By Evonne Ermey
Comic-Con San Diego hosts mega-panels of A-list celebrities every year. The Walking Dead , Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman – If you want to see the stars who bring your favorite characters to life, you’re going to find them in the infamous Hall H.
The Hall seats 6,500 people, but once visitors are in, they have a claim on their seat for as many panels as they can handle. There’s even a restroom in Hall H, so visitors have no reason other than boredom to leave, and who’s going to get bored when you’ve literally slept on a sidewalk to get in, and the next panel is featuring Will Smith?
This results in a line thousands of people deep. If you haven’t planned meticulously, your chances of getting in to see any specific panel are close to zero.
But there has to be a way to beat the odds, right? We decided to ask someone on the inside, what it takes to get into Hall H.
Humberto Delrio has kept order in the Hall H line for 6 Comic-Cons now, so if anybody knows how to get in, it’s him.
Me: You’ve been a gatekeeper of the Hall H line for 6 years, I bet you’ve seen some crazy stuff. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen?
HD: I’ve seen people wear catheters just so that they don’t have to go anywhere, they just stay in line the whole time, and they just dump it out right there, on the grassy area.
Me: What? That’s crazy!
On this Thursday, the first day of Comic-Con the Hall H line is skinny, you could basically walk right in.
Me: This isn’t so bad right now.
HD: It’s Thursday, so a lot of people are at work still. Friday and Saturday the crowds will be much bigger
Me: How Many people are in this line on one of the busier days?
HD: Upwards of a couple thousands. They just keep cycling through.
Me: Can you avoid the line if you get a pass or something?
HD: That’s if you stand in line to get a wristband, but that’s… [shakes his head] you have to get in line, to get into another line for the final line to get “entered” into Hall H. If you have nothing but time on your hands and don’t want to see anything on the exhibition floor and you just want to go see, like, The Walking Dead or Marvel, and you have a couple of hours to spare, by all means, get in the line to get in.
His tone is very discouraging, it’s clear he thinks the wristband route is a waste of time.
Me: What should people bring to wait in this beastly line, if they’re determined to?
HD: Definitely bring one of those extra battery packs for your smart phone, if you have one. Sunscreen, some of the waiting areas don’t have any shading at all, so bring sunscreen, bring a hat, bring plenty of water, snacks and definitely have a partner because you could change out, to go say, ‘hey, I want to go to the bathroom,’ and then it’s your turn, my turn, but for the most part, everyone’s pretty friendly. You can just tell a stranger say, ‘hey would you mind waiting for me while I go into the bathroom?’ It’s really the best advice I could give them, the best advice.
Me: Is there any line etiquette people should adhere to?
HD: I would say, once the line starts moving, and you say ‘Oh, my buddy’s left, I’m waiting…’ No. If your buddy’s not there by the time we’re moving, you’re going to lose your spot.
Me: Is there anything people should NOT bring or any actions they should avoid while in line?
HD: Make sure that you have used the restroom before hand. Wear deodorant. Wear a proper fitting costume or uniform, something that you’re not sweating in. You are standing for hours upon a time, next to people and you don’t want to be that rude person that smells a little bit funky.
Me: What will get you kicked out of line?
HD: Just being rude. Being vulgar. Be mindful, there are some children around. If you’re just that person using all sorts of profanities, just get out, there’s people complaining about you, you need to get out. You just, if you’re just a rude person, you know?
Me: Let’s be real, what are the odds of actually getting to see the panel you want to see?
HD makes a grimacing kind of face
HD: The odds are not in your favor if you don’t do your homework. However, if you check the schedules that come out for Comic-Con and you plan accordingly, like ‘Ok, I want to check out The Walking Dead at 1 p.m. on a Saturday, ok, so I know I have to be in that line to get my badge at 8 am on Friday morning instead, and be prepared to camp out. I would say, do your homework, weeks in advance.
Me: So people sleep here to see the panels?
HD: Oh yea, you can sleep here. There’s people in tents there’s people out back on the waterside in tents, sleeping. There’s people all along that, out there, in sleeping bags, laying down for the rest of the day until the next Marvel panel is coming out.
Me: That’s intense. Well, any final pro-tips on how to have a great Con?
HD: Be flexible, at the end of the day it’s the Comic-Con rules and you just have to say, ‘hey we’re going to be another 4-hours for this line’ or ‘line’s moving people.’ Be flexible and come out here with an open mind that things can change at the last minute, unfortunately.
That’s our advice from an expert on how to get into Hall H. May the force be with you.