Hall H: To some, it’s just a section of the San Diego Convention Center, but to a devoted Comic-Con fanatic, hearing those two little words can trigger a whirl of emotions.
Despite its capacity to hold 6,500 fans, Hall H remains the toughest room to get into during Comic-Con. It's a place where the biggest news in entertainment breaks during the four-day pop culture convention, the place where studios like Warner Bros. and Disney unleash major announcements, the place where A-list celebrities drop by, sometimes unexpectedly.
Being in the audience for those moments of pure, gleeful fandom isn’t easy. Getting into Hall H takes strategy and hours of patience and persistence. Hall H makes no secret of this.
A Twitter account created for the line to get into the room – dubbed @HallHLine – gives it to fans straight, describing itself like this in its bio: “I am the longest, nerdiest, most demoralizing line at any convention center ever made and that’s just how you like it. Come get in me."
Only the most willing and dedicated fans can endure the task of making through the Hall H line. With this will come lifelong memories and a chance to be part of a special community of fans who wait, year after year, for those four glorious days of Comic-Con.
Any Hall H expert will tell you, the best strategy for making it into Hall H is to be prepared. Here are some things that will help you “live long and prosper” when waiting in that line.
Sunscreen, Protective Gear
As they say, the early bird gets the worm, and the same goes for getting into Hall H. You should anticipate waiting anywhere between 12 to 24 hours to get in. For instance, if you want to attend a “Game of Thrones” panel that starts at 4 p.m. on a Friday, you should plan on getting in line 10 to 12 hours beforehand. That wasn’t a typo. Again, Hall H is only for the most dedicated of fans.
Once you’re in line during the day, and you get there early enough, you’ll get prime real estate: a shaded location under the tents right outside the hall.
If not, get ready to brave that San Diego sunshine. Sunscreen and protective sun wear, like sunglasses or a hat, are critical items to bring with you. The last thing you want is to be sunburned while watching a “Walking Dead” panel.
The good news though is that once you're in Hall H, your body temperature will quickly cool. Despite the thousands of people filling up the room, it still gets pretty chilly inside. Bring a light jacket or blanket for optimal comfort inside Hall H.
Cleanliness is Key: Hygiene Supplies
The only thing worse than waiting in line more than 12 hours, is waiting in line with a bunch of sweaty fellow fans. Cleanliness is essential, and part of surviving Hall H is making sure you don't turn any potential friends away because of your body odor.
Since you won’t be able to shower while waiting, plan to bring essentials like face wipes, deodorant, and a disposable toothbrush – the travel section at any store should have you covered. If you’re waiting in line more than 12 hours, you might also consider a change of clothes, but remember to pack lightly. You’ll be bringing everything in Hall H with you, and there are no lockers.
Once you’re in line, you must stay there. If you’re planning on waiting alone, you'll need to make friends in line who can help you save your spot, in case you need a bathroom break.
The restrooms at the Hilton Bayfront (in the lobby or second level) are the perfect place to freshen up. You may even be lucky enough to see a famous face roaming around like that time I washed my hands there, right next to Joss Whedon.
Stay Hydrated and Bring Healthy Snacks
Water is so important to survival in the Hall H line, especially if you're in the sun. Bring a refillable water bottle that will also keep your water cool. There are water fountains behind the San Diego Convention Center, and sometimes they have a refill station.
Healthy snacks are also crucial; easy things to munch on – protein bars, granola bars, fruit – will cover the waiting in line part. You’re allowed to bring food into Hall H, so definitely pack a lunch, maybe a sub sandwich that you can divide into two meals and eat throughout the panels.
There are food vendors in the Hall H lobby, but the selection is limited (pizza, nachos, burgers).
With lots of time to kill waiting in that Hall H line, you’ll probably spend a good portion of it on your phone, which means you’ll be quickly draining that battery. Bring a portable charger to keep your devices running smoothly.
If you get in line early enough to wait under the tents, there are power outlets attached to the columns. If you’re next to one, bring a multi-outlet to share with other people in line. This will help you make friends in no time.
Since you’ll have to bring all of your items with you into Hall H, only bring the essentials to pass the time (leave the flat-screen TV at home): your phone, headphones, a small tablet, card games, books.
Inside Hall H, cell phone service is limited, so give your friends and family a heads up that you won’t be able to be reached for a while. Plus, if you're on your phone during the Hall H panels, you're doing it all wrong.
Inflatable Lounge Chair or Folding Chair
Camping overnight with complete strangers may not seem very pleasant, but for some, it’s part of the excitement and experience of making it inside Hall H.
If you’re one of the committed fans willing to sleep in line overnight, comfort will be key, so bring something to sleep on like an inflatable lounger or folding chair. Add a sleeping bag and earplugs, and you may even be able to get some sleep as you wait.
The terrain behind the convention center, where the Hall H line winds around, varies from grass to cement. A chair or lounger will keep you comfortable no matter where you land in the line.
There are many things you can do to customize the experience of waiting in the Hall H line. These tips are a start to surviving the long haul.
Though daunting, at times, embracing the line with a good attitude is your best bet. Think of it as a way to meet others who share common interests and your same enthusiasm for Comic-Con.
Once you get into the hall, it’s easy: just kick back, relax and bask in all of Hall H’s geeky glory.
This year, Hall H panels include “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” on Thursday with huge names like Halle Berry, Colin Firth, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges, the casts from “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” on Friday, Warner Bros., Marvel and Entertainment Weekly with Charlize Theron on Saturday, and “Supernatural” and “Doctor Who” on Sunday.