A little bit of Disney magic came to the bay area with Mouse-Con’s second year. Following a successful debut in 2015, the 2016 event boasted a larger venue, with more vendors, panels, and attendees.
The new location in the Crowne Plaza Concord proved to be very nice, with a wide open space for dealers to sell their goods and attendees to walk around. While there was a bodybuilding event at the same location, the two remained separated and there was no conflict between the events (presumably because Gaston proved to be a common bond between the two).
While most conventions grow more expensive each year, the second Mouse-Con was actually slightly cheaper, at $10 per adult rather than $12. The price was the same for at-con and pre-registered attendees, and the lines moved quickly to let people in fast.
The con boasted a few special guests, as all cons tend to, starting with Disney legend Karen Dotrice, who played the role of Jane Banks in “Mary Poppins, in addition to some smaller Disney roles. Her line tended to be the longest, stretching outside the autograph area, but she took the time to greet and chat with everyone who came to see her, even if they couldn’t afford to buy anything.
Along with Karen there was Johnny Whitaker, known for his roles in “Family Affair,” “The Biscuit Eater,” and “The Snowball Express,” among others. C. Andrew Newlson, visual effects artist and the actor who’s worn the Darth Vader suit more than anyone else, was also in attendance, meeting fans and signing whatever they wanted autographed.
Other guests included Disney comic writer Pat McGreal, cartoonist and illustrator Bill Morrison, and Russel D. Flores, writer of “Seen, Un-Seen Disneyland,” among more. All of them had tables for guests to see and speak with, and all seemed to be enjoying the con.
With the increased space, the convention offered two panel rooms. They offered a variety of panels, from an attendee-run trivia panel to guest Q&A sessions to discussions about the history of the Haunted Mansion. Occasionally the lines would grow so long they cut into the dealer’s hall, though one panel stage was located just off to the side, allowing attendees to enjoy it as they walked around the con.
Of course, the convention wrapped up with a cosplay contest, featuring contestants of all ages. It was hosted and run by a trio of talented local cosplayers, who have been a part of the NorCal cosplay community for some time, and they added some fun and flavor to the event.
However, outside of seeing panels and guests, the only other activities to do was shopping at the dealers halls. There were two – a large one that served as the main hall, and a smaller (but equally crowded) one. There was mostly Disney merchandise on sale, as one would expect, or Disneyland pins (including a pin trading station). Perhaps more in the way of activities for attendees would have been nice, but the convention still went smoothly, and proved to be a good way to spend a Sunday.
Overall, the second Mouse-Con proved as good as the first, with an improved location, good guests, and a nice panel lineup. Disney fans were not disappointed, and attendees are looking forward to seeing how it grows in the years to come.
Photos in the above gallery by Perry “Agent P” Louie