vivien: (waiting for a star)
[personal profile] vivien
I had such an amazing time at my first Celebration, and I want to capture details before they fade into the mists of memory.
The BEST part of attending Celebration Orlando was being in real space with members of my third Internet cult, my fellow Reylo Fanfiction Anthology mods. Going to a con is fun, but going to a con with fans who are as excited as you are? EVEN MORE FUN.

I got in Tuesday night to the ample Air BnB where my friends were and settled in. I knew that I’d need to watch my energy levels, so I expected to sit out on some of the fun during the week. There had been tentative plans to go to Universal Studios on Wed., and I was pretty bummed I’d miss Harry Potter adventures, but I knew I’d be worn out and miserable if I tried to go. I thought I might hang out by the pool, but the pool was crowded, and I forgot my sunscreen, AND plans changed so we all just hung out until the evening. It was absolutely fine by me.

We got to the Convention Center at 8:00 PM, when the queue for the sleep over to get into the Thursday panel was supposed to start. Oh, the line was so very long already. People started queuing much earlier in the afternoon. We stood and stood and finally, the line moved, and then the line globbed into unfair jumbles of multiple lines for the metal detector and screening. This caused much vexation, but we finally got into the hall where the sleep over would be, and we found out we’d be in the main stage room as we’d hoped in the morning. Thus began my Celebration!

My overall reaction to the whole event was “I was not prepared.” It was an ongoing theme.
  • I’d imagined that we’d be in the convention center proper, sitting/sleeping on carpet, because I’m naïve and optimistic. Nope, we were on another section of exhibitor flooring, and wow, that concrete was cold and hard. I had a cushioned stadium seat and a fleece blanket. That wasn’t enough to be very comfortable. I looked longingly at the people who had blow-up cushions, the one family with a pup tent, and another with an air mattress… Smart people. They were also probably local people who didn’t have to fly in their equipment.

  • I’d originally only bought Fri and Sat tickets, and I ended up buying one for Thursday, too, since I wanted to see the 40th Anniversary panel. Should have just sucked it up and bought the four day pass (they were sold out by the time I decided to go)

  • I had some cosplay ideas, but nothing really solid. I had a vague Aunt Beru outfit and a generic freighter pilot look (which I’m going to turn into a Dr. Aphra cosplay, now that I have a clue). Looking back, I think I was tentative. These are kind of the big leagues of Star Wars cosplay, and I wasn’t prepared with good costumes. I think I needed to get the lay of the land.

  • I had an external charger to be prepared for long periods of time not close to an outlet! But I didn’t know how it worked, so it ran out of power fast (I’d needed to charge it, duh.) Then I lost it on the plane ride home – it was in my hand one moment and gone the next. I never even got to use the silly thing.

  • I had money budgeted to buy things, and I did buy some things, but mostly I got overwhelmed and couldn’t choose and I didn’t want to stand in line at the official store (our friends were there for over four hours in the line to get in and then the line to check out). So I missed out on the 2017 shirts, and I’m kind of sad now that I didn’t get one. I will live, I promise, but again, I had no idea what I was getting into (Apparently a lot more people showed up for Celebration than what they were prepared for. Like a lot a lot.)

  • I was unprepared for the scale of the whole thing. I didn’t realize all the panels might have special guests. I didn’t get to all the cool things to see in the exhibit hall, not because I didn’t know they were there, but there was SO MUCH to try to do at the same time. I wasn’t able to go to the nerd prom, because by Tuesday night, I was in line and too exhausted to go back, dress up, go to the event for an hour or so, and then get back into the line for the second sleep over.

Despite my lack of preparation - and how could I have known what to expect when it was my first time? - I still enjoyed the hell out of the whole thing. I was wrapped in a fandom cocoon, and I got to play hard core fan like I’ve never done before. After the 40th Anniversary panel (the one we’d waited for over Wed. night), we pretty much just got right back into the “unofficial” queue for Thursday morning’s The Last Jedi panel. That was the priority. We made line friends, though! We were only in the harsh sunlight a couple of hours! Yikes.

