all photos Alexis Santos/Catalyst
ORLANDO – From February 17 – 19, the Orange County Convention Center buzzed with the excitement for anime, comic books, movies and video games that only MegaCon can attract. The yearly convention that brings Central Florida geeks together over the things they love grew to an unprecedented scale. This year, MegaCon saw 51,000 attendees, a record for MegaCon and an increase of over 20 percent from last year’s event.
Even with a $25 at-the-door price tag for each day of attendance–or $60 at-the-door for all three days – MegaCon ballooned in size. One new area was largely dedicated to allow more space for conference attendees to mill around. Another hall, which had been a food court in previous years, was filled with artist and exhibitor booths in addition to a group of concession stands. Within the main hall and throughout every hallway, the gaggle of attendees was nearly impenetrable. The line for ticket purchases was easily several thousand feet long, resulting in a wait time of approximately 30 minutes.
While a major focus of MegaCon is browsing the booths and perusing exhibitors’ wares, cosplay – or at least watching cosplayers – is always a staple. Cosplay, short for costume play, involves fans dressing up and assuming the persona of characters from videogames, comicbooks, movies or other media.
Guests included Stan Lee – co-creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Thor, the Fantastic Four and many more – and Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series. For $175, fans could obtain the Stan Lee VIP Package which would entail them to a professional photograph opportunity, a collectible VIP badge, preferred seating at a panel session, a Spider-Man art cel and the opportunity to have Lee sign two items of their choice. MegaCon goers could have a photograph with Felton and an autograph, for $40 each.