Around 10:30 a.m., I headed off in my car up I-5 (“the five”) to Anaheim. The trick to beating traffic in southern California is to either leave home at 6 a.m. or wait until after morning rush to work/school. I certainly had no reason to leave the crack of dawn so I opted for the latter. After all, my friend Debbie’s flight wasn’t even going to arrive in LAX until almost 11. Sure enough it was smooth sailing the whole way with no traffic problems whatsoever.
It was a sunny warm day and it promised to be warm the entire time of the convention. Already the big banner advertising Star Wars Celebration Anaheim was decked out and fans in t-shirts were wandering around. It was a little confusing with the construction and the weird roundabout, so I first ended up on the Hilton side of the street but finally made my way to the front of the Marriott. There I saw numerous 501st members hauling out their boxes of armor and fake weapons. I guess this was going to be their hotel.
After unloading the car and having it parked, I went to go check in. A few minutes later I was up in my room eating lunch and waiting for Debbie and our other roomie Marie to arrive. Once they got into the room and settled in, we walked to Downtown Disney. That was kind of a bad idea since it turned out to be hot that afternoon. Neither one of them had ever been to the Disneyland Downtown Disney and I warned them it was nowhere near the size of the one in Orlando. Sure enough we were done in a couple of hours. But not before I did some damage first. At one of the Disney stores I saw the Dooney & Bourke tote bag made for the Disney Star Wars half marathon a couple of months back. D&B did a few styles but the tote was the only style I saw. I asked how much it was and had to think about it. Sure enough we walked into D Street later on and there were like four or five of them on the racks. I still had to think about it. We went to the art gallery and I bought a postcard and a mug. We kept walking around and when we were done with mini Downtown Disney, I went back to D Street. My friends warned that if I waited, it was likely to be gone with all of these Star Wars fans around. I knew it was one of those things where if I didn’t buy it, I’d kick myself later. So I dropped the dough. It wasn’t like I was planning on buying toys and exclusives anyway.
That evening, we met a friend of Debbie’s and a friend of this friend from England for dinner. It was at Morton’s, which was near the Marriott. This was already an expensive trip but what the hey. I knew we were going to live off of convention food the next few days anyway. We were laughing about the line campers for the Abrams/Kennedy panel in the morning (later on I found out Abrams sprung for some pizza for the campers, which was nice of him). I kept looking around to see if any of the con guests were chowing down on steaks and guzzling pricey wines, figuring they won’t run into cheapskate fast-food-consuming fanboys. But I didn’t recognize anyone, so oh well. I got some “Shrimp Alexander” and a jumbo baked potato. They weren’t kidding about the “jumbo” part…that spud looked like it came from an H.G. Welles novel. I also shared some asparagus.
After dinner, the rest of the evening was spent getting ready for the next day. And what a big day it was going to be! Debbie had already determined she was going to skip the panel and line up for the exhibit hall, so she’d have first crack at the Hallmark exclusives. Marie decided to join her. I was taking a wait-and-see approach. If I can get into an overflow room, fine, if not, I’ll get in the other line and watch the live stream on my phone. So we set the alarm for 5:45 a.m. and went to bed by 10:30.