Convention Impossible: Holiday Matsuri 2017!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! I am back and sorry for the wait because I was ill for the past couple of days. When I came home from Holiday Matsuri on Sunday I was fine and when Monday rolled around I got sick with an infection and was in the hospital. I took a few days off to get myself better even yesterday watching NetFlix. I am back and it is time for the Convention Impossible post. This year’s Matsuri was a very fast convention and man I have a huge list of Needs of Improvement and that even includes some points people have been talking about in the Facebook Group which I will touch upon here and from my own obeservations. Let’s get it on!

Disclaimer: This review is based on thoughts and opinions from the lead writer’s observations. Please respect her thoughts on this convention because everyone is entitled to their opinion as always. Thank you!

This year’s event was last weekend and man it was full of attendees in all shapes, ages, and sizes! Heck, even in all kinds of cosplay besides my Pokemon Ranger Link cosplay which people have commented on Ageslash in his Master Sword colors. We didn’t get many pics except for the Cosplay Runway which you will see later on in the posts when we get the pics off my phone since Gondras loves how fast the SE camera takes, now hoping the 8 camera does the same thing when I upgrade next fall.

Hotel: Like last year, it was at the World Center Marriot and still the same hotel and this year was a first which Gondras and I stayed with Nerdy Shirts and two of our other buddies and one of their buddies who was volunteering this year. Our room was in the North Tower overlooking a good portion of Disney Springs and you can see the balloon landing and the fireworks going off at Hollywood Studios which was amazing! Good thing was that we did have a mini fridge and good thing for my cream cheese and travel creamers since I need my coffee and did bring bagels this time around which everyone loved the Everything ones. Good to know for next time! We hardly went to the pantry, except I did get some soft serve ice cream which was really delicious, but we did have sandwiches all thanks to Gondras. Another good thing about the room was that not only we had lamps but we also had lamps with powerstrips which we can charge our multiple devices since you know being press does have its many perks of tech and I did have to recharge my Braille Sense U2 for an entire evening. Good thing on that because we live in the age of rechargeable devices including a PS4 which one of our buddies did bring. Yes, we did have WiFi but it was a sneaky thing where when booking it is included in the rate which that wasn’t mentioned but at least that will be fixed if we do decide to stay there for 2018’s convention if they are there again which I have a feeling they will be with how much it has grown. I do have an Need for Improvement which deals with the room arrangements for people to be placed so that will be towards the end!

Panels: Oh man! This year we had many events to cover since we did have the press pass. The ones we did cover were the panels with Christina V. and Nate Wants to Battle, the “It Gets Better” panel with J. Michael Tatum and Brandon McInnis, the Cosplay Runway Contest again this year since we did enjoy it last year but our pics turned out blurry due to how fast the contestants went on and off stage, the Idol Festival since the Press Crew asked for people to cover that, and the Voice Actors Panel Saturday. Reason for so many events well the two voice actors panels is that we didn’t get to interview anyone which was a sad thing for us but at least we did make it up for panels even with J. Michael Tatum’s stuff since he was one of the people we wanted to have an interview with. I also wanted to interview Christina since I did get to interview Katie Griffin through email and because of getting to talk to the original Sailor Mars, why not the new? I did ask my question during her panel with Nate from my list of questions which I had on me just in case something happened and we can interview and you will see her response in that video.

With the Idol Fest, it was a new thing we have not seen before since this year was the first time for Holiday Matsuri to do the event. For those of you who don’t know what is an Idol Fest, I took a bit of a lookie look and I found something that gets held in Tokyo, Japan every year and has started back in 2010. It is basically a concert where female solo idol artists or idol groups perform in front of people and if you guys know Vokyloid then you may know that is basically what it is. With the performances here, we have the groups lip syncing to the music and play instruments and play the roles as the idols. One of them was even a dancer idol which made it even more interesting. We did get video but there were people in the way of the camera and well…don’t want to be claimed for the performance. All in all it was a pretty good event. I have a feeling it will return next year.

