If you’re a proper geek, then you will have probably heard of OtakuFest. It’s a two-day festival and convention that celebrates all things geek. Anime, manga, comics, video games, animation, pop culture, and a lot more.
In fact, it’s in the name! Otaku is a Japanese word that is used to define a person with obsessive interests, you know, like all sorts of geeks!
So the Otakufest is literally a festival to celebrate all of that, with plenty of people coming together to share in these interests!
It takes place in the Miami Airport Convention Center, and it has more events than any other similar convention or festival in all of South Florida!
There are different even rooms to suit all of the different geek interests, and there’s room for plenty of celebrity guests, stalls, food, and more.
If you’ve never been to the Otakufest before, and you’re wondering what to expect, then you might get a bit overwhelmed by all the information and all the things to do.
We can tell you now that it will be a unique and amazing experience, with lots to do and see, and plenty of people to meet.
However, with these kinds of events, it’s important to be well-prepared so you can properly focus on having a good time, and not have to worry about other things.
So in this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know in order to attend Otakufest, and we’ll give you plenty of tips and tricks so that you have the best experience possible!
Buying your ticket/badge for Otakufest:
One of the first things you need to do before attending Otakufest is buying your tickets for the event. All of the tickets will be available on the website in advance so that you can purchase them online.
You then get a confirmation email. Once you get to the event, you show the confirmation email, or alternatively, you show your ID so that they can check your name on the list!
It’s important to remember that the tickets are non-refundable. So once you have purchased your tickets, you can’t return them.
However, the tickets are transferable, so if you can’t attend you could pass them on to a friend or other, and there are instructions on how to do this on the Otakufest website.
When it comes to purchasing your tickets, there are a few different types, depending on which days you are wanting to attend the festival:
- Single-day ticket for Saturday
- Single-day ticket for Sunday
- Weekend pass ticket, for both Saturday and Sunday
- Weekend pass ticket, buddy edition (this is a ticket for two people, for both Saturday and Sunday)
- Weekend pass ticket, squad edition (this is a ticket for four people, for both Saturday and Sunday)
What to bring to Otakufest:
Something that newbies always ask is what they need to bring to Otakufest. Whether you’re attending on Saturday, Sunday, or both days, you will need to have everything you need for a full day of fun.
The exact amount of things you bring and what they completely depend on what you think you will need throughout the day, and your own personal needs.
However, there are a few basic items that are absolutely recommended when you’re going to Otakufest. Let’s go over them:
- Comfy clothing:
When you go to Otakufest, you can either wear normal clothing or be in cosplay. We’ll talk more about this later on!
- Snacks and drinks:
Otakufest will have plenty of food and drinks for you to purchase and enjoy. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to carry a snack and some water just in case.
Especially because the queues can sometimes be quite long, and you will definitely need a quick energy booster and water to keep you going throughout the day!
There are lots of things to spend money on in Otakufest, and lots of things to buy, so money is a must. However, we recommend setting a budget and a limit, so that you don’t overspend!
- Chargers, phones, and cameras:
As you’ll be in Otakufest for the whole day, to make the most of it, you will need a fully charged phone, or a charger to top it up. You will also need something to take photos with!
- An autograph book and notebook:
If you’re thinking of going up to the celebrity stalls, we recommend having an autograph book to keep all the signatures in one place. You might also want a notebook to write down any social media handles from cosplayers or people you meet!
- Any other things you think you might need!
You’re bound to forget something the first time, so it’s all about learning from mistakes and being more and more prepared every time!
What to wear to Otakufest:
If you wear normal clothing, make sure it’s something comfortable, and that you’re dressed in layers. It can get pretty hot inside Otakufest, especially with all the people, so make sure you can easily get rid of layers when needed.
But above all, you should be wearing comfortable shoes, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking around and you’ll barely get a chance to sit down and rest!
If you’re in cosplay, then comfort can sometimes be a bit of an issue, because your main goal will be to nail the character you’re portraying.
Nevertheless, we suggest you try and make your cosplay as practical as possible. It is also recommended that you have some spare clothing, just in case the outfit becomes too much and you want to take it off.
Plus, as any experienced cosplayer will tell you, you should have an emergency kit for fixing up your costume in case there’s an accident!
Easy Otakufest Costume Ideas:
You’ll see some super impressive cosplays in Otakufest, but if you want to take it a little easier and wear something more comfortable or low-effort, then that’s also fine!
Here are some easy costume ideas for Otakufest:
- A costest cosplay of your favorite character (costest means a cosplay made by putting together items you already own from your wardrobe)
- An easy OC character (wear something that makes you look like you’re from one of the geek universes)
- An outfit inspired by a certain anime, videogame, or similar
Can you go to Otakufest without a costume?
You can absolutely go to Otakufest without a costume, as wearing a costume is not a requirement in order to attend in the slightest. You can wear whatever you want and will be fine wearing everyday comfy clothing.
However, a lot of people will be wearing cosplay, so if you’ve ever wanted to give that a go…Otakufest is your chance!
What to do when nobody gets your cosplay:
Sometimes, the character you cosplay as is a bit more obscure and unknown, or maybe your cosplay just isn’t as obvious and recognizable at first glance. So what do you do when nobody gets your cosplay?
After all, it can become frustrating and a bit upsetting when nobody knows who you’ve dressed up as.
