#MegaConOrlando 2017 Recap

Another year full of fun, art, panels, and cosplays down at MegaCon Orlando! I will admit: by the end of Sunday, I am exhausted and I need like two days to recoup. But, every single time, I say the same thing: I would do it all over again! I absolutely love going to cons, it's my happy place, where I hear the song of my people being played. The reason I love going to comic conventions is because everyone attending feels at home: they know they aren't being judged, it's where you get celebrated for dressing up as a comic book or anime character, and it's where you don't get called a dork or dweeb for showing off how hard you worked on your cosplay -you actually probably get stopped to get your picture taken! Everyone is happy and nice, it's where you sit down to eat at a table you share with total strangers and you are welcomed, not looked funny at. It's also the only place where you sit at said table dressed as (gender bender) Mario and engage in conversation while eating with Kylo Ren, John Snow, and Princess Leia, and it's all normal!

Anyway, here's a recap of my MegaCon experience:

Before I start, let me just say that I failed to attend to some panels because the lines were super long and sometimes some panels' time clashed with a panel I was already at. Sometimes if you weren't in line at least 1 hour before, it was almost impossible to get in, and sometimes, some got cancelled (like Mike Tyson's). But I am not, by any means, complaining about it! I am more than happy with the panels I did get to attend, and, if you've read my blog posts before, you'll know I was fangirling all over the place. Here goes the recap, for real though.

Day 1: Thursday, May 25th
Last year I drove straight from work (in Miami) to the con (a 4 hour drive), and got there like 5 minutes late to pick up my badge and had to miss Stan Lee's panel (it was also on Thursday). So, this year, I made sure to not miss it and drove up to Orlando a whole day before, get to the con about 2 hours early to make real sure I'd get a spot to see Stan Lee. Mission accomplished!!

The man himself! It was so awesome to see a living legend in person in a panel!! He was funny, and witty, and poked fun at himself so much! It was one of the best panels I've ever attended. The guy in white, next to him, is his manager and, since Stan Lee can't hear very well anymore, he repeats the questions asked to him. But he also had some amazing story to tell us!

He started telling us a story and Stan Lee went, "Here we go! He never shuts up, guys" and we all laughed, and then he pretended to be bored (pic above). My favorite story was of when Robert Downey, Jr. came to meet Stan Lee. So he said that RDJ walks in and, instead of extending his hand to Stan Lee or anything, he bows down in front of him. This is when Stan Lee interrupts and says, "Everyone does that to me, why are you so surprised?" And then laughed at himself, and then we all joined in.

Of course, there couldn't be a Stan Lee panel without a Spider-Man. He posed and took pics with the Spider-Man, and then said to him, "Can you move back to the corner, please? You are too close" Oh! And he also said he will probably come back to Florida next year. This made me laugh more than anything. The man doesn't want to ever retire!

Since on Thursdays, the con opens at 4 and closes at 9, this was all we got to see that day.

PS: On Sunday, the 28th, there was a special breakfast with Stan Lee (tickets were about $200 a pop) and he performed a renewal of vows for a couple celebrating 25 years of marriage. Wow! That must be something amazing to experience! Here's the link to the video.

Day 2: Friday, May 26th
Friday's first panel was of the incredibly hot and sweet Mathew Lewis, better known as Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies. When he came out on stage, I think you could hear a collective sight from the audience, we were all mesmerized by his beauty. Add to that how cool and sweet he is and I think we were all swooning.

He gave some advice about acting and how to succeed in it, talked about how he never expected to get the role he did in the Harry Potter movies (kept saying, "I thought I'd be nothing but an extra in the movie, but there you have it"), and told us stories about growing up within the walls of Hogwarts. Did you guys know that they would use the classrooms as real classrooms while they were not shooting? He told us that while filming the movies, that, since most were the same age, they'd have teachers come into the studio and give them classes and they'd sit in the same desks we see in the movies! How cool is that? He also told us how after having filmed Chamber of Secrets, him, Rupert, and Dan went to go see a wrestling match and then went to McDonald's to eat. He then said, "Look at that, that's probably the last time Rupert and Dan were able to go to a McDonald's and not even be noticed."

Matthew was definitely incredibly sweet, humble, and fun. He answered every question with grace and sincerity. It was such a pleasure to attend this panel. Not to mention that, being the immense Potterhead that I am, I loved being able to see more and more of the cast.

This day one of the panels we wanted to attend about steampunk cosplay got cancelled, but we were able to attend one called "Sketch Duel: Megasketch Memorial Mash-up". This panel consisted on having 5 comic book artists draw up what the audience request and compete for the best sketch. This panel also included a 14 year-old teenage girl who was sitting in the audience, and was nominated by whom I assume is her older brother and they all called her up. It was a special treat, since they don't really get anyone from the audience to participate other than suggesting what to draw. She stated she draws well, and boy was she right! She did a great job!

