Are you heading to Collective Con for the first time and have no idea how to prepare or what to expect from it? Well, you wouldn’t be alone! Most first-time convention-goers aren’t sure what to expect or what Jacksonville, Florida’s convention will be like.
Packed full with guests from Star Wars, anime, and Stranger Things, the convention is back in March 2022, ready to make up for lost time!
But to save you spending the next eight or nine months stressing, we have the ultimate guide for you! Keep reading to know how to prepare for Collective Con and what to expect when you are there!
Buying your ticket/badge
Tickets for Collective Con are easy to buy and can be purchased directly on their website. You can click here to get your tickets for March 2022 now!
Tickets for the event range from affordable to quite expensive, depending on the package that you choose. A standard three-day pass is very affordable but does not come with parking.
You can pay more for Platinum or VIP passes that come with fast passes for queens, exclusive tote bags, and posters. You can only use the fast pass once per day, though, so be wise when choosing what queue to jump!
Some options include private dining experiences, but these do cost considerably more. They also include a Star Wars-themed pub crawl through participating restaurants across Jacksonville!
You are entitled to drinks offered throughout the crawl too.
Tickets are on sale now, and it looks like there are plenty left, so grab them before it’s too late! There’s the option to add extras to your ticket price, and there is a small service charge, too, you’ll need to be aware of.
For those traveling as a family, rejoice, as children ten and under entering for free! Talk about saving you some money there. It’s a nice extra and means you can turn the event into a family weekend!
The tickets provide you with free re-entry, too, so don’t panic if you need to step outside to quell any tantrums. Just make sure you don’t take your wristband off; otherwise, it’s no access to the convention for you!
Currently, no refunds are offered, but in the event of a cancellation, your ticket should be moved to a rescheduled date or refunded as per your request.
Be sure to keep hold of any emails you receive after purchasing your ticket, as they will contain all the information you need for gaining access to Collective Con!
What to bring to Collective Con
It can feel overwhelming knowing what to bring to Collective Con, especially if it’s your first time attending, but fear not! We have compiled a handy list you can use to pack your bag and get going!
- ID and credit card used for the ticket purchase
- Bag large enough for your items. A rucksack is easiest for families, although you might want to use a fanny pack instead if it’s just you attending.
- A portable charger or phone charger
- Any comics or items you wish to have signed
- Autograph book
- Snacks (it can be expensive to eat in these conventions, so some snacks and a bottle of water are always handy to have)
- Cash – autographs, selfies, and photo ops are all cash only
- Hairbrush or make up to touch up your costume if needed
- camera/phone depending on your preference
- Any medication you might need throughout the day
If you are traveling in and staying in Jacksonville for the convention, then you will also need a weekend bag for the duration of your stay. Include what you usually would for a weekend away: clothes, pajamas, toiletries, headphones, and other items you usually take.
If your costume requires makeup, pack makeup remover wipes or solutions. Micellar water is gentle on your skin and should dissolve the makeup easily.
Also, remember to pack chargers and any entertainment you wish to travel with or use in the hotel room. If you forget anything, most hotels can provide you with toiletries and other necessities.
Remember you will also need any train or plane tickets that have been required for you to attend Collective Con. You will then need your passport or other proof of ID that your airline requires to travel.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and won’t apply to everyone, but it should give you an idea of what you need for Collective Con!
What to wear to Collective Con?
The age-old dilemma: what to wear. You will need your costume for Collective Con, and remember, you can be as creative here as you like!
If you have any weapons accompanying your costume, make sure they aren’t harmful, as you will be searched on arrival.
Collective Con covers Anime, Comic Books, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Pop Culture, so your costume options are endless! We like to opt for something still comfortable to wear, as you will be in it for the whole day.
If you attend the whole three days, you might want more than one costume (especially as it can get quite warm and sweaty there).
There is lots of standing and walking around, the last thing you want is for your experience to be ruined by blisters! We know it can ruin the aesthetic, but pair your costume with a pair of comfortable shoes.
Sensible shoes and thick comfortable socks will change the game and leave you feeling comfortable all day.
