Regal Con 2015: Was It Once Upon a Worth It?

regalcon

This past weekend was the first ever Regal Con, a Once Upon a Time convention. As with any event there will be hiccups, especially at a first time event. As for the talent they had attend the event, they did pretty darn well! All the talent were extremely kind and gracious to fans. However, the event staff and the way the event was run was not always so.

I had a press badge to attend the event, so I did not pay to attend. Ticket prices were $139 for the weekend, with other packages ranging from $199-$599. I don’t know about you guys, but I think $599 is rather steep! 

On Friday I had work so I was only able to attend the Evil Regal Cocktail Party. Upon arriving at the hotel I was given my press badge and then waited for the party to begin. In an email I received before the party I was told press would get “a designated time at the beginning of Friday’s Cocktail Party for photos.” There was no designated time, I was told at the party that we were allowed to take photos of arrivals when the MC announced it. By the time the MC announced guests, they were already half way through the door. So I had about .5 seconds to get a photo while also trying to get around everyone with their cell phones. What they should have done was given press priority before guests walked in. I was also told I could not take photos of cosplayers, even with the cosplayers permission.

I received one update on Friday, titled ‘RegalCon Press Updates – Friday’s Edition’. So one would think there would be additional updates, nope. I did not receive a single email after that. Other than morning press conferences, press conferences were not announced. I understand it’s hard getting talent to sit down for a second to do some press. However, they should have been announced via email to the press. I only found out about one on Sunday evening because of another press guy. I had even checked in with the press room assistants and they didn’t provide me with any updates.

I spoke to a few of the guests at the party, paying guests, to get their perspective on whether or not they enjoyed their time and was it worth their money. These guests got the Hearts Ticket Package. This is a summation of some of their experience (in purple)

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 11.10.57 AM

Friday night registration was messy to say the least, it took Regal Con employees forever to figure out if I had the right tickets. When I asked about the drink tickets I was supposed to get for the cocktail party and ball, they said my entrance ticket was for the drink but my entrance ticket were taken when I arrived at the cocktail party. So I never got my drink tickets.

Saturday morning I went and asked a volunteer about photos and she had no idea. She said they were later in the day when the program said 10 am. I asked which actors were at what time and they had no idea.

No email or schedule to my knowledge was posted…

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.29.55 AM(From the Regal Con Program Schedule page)

Over at the photo op area everyone was just standing around, with no idea what was going on. I asked a few people about lining up for photos for actors other than Lana and they didn’t even know why I was over there. Finally I saw Gil McKinney and though, oh, they must be doing his photos soon. So my friend and I went and stood by the door for the announcement. They never did. We just saw him taking photos with other people so we went over and asked if it was his photo time. We were told us they weren’t really doing set times, just if the actor was in the room at that time we can get our photo done.

So we went in and there’s five actors in the room just sitting against the wall on their phones waiting around. We got our photos with Gil and went over to Lana’s line. Someone came out SCREAMING super rudely that Lana wasn’t doing any poses or hugs or props. I understand that, but there was a nicer way to put it. After talking with Sean Maguire and David Anders later on it seemed like the con runners were the one not wanting us to do fun poses with the actors. Sean told my friend he wasn’t supposed to be hugging her but he didn’t care and David said he’d do whatever we wanted in his op that he didn’t care if it was allowed.

Panels were moved around and actors were changed to totally different days. Which really sucked for people who bought a Saturday ticket to see a panel and then had it changed. Panel announcements were on little printed signs. You had to spot it to figure it out. Saturday was supposed to be Eion, Faustion, Michael and Gil. And then Lana. Instead it was Eion, David, and Lee, then Lana. Sunday was supposed to be Emilie, David, Lee and Beverly followed by Sean and Rebecca. Instead it was Emilie, Sean, and Rebecca then Faustino, Beverly, Michael, and Gil.

I understand that actors schedules change, however this still should have been announced. Announcements should have been done by con employees/volunteers, email, and on their webpage.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.52.39 AM(From the Regal Con Program Schedule page)

They didn’t give us our assigned seats before the panels like they’re supposed to (per package details), so people kept coming in and disrupting the panels.

Chairs did not have reserved signs on them, so people had to be moved during panels.

The autograph sessions were done in smaller groups with everyone (except Lana, hers were separate) so you got to spend some time with each actor. Autographs were personalized which was nice. Saturday night’s events were really fun. They were running an hour and half late, but it was ok. Dinner was good. It was nice to sit down with the actors and it was good they figured out who was sitting where before the actors showed up. They told me at registration my photo that came with the VIP dinner package I bought was for me to take with my own device but I don’t think that was the case, because they did a photo with the two ticket holders. The photos they took that came with the VIP tickets were terrible. So blurry. The Happily Ever After Ball was a blast! Rebecca couldn’t even move she had such a swarm around her.

