Mouse-Con made its return, bringing Disney fans of all ages to the South San Francisco Conference Center. Throughout the day, aficionados of all things Disney mingled, enjoyed panels, showed off their costumes, and met the guests.
The staff at Mouse-Con was well-versed to the convention scene and was run by many an experienced organizer. As such, it was one of the smoothest convention days I’ve seen in a long while. Check-in was quick and easy – $10 for an adult, $5 for 14 years and younger (a very fair price for a one-day event) and you were in. The panel rooms were clearly marked, the guests had large and well-marked booths, and the center was easy to find your way around.
There were three main attractions at Mouse-Con: the dealer’s hall, the panels, and the guests.
In the dealer’s hall, attendees could buy a nice array of Disney paraphernalia. There were several pin trading stations set up, for those who enjoy collecting and trading pins, as well as several artists selling their homemade goods. Many of the booths offered rare or older Disney merchandise, ranging anywhere from old Happy Meal toys to antique Mickey Mouse lamps.
The panels covered a nice range of topics, from fan panels with “Big Hero 6” cosplayers answering questions in-character to a history of Disneyland. Of course, the guest panels drew large crowds, with spotlights and interviews with Disney and Pixar staff and stars. Some panels were educational, others entertaining, but never boring.
And of course, there were the guests themselves. Mouse-Con has steadily increased both the quantity and quality of its guests, and this year brought in some impressive ones. Chief among them was John Ratzenberger, a recurring voice in virtually every Pixar film, and actor known for his roles in “Cheers,” the first two “Superman” films, and many more. Along with him was Keith Coogan, who voiced the fox Todd in “The Fox & The Hound,” and starred in movies such as “Adventures in Babysitting” and “Toy Soldiers,” as well as John C. Morris, who provided the voice of Andy in all three “Toy Story” films, and film actor Michael McGreevey.
However, that’s just the start of the guest list. Mouse-Con also hosted Disney animator Rick Farmiloe, and producer/filmmaker/creative director/illustrator Rick Law. Cartoonist and illustrator Bill Morrison was another guest, along with artist James C Mulligan. Returning for a third year was C. Andrew Nelson, visual effect artist and man frequently behind the mask of Darth Vader, who’s always a welcome addition to the con.
Guests could meet with the guests at their booths, where they were signing autographs and taking pictures with guests for prices that were quite reasonable by convention guest standards. There were set autograph sessions for some, along with the occasional photo session, which featured lines of attendees waiting to meet their favorite Disney stars.
This year, Mouse-Con had a new feature, with the Disney Mini-Museum. It featured artwork and animation cells from Disney, for all to see and enjoy. This new addition was sponsored by the San Francisco Cartoon Art Museum, and was a welcome addition, providing new treats for attendees.
As the day neared its end, cosplayers took to the stage for the cosplay contest. The con offered prizes for both adult and children categories, and the welcome environment made it so people felt comfortable and confident entering no matter what their experience level was, and everyone displayed their Disney best for an adoring audience.
The new location, set in South San Francisco, proved adequate for the convention, although it did feel like a bit of a step back from last year’s. Parking was somewhat limited, and many had to park at nearby hotels instead. The center had spacious halls for dealers, and the panel rooms were more than sufficient, but compared to the lovely decor of the previous year’s location, it seemed less impressive. That’s not to say it was a bad spot, parking aside, although apparently the con will be returning to Concord next year.
Finding food was also no problem. Those who wanted to stay around the conference center could buy food from there, with snacks and drinks readily available for the typically-inflated prices we’ve come to expect, while anyone willing to walk a mere block and a half could find IHOP or Togo’s.
Overall, Mouse-Con provided a nice day for Disney fans, with a good, welcoming atmosphere, and an experienced convention staff working hard to create a good experience. It’s a smaller con, but that adds to the friendly environment, and even those just wandering around to check out the cosplayers still had a good time.
Until next time, Mouse-Con.