Dragon Con 2021 Review: Variants Unleashed!
Dragon Con 2021 Review
The Venue - 9
Event Schedule - 9
Special Guests & Vendors - 8.5
Wait Times - 6
Vibe - 8
Dragon Con 2021 is easily one of the best nerd events you can attend in the southeast. Dragon Con gets especially high marks on it Venue, Scheduling, and Special Guest & Vendors. Wear comfy shoes and prepare for fun!
Dragon Con 2021 Review: Variants Unleashed!
Dragon Con is Atlanta’s biggest event for nerds of all types. The event ran all Labor Day Weekend from September 1st to September 5th. Members of The Blerd Team (Jbreazy, Ernie – The Blerd Without Fear, and myself) were able to attend the event this year and had an absolutely great time! The event attracted around 42,000 attendees making it by far the biggest con we were able to attend since COVID. There was also Dragon Con Goes Virtual, which was a live-streamed version of the event for fans that were not comfortable attending in person.
The event staff did a great job enforcing safety protocols of masks + vaccinations (or proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours of attending with onsite testing) which we were very appreciative of. Dragon Con also raised more than $120,000 for its charity for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta giving back to the city.
We are standardizing on the same rating criteria for all conventions for at least the rest of the year which is: The Venue, Event Schedule, Vendors & Special Guests, Wait Times, and Overall Vibe. Scores of 10 mean near perfection and are going to be especially hard to obtain. So how was Dragon Con 2021?
“This year’s convention was wonderful. It was certainly a little different, as we implemented a number of changes to help protect our fans and reduce the spread of COVID.” “More than anything, in these times, we were delighted to bring our fans together so they could celebrate the things they love, connect with friends, and forget about the outside world for a few days.”Dragon Con Convention co-chair Rachel Reeves
The Dragon Con 2021 Venue
So how do you fit over 40k people into a single convention? You spread out the event across 5 different hotels (Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Hilton Atlanta, Marriott Marquis Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, & Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel). One thing that was especially nice is that the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton are conveniently connected by sky bridges making access between them easy (and in the air conditioning!). We stayed centrally in the Marriott and moved from each hotel on foot. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking and burning a lot of calories. Another pro-tip if you stay in the Marriott is to not look down on the elevators after a long day.
Each venue would have different events in them every day and night, whether you wanted to attend panels, see celebrities, or just party the whole time. The staff was very organized and you would generally not see too much congestion in the hallways even with the amount of people in attendance.
The Dragon Con 2021 Event Schedule
There is a TON to do at Dragon Con and you definitely will not be able to see everything in one trip. I would recommend checking out the “Things To Do” section on the website so you can plan out your top activities. You will definitely miss events if you just wing it. However, you can still just walk around on the street and in the partner hotels and run into fun things to do with no planning at all. Dragon Con was great about posting signs telling you what was going on at any given time.
Dragon Con 2021 had a diverse lineup of contests, parties, autograph sessions, workshops, and even an aquarium night. You could see Robot Battles, go to the Dragon Con Parade, or end up in the gaming area for hours. It is basically impossible to get bored or not be able to find something to do at Dragon Con. If anything, you will have to occasionally take a few breaks from pure overload.
The Dragon Con 2021 Special Guests & Vendors
There were some top tier guests including William Shatner, Louis Gossett Jr, Laz Alonso, Meagan Tandy and many more. The full guest list can be seen on the Dragon Con website here. There were actors, writers, artists, cosplayers, content creators, and even some top tier business professionals. It was a great event to have fun and meet some of your idols or to network.
Make sure you budget before coming to Dragon Con. You could spend all day (and all of your money!) in the vendor building alone. There were multiple floors of just about everything you could imagine and even things that you did not even think of. When I say everything…I mean everything. There was clothing, costumes, light sabers, swords, masks, food, board games, collectables, vintage cards, art, comics, and much more. We probably spent at least $1,000 in a day or two just with vendors. We did wish that we saw a bit more diversity in the vendor area other than on the top floor with the artists. A pro-tip is to check a bigger bag if flying as trying to stuff everything in a carry-on was a hassle.
The Dragon Con 2021 Wait Times
The bane of any large con is the lines. When you have over 40k people at an event avoiding lines is just simply impossible; especially for popular events, meet and greets, and parties. If there are must see events you need to make sure you plan in advance and show up early. Being on CPT is not going to work in your favor at Dragon Con. The lines were long with lower than normal attendance due to COVID, so I would definitely expect them to increase once the world is a bit more normal.
The Dragon Con staff gets major points for making sense of all of the chaos and directing people where they need to go. They were always friendly and informative if you had any questions. The Dragon Con staff at the Marriott were even wearing TVA shirts which was fitting with all the Loki’s running around and a nice touch.
The Dragon Con 2021 Vibe
Vibe is the overall “feel” of a convention and how the atmosphere comes off. Dragon Con is one of the most fun events you can go to period. I was the first of our team to arrive on Thursday night and was able to have fun and meet people completely on my own. For a large convention the crowd is diverse and you will find people that like what you are into. You do not have to adhere to any type of schedule or go to any certain place and will run into fun moments constantly. The parties last late into the night and you are guaranteed to find friends along the way. Another pro-tip, go to the CVS on Peachtree Street and stock up on Pedialyte and Liquid-IV. You do not want to get dehydrated from all of the walking and partying.
Dragon Con 2021 Photos
Did you get a chance to attend Dragon Con 2021 or any of the previous Dragon Cons? Let us know on our social media what you think @blerdofficial or in the comments below.