We did go to one 18+ panel this year and it was Mr. Tatum’s Saturday one and can’t really say what happened but if you guys have him as a guest at your local convention and OF AGE then go! Also, if you’re bringing grandma, this is something she may enjoy or not. (I am not kidding someone did bring their grandma!) And also, you may die laughing which Gondras did say I had done a higher pitched “Nyu” than I usually do during this panel. Again, go to it if he is a guest and doing it too. But the other voice actors events I can talk about were the ones on Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, first the Saturday one had Charlotte Chung, Fred Tatasciore, J., and Brandon while Sunday felt like it rotated Charlotte and had Nate and Christina in that one. During Saturday’s, I was able to ask my “Favorite Holiday Memory” question because you are at Holiday Matsuri and actors do have stories to tell especially J. this year and they are very entertaining by the way! While Sunday, Gondras did ask one question about roles that they wished they have gotten but Brandon did re-phrase it and that made it better in a way.

When Gondras originally asked the question which was “Were there any roles they wanted but didn’t get it?” Christina and J. did answer the question Christina did run into that situation while J. says when he doesn’t get it that he lets it go and not let it bother him. Then Brandon chimes in to change it to “What were roles you wished for?” Which was a better question to ask since it was easier for everyone to answer. Thank you Brandon, this one will bein our interviews for now on, especially starting next year when we sign up again for Omni Expo! First Brandon said he would like to be a witch in Into the Woods, J. said he wants something like that too but doing a female voice himself that would be a good challenge for him especially if they made Orlando by. Virginia Wolfe into an anime so he could do both parts of him in male and in female. Nate would do manly men in their early years. Fred would like to go for the Joker and Christina said she would wish she had Stitch or Crush but if she had it in the 90’s, read either Jasmine or Ariel. I could go on with panels but to me the main and special events were the most entertaining since we didn’t go to many fan panels, we did try going to the Kingdom Hearts 15th Anniversary one on Saturday but that didn’t go as well since they were just doing a video type of presentation. I know video is nice but panels can’t just be all video. Plus, we didn’t know what panels were going on in the fan area since the app that was used this year called Cosmunnity was not working right for some reason and there were not many printed schedules. I will touch on that later.

Guests: Even though we didn’t get to interview anyone this year we did get to mostly talk to J. and Brandon at their tables during their weekend. Gondras had to do his Jelly Baby bit since he was the Doctor during the weekend and I did have a few myself since he fed me a few. Lol He did help a girl in the line for the Saturday Voice Actors panel who was going through some nerves and gave her a few to calm them down which he did good on that. I know that feeling when meeting a guest you REALLY wanted to meet and you have a lot of nerves underneath. I do become a little shy around them I admit…but I do go with the flow since they are like us. What was awesome though was having a bit of a tech talk with Brandon McInnis since he noticed my Braille Sense U2 and he gave me a post idea for the Access Tech category on here since it is my handy dandy press device for notetaking and editing now for writing too.

Dealer Room: This year’s Dealer Room felt like it grew a bit bigger this year with more vendors and we saw a lot more people in it this time as in attendees. The layout did change a bit with some artist people more in the front and a few a little spread out. I did get a few things this year and that included a new messenger bag of Roy Mustang from FullMetal Alchemist which I was meaning to get one of Ouran High School Host Club but when I tried looking for the person who had the bag they weren’t there anymore. Apparently, this year there were a few booths that were selling bootlegged stuff and they were kicking anyone who was selling it out and I think the Ouran bag seller might have been one of them. I did get a new pair of cat ears and tail from the fave cat ear seller I always love to buy from. She had a new set of ears and a tail in a new pattern of fur she picked up and called it Latte. It was sooo soft and yes I bought the ears and tail set since I have not gotten a chance to get a tail from her. I did have to buy a tail from someone else to go with the blue ears she made me in the past that I did meet at AFO since I hadn’t found her since 2014ish? I was glad to find her again and I still have her contact. And yes, I ran into my buddy who sold the Japanese Snacks which he was down a few tables from another guy doing the same thing and almost got chocolate mint flavored ramune but it was a bit pricey. This year was a change for my Snacks Buddy since he did mystery bags and I got one for a nice change and I haven’t gotten anything out of it yet due to being ill recently. Not only that, he did get the fave mint Kit Kats but I have been a bit chocolate out due to getting leftover bags of Halloween Mars and Hershey’s mixes even though I have been doing it moderately in consumption. Gondras did get a bag and he did eat some of them that night with me. Another item was something I never thought I would find at a con but on Hot Topic and that is a Pikachu wallet. It is in a clasp format and I do love the clutch like wallets like my Luna and Artemis one from my birthday this year and this one has Pikachu’s face on the front and lightning patterns on the back. I guess I did a pretty good haul this year despite how massive last year’s was due to having a work experience but next year will be better. Gondras did get his copy of Tales of Xillia 2 signed by Mr. Tatum and yeah it did cost a little but it was worth the wait for the entire weekend.

