Is the AlienCon Gold Pass worth the price? Ancient Astronaut Theorists say, “Meh.”
#AlienCon is a convention for fans of the show “Ancient Aliens” and it’s stars. In June of 2018 it was held in Pasadena. Here are my afterthoughts about the show and it’s value.
The first AlienCon was held in the Bay Area of Northern California. At the time we really wanted to go but since it was the first year, we decided to wait it out and let them work out the kinks. Plus the timing was just a little too close to Phoenix Comic Fest, or Fan-a-Palooza, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now.
Enter 2018. AlienCon Pasadena is announced. The timing seemed perfect (two weeks after Phoenix Fanboy-Hoopla-Pop-Culture-Thon, or whatever the hell they’re calling it now) and the change in vicinity made for a shorter trip. We decided it would be a great time to go. First thing we needed to do… Order our tickets.
Tickets came in four basic packages. There was a one day pass followed by a Bronze, Silver, And Gold Pass. After balking at the Gold Pass price ($550 per ticket), we decided to look at the other packages. Hmmmm, which to go with?
After some back-and-forth, we decided to pony up and go with the Gold Pass. It offered the most bang for the buck and since we really wanted to dive into the experience, we felt the extra money was well spent to make sure we had the most thorough and enjoyable experience. Tickets were ordered and we were ready to go.
We liked the fact that AlienCon was in Pasadena, a place we hadn’t been to since forever. When we arrived at the Sheraton Hotel, right next to the Convention Center, we were happily surprised with the room, it’s amenities, and it’s location. So far so good!
The first day of the show meant getting your tickets, despite being pre-paid. Here we go… Long Beach Comicon all over again. Well, actually this too was a welcome surprise because we were able to get near the front of the line (about 40 people back) by arriving only two hours early. We expected a line but the walk from the hotel was very short and the area was shaded, so standing and conversing with fellow fans made it rather enjoyable. We’re off to a good start!
They did have a separate check in for the Gold Pass members which helped us get the tickets quickly and we were ready to go. Looks like this Gold Pass is paying off, right? Well, I guess this is a good time to bring up the ultimate point of this review and that is, “Don’t waste your money on the Gold Pass!”
The Gold Pass promised several things that did NOT come to fruition once you were actually there. First, initial wording on their website stated that Gold Pass holders were guaranteed up-front seating to ALL panels. The wording on their website was changed that first night to just include the main stage, so any other panel you went to you were no better off than the day-passers.
The other thing it promised was early access to the marketplace. Not true. You DID get in early to the Convention Center common area just outside the marketplace doors, but you could not go in to the actual marketplace until the general doors opened for all. Again, only marginally better than the day-passers.
Surely the AlienCon tote bag and goodies inside will be worth the $550, right? NOT! Inside the small canvas bag was a thick plastic green water bottle with the AlienCon logo on it and some trinkets. This lasted until the first dish-washing cycle, which proceeded to melt it into an unusable lump.
The only, and I mean ONLY positive thing about the Gold Pass was the Friday night private event with Ancient Aliens stars of the show. It was a good 2-hour long event and since only Gold Pass people got in it wasn’t that crowded. If only the other Gold Pass promised perks were this good. By the way, most of the information shared in this exclusive 2-hour presentation was repeated at various panels over the weekend.
As for rating the event itself, you need to look at two things. First, the venue where it was held. That part of Pasadena with the shops and restaurants was awesome, but the Convention Center was WAY too small for that event. Ask anyone who stood in line for hours trying to buy a T-Shirt in the jam-packed, insufficiently sized marketplace. Most of the panels were stuffed to the gills with people, and the main stage venues meant getting in line so early you missed the previous panels.
The second factor in judging the event is the quality of the panels. This was spot on and well worth the wait or distant seating. The panels were well represented by the stars of the show and offered a great platform for discussion and audience participation. The panels usually ran long because there was so much information and insight being shared. The panel participants were very well versed and detailed about the subject.
The panel members were gracious outside of the show as well. My wife went back to the hotel room early Sunday because she wasn’t feeling well and was disappointed she was going to miss one of Travis Taylor’s Sunday panel discussions. On my way out of the hotel, I stopped in the small store area in the lobby and ran in to Travis. I mentioned I couldn’t wait for his panel later that day and told him that my wife was not happy about being unable to attend. What does he do? He unzips his luggage, pulls out a copy of his book and signs it with a personal message to her. How Friggin’ cool is that? I heard similar stories from people that ran in to various other celebrities in and around their hotels and even restaurants. They seemed genuinely gracious and appreciative of their fans.
With that said, AlienCon is well worth going to if you are a fan of the show or the people on it. But don’t waste your money on the Gold Pass. Go with the Bronze and you’ll get the same 3-day experience as the Gold minus the 2-hour private event. A lot of what they talk about during the 2-hour exclusive Gold Pass Member event is repeated in the subsequent panels over the next couple of days anyway. For the upcoming Baltimore AlienCon, the difference in Bronze and Gold is pretty staggering. It isn’t worth the extra $562 dollars to hear the exclusive presentation 24-hours before you hear it in the panels… Or is it? 🙂
For AlienCon Baltimore 2018, the ticket packages are as follows.
Bronze Pass ($124):
- General AlienCon Programming on all three days
- Access to the day’s Nighttime Events
- Access to the AlienCon Marketplace
- Access to purchase Autographs & Photos
Gold Pass ($686):
Same as Bronze PLUS
- Advanced access to the AlienCon Marketplace. Not really. You get early access to the front of the doors for when it opens
- $30 Autograph or Photograph Voucher. It’s so crowded your chances of even getting these photos or autographs are pretty slim
- Guaranteed premium seating for MainStage. Yes, but get there early. If lesser Pass holders get there early, their seating is just as good as the Gold pass
- Expedited on-site check-in. Yes, but again if you get there early you won’t have much of a wait either way
- Exclusive AlienCon tote bag. A branded water bottle in a small canvas bag. Save your money for the marketplace items from vendors
- Private event with Ancient Aliens stars. Awesome, but is it worth the extra $562 dollars? Ancient Astronaut Theorists say “No.”
See you at (hopefully to soon be announced) AlienCon 2019!