Conventions

Taking a Baby to MCM Comic Con London

Before Ripley came along we had visited a few comic  and popular media conventions including MCM Comic Con in London, London Film and Comic Con and Walker Stalker (Walking Dead convention), and having a baby wasn’t going to stop us from continuing.

Before you read on I must add that this post was migrated from my older blog, and whilst some of the details are still relevant to MCM in particular but also to babies at cons in general, there are also some specific issues with MCM which have changed in the first year of Ripley’s life. MCM has become an incredibly popular and as such ever busier convention, so along with this please also read my latest post about going to MCM as a family to see how some of the below have changed, and why we decided to give MCM a break until he’s a bit bigger, and take him to London Film and Comic Con instead in 2020. Find that post here.

What’s so Good about Comic Cons?

We (especially me) are big nerds at heart…

I for one am a HUGE fan of the Walking Dead (I’ve got a few Walking Dead tattoos and collect signed action figures), Star Wars and the whole horror genre, especially, silent hill, Ash vs Evil Dead, with an extra soft spot for Bruce Campbell!

My wife on the other hand, is also a massive Walking Dead fan (and she’s got her own Walking Dead tattoo), and an even bigger fan of fantasy films, especially anything from the 80’s (such as Labyrinth or Dark Crystal), game of thrones, anything dragon related and Hellboy – again she’s got some Hellboy tattoos and some signed stuff.

Then finally we have a little bit of a nerd hoarding problem between us!  Firstly (although my heathen wife has recently converted to Sky Cinema) we are big movie buffs, with our preferred media being DVD.  On our last count (which was probably over 18 months ago) we had over 1,100 DVDs.  To top this off (in fact they are event literally stacked on top of our DVD collection) is an ever growing collection of Funko Pop figures.  I always say to people – DON’T start collecting them, its addictive…  Especially once you start to get in to special editions, convention exclusives (yes I once queued at MCM for almost 45 minutes just to get in to the Funko stand) and signed ones!

Basically…  When we’re at conventions we are well in our element as well as having a house full of expensive crap that’s going to REALLY appeal to the fingers of a little boy once he starts to toddle about!

How Young is too Young for Comic Con?

We decided for our last comic con that it was 6 weeks after our due date so we should be fine and bit the bullet – I purchased 2 early entry tickets and added on a photo op (yes I am that sad and I do love a photo op – I can’t wait for Disneyland…  Move over Ripley, Daddy wants a photo with Darth Vader and Chewbacca and a storm trooper and Mickey Mouse and the princesses and… hang on, did I say that out load?) for Ray Santiago – better known as Pablo Simon Bolivar in Ash vs Evil Dead.

The problem was that our due date came…

… and then it went again…

… and it got ever closer to comic con!

Then something even worse happened!  My wife had to go in for an emergency cesarean which meant that of course she was out of action for a few weeks.  It’s a big operation and I asked a fair few times whether she still wanted to go, and I was perfectly prepared to cancel the whole thing, but the allure of comic con apparently was too much for her too – or she just wanted to a) shut me up and b) get out of the house.

So with my wife still recovering and Ripley being a crisp 1 month old we decided to head up the Excel for MCM Comic Con London… and it’s not a decision we regretted at all!

It gets Tiring with Kids at Comic Con Right?

Even though my wife was just 4 weeks on from a major operation and Ripley was still super tiny, it actually really wasn’t…  Not even for Ripley.  How could it be?  He slept for basically the whole thing so he was very well rested!

My biggest concern was my wife for the whole day, however as we got the early entry tickets we managed to beat the crowds and getting in was a doddle!  Having a baby is so handy for getting in to places with queues, especially if that place is a mecca for nerds and your baby is dressed as a tiny batman!

As we got to the end of the queue I went to head for the no bags lane until an attendant spotted us and said, nah with bags you need to queue there… with there being a massive queue of people with foam swords, plastic guns and duffel bags full of helmets, spikes and makeup!

However, just as we turned, he peered in to the buggy and exclaimed, “Oh my god, a tiny batman!”  Go that way…  with that way now becoming a queue we were stood in for no more than 2 minutes while they checked our bag of nappies, clothing changes (although he actually stayed in the same batman sleep suit for the entire day) and bottles.

Anyway, back to my wife!