Rating: CONVENTION COMPLETE! I know this seems to be more of an Accomplished but I feel like it is a Complete. This convention went by fast for the three of us and we did get to enjoy the room for two days. I do find it very convenient that we had the room at the World Center and get to the events a lot faster than driving from one part of Orlando to the Disney area. Now onto the last part…

Needs for Improvement: Oh man! There was one HUGE feedback post after this con and I do have my own needs to suggest….

1. For Hotel: World Center if you are reading this why put everyone in the North and West towers of the hotel when the event was ccloser to the East and South towers? Before the convention, the hotel was reserved almost to full capacity and well most of the reservations were kept in North and West which we have to walk a good distance to get to the southern part of the main floor. Not only that, the first day of the convention, we had to park in the southern parking garage and you can imagine how far the boys had to walk to get all of our stuff. I was waiting for the camera to charge before the J. and Brandon panel. Plus, during the night, the North and West parking lots were full due to how many people were staying and we had to park on a side street which is pretty dangerous and wishing that the parking was better and even people talked about that on the group and yes, they are listening well the convention is and they said that the hotel will do better next year. I am hoping and with the amount of attendees staying at the hotel all four towers should have equal access to have reserved rooms. As in if both South and East get filled up then use the North and West towers not the other way around because it does save on time, yeah it would be a long walk to the pantry and restaurants but they are pretty much in the middle of the atrium connecting to the North and West towers, the lobby, and the pool area. (Man, I should be working for the Marriot, lol)
2. Having Volunteers Guide Blind People: Oh man, another thing I wished that was there was not only more volunteers on the floor which they should have been all over and that are ones that can help the blind. Maybe I should suggest to the admins about this and that is able to help any blind attendee that may be going to convention because reading a map is not always accessible. Trust me, I was lost getting to Main Events on Saturday. As the only blind press person, it is not easy walking sometimes if you don’t know where to go and I did have a hard time asking people since they point. I can’t see pointed fingers so I finally asked if anyone will help guiding me and someone did. Glad that helped but would be nice to have volunteers to give that sighted guide too which I remembered year one of Omni Expo where I had a volunteer do that for me and a lot of cons should have that too. There are times when people do have disabilities including wheelchair alongside other things whether it being hearing impaired or sight impaired, having that volunteer to be the sighted guide or being there to help push a wheelchair can kind of help. I should write to Holiday Matsuri to have volunteers to be sight guides once I finish and post this.
3. Guest Relations: I know I mentioned this in reviews on this con in the past but they are back again and it deals with interviews. Last year, I was told to contact the Guest Relations ahead of time even though we got the interviews last year. This year, I just did that and was told to send the interview questions and I did and this was months before the convention and then didn’t get any contact as the week led up to the event and got the response “Sorry! Slots are full!” This did upset me and yes I understood that there was no guarantee of getting one but when the event came, I was not the only one who went through the same thing. A guy I met at the Cosplay Runway had the same thing happen to him when he had known two of the guests and they wouldn’t let them do an interviews he wanted either. I am not sure who got the interviews but Gondras wondered if it was favorites or something because we have done interviews in the past at Holiday Matsuri and I have met some of the press teams and they are like us. But when I mentioned to Mr. Tatum about what had happened and he explained that it was due to their schedules being full. I am now wondering by “Slots are full” are they talking about their event schedules as in doing the panels, events, saying “Hello” to the V. I. P. pass holders, etc.? Or did they get interviews so that is why they are “full?” I am kind of confused on that especially now that the event has passed. I did see open opportunities at the signing area, even though the dealer room is loud like crazy, where interviews can be done with them. I am not sure what is going on with how it is treated. I am hoping next year this gets fixed because I felt like we went through the same thing like with Mega but at least we weren’t pushed to other people that I can’t see their work.
