$35 each way from the Hyatt to the park), although I can't really say it was more convenient overall - since getting back was so frustrating I needed a decompression shower before going to dinner with friends.   But all in all, I enjoyed using Lyft and have even made use of it here in Austin the other night too.

anyways. . on  to the pics:

I'm here. . it's early. .wow, the new colors on Scorcher look GREAT
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Wait. . what's this?  the front gate is now no longer the front gate?

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Yup. it was all blocked off - like permanently blocked off, and only being used to exit the park.

thanks to Covid, the new entrance was on the Left, next to Scorcher/Goliath. . where you're fed thru what looked like it used to be a temperature area.. but now just looks like a deserted barn.

it was kinda sad to see all the shuttered ticket booths, with really no way to access them at all now.  (someone told me all tickets are handled at this gate on the right these days).

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granted, it was still ~30 minutes until they open the gates (and an hour+ until rope drop). . but yeah, not much crowd, so expected it to be typical dead.

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I was ready in my Star Wars Roller-Coaster shirt tho:

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and we're allowed in:
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most headed over towards Daredevil Dive area.. I took the right to Twisted Cyclone, hoping it would open up earlier than the park, as it often starts prior to Rope Drop.

but nope. . no signs of life over here at all.   not even testing.

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tho Goliath started to:
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out of curiosity, I peeked into Flash Pass to see they were asking ~$120 today for it.    I figured based on the crowd thus far, I wouldn't need it - and I was for the most part correct, a pretty dead day.   but wanted the info on cost just in case.

people were starting to line up in front of Twisted Cyclone, and even tho I had been in the area prior to open?  the MBFs lined up and created a queue before the queue opened.

it still hadn't tested at this point yet, and it would be after rope drop when park officially opened before they ran the trains for 1st runs.
they opened up the queue and I headed to the back row (where I was behind a father/son duo).

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they loaded up the 1st train. . . and couldn't get green light.   They locked and unlocked. . walked a few people.. . locked and unlocked.. and the ride was down for maintenance to show up (the issue appeared to be car 2 of the Red train).

they made all the riders vacate the train, and made the announcement the ride was down (I decided to wait it out).

maintenance showed up within 10 minutes. . played around with it, and cycled the trains.. then let folks get in the train again - and SAME issue.   
they called maintenance back while most everyone in the queue deserted and moved off into the park main.

and of course what did Maintenance do when they came back?  why blocked off row two of the red train.. cycled, and the ride opened.

not sure why they didn't just do that in the 1st place (and Twisted Cyclone was the rare coaster running more than 1 train today). . but oh well.. got my 1st ride of  the day in the back row on what turned out to be the first train of the day with riders.

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the troublemaker:

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the girl's faces here just crack me up..and that Dad doesn't even notice?  Hysterical.

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the line was still short, so went back and walked onto a middle train ride, before moving past the closed Acrophobia and into the main park.

the day started out rough..but quickly got better.  Walk on to the Mine Train, walk on to Joker Funhouse Coaster, walk on to Monster Mansion (twice)

Halloween theming at the exit of Mine Train.  - love the plaque referencing the family entertainment is in front of a "burn at the stake" scene. .LOL
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ah.. in my happy place:
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Kissie Kissie!

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'tis a flasher!

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SUCH a brilliant effect. . .  don't go in the swamp!!!

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Hyouuuuu-MANS!

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the line was so non-existant..I went back around to ride again!

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seriously. . these are crowd levels ~1 1/2 hours after open.

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so I figured I'd head over to Superman, if it was running.. and see what the line situation was over there.

this really is a gorgeous park in places, in particular the paths around and thru Carousel hill.   So i cut thru the DC Superfriends section to get on the paths, and noticed the old sign promoting the Screampunk District from when they added Pandemonium a few years ago. . . um. . not near Pandemonium. 

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LOL. . very Six Flags
(it was instead blocking what would have been the entry to the park's old Chute the Chute ride. .which has been sitting decommissioned and rotting for several years now. . .yeah.. just lovely)

but the paths really are lovely. . if you don't look over to the right at all. . LOL

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I spy. . an eyesore:

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but coming around the path, and across the train tracks (Train sadly down today too), I see Superman is operating - only 1 train - but no line at all outside in the queue.

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so really a walk on. . directly into the station, where I joined a group of 3 and got on the train as I walked in. 

day was going MUCH better than it appeared to be at 1st. 