As well as missing he crowds it was handy to have a buggy as most people respected that and got out of the way which meant that my wife didn’t get tired out wrestling with big, sweaty basement dwellers (if you’ve not been to comic con before, especially in the summer, the smell is festive to say the least).  But more so it also meant that there were a few seating areas usually free for us to take a quick break and sit down, especially for breakfast and lunch.

Can you Feed and Change Babies ok at Comic Con?

I can only speak for MCM Comic Con and at least for 2019 could also speak for Walker Stalker as they are both held at the London Excel.  There is a reason why they hold the London leg of the Baby Show at the Excel (by the way keep an eye out for a review of that very soon as I’ll be there in a few days)…  The baby facilities are really nice.

There are lots of toilets there, along the main foyer area but a lot of these have tight stairwells which aren’t great if you have a buggy, but there are some which are accessible by lift.  These are all very roomy and even the men’s toilets have baby change tables.  The one I used had the baby change inside an end cubicle which meant that there was plenty of space for changing the baby even if you needed to follow it with a quick dump of your own.  The table had a little seat belt on it to stop them rolling off while you unload!

So changing nappies… check!

Feeding wasn’t a problem for us either at all to be honest.  We were lucky that in those early days he enjoyed the SMA gold travel packs and used to drink them cold.  Although I think with the number of eateries there you could easily have gotten a cup of hot water (even if you’d paid for it) to heat up a bottle.

It is very busy there and a lot of the seating areas are quite cramped, so I don’t think there is anywhere overly quiet or private if ladies wished to breast feed…  With my wife having to go straight to formula due to Ripley being tongue tied and her to be honest not being too shy anyway she had needed to breast feed, I didn’t really look in to this too much.  But I don’t remember seeing a private area so for the more shy ladies who breast feed that might not necessarily be ideal.

And so, for us at least, baby feeding (I even fed him whilst walking around a couple time)… also check!

There’s Loads for Kids to Buy at MCM Comic Con… Right?

It’s a huge convention center filled with action figures, plush toys, comics, games and toy sets, so of course there is loads for kids to buy…  Weeeeeeel – Not really!  Most of the stuff for sale here is aimed at the collectors market so the prices are generally too high for toys to be actually played with.  However, there are a couple of things which the kids can spend their money on.

We for example, as soon as we arrived made a b-line for the build-a-bear stand where they had a show exclusive bear (along with a few show special offers).  We got Ripley one of these teddies which he doesn’t play with at the moment, and I’d like to give it to him when he’s a little bit older along with the show program from his first comic con, which I have kept hold of.

Other than that, everything else we purchased was for us!

What is there to do for Kids then?

So there’s not a huge amount for kids to buy… unless you want to over spend on anything you might get them.  But that does mean that it’s not an event for adults, kids and families alike!

They have a kids area at the convention which has books to read on some bean bags in an area with carpet.  They can do some doodling or have their faces painted like one of their favorite super heroes!  The kids area isn’t huge but everyone respects it, which means that it’s less busy, it’s quieter and it really is just for families.  It’s a little escape for the little ones from the hustle and bustle of the show.

Beyond that the activities for kids, depending on their age, is about the same as for the adults.

There are plenty of people in cosplay as well as employed characters wandering around or available for photos.  When we first went they had Mario and Luigi there, along with Pickachu which would have been a nice photo of Ripley but sadly they weren’t there.  However, as an alternative, and what made for a cute milestones card photo for his first month, some characters from the Lego movie were there!

Besides looking at people who are dressed up, of course your kids can also come along dressed up, with them even allowing little cosplayers to take part in the various masquerades…  although I’ve not watched one of these myself I did see some kids queuing up for one of the stages, and I had also seen the same thing at the London Film and Comic Con.

Finally in terms of media, there are sometimes movie showings or even live entertainment on the stages, but most importantly for the slightly older kids, is that there are loads of opportunities for them to play their favorite games and consoles…  Last time we were there the Fortnite stand and Nintendo stand (which is huge) were super popular.

There’s absolutely no doubt that there is plenty of stuff for kids to do, and as long as you turn up early they will have ample opportunities to actually get involved with these things.  It does get busy there, but don’t let that put you off, because at the end of the day, the Excel is huge and there is plenty of space for everyone.

So would I Recommend People Take Kids to MCM Comic Con?

Let me very briefly answer this and finish this post with a very simple statement…  It is February and I already purchased tickets for myself and my wife to take Ripley to the next MCM in May!

See you there!

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