Thursday Highlights:
The 40th Anniversary Panel – oh my gosh. Our seats were far back on the left, but we were where I could see the video screen well.
  • Kathleen Kennedy starts it off, and then George Lucas comes out to a crowd going wild (there’s been estrangement since he sold to Disney, so it was significant he was there).

  • Mark Hamill is often at cons, because he was a con-goer pre-Star Wars, but when Harrison Ford was announced, the room really went wild. He doesn’t do these things. Ever.

  • There was a beautiful memorial to Carrie Fisher. Her daughter, Billie, came out and spoke, and I bawled pretty much uncontrollably, because exactly one year before – to the minute – my mom died in my arms. So I was crying for her, for Carrie, for Billie, because I know how she feels, and for me. But it was a good, cathartic crying, and I’m glad it happened that way.

  • The highlight of the panel – and of the entire Celebration for me – was when the right stage wings pulled away, and John Williams was there conducting an orchestra. They played Leia’s full theme as the ending of the memorial and then launched into a medley of sorts. It was the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard – partly because his scores are truly the music of my childhood and of my soul. To watch him conduct live… that is something I will probably never have the chance to experience again.

  • Billy Dee Williams had a panel right after, and we slipped in. He was very sweet, only slightly baffled by all of us, and I’m glad I was able to hear him speak. I didn’t know he was an accomplished painter.

  • There were no more Thursday highlights because lines. I HAVE NO REGRETS.


Friday Highlights:

The second night of sleeping on concrete was less fun than the first, but I managed. Line friends helped.
  • Rian Johnson, the director of TLJ, stayed signing autographs for about four hours, but I didn’t get into line because I was cranky and tired.

  • I did spend a goodly amount of time by an electrical outlet watching a hot lady teach saber forms to some dudes while I balefully tried to keep my devices charged enough to use.


  • BUT WE GOT INTO THE MAIN STAGE FOR THE LAST JEDI PANEL AND WE HAD GREAT SEATS.

  • I quickly regretted not standing in line for Rian’s autograph because he is legit humble, and he was emotionally overwhelmed by the reaction. He’d been nervous about this whole event, because SW fans will let you know if they don’t care for something. Kathleen Kennedy gave him high praise for writing powerful and independent women, and then he talked about respecting Carrie’s script-writing skills so much that he went to her house and they worked on the script together. No one in her entire SW career ever did that, and she had to fight for lines that made sense/were better than written, so this please me to no end. He's also adorable. Is he married? HMMMM.

  • DAISY RIDLEY! JOHN BOYEGA! I COULD SEE THEM IN PERSON OMG. They were tiny, but that's okay!


  • You can just see Daisy in the red there. You can definitely see Kylo with his sexy villain/Byronic hero scar.

  • As Mark said, it is true that if Kelly Marie Tran were any cuter, she’d be a Disney cartoon. I’m really excited to find out more about her character, Rose, because then there will be THREE FEATURED LADIES in one Star Wars movie. Four if you count Phasma, who is rumored to have more of a role. What is this madness?

  • They teased us with the poster first. THE POSTER OMG THE POSTER, SO COMPELLING, HELLO OMINOUS LUKE AND KYLO WITH REY HOLDING THE PRECARIOUS BALANCE. But for a moment we thought that was all we’d get.

  • Then we got to the trailer, which the cast hadn’t seen yet, either (they’d been checking out the stills being shown, too, because they were also new to them). Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I’m even more excited than I had been.

  • After the panel, I was in a daze. Seriously. Just walking on air. Carefully guarding my poster.


  • I took a nap when we got back to the air bnb. Then I woke up because I was so hungry. I had a snack and went back to sleep at 4:00 and I didn’t wake up until 1:00 AM. And then I was only up for about thirty minutes before crashing again until morning. I missed Mark’s tribute to Carrie, but honestly, I couldn’t have gone back for it. I was so tired. My friend went to Galactic Nights at Disney World – a special event for Celebration attendees only – and all I could think was how glad I was I didn’t invest in an expensive ticket I wouldn’t have been able to use! SO TIRED.