4. Cosmunity App: This one was the biggest of them all with complaints and thank goodness I heard it all over even in our hotel room with the complaints. The Cosmunity App is pretty much like Event Bright where you look at the convention schedule that way and pick where you want to go and apparently that is how you get the map for the entire floor. Apparently, people had major problems with this app! Not only you had a lot of attendees trying to access the Hotel WiFi but also getting onto the app at the same time causing it to go either slow or crashing it and that does happen with apps. Even when Gondras plays Brave Exvius there were times when it does crash due to some bugs. I am glad I am hearing about this since I didn’t have the app nor know that Holiday Matsuri was doing this and with the amount of attendees at this event, especially when you have J. Micahel Tatum at this thing, you draw a huge crowd and technology can’t keep up with that connection demand. Even Brandon McInnis, who works on software himself, was surprised knowing about the app from us. The HM staff did say they are working with the developers of the app to make it better for next year. Another part since this app was bad…
5. Having Printed Schedules and Books Again: Even though there was a con guide this year but there were some print outs according to some people that didn’t have the full schedule. If you don’t have an app that works, having a print out does help and I was glad for press that the Press Staff did give us the panel schedule for the ones that can be covered and a nice tip for anyone who does look at the schedule beforehand since they do post it on the convention website is to use either Google Sheets if you have an Android device or Numbers if you have an Apple Device. With these apps, you can create the schedule by putting in the panels or events you want to go to and what days they are on, what panel you are hosting, even what day and time you’re checking into your room and place what day and time you check out. I used Google Sheets and memorized the events pretty easily but if you need to check the schedule you made, you just take out your phone or tablet and access Sheets or Numbers since they can run offline and check that way. Also, make sure your device is fully charged and if you can’t see then make sure the voiceover is also on. Lol Still, having those print outs can also help in case if the location of the event or time gets changed which you can compare with what you typed out.
6. Panel Form: Yes, I have to mention this as my last point because I feel like it is a huge thing to mention and that is the panel form is not as accessible as it was back in 2013; I did bring Blind Experience back then and the form was very accessible with JAWS on my PC and had no problem submitting it but this year since I want to bring Nerdy Shirts’ idea to life I had a hard time filling out the form. Now to see through my blind eyes and that is I had a hard time navigating through the edit fields, when I tab around it goes to the very bottom, I had to use my arrow keys to navigate and some of the areas weren’t even read out by JAWS and then when I clicked “Submit,” I thought it did until a month before the convention where it was not in. I even tried redoing my password and well the panel staff took a bit to get back to me and the newer passwords they gave me didn’t work. I did let it go but I did need to mention the Accessible Problems. I don’t have problems with the Press Form for the past three years already and it does work like a charm and even getting our Press Passes through the Event Bright app was even more accessible but the Panel Form was not and this should be fixed for next year. I am not sure if the staff were expecting someone to fill out the form with Zoom Text but with JAWS it is not working someone should make something to help work with JAWS or Narrator since all Windows PCs come with that.
Well, that is it for this review. I know the Needs for Improvement were a bit harsh but I did say this was based on my observation of the con and I did take some notes to heart and mind because not all conventions are perfect. I am hoping some of these issues do get fixed and knowing with the huge feedback post on the group did catch the staff’s attention. Next will be my event posts with videos and pics we do have for and can show them to you guys! I will updating on the Twitter account as usual so you guys would be in the know. Oh right…Gondras is also ill so hoping we can get some of the other videos up in time for 2018. Apparently, there has been a bug going around and hoping you guys don’t get it and if you did, get better soon because it is not fun having it since I have gone through it in the past. So, until next time catch you on the universe side!

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