Course Set for Star Wars Celebration?
Tips to make your Star Wars Celebration go as smoothly as the Millennium Falcon’s Kessel run.
By MJ Wilke
Star Wars Celebration is back and expanded to five days for 2019, taking place April 11–15, 2019, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. Unlike other comic-cons, it’s a fan convention put on in conjunction with Lucasfilm Ltd. Highlights include first looks at new movies and a sneak peeks of new and upcoming seasons for TV shows. These presentations include the creative forces behind the scenes as well as the stars. Oh, and then there is the shopping for exclusive merchandise and the unveiling of new products. Here are some things to keep in mind to help you get blown away by Star Wars Celebration in the windy city.
What you Need to Know Now
Main Stage Lottery. New for 2019 - No more tauntaun sleeping bag slumber parties of overnight queuing for the main panels. In it’s place is a lottery system for admission to the first panels each morning on the Celebration Stage (those mega trailer premiere, star-studded panels). The lottery will take place online starting Friday, March 28 and ending April 4th. To enter, you will need the email under which you purchased your ticket. So, whoever bought the tickets for your group is now your group leader for the lottery. To those people - tag you’re it. Winning this lottery is the only way to gain admittance to these first morning panels, unless you’re a Jedi Master then you have reserve seating. There will be no standby queue for these panels.
Panel Reservations. A portion of the seating for some of the other panels, but not all, will be available for reservations starting April 11th. Your badge must be activated to participate in the panel reservation system. Reservations can be done on the app or at kiosks onsite. There will be standby queues for some of these panels.
Before You Go
Remember to pack:
Badges. Badges were mailed. Double check that you packed yours. Also, to save time the first morning – activate your badge online before arriving.
Lightsaber. There will be many opportunities for you to wield your lightsaber, especially during the evening events.
Star Wars gear. This is the convention to wear your gear proudly, so pack that Kessel Run T-shirt, Solo shot first socks, and R2D2 backpack.
Jacket. Weather for Chicago in April will most likely be rainy and windy with temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the low 40s.
Manage Your Tech:
Download the app for Star Wars Celebration.
Bring a backup power supply for your cell phone.
For a little mood music, download the Star Wars Original Motion Picture Soundtrack composed and conducted by John Williams. This is great for listening to while you pack for your trip.
Keep in Mind
Security Lines. Plan extra time in the morning for security lines. To enter, you are required to go through a bag check and metal detector. At high traffic times, this can add 30+ minutes to your morning. Entrance for Star Wars Celebration is the West Building of McCormick Place, Gate 41. The Celebration Stage is in the Wintrust Arena, which has a separate entrance and a separate security line. You will need to go through security every time you go between the Celebration Stage and the main hall.
Take a Nerdy Side Trip
Experience Chicago. Take advantage of the location of this year’s celebration. There’s plenty of outside events around town that are unique to Chicago like The Second City comedy club performance of Rogue Pun and the Chicago Cubs Star Wars Day with blanket giveaway. D23 fan club is having a movie screening of Empire Strikes Back and don’t forget about the numerous museums and restaurants. Check out some of our Nerdy Places in Chicago.
Looking for more Star Wars? Check out all our Star Wars Nerd Buys. And for more travel tips, our Top Tips section is full of useful information.
Is your lightsaber packed? We’ll see you there.
MJ Wilke is the founder of Wayward Nerd. She is a road warrior. A nerd. A trekkie. A whovian. A Star Wars fanatic. She will go where no one has gone before, come back and post it here.