(The artists were: Mike Perkins, Mike McKone, Aaron LoPresti, Stephane Roux, and Mathew Clark)

The character they were to draw was Wonder Woman (of course!), but the audience would tell them how to draw them. For example, some of them said "zombie", others said "cyborg", another one said "mermaid", etc. These were the final results:

Super cool, no? Best part, though, was the the young girl didn't know who any of them were and drew with them. One day, when she gets older, she will realize what an amazing opportunity she had and how that's not something every young artist can say they did!

Day 3: Saturday, May 27th
Busiest day of any con! It was jammed packed everywhere we went, but the cosplays were amazing (another article will be written about this separately because they deserve it).

Look how packed this place was!

Today the main panel I was looking forward to was the one with Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) from the incredibly successful Netflix original series, Stranger Things.

But, before that panel, there was this really cool panel of Troy Baker and Nolan North, who are very famous and popular voice actors. Troy Baker has voiced The Joker in "Arkham Origins" and Joel in "The Last of Us" video games, and Nolan North is the voice behind Nathan Drake from "Uncharted" and Desmond Miles from the "Assassin's Creed" video game series.

These 2 dudes were also very cool and funny. They were incredibly nice and didn't mind doing some of the voices for the audience. One fan asked how would a phone conversation between Joel and Nathan be and they pretended to be on the phone talking to each other, while doing the voices.

It was honestly a very fun and entertaining panel, and if you're a fan of the games (any of them), then it made it that much cooler. I know some of my friends were very jealous of the fact I was in attendance to this panel. And may I add that Troy Baker is incredibly pleasant to look at? ;)

Now I move on to the next (and last) panel of this day! The one with part of the cast of Stranger Things!

This is the panel I laughed the most in, I think. These two were the coolest and most down to earth famous teens I've ever seen. Granted, I don't think they realize how known they actually are. Their panel started at 5pm, when I went to get in line for it, it was 3:30pm and there was already a pretty big line. By 5pm the line was unmeasurable and I don't even think everyone in line was able to get into the room. Every single seat was taken. Yet, these kids were just relaxed and cool, making jokes and messing with each other a lot. Just like any other kids their age.

They talked about how they both started as Broadway actors and how completely different it is to be in film. See, they said that the main difference is how in Broadway you just repeat and repeat the same thing, but in the film there's no repetition and it's constant changing of new things. They also mentioned how they were freezing in a lot of the scenes because the temperatures were very low or, as Caleb said, "Negative 20 degrees" (he then said he was obviously exaggerating). They mentioned that they are very excited for the new season to come out (which drops on Halloween!). One thing that had them a bit confused was that they got asked about 3 times if they felt they were doing a good job portraying a show that takes place in the early 1980s. These poor guys looked a bit confused at first, but then Gaten said the best thing ever: "Kids in the 80s or kids today, they're all the same: kids and they just want to play."

So looking forward to Season 2 of this show. Are you?

Day 4: Sunday, May 28th
The last day (insert sad face emoji). Sunday is traditionally the slowest and calmest day of the con, but I had the best start of any day on this day! Sunday's first panel of the day was none less than Ian Somerhalder's panel. Originally it was supposed to be Paul Wesley who would attend, but he had to cancel last minute, and so they sent Ian to fill in for him. I am more than fine with either of them.

I've seen and met Ian twice before, but it's always incredible to see him again. Yes, he's even more gorgeous in person, and yes, he played one of the baddest and sexiest vampires ever. But me, personally, I love and admire Ian for much more than that; it's for his values, morals, and love for the animals and planet. I am one of those that wants to save all the animals and think they deserve rights like any other living being on this planet that we are destroying, and the work that he does inspires me to keep going.

Ian talked about how he loved playing Damon, a role he worked really hard to not only get but also keep, but how he wouldn't go back to doing cameo in The Originals because he wants to dedicate his time to his projects. Him and Nikki are not just starting a family (those babies are going to be so incredibly gorgeous being children of 2 of the most beautiful people on earth), but have also started a production company and they have a few projects starting in them. But, mostly, he said, he wants to just dedicate time to his family and enjoy it.

He mentioned that he believes in women's rights, in women's empowerment, so most of the projects he's working on with his production company are movies and shows with "strong female leads". I love that about Ian. If only more men -and women -were more like him! He's so perfect! Nikki, you are one lucky lady! He also taught us some more about what he's passionate about: the planet and climate change, and saving the animals. He said that the hardest thing he's ever had to do was start a non-profit organization. I can only imagine it is, but with your work, things can only get better, so don't give up, please!

I will leave you guys with one last pic of him:

Can we talk about how beautiful that biceps is? OMG!

I loved being at MegaCon one more time, and I can only hope to be able to go cover it next year again. I look forward to the celebrities (Jeffrey Dean Morgan cancelled this year, but maybe next year he'll come! Crossing all my fingers and toes!), the panels, and, hopefully, photo ops with some of them (this year I wasn't able to get any and I would've loved to have gotten one with Gaten and Caleb, as well as with Ian...but on another occasion it shall be).

Keep an eye out for announcements for MegaCon Tampa coming on September 29th to October 1st at the Tampa Convention Center! So far they have Kevin Smith (I've met him before and he's the coolest!) and Jason Mewes, but I am sure way more guests will be announced as the dates get closer.

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