 

2nd train wasn't really NEEDED today, but since Supes is one of the slowest loading coasters in the park, it was a shame to see the 2nd train just parked on the other side of hte station.

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and yeah, no need for Flash Pass today.    Justice League was such a walk on, I mistakenly went in the flash pass queue at first.. but then doubled back for regular queue so I could get some pictures.

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for all the crap this park gets sometimes (and yeah, the attitude of some of the staff is a bit. . . lackluster, or can be). .they are really giving the rides some TLC.

ALL the effects in Justice League Battle for Metropolis were working. . as were ALL the effects in Monster Mansion.    I was very impressed and pleased.

and the crowd levels were remaining perfect for my day.

it was barely noon, I think, and was really having a great time:

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. . . to be continued.

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SFOG continued. . .

after my ride on Justice League, I decided I'd head over towards Pandemonium. . as noted, the paths around Carousel Hill really are quite lovely:

(I see you, and will get to you later!)

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but what's this?  Blue Hawk/Ninja has no line. . like at all?

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sigh.. ok, might as well, it's not the worst coaster in the park.

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how the park is handling Covid restrictions. . tho this wasn't consistent across all coasters.    But here in the Blue Hawk station, the plexiglass really cuts the airflow, and made it a bit stifling.

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it's actually riding better than I remembered, and not too much head bang.   Still 1 and done tho.


leaving the queue tho, I saw that GASM was truly a walk on.

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I KNOW better. . but sometimes I make really bad decisions. . .

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Even in the front row, it jackhammered the hell out of me.. not a pleasant experience (and there was crying from kids on the train in the brake run. . so yeah. . hands down still the worst coaster in the park).

oh. . but while on GASM, I noticed that Blue Hawk had gotten stuck on the lift hill. . . really moments after I had just ridden!   It was like this for a good 15 minutes.

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Continuing my treck around this part of the park to Pandemonium. . it really is lovely back here, but I miss the Skybuckets :(

bypassed Skyscreamer since just wasn't in the mood for it.. besides, I was headed to the giant swing.


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hmmm. .  I don't seem to have taken any pics of it other than the sign tho. . LOL. . but it was a 1 cycle wait (so yeah. . the park was still dead)

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see?

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note that Thunder River was closed as well.. so both water rides (the flume was closed too) were closed on Labor Day.   It's the last "daily" operating day of summer.. so not surprised, but it seemed to have more to do with staffing - as many food places were shuttered too.   But for the most part, all the "big" rides were open today, which was a nice surprise.

since no skybuckets to save my feet/calves, I headed up the long winding walkway, intending to grab something to eat as i was hungry.
as mentioned, many food places were closed, but Macho Nacho was open - with the line out the door.. . . so nope, kept walking and peeked around into the Goliath queue:  Station wait.

yup. .this is Exactly why I typically blow off last day of Con to do Six Flags:

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Interesting view of the Monster Mansion show building from the Goliath exit ramp.

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I had planned to buy water, to keep from getting dehydrated, but the Cashier in the exit gift shop warned me the coolers weren't working (and hadn't been all summer, so the water was warm). 
Six Flags hint, by the way. . if you buy water/soda in a shop, you can usually get a 2 for $ price that is cheaper from the machines.

but I wasn't gonna get from the machine no matter how thirsty I was. . so instead headed over to Gotham expecting to get something to eat/drink.

passing by DareDevil Dive. . which had a short-ish line, but as I'm not a fan, I decided to skip this today.   Still snapped some pics of it tho:
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and then it was down into the New Gotham area. . advertised all over the park as new for 2021.. I was excited to check it out.

if you're not familiar with this park, the Gotham area is down a steep hill, under the train tracks, then in it's own area - with basically one way in/one way out.
the area has 7 rides (2 coasters, 5 flats), and one food stand (Birds of Prey Cafe) - that had a fairly long line, that I waited in, only to be told at the counter there's no way to order from the counter, you MUST use the Mobile App -  which *of course* wouldn't work for me while in Gotham area. . . yeah, I was hungry and annoyed at this point - and made sure to comment on this when they sent me the survey to see how my day went.  at least ONE window at the only food stand in Gotham should have walk up to order option. . sheesh.

but I'm getting a head of myself.

back to the pics, going into Gotham:

