Dream Con is an anime and gaming convention that started as a dream but was brought to fruition by social media influencers, RDCWorld. RDCWorld dreamed of bringing together like-minded individuals to enjoy and celebrate multiple interests, including pop culture, comics, art, cosplay, anime, music, and much more. As of 2023, Dream Con was held at the Austin Convention Center.
I had heard about the event back in 2021 through friends online. Although, DreamCon has been around since 2018. Since then, it has only grown into what we see/hear today – an attendance of approximately 20,000 plus convention goers and, this is the first year the event was held in a convention center. There was so much excitement behind the convention that they had to introduce a ticket lottery. If you were lucky to purchase a ticket, you had approximately ten minutes to purchase whichever available tickets.
Starting with Day Zero, I will admit that it has been some time since I’ve gone to a convention, but I always arrive a day early to get acclimated to the new location and pick up snacks and other necessities I didn’t bring. I couldn’t snag a room at the main convention hotel, the Hilton Hotel. However, I could reserve a room at the Hotel Omni Austin Downtown location, a ten-minute walk from the Hilton Hotel and the convention center. The hotel itself was gorgeous, the staff was friendly, the room was wonderful with a unique view of inside the hotel, and of course, the food was great too. I highly recommend this place if you are traveling. I walked to the convention center to get my Press Badge and weekend badge. Even though I went early, the line was massive. The line wrapped around the first floor, and they had maneuvered everyone so as not to block the elevators. The line wrapped around the first floor and nearly wrapped inside the building. Even with this massive line and finally finding someone who answered my question about press badges, I was able to get my badges and head back to my hotel.
One cool thing about DreamCon that I noticed was different was the fact it had an app that had important information about the convention center – the schedule, map of the convention center, featured guests, FAQs, how to register for special events, and so on. This was a cool feature because they were still handing out schedule booklets the last time I visited a convention.
Day One, the official start of Dream Con, I woke up early in excitement and tried to beat the sweltering heat as it was the hottest this year. After breakfast, I arrived at the convention center and dressed as Tae Takemi from Persona 5. A sizable line was already beginning to wrap around the convention center. As I waited, everyone in line got a close-up of the Senpai Squad parking their anime and Vtuber-themed cars parking them outside, but thankfully the line was consistently moving, so at most, I was in line for 20 to thirty minutes.
Immediately inside the convention center, there was the Creator League Hall that was open for folks that wanted to be active by playing Basketball or Dodge Ball which I thought was incredibly unique. Most conventions I’ve gone to don’t have things like this available for the con-goers. Further down the hall was the Exhibit Hall. Normally, this is where I would spend all of my time at a convention, but the convention schedule was so diverse that there were panels and other events that I wanted to check out. However, Day One was just everyone arriving, getting into the convention, and seeing what was available. Also, not to mention, DreamCon had a hype station that promoted dance battles. How many conventions do you have room for Double Dutch Jump rope sessions?
I want to mention that I had put together a schedule for DreamCon because there were so many interesting panels. Of course, I was anticipating interviewing Amanda Miller and, hopefully Zeno Robinson. While waiting for confirmation, I thought I would spend time attending panels. I was very surprised at the diverse panels and how there was a panel for everyone and nearly everything. But I also noticed that many panels were scheduled simultaneously, so you would have to sacrifice half of the panel to capture the remainder of the next panel you wanted to go. I did miss a few panels because I realized this a bit too late, but I still enjoyed my first day!
Day Two was officially go time! I had panels that I planned to go to and possible interviews (Amanda Miller and hopefully Zeno Robinson!) that were pre-arranged by CFG and were still waiting for confirmation. So as I waited, I met with online friends and checked out the Mario Kart tournament between SomeBros and RDCWorld, Anime & Trap Music, and more. This day was also very packed as this was the Cosplay Contest, where there were several amazing cosplayers with their amazing cosplays, The Twitch Dream Con Meet up, and several video game tournaments. Usually, Saturday is the busiest day during a weekend convention because it’s the weekend, and folks who couldn’t make it on Friday are there to experience the con. Even with the increased amount of folks at the convention, there was still an area to move around with an occasional line backed up or some confusion of ‘What was this line for?’ or ‘Where is this place?
Unfortunately, I could not attend Day Three, the convention’s final day. But even with my departure, there was no shortage of panels, closing events, ceremonies, and more. Even with my early departure Dream Con 2023 is a MUST go to for convention goers because of how inclusive, and diverse the convention as a whole is. It has many things that appeal to folks from all different walks of life. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of Dream Con 2024~!