It’s also worth bringing a hat, scarf, or sunglasses, depending on the weather. Check this in advance before you leave so you can bring the appropriate clothing. If you aren’t driving, a jacket or umbrella might also be required.
These can then easily be stored in your bag when you aren’t using them or left in your hotel room.
Easy Collective Con Costume Ideas
If you are low on time or ideas, you can use one of these easy costumes!
- Saya from Blood+ – all you need is a flared mini skirt, black, a white shirt, and a red bow tie! You can also add a sword to complete the look.
- Chihiro from Spirited Away – for this you need orange shorts and a large white t-shirt. You can paint a green stripe across and add some yellow sneakers and socks.
- Misty from Pokemon – a simple yellow crop top, denim shorts, and red suspenders will complete the look! Add some red converse too, if you want, and some orange spray to your hair.
- Yato from Noragami – you’ll need a plack or dark blue tracksuit with a top with a zipper down the middle. Add some white tape down the sleeves to complete the look and a ragged white scarf.
- Jedi from Star Wars – you will need a long brown robe for this. You can probably stain a white one with coffee if needed. Team with a lightsaber! You can wear shorts or a t-shirt under the robe if you want to be comfortable too.
Can you go to Collective Con without a costume?
Of course, you can! Not everyone is into cosplay, and that shouldn’t mean you miss out on the fun! Some people opt to wear a t-shirt from their favorite film or comic (such as a Marvel t-shirt or perhaps a Stranger Things shirt).
There are no rules about needing to wear a costume, so come how you feel comfortable!
What to do when nobody gets your cosplay?
As frustrating as it is when no one gets the cosplay you spent hours or days working on, there’s very little you can do, unfortunately.
You can take your time to explain to people your cosplay in the hope it helps them understand, but you won’t always have the time or get through to them.
No matter if people get your costume or not, don’t let it ruin your day! You worked hard on your cosplay and should do your best to enjoy the day!
As hard as it can be, put the thoughts out of your mind and focus instead on the task at hand, having fun!
Plus, as the day goes on, you never know who you might bump into that gets your cosplay!
Guide to Collective Con Lines and Crowds
Some lines can get quite long in Collective Con, especially for big-name actors and directors. As it’s a smaller convention than others, it tends to be quieter with fewer crowds, but it can still get busy!
Waiting in lines is often a handy way to stay out of the crowds and get autographs or photos with your favorite stars. The lines usually move quite quickly; just remember to sip some water to keep hydrated.
Crowds can be managed quite well. Avoid busy areas and when you are feeling overwhelmed or too hot. Again, water will be your best friend here!
If you are looking for more space, the hallway, lobby, or space by panel rooms is usually quieter (and has an aircon), or if the weather is nice, you can pop outside for a bit.
We found stepping outside helped when feeling overwhelmed. If you have children that like to run, leads can be handy, and don’t worry about being judged; turn it into their costume!
Be sure to keep a firm hand on any children you take as they can get lost easily in the crowds.
Getting your comics signed
To get your comics signed at Collective Con, simply join the queue for who you want and wait! Wait times can be a little long, so make sure you have your comfortable shoes on.
There doesn’t seem to be a limit on the comics you can take to be signed but check back closer to the time to see if this changes.
Guests set their own prices for autographs, and they are available on request. More popular guests will usually have larger queues but don’t let that put you off. Over the three days, there will be plenty of time to get the autographs you want.
How much money do you need?
The amount of money you need depends on how long you are going to Collective Con and the package you have bought. If you’ve bought dinner packages, then you will need less money for food and drink.
Consider as well how many autographs and selfies you want with guests.
Closer to the time of the event, prices will be released for the guests and can help you plan your budget accordingly. Food and drink should be factored into your budget, as well as any merchandise you wish to purchase.
You can usually get unique artwork or sometimes rare collectibles from vendors that you’d otherwise miss out on.
Make a list of all the things you want to do and pay for and use this to set your budget. Typically, though, people will take around the $300 mark for a three-day small convention like Collective Con.
Don’t forget to bargain.
