So I figured I should finally put down in words my journey and experiences to DragonCon this past weekend.
maryfrakkingmcdonnell and I hit the road early Friday morning (6AM) on our way to Atlanta. The drive down was pretty easy and we made it to our hotel by 1:15ish. We couldn’t get our hotel room yet so we dropped the car off and headed to get our badges for the weekend. I was worried about standing in line for a long time and was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the system; we got our badges in 10 mins. From there we headed over to buy my photo tix to get my pic with Mary on Saturday!!! That too was a breeze so we decided to walk through the “Walk of Fame”….to see who was there and of course scope out exactly where Mary’s table was. After that we headed back to hotel to freshen up and then catch the first BSG panel of the trip.
The BSG panel that evening included Michael Hogan, Kate Veron, Richard Hatch & Tricia Helfer. We were about a third back in the ballroom but that was fine. The panel was pretty good, had more fan questions than anything else. I was just excited to finally see some of the cast in person. After that panel ended, I saw there was a Buffy/Angel panel and
maryfrakkingmcdonnell was gracious enough to be dragged along. That panel was hilarious, the panel was open about their experiences and told a bunch of funny stories from the set. The panel consisted of Julie Benz, Emma Caulfield, J. August Richards and a make-up designer from both shows. Afterwards we grabbed some dinner and then watched Klingon Karaoke to close out a early night. (needed to be well rested for tomorrow’s big activities!)
Saturday morning we were joined by
angerwasallihad fresh off her bus trip for a Mary McDonnell filled day! We headed over to the hotel to “unofficially” get in line for the panel and BOOM we were the first ones! After we secured our place I ran to get coffee because if I was going to meet Mary I needed caffeine in my system. While I was line I got a text saying we are in the room…..FRONT ROW AND CENTER!!!! I hurried back over to join my peeps and some new Mary fans that were in line with us. We sat for two hours discussing our love for Mary, our favorite roles, outfits, etc. Then right before showtime….there was a slight scuffle about us sliding down a seat due to a policy that was actually misquoted but alas everything worked out and then the panel started! Mary and Jonathan had walked into the ballroom. Mary poked her head out, I believe she was trying to wave to Savannah but my group saw her and waved aka fangirled like crazy. Then they both were introduced and we got started. Not going to get into detail about everything that was said because I am sure there is a video you can watch. What I will say is that Mary and Jonathan were hilarious. They were cracking jokes with each other and always laughing. Mary also has a way of making every person in the room feel special when she is answering your question, she looks directly at you and you know that is a moment between the two of you. She also always goes down the front row of every panel and makes eye contact with every person.
After the panel ended our group of 5 quickly ran over to the other hotel to get in line for pictures. This process was pretty quick….which is the sad part but they have to get through alot of people. When it was my turn I managed not to act a fool. I walked up, said hello and Mary responded hello back. I struck a pose with Mary’s arm around my back and vice versa. Afterwards I said thank you so much, walked away and prayed to the gods that the picture turned out well. We then headed back to the Walk of Fame to wait for Mary to return to get pictures signed. The best part was that Mary was donating everything earned from her autographs and pictures to Sinte Gleksa University, a school very close to her heart. Take a moment to look it up and also check out Mary McDonnell Cares, this is a fan-created fundraising group dedicated to raising funds for Sinte Gleksa. Ok so Mary returned to her table and it was time to actually speak to the woman…..I was nervous. First thing she asked my name and thank god there was a post it to look at, I was that nervous. But after that hurdle the convo was lovely. She is beyond beautiful in person and full of energy. We talked about where I was from and that I was a big fan. After she signed I asked her to add “Boom”, I told her it was a saying at my work, how I made them watch the TNT summer promo and that I use it in my everyday life. She said that was great and smiled! I also shook her hand and thanked her for coming to the con. I was on cloud 9 after that and wasn’t sure what to do with myself.
My group decided to venture out into Atlanta to find some food away from crowds and discuss our interactions with Mary. After that it was back to the hotel to get ready for the DragonCon night at the Georgia Aquarium. That night was really fun, we hung out with our new Mary friends, saw all the exhibits and had drinks!
Sunday morning I joined Brynn & Lindsey back in the WOF to get my picture with Mary signed….which turned our great thanks to the powers that be! Plus the girls were leaving that morning and I wanted to say farewell. Byrnn and I got back in line for Mary and this was probably the best experience of the entire trip. I got up there with my picture along with Brynn by my side. I said good morning, and how are you? Mary smiled so sweetly and said I’m great! How are you? I answered “awesome” or something. I mean she asked me how I was and was interested in my answer, it was great. Brynn and I then told her about the night at the aquarium. Mary was interested in that and asked a few questions. We asked if she had a good night and she said “oh yes!”. We then discussed her charity work and how was impressed we were. She told us a whole story about how passionate she is about Sinte Gleska and how when she was younger she didn’t think she had enough to give (time, money, etc). We said we admired her and wanted to also become more involved with giving back. She smiled and said that was wonderful. We then told her how we were excited for more episodes this winter, and wished her safe travels back home. Brynn mentioned the play in Feb. and Mary was like “oh yes, that’s great you are coming. I don’t know when tickets go on sale….” and we jumped in with Oct. 13th. She laughed and said they needed to make a sign for her table. We thanked her once again and shook her hands. It was the best 10 minutes of my life to date. I was so happy to have met Mary and had a genuine experience with her. But here is the thing…..no matter how long or short your time is with Mary, she takes that time and the effort to make sure you have a great experience. She is so engaging and pure in her conversations that you feel special and appreciated.
After this I called my parents and “fangirled” to them….they kinda get it but were happy I was having a great time. After that it was time to stake out a place for the final BSG panel. I met a fellow BSG-fan and he had the secret to great seats. We waited in line for over two hours but it was worth it. We were about 50th in line out of 1,500 people. The final panel included everyone from the first but with the addition of Mary, who wore the actually Roslin suit from the show. It was a great panel full of emotion, Mary told the story about filming her final scene and Kate cried when speaking about her first day on set and being welcomed into this wonderful family. Richard Hatch is very intelligent and I was impressed by all of his answers. There were a few fan questions and they were great, especially the one from
angerwasallihad about reading to each other being an intimate action and why we don’t read much anymore as a society. Mary’s answer was fantastic and you can find that video after reading this. At then end of the panel Michael Hogan yelled out “So say we all” and of course we all chanted back to him. I will say that I have never felt so much emotion and electricity in a room than those moments with fans from all over joining in that phrase and being united in a love for a show and people that touched our lives. It was unbelievable.
Overall DragonCon was awesome, everything I wanted and more. I met my idol, made new friends and amazing memories. I cannot wait for the next adventure. Till next time friends, love and light to you!