Sunday started just like Saturday with photos. Except they had attempted to make it better by holding signs up for the actors taking photos. Half the time it didn’t work. But it was a little smoother. The photographer was kind of a jerk. It was harder to have fun because he was awkward. Not welcoming or easygoing. In the end, it wasn’t worth the money spent. It had a lot of potential. It just wasn’t executed well.

…If you just wanted to meet some of the Once Upon a Time actors, this was a decent event. As I said previously, I understand this was a first time event. Although, A couple of the volunteers/employees told me they also worked Wondercon/Comic Con so I don’t understand how things were so dysfunctional. It should have been only one or two days long, not three, as there was not nearly enough to do. The vendor area was nice, but not enough to keep anyone occupied for long. Actors should have had individual panels so that there would be enough to do throughout the day. The Santa Rosa Ballroom (their main room) should have had trivia or cosplay contests going on while photos were happening for people who didn’t have photos ops. My highlight was the actors themselves, as they were so so so wonderful! (posting more panel/press photos later) If you were going for the ‘Regal’ experience and a fantastic weekend, it was a mess in my opinion.

Your Friend, Elle

Comments

  1. 1

    "Emma" says

    As a RegalCon volunteer, and former comic con / wonder con volunteer, I can confirm that dysfunctionality has almost everything to do with the staff event coordinators. It’s the same concept of having bad management in retail. Can you really blame the staff of a store if the management doesn’t make sure everything is punctual, and their staff is informed?

    Major cons have several training meetings, and you’re given a position and knowledge about your position ahead of time. We did not receive any prior training, position or information beforehand. There was a mandatory meet up a day before the con started and volunteers were pretty much thrown wherever the moment they turned up for a shift.

    All that considered, myself and other volunteers did their best with the ever changing schedules and lack of concrete information. But I agree with your critique on its lack of organization and proper execution. The only complaint is add aside from that is it seemed Evil RegL and Lana-centric. Could have benefited by feeling more full fandom.

    Speaking of which, on a positive note. I know the fandom has an infamous reputation for being one of the most confrontational and awful around, from what I was able to observe; it was rather nice in that aspect of the con. The fans were pretty great, and no issues broke out in my neck of the woods.

    Next time could benefit from a more open feel, lower prices, better organization and properly trained staff. I’d highly suggest anyone who went or are considering next years go. Give it that second chance. Many don’t or haven’t quit on the TV show and that has some seriously shit seasons (heck I don’t even watch, I’m just romanticized by the characters and actors).

    But I think it all will learn from their mistakes the second time around, and definitely will generate more to see and do.

    • 4

      says

      No, you’re right. But I am in no way blaming the staff entirely. I’m sorry if you got that impression. It was the managements job to keep the staff informed. However, with an ‘experienced’ staff, it should have avoided some basic pitfalls (like reserving seats).

      That’s a good point, thought they did name it ‘Regal Con’ so I did expect it to be Lana-geared.

      I’ve never experienced any trouble with the OUAT fans. Other fandoms, yes, but never OUAT.

      The prices were a big issue for me as well. Though I did not personally pay since I was press, I did feel bad for those who did.

      One can hope…

      • 5

        "Emma" says

        Oh, no, not upset or given a bad impression. I was just trying to clarify on some of the article’s points from an insider POV. There were the cons of the con (pun intended), but in my opinion, they weren’t anything that can’t easily be fixed or done better a second time around. That’s what I was hoping to reflect. (and sorry for any spelling or grammar errors in my post above, I was typing at my phone late at night).

        • 6

          says

          Ah gotcha. Much appreciated. Hopefully. Though from what I hear the cast weren’t very happy so not sure if many will return. No worries 😉

  2. 7

    Lili says

    Are the rumors about Sean Maguire’s wife taking the paid for seat next to him at the VIP dinner away from a fan who paid a lot money to reserved the seat and sit next to Sean during the dinner true? And the fan not getting a refund for the money she paid for that seat back from the con and Sean+wife having her thrown out after she complaint?

    • 8

      "Emma" says

      I actually don’t know about that officially. I overheard there were several issues with that particular actor, but I generally try to keep my ears out of the gossip zone. (They turn purple and fall off, dontchaknow.)

      I also have professional contact with one of the writers, and one of the actors (not any who attended, mind you), so I’m not really at liberty to discuss it anyways. (Need to keep a good image up. Plus I’d really like to return to staffing next years, hopefully).

      Maybe someone else knows more than I.

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