Saturday Highlights:

  • This was the day of smaller panels and shopping. We missed the main panel on Rebels – and I found out that everything was streamed and recorded, so even though I felt like I missed out on so much, I could catch up.

  • Goodwill had a booth on the exhibitor’s floor. Oh, friends. My paralysis and penny pinching is not an issue when the shirts are $5 and the DVDs $3. I bought all the prequels, The Clone Wars movie, and a Clone Wars game for the Wii. Behold my shirt haul (the cat was not included in purchase):








  • Halloween AND Star Wars????? It was waiting for me.



    This loose Kylo Ren is now my seasonal greeter. The Mother's Day card in his hand says "Sorry I suck. Love, Kylo." Soon he will hold a jack o'lantern. Muahahaha.


  • The Del Rey panel had new book announcements and chats with four authors. Chuck Wendig is very funny. The host scolded him “How dare you, sir?” over Mister Bones in Empire’s End, and I echo that sentiment. I really liked the Aftermath series, and I’m super excited that the story group is making sure that the comics, games, and books are tying into canon.

  • Cantina archaeology – apparently a big ongoing project of Pablo Hidalgo is researching the cantina scene from ANH, trying to ID background actors and salvage props and costumes. It was really interesting, and more oral history from Rick Baker and other artists. Thank goodness my friends got in line for me – the line was gigantic from thirsty people who wanted to hear any drops of spoilers from Pablo’s tongue. I just really like the cantina scene.

  • I was on a quest to buy an art print, because I wanted something to frame for my living room. The exclusive print was a) $75 and b) sold out for the day and I couldn’t come back for Sunday. So I found just what I wanted – a great artist with three prints on sale for $50, which was what I’d budgeted for the purchase. Now I just need to get frames…




  • That night we met up with more Reylos for dinner. I shocked myself by ordering and liking a Guinness and hard cider mix (Black Velvet, I think). Sadly I was peopled out and was not as social as I could have been, but I had a great time talking fandom with our Irish friend's boyfriend who was likewise not into the socializing.


  • Sunday I packed and chilled and watched the streaming panels and then my shuttle arrived and the closing ended, I arrived at the airport, and it was all over. I'm ready for the next one in 2019. Especially if the immersive Star Wars hotel at Disney World is complete.

    And, uh, I now plan to get a PS4 because Battlefront 2 trailers premiered at Celebration, and we wants it, precious.

Date: 2017-04-22 01:58 am (UTC)
mnemehoshiko: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mnemehoshiko
DO YOU WANT MY REBEL ALLIANCE SHIRT? WHICH IS UNWORN? IT SAYS CELEBRATION ORLANDO ON IT!!
Hopefully by 2019, my back will have forgiven me

Date: 2017-04-22 02:45 am (UTC)
gramarye1971: a French horn resting on an open book of sheet music (French horn)
From: [personal profile] gramarye1971
The highlight of the panel – and of the entire Celebration for me – was when the right stage wings pulled away, and John Williams was there conducting an orchestra.

I'm pretty sure I would have burst into tears on the spot. That is so incredible. So glad you got to be there to see it!

Date: 2017-04-22 04:30 am (UTC)
politicalmamaduck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] politicalmamaduck
Oh Viv, this is so amazing. I am so incredibly happy for you. I love all those shirts you got, those prices are unbelievable! And I would not have survived seeing John Williams conduct live. I would have died happy.

Date: 2017-04-22 10:34 pm (UTC)
jothra: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jothra
Viv, that is so cool! I'm glad you had such a good time. I've always wanted to go to one of these...

Date: 2017-04-24 01:13 am (UTC)
misslucyjane: (Millenium Falcon)
From: [personal profile] misslucyjane
I'm so glad you got to go to this!

Date: 2017-04-24 02:01 am (UTC)
sardonicynic: actor | kristen bell (I and love and you)
From: [personal profile] sardonicynic
I am delighted that you got to go; Team Viv forever and ever, amen. <333

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Vivien

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