Last weekend, over 100,000 attendees converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for the 2016 MegaCon™ Convention. This was the first MegaCon convention to take place since it was acquired by the FAN EXPO HQ, one of the largest entertainment convention groups in North America. It was clear by the caliber of the guests and the vast number of attendees that MegaCon is the Southeast’s largest comics, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming event, and has creeped up into the top 10 conventions in the country as far as size and attendance.
Programming highlights included a Hogwarts Reunion (which reunited stars of the Harry Potter film franchise – Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs and James and Oliver Phelps), and Jay and Silent Bob Reunite!, a fan Q&A with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. There were also exclusive premiere screenings over the weekend. A series premiere of OUTCAST, based on the Skybound/Image comic title by creator Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta, where fans could be the first to see the premiere episode before the series officially debut on CINEMAX on June 3. The latest episode of Star Trek Continues was screened, with an introduction by the series star, Vic Mignogna, and a Q&A with full cast and crew following the presentation.
The convention floor was a mixture of dealers and exhibitors, the Artist Alley, Cosplay Alley, a Tattoo Alley, and the celebrity autographs and photo ops. The Community Zone offered attendees an opportunity to take photos with replicas from many of their favorite TV shows and movies, including the DeLorean from Back to the Future, Batman vehicles, Roxy the Rancor and Luggabeast from Star Wars, and the Ecto 1 car.
MegaCon Convention Highs and Lows
Overall, the “franchisation” of MegaCon has had some positive outcomes. The crowds on the convention floor always seemed to flow. There were no major bottlenecks or mob incidents (which attendees on 2014 MegaCon panel for The Walking Dead may remember well). There was plenty to do for all ages. The caliber of guests was impressive. There were our crowd favorites – Stan Lee, John Barrowman, Billie Paper, and William Shatner. There were also some surprises – John Cusack, and Vivica A. Fox are new to the con scene, at least for me. There were several big name guests that ended up cancelling, much to the disappointment of the fans. I understand that this is a common thing to happen, but when headliners like Norman Reedus, Lena Headey, and Jenna Colman are on that list, that is a huge blow to your guest roster.
Probably my biggest disappointment for this year’s show was the decision to continue to have separate ticketed events for “special events” (a.k.a. the larger Q&A panels). As an attendee of many cons over the years, I have my own opinions about charging extra for these events. I hope it is not a trend that continues in the future. While myself and others that share my opinions choose not to support these events with our dollars, there are just as many fans that will. So I expect to see them popping up at future conventions, unfortunately.
A good time was had a MegaCon Convention in 2016. I am already planning and scheming for next year’s show. Show dates have been announced for another 4-day event once again over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28, 2017.
MegaCon has also announced a Tampa Bay show later this year, October 28-30, 2016.
MegaCon Cosplay Gallery