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ah.. HERE were the crowds today.  (makes sense.. they are advertising it all over the park - even over the urinals in the Men's rooms):

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and it's  a cul-de-sac area. . so once in, traffic flow can get cramped.

let's check out the 7 rides here:

Closed:
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Closed (AND they renamed it from the *brilliant* Crime Wave to Supervillains Swing?)
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closed (tho it had soft opened for rehearsals the day before, and is open now, I understand)

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one of the new rides, so was pulling a line, as I'd expect. . especially since 3 of the 4 rides passed already were closed.
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Closed (you gotta be f-ing kidding me)
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the other new ride.. and one of only two flats (and one coaster, Batman - running 1 train - open in this section of the park).
by far, longest line I waited in all day. . . .about 35 minutes for Catwoman.  (and it didnt' help that line jumping was RAMPANT - a group of 4, turned into a group of 7, then a group of 11. .and staffing did nothing to stop it, despite seeing the teenagers climbing the queue to join their friends in line.

but I love these rides, so waited for it, and it was great as usual:

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and you get REALLY close to the Batman track while in the Catwoman queue (which has no awnings. . I guess to keep the sightlines open.. . glad it wasn't too sunny of a day)

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actually, you would get pretty close to Mindbender track in the Harley Quinn queue, had that been open:

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getting dehydrated, but as I said, I love these rides, and it runs a pretty decent cycle. . . so thumbs up on this, even if the park should be ASHAMED to have 4 of the 7 rides here closed, when this section is being promoted all over the park.

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realizing I really needed some water, I went to the Batman giftshop (which is currently also the entrance to the ride, apparently) to get some water
(along the way snapping a better pic of the new Poison Ivy scrambler, that was running a great cycle):

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and while cooling down, noticed the Mindbender train was sitting on the break run.

Since I was sitting drinking my water on the Mindbender Photo Counter (closed up), I was right near the exit. . and when one of the park's "Safety" guys came by to check the area (I guess?). .I asked him would it be ok if I went up the exit ramp towards the station to take some pics of the new trains.

so with permission. . here's the new Mindbender trains:

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by now it was after 2pm, and I *really* needed to eat something. . so I headed back to Macho Nacho (which would have been my choice in the park anyways, even if it wasnt' one of the food venues that were actually open today). . and found a very short line. . off lunch hours now. . and easily a nice place to sit and enjoy my Taco Salad (which had maybe 5 pieces of lettuce in it. .but so much other good stuff. . it was wonderful)

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didnt' think to take a pic before I ate most of it. . LOL

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Sadly, no train today. .but at least the photo op had no line:
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and yeah. .this park is hilly:

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so having finally eaten something. . do I let the food settle? 

while Goliath is still kinda a walk on, and I'm right near Monster Mansion?   You crazy? 

😛

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sad little one skybucket pole left in the center of the park, over the Monster Mansion roof.. . not sure why they left one.  Maybe planning on using it for lights for Holiday in the Park?

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I'd held it off long enough tho - and had made my way almost completely around the park in a full loop.. . but it was (finally) time for Carousel hill.


yes.. I always make myself wait for the enjoyment of the Carousel.



.. .to be concluded. . .

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the conclusion.  . .

 

so leaving Monster Mansion, i headed thru the small DC Universe section (Batcopters, Wonder Woman Flyers, small Superman drop tower) and considered taking another spin on Joker's Funhouse - it's short, but I love the unique layout, and the dive under the raised building. . . . but it went down as I was approaching the queue.

can't complain, I got to ride it earlier. .and was able to get a nice close up pic I forgot to take earlier:

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so I headed across the bridges onto the lovely trails (passing once again the rotting and looking terrible - cmon SFOG. . put a fence up around it or something - old Tidal Wave site:

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to get to my bliss (yes.. my OTHER bliss here at SFOG, besides Monster Mansion, and Acrophobia):

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it truly is one of the most lovely Carousels in the United States:

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and it still has some . . . "unique" (for a family theme park) design:

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ESCANDALO !!!