Just like at any other convention, there is always haggling to be done! Whether it’s a vendor selling t-shirts and other merchandise or guests offering set prices, there’s always room to lower the cost.
At Collective Con, guests set their own prices for selfies, autographs, and other photos, meaning it can vary dramatically. But that also means there’s room for negotiation.
Remember to be polite when negotiating and go in with your lowest offer first and work your way up.
Chances are, you can knock a few dollars off the price or grab yourself a multi-buy deal! Take cash, as in the past Collective Con has been cash only.
It might change now post-Covid, but currently, there is no information about cards being accepted as payment.
Often, you will have more like haggling with vendors than actual guests at Collective Con, but it’s always worth a shot!
Other tips for Collective Con-goers
We’ve got a few other tips for you when navigating Collective Con!
- Check the website regularly for updates.
- Collective Con’s Twitter page also publishes updates and posts regularly
- Opt for snacks that won’t melt as it can get hot in the center
- Ask before touching a Cosplay or any part of someone’s body
- Grab your coffee before heading inside; it’s usually cheaper!
- Deodorant, deodorant, deodorant! Trust us; you will want to be smelling fresh all day.
- Do as much prep beforehand as possible.
Collective Con’s website is yet to publish information about hotels on their site, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at yourself! There are several hotels near the area still listed available for double rooms!
The Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront is the closest and is less than 1 mile away from the Expo Center where the convention is being held.
There are also houses available to rent nearby if you are traveling as a larger group. These are affordable per night, too, especially when split between larger parties.
Apartments are available, too, and many offer free cancellation up until a few days before you arrive. Perfect for those after peace of mind and some reassurance they aren’t liable if plans change.
Use comparison sites to find the best hotel prices, and remember that hotel prices are often listed per night.
Ideally, you will want 2-3 nights’ stay depending on how far you have traveled from, so consider this cost when setting a budget and finding your hotel.
Car rental nearby
For those traveling in, there are plenty of places you can rent cars from nearby! Car rental companies like Hertz, Enterprise, and Avis Car rental are located in downtown Jacksonville, not far from Collective Con!
Depending on the rental you choose, they can be quite affordable, with many allowing you to pay per day. It’s perfect for those that want to get about and explore more of Jacksonville after the convention or just head to dinner with ease!
If you are booked into a hotel too, check beforehand if they offer a car rental service. Some do or will offer discounted rates with a car rental near them, saving you some dollars!
The same applies to car rentals, you might want it in place before you arrive, but there are plenty of rentals to choose from if you decide to rent a car at the last minute! You can call the hotel beforehand or ask when you arrive.
Sites like Expedia are handy for finding the best deals and booking your rental ahead of time.
Parking at the event
Parking is not included in any ticket price, and you will need to arrange your own parking. There are two car parks nearby, 1001-1039 Fairground Place Parking and Event Parking.
Both are a few minute’s walk away from Collective Con. The parking is affordable, and usually, there is plenty of space.
It’s worth noting that the parking is close to a stadium, and if there is a game at the same time as Collective Con, it can take a while to get out of the car park.
There’s other parking too slightly further away, but if you want to be close, these are your best options!
Public transport to the event
Buses run fairly regularly in and out of downtown Jacksonville, meaning you can attend the event easily should you want to come on public transport.
Trains are also available to help you get close to the event! The bus stops roughly a four-minute walk away from the expo center.
You can also use the train if you wanted, but the bus gets you closer and with less of a walk. Bus tickets can be purchased on the day of travel, or you can purchase them in advance if you wish.
Many buses run and can take you to the Expo Center, but the one is commonly used in the mornings. You can get this bus from the airport too if you are flying to the event!
Flying into Jacksonville International Airport is easy and can be done from across the country. Sites like Kayak and other comparison sites can help you purchase cheap flights to get you to Collective Con and back home!
You might need connecting flights depending on your location, and you can check this with your local airline.
And just like that, we have reached the end of our guide today! As you can see, there are lots to consider when planning your trip to Collective Con, but it doesn’t need to be a difficult or overwhelming task.
Start your planning early, and remember to do your research beforehand to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible!