Anyway, here's how it went. My local friend Alex picked me up at the airport. After we dropped my stuff off at the hotel and met up with Terri, my roommate for the weekend, we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner and an attempt to meet up with a couple of Oncer Twitter friends, Marie and Ashley!
With Marie not being able to text, however, we had quite the game getting everyone together! We got in touch with Ashley, whom Marie had just introduced me to that day on Twitter. She was waiting in front of Planet Hollywood. I didn't even know what she looked like, but there was a young woman sitting alone fiddling with her phone. Terri asked her if she was Ashley, and she was! We still couldn't find Marie, so we went to Wolfgang Puck for a yummy dinner. I felt bad for Alex as the 3 of us Oncers dived heads first into discussing our favorite show- which he doesn't watch!
Eventually, we were able to get a hold of Marie- she was back in her hotel room near DTD and contacted us through Twitter. She joined us after we ate. I was so excited to meet her- she came all the way from Argentina, and we'd been speaking online for months- such a sweetheart!
This was my very first time getting to hang out in person with a group of Oncers (not counting Paleyfest as I didn't really talk to anyone there), and I could already tell the weekend was going to be a blast! How fun to get to have all these discussions out loud! Terri and I continued to chat late into the night once we got back to the hotel.
Friday was the first day of the convention itself. Unfortunately, nearly half of the actors expected to come had been called to film- the dwarfs and Granny. I'm thrilled they will be on the show but very sad that they couldn't make it. That did leave Friday fairly sparse as far as planned activities went. I had some cereal in the room and went to the conference center to register.
Hardly anyone was around, so I wasn't comfortable putting on my costume just yet. It was so quiet! The vendor room wasn't yet open. I planned a whole series of costumes- Red for the first day- I used the costume I created for my birthday party last year- Enchanted Forest Belle for the 2nd day, Storybrooke Belle for the 3rd day, and Belle's golden gown for the fairytale ball. I am so proud of that gown! I spent hours stitching gold fabric to my wedding dress along with the accents on the front. My wedding dress has now been transformed into a costume, and I get to wear it again! It's been hanging in my closet for 2 yrs.
After registration, I figured I may as well put the costume on. I donned the red hood, bodice, blouse and skirt. Later on, I realized I had completely forgotten to put on the red gloves- bummer! Oh well..
I wandered briefly into the vendor rooms. There were only a couple of tables. What a vast difference from the endless rows I was used to from other cons! We met a guy randomly dressed as Darth Vader- complete with voice changer. It was quite amusing to hear him request a photo with us in that voice!
Friday felt slow at first. It was alright though- we were able to grab lunch, and it was really fun to gab with other fans. Not a ton of folks dressed up, but enough that I didn't feel silly.
Which tier of ticket package you bought determined where you could sit. I only had one level above general admission, but to my delight, my seat was only about 4 rows back. Our first official event on the schedule was welcome along with a trivia contest. It was during this time that I found my Twitter friend Brooke. We always had fun chats online, and we hit it off immediately in person. It was funny having the chance to meet people in person- many of whom I didn't really know what they looked like! I had a handful of people recognize me from my Twitter pic. That was pretty neat if a tad unnerving!
Trivia was true or false with the volunteers up on stage instructed to hold up signs with their answers then step down when they were wrong. As usual, I was too embarrassed to go up there, but it was fun watching others. Most of the questions were fairly easy for us diehards. There were a few that you really had to pay attention to wording though! They played a few rounds, and the winners each got to choose an actor of their choice to escort them to the fairytale ball the following night.
At 5pm, there was an impromptu cosplay photoshoot set up on a balcony. That was really a hoot! We had several characters represented, and oddly enough- no repeats! I was Red, Ashley was an amazing Granny, then we had the Wraith (?!), purple dress Snow, Young Cora, a wolf woman, Emma, Belle, and Henry. My favorite of the shots we did was Cora taking out people's hearts. If you took the pic from the right angle, it worked really well.
It was a bit strange for me to be Red instead of Belle since Belle is the one I've always identified with. Identity crisis! But I did have a ball swishing around the red cape! I also loved getting to pose with Granny- we were photobombed by the wraith- ha!
Next on the agenda was a fan panel with the hosts of a couple OuaT podcasts- The Other Side of the Mirror and Hope of All Trades- both of which I've listened to before. They decided to have an open forum, and it was really fun hearing the banter and debate bounce around the room. What a riot to be among a group of people who watch the show as intently as I do- people can joke around and make references to the show, and everyone gets it! I didn't always agree with what was being said- I'm rather go with the flow when it comes to tv shows and can tire of hearing a lot of criticism after a while, but I'm willing to listen to everyone's thoughts.
I enjoyed meeting the podcast hosts- totally recognized their voices but had no idea what they looked like. Bri of Other Side of the Mirror has had many conversations with me on Twitter, and we enjoyed talking about old school My Little Pony together. One day, I will go to a Pony Con!
Everyone sort of dispersed after the panel. The people with Diamond package tickets had a cocktail party to go to. I ended up having dinner at the Denny's type place across the street with Loki, the guy dressed as Henry. At first, I was a bit self conscious about leaving the hotel in costume, but Loki convinced me to do it. The waiters actually got a big kick out of it.
At some point, there was a group of us hanging out by the pool where a mermaid performer was supposed to be putting on a show. They seemed to be unable to get the music going, though, so she just swam around looking beautiful. Just over our heads on the balcony, the Diamond package fans were having their cocktail party with the actors. I saw people waving to us from a distance. I walked over to get a closer look, and Terri waved at me from above.
Then she said, "You want me to get Raphael (Sabarge) to come say hi to you?" Umm....yeah! Okay!
My heart started to pound- omigod, my first actor interaction! It took a moment, but then a very familiar face smiled down at me. "Hi!" he said. I said hello back. "You look beautiful!" (I was still dressed as Red.)
"Thanks!" I called back. Then I sort of stared for a moment not sure what to say. "I'm so excited to be here!" I blurted.
"Are you going to be here tomorrow?" he said.
"Yeah, the whole weekend!"
"Great! Seeya then!"
It was a very brief exchange, but I was over the moon! "Archie Hopper" had just told me I was beautiful!
Underneath the balcony, a small group had gathered for karaoke. It was just a guy with a computer filled with tons of songs. I decided to check for some Broadway- they had a whole slew of stuff from Wicked so I chose "Popular" and just went with it. Such a fun song! I messed up a little but still got wild applause.
The best part about singing with a bunch of Oncers is that Oncers tend to be Disney fans. We ended up going through a whole medley of Disney songs. Everyone could really sing too! I don't think there was a truly bad voice in the bunch! I ended up bonding over Broadway with a 13 yr old fan named Ivy. We got up and sang "Kiss the Girl" together which was great fun. After the guy with the computer left, someone pulled out a cellphone, and we kept going- standing in a circle, huddled over the speaker on the phone while singing along to Disney songs! It was surreal- and awesome!
Later, I followed a small contingent of the group to a giant human chess game on the grounds. I didn't want to play the game myself, but I watched for a while. They named all the pieces and teams after OuaT characters. I took to prancing around in my red cape until bedtime when Terri and I chatted into the night again. I couldn't wait for Saturday!