Monday, 19 May 2014

Convention 2014, here I come!!

Every year since I started with Close to my Heart, I look forward to Convention. I start counting down the days as soon as I am home and start checking the airline sites to see when they have flights listed for the dates that I want. When we receive notice that the hotel can be booked, I am on it! Hubby has gone with me to the last two conventions (Dallas in 2012 and Disney World in 2013) but this year I am going by myself and rooming with some of my team. Then on the last day of convention, my sister and niece are coming down so we can spend some time at the parks together! Woohoo!!

It seemed every time I turned around, I thought of something else that had to be booked! It really helped to have lists. A Booking List, a Packing List, a Roomie Gift List. 

Booking List

I started out trying to figure out what had to be booked and found myself getting a bit overwhelmed, so I started writing it all down. Then I got a bit confused because I couldn't remember what I had and had not booked already. Time to make a list! I went step by step, from when I left my house to when I left the hotel to come home - what did I need at each step along the way. This made it so easy! I had forgotten to book my airport parking before I had my list, but once I started the step-by-step method, I had it all down and in order. 
Here is my booking list:

Airport Parking - JetSet
Flight return YEG to LAX
Hotel - Disneyland Hotel
Shuttle - Disney Express
Disney Park-hopper Pass
Disney Photo Pass +
Universal Studios Shuttle
Universal Studios Pass

Next, I created an Excel spreadsheet to track the expenses - everything that is paid in advance and everything I will need to pay for in Anaheim. This really helps with setting a budget.

Set Your Budget

Some of the Convention expenses are paid in advance (Convention fees, flight, Disney Shuttle and park passes, etc) and others are paid while there (hotel, meals, spending money, etc) and I always set a budget for what I need while at Convention. The hotel cost is set already so we know what that will be. Meals, though, tend to fluctuate. I found the site is awesome for figuring out the average cost of meals. Click Disneyland then Dining then Menus. This is one of those fiddly things where if your mouse wanders off the drop down menu, you have to start again, so go slow and make sure when you click Dining, you move the mouse right onto Menus. 

EVERY menu for EVERY restaurant, whether it is a sit down meal or counter service, is listed! With prices!! Now you can figure out how much (on average) you will need to put aside just for meals.

I am figuring $50 per day for meals (per adult when the hubby comes with me). I set aside $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for supper. I will take my own snacks with me. If I only spend $40 one day, I have $10 more for another day! But if I spend $60 one day, I have $10 less for another day. :-( 

Something else to consider is that the portion sizes tend to be really large in some places and you can easily share an appy and a main with another person. Have a look at the meals of other diners as you are going in to get an idea. 

Time to Get Packing!

Time to get out the suitcase and decide what you need to take with you. CTMH Corp will have sent an email with the list of supplies required for Convention, and although you can definitely bring them all, see if there is someone you can share with so you can save space in your suitcase for all the goodies you will be getting at Convention. Plus all the souvenirs and roomie gifts! 

Since I am going for a week, I will need to pack clothes for 7 nights plus a spare. So here is my list:






Runners/walking shoes



1 or 2

Clothes for banquet

Dress shoes/sandals










Alcohol wipes (watch the show The Dirt on Hotels on CBC’s Marketplace. Gross!!)

For in the parks:

Wipes for in the park


Lip balm with SPF 30

Hat (wide brim to keep the sun off)

Nail file or emery board

Spritzer fan



Pen and paper

Tote to carry tools to creative sessions
Tool list from Corp

Small table-top trash can


Extra batteries or charger

Cell phone & charger

Extra SD card

Or just use the business center

Laptop charger


Small purse


Something waterproof
For camera

Yes, it is long. Notice I didn't take capris and tops for 7 nights plus a spare. There are laundry facilities at the Disneyland Hotel and I plan to do a load of laundry one evening when I want to take a rest. That will save a lot of space in my suitcase! As you look through my list, you may want to change it to your own needs. This is mine that I have refined over the past few years of not only attending Convention, but also travelling occasionally for work. And you are saying "Why the flashlight?" Have you ever tried to find your way to the bathroom in a dark hotel room at 1:00 in the morning? If you don't have a flashlight, keep your cell phone handy and download a free flashlight app.  I like to take a backpack too with something waterproof to put my camera in when I go on the wet rides. A big garbage bag works great because then you can put your whole backpack in it to keep dry! Splash Mountain, here we go!!
I also added a small purse, preferably one with a cross body strap, to take to the park. It makes it easier to get money out for souvenirs or meals so you are not digging through your backpack trying to find your wallet and making those hungry people waiting behind you a bit peeved.

Have I missed anything? Oh! One more...

Roomie Gifts

Some roomies like to go all out and get extravagant, but then there are those like me that are on a budget and have to be careful what we spend. I have bought my roomies water bottles and added packages of flavoured drink mixes, Kleenex, wipes, lip balm, band-aids, pens, and candy. I have also received gifts of a hand towel to get wet and take to the park in a baggy for wiping a sweaty face or cleaning sticky fingers, water bottle, fan, candy, pen and notebook, and a mini album for character autographs!

Well, I think that is it. I can't think of any other lists for now, but if there is anything you think I should include, please leave a comment so I can make sure to update my lists!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, Janet,
    I started reading your post and your lists and thought to myself...hmmm that's something me and my daughter would do.
    Make a list
    and another list
    and then break that list down into mini lists.
    Tiff (my daughter) has a bi-zillion make-up bags, which she now uses for packing.
    so based on her "lists"
    she has her Undie bag, day 1 outfit bag, day 2, etc.
    Nice thing about this is it is super organized and her dirty clothes are never mixed with her clean.
    have fun at convention.
    so wish I could have made it this year.