The first thing is to try and not take it personally. It’s not because you’ve done a bad job, it’s probably just because the character is less identifiable or not as known!
Instead, take this as an opportunity to share the character with more people, so that they do become better known. People will be intrigued by who you are supposed to be and might even ask you about it.
You will be leaving behind a memorable impression of the character, and you’re spreading the word!
You can also wear some visible clues as to who the character is. Maybe hold something up that gives away the universe the character is from, narrow it down, and wear some obvious hints so that people can guess a little easier!
Guide to Otakufest lines and crowds:
Otakufest is one of the biggest geek festivals and conventions in all of Florida, so it gets pretty crowded, as the center where the event is held will be full of attendees. You can expect to see thousands and thousands of people there!
Luckily, the convention is very well-organized, and they’re prepared to host a large number of people. The main rooms will usually be pretty crowded, especially on Saturdays, and during peak times.
However, side rooms and less popular parts of the convention will be quieter, and there are also some spaces set up for taking a break and resting, which give you a breath of air from all the crowd.
As for the lines, it will depend on the event and the stall. The celebrity stalls are usually pretty crowded, and if you’re after a highly sought-after signature then you might be there for up to an hour, waiting.
But as a general rule, lines move pretty fast, and there are plenty of staff members to help usher things along.
The trick is to go to all of the queuing events first, as early in the day as you can, or during lunchtime when people are off eating. Then, the rest of the time, you can avoid the lines and instead roam around the festival doing other things.
Getting your comics signed:
There are plenty of celebrity guests in Otakufest, such as comic writers and illustrators, amongst many more.
If you’re a massive fan and you want to get your comics signed, you should first check whether the celebrity you have in mind is going to be there.
They usually release a list of guest celebrities before the event, which you can check on the website.
Once you’re at Otakufest, you can get your comics signed at the celebrity guest room, which you will have to locate on the map.
There, each guest will have their own booth, and all you need to do is get in line, wait for your turn, and then meet them and get the signature!
Most guests will charge a fee for their signature, but it depends. This is something that you will have to check at the event, by going to the booth and looking at the information displayed there.
How much money do you need?
One of the questions that newbies always ask is how much money they need to take with them to Otakufest.
The truth is, it completely depends on how much you are willing to spend.
Geeks know that buying merchandise is pretty expensive. Between paying for the signature of your favorite celebrity, getting some food, and wandering through all the stores buying all sorts of geeky items…you can end up spending an insane amount of money.
This is why you should always set yourself a limit so that you have a spending budget for the entire day. Most people will have that amount of money in cash so that once it’s been spent they can’t spend more.
However, a lot of the events and stalls within Otakufest will also accept card payments and transfers, so that it is a lot easier to purchase more expensive items.
Plus, there are a few card machines from which you can withdraw cash, for those stalls that don’t accept cards.
Other tips for Otakufest goers:
It’s hard to be fully prepared for Otakufest, as the day will always end up taking you by surprise one way or another, and usually on a good day. But here are some of our top tips for making sure everything goes smoothly:
- Check the cosplay and prop regulations:
Not all props or cosplay items are allowed into Otakufest, such as metal props or sharpened tools. Check the rules carefully and make sure your cosplay and props are all in check, or else they won’t be allowed inside the venue!
- Check the map:
When you get to Otakufest, you will be given a map (or you can pick one up at the entrance). This will have the layout of the venue, with information on which events are where, and what all the rooms are hosting.
Take a few minutes to study the map so that you get an idea of where you are and which way you are going. It’s so easy to get lost, and you’ll save yourself time by orienting yourself before moving!
- Get there early!
It’s a rule that applies to most events and places, but seriously, get there as early as possible so that you can get ahead in certain lines and queues, and so that you can do stuff before the crowd gets crazy.
- Schedule the day beforehand:
There are a huge number of different events, shows, and activities within Otakufest. They will be listed on the website, and they will all be assigned their own timetable and space within the venue. Check the events you want to attend and create a schedule so that you don’t miss out on them during the actual day.
- Get in line first, wander around second:
It is best to do all the queuing and being in line first so that it’s over and done with, and then you can spend the rest of the day wandering around and enjoying yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be rushing through the rooms in order to get to other activities, and that will just stress you out.
- Prioritize what you want to experience:
If you want to see and experience everything, you will need the full two days of the event. And sometimes even then it will be a struggle, as there is a lot to do. This is why you should prioritize the things you absolutely do not want to miss out on and go to them first.
There are a few nearby hotels you can stay at when attending Otakufest. However, the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel is attached to the convention center and it is the official hotel for Otakufest.
Not only is it the most convenient for attending the convention, but it also has a special rate for those attending the convention, as long as you reserve in advance.
Car rental nearby:
Otakufest takes place in the Miami Airport Convention Center. Therefore, it is right by all of the car rentals located at the airport, meaning there are plenty to choose from.
Parking at the event:
If you’re driving to the event, you’ll need to park your car as close as possible. There is a surface parking lot adjacent to the convention center, with no in/out privileges, and affordable parking prices.
Public transport to the event:
You can take either a bus or a train if you’re looking to get to the event through public transport from the city. You will have to check the schedules beforehand, to make sure you get there in time.
Luckily, there will be plenty of people on their way to the event, and you’ll probably recognize them because many will be in cosplay.
So during that weekend, getting to Otakufest is usually as easy as following the people in costume within your bus or train!