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and yes. . I wore my safety belt -  another fairly odd thing about this Carousel. . .they ensure EVERYONE on a "Galloping" steed wears a safety belt (and there are quite roomy ones on every horse to ensure Adults can comply)
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some beautiful design work on several of the horses

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and in case you didn't like the boobs on the 1 chariot?  there's a completely different set on the other chariot this one making out with a bearded daddy bear:
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I took two spins on the Carousel, and then took a relaxing walk around the perimeter looking at the lovely nature - and a Squirrel who held a pose for me:

 

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it really is pretty easy to forget you're in a Six Flags park when it's so lovely up here

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I had gotten a text from my friends asking when I'd be back (they were planning dinner) and I told them I wanted to ride one or two more things, but should be back by 5:30 or so. . and headed back towards the front of the park.

stopping to take a pic of the Mine Train as it went by across the Train Tracks:
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I considered peeking into Gotham to see if perhaps Mindbender had soft-opened again. . but instead of going down the hill into Gotham, instead stood and watched DareDevilDive for a few moments - keeping an eye on the Mindbender track behind it, to see if maybe a train would go by.

no luck. . so I headed towards the front of the park to see if the flume was running (it was not) or how the situation was at Scorcher line wise.

since it was already Labor Day, the park had started putting up FrightFest stuff over here too.

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Not sure what haunt this is (the sign is not in the holder yet). .but the outside of it looked great.

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I really liked the Alien Cocoons they had hanging in the covered walkway tho. . looked great:

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I'll bet that's a fantastic scare zone.   Lots of places for the scare actors to lie in wait.


Scorcher had maybe a  1 train wait (and was running 2 trains!), so went ahead and got in line (which of course turned into a 10 minute wait as they had to stop the train before me on the lift hill because someone pulled out a cell phone.     I was pleased to see the staff run up the hill to the stopped train and just lay into the moron who had pulled out a phone.

as noted earlier. .the new paint looks fantastic.IMG_5758.thumb.JPG.d9977cc1bb4e67b19edebca166bd47ca.JPG

 

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tho really dislike the trains wrapped in the Credit Union name that I guess sponsored the repaint?
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taken while it was stopped on the lift hill for the phone issue.

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on the Brake run. . stopped, and with the OK to pull out phone to take selfie (most folks around me did the same)

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tho I might have been the only one pointing the camera down to get a "standing position" photo to show my spouse how one rides this coaster.

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ugh. . really not a fan of the wraps on the trains. . but the main coaster looks so good, and is riding fantastic.

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since it was close to 5:20 and Log Flume was down, I made my way to the front of the park to call my Lyft (stopping for a pic, of course)

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and then i was on my way back to the hotel after a very successful day at SFOG.

It started out a little rough, but got better. . other than the rides in Gotham that were down (shameful) the only big rides that were down were the two Water Rides, Acrophobia, and the train.. so most of the park was operating today, and I had a great time.

 

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I texted my friends I was on the way back, and they were waiting for me in the room when I got there (and waited while I took a destressing shower). . then we went off for a relaxing dinner in the quiet lobby area - it was Monday night. . Con was over :(

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Great trip report. The Georgia Six Flags park is still on my bucket list.

 

Do you know why Labor Day is not crowded at Six Flags Over Georgia? I would assume that all (major) amusement parks would be slammed for a long holiday weekend, so I'm surprised that the crowds were ridiculously reasonable.

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10 hours ago, aueft said:

Great trip report. The Georgia Six Flags park is still on my bucket list.

 

Do you know why Labor Day is not crowded at Six Flags Over Georgia? I would assume that all (major) amusement parks would be slammed for a long holiday weekend, so I'm surprised that the crowds were ridiculously reasonable.

thanks.

 

as to why Labor Day Monday is not busy at SFOG (while it's usually slammed at other parks)?   I think it's a combination of things:

1) it's usually the last "regular" daily operating day of the summer season (this year was the 1st year the park was open during the prior week - only a handful of hours in the evening, so didn't go, but perhaps it was an inch towards longer operating schedule, or year round).

2) there is always a LOT going on in Atlanta Labor Day weekend:  Dragon*con, there's always a huge Football Game, and Black Gay Pride.   So after a weekend of "partying". . many folks just aren't open to being out in a theme park all day?

3) Labor Day itself is a big travel day - most who came into Atlanta for the Labor Day activities, are on their way home (the Atlanta Airport is among the busiest in the world).  
so it results in really only "locals" coming out to the park.

all I know is that the vast majority of the times I've gone during Labor Day, it's been crowd levels of this type.  (only once it was so busy that I wished I had Flash Pass. . .and that one time, I just rode things that are people eaters:  Carousel, Acrophobia, Train.

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