visiting MCM ComicCon with kids
On the same weekend of the Emirates FA Cup Final there was another important event taking place in London – MCM ComicCon! I’ve never attended MCM ComicCon but it has been on my to do list for years. I’ve procrastinated going the last few years. My main reasons for not attending sooner have been a worry of getting a pushchair or wheelchair around ComicCon. I’ve also previously been worried that the kids wouldn’t enjoy being dragged round all the stalls that Mum and Dad want to look at!. This year now Harper was finally out her massive plaster cast we decided to just go for it.
What is MCM ComicCon
If you’ve never heard of ComicCon (seriously some people haven’t); it’s a convention that covers anime, cosplay, video-games, sci-fi, popular media and manga. It’s held twice yearly in London but also hosts events across the UK as well. The event runs across 3 days from Friday to Sunday.
Tickets and kids
Dan and I both had weekend priority passes which means we could attend all three days of ComicCon with early entry. MCM ComicCon are really generous and allow children under 5 to go free with priority tickets (weekend or single day). Children 10 and under are allowed free entry after general admission time too. Each paying adult is allowed 2 children free of charge. This means even taking a large family is really good value for money! We decided we would attend on Friday with the two youngest children ( ages 1 and 3). On the Saturday we took my husbands older children too ( age 15 and 10). We wanted priority entry on the Saturday as I’d heard it was the busiest day so we did need additional tickets for them on Saturday.
We live only a half hour drive away (in good traffic!) from the Excel ComicCon venue. Driving and paying for parking worked out hugely cheaper than attending on public transport. The Car Park charges a flat rate of £20 for all day parking which I feel is quite reasnoble for cental London.
Due to the current heightened security risk every single bag was being checked into the venue. Anyone in cosplay that brings a cosplay weapon also has to have their weapon checked over and be specially tagged to say it’s been checked and is safe. This meant some queue!
On the Friday we arrived slightly late to opening. The queue wasn’t hugely long but it did take us about half an hour to actually get into the event. Neither Brooke or Harper minded because there were so many people in cosplay to look at. Brooke was already getting a lot of attention for her Darth Vader cosplay- complete with baby storm trooper!
On the Saturday we arrived quite early. There was barely any queue and we breezed through security as the crowds hadn’t built up yet. As a weekend wristband holder Brooke, Harper and I went through a special entry gate for us. We had to wait a bit longer for Olivia and Abigail to get their Saturday priority entry tickets checked. But it wasn’t too long before we were through to the concourse ready for the event to open.
What is there to do to keep the kids entertained?
MCM ComicCon is really geared up for visiting with kids. The Kids Zone provides a choice of face painting, balloons or glitter tattoos for children over 3. Each day you are allowed to pick just one of these. On both of our days we headed to the kid zone first so we could avoid any crowds. On the Friday Brooke opted face painting and asked to be painted like Darth Vader! The team was prepared and had some amazing Darth Vader stencils!
On the Saturday Brooke opted to have a ‘Super hero’ balloon as she was dressed as Super Girl that day. The balloon they made was amazing! As we had got to the stand early and no one else was there the balloon artist was able to spend a little bit of extra time and make her something really special.
Even the older kids were thrilled to be able to get in on the action. Both Olivia and Abigail decided to have glitter tattoos.
Kids Zone Rest Zone
Round the back of the Kids Zone was a rest area filled with books and bean bags to chill out on. I thought it was great that they provided a place to stop and chill out with the kids. ComicCon can get very busy and the younger kids especially appreciate having a quiet sit down away from the hustle and bustle throughout the day.
There were a ridiculous number of stands to visit! I’ve highlighted some of our favourite stands below
despicable Me 3 Tattoo Stand
There was a huge amount of Despicable Me 3 presence at ComicCon. We love all of the films so far in the series and it was another great hit with the kids.
A tattoo booth was available for Despicable Me tattoos as well as regular photo opportunities throughout the day with Gru and the minions!
The Gaming Stands
There was a large area dedicated to gaming. As massive gamers this was a huge boon to us. On the Friday when it was a lot quieter we got the chance to sit down and play on the Nintendo 3DS games
We even got to meet Mario (who Brooke was petrified of and would not go anywhere near)
Whilst we were walking around the gaming Stands Brooke got the best compliment of the day about her Darth Vader cosplay. One of the guys running the stand at Rising Sun games loved her costume so much he let her pick a Nintendo 3DS game as a prize!
Ok so this stand wasn’t for anyone aged 12 or under. It does get noteworthy mention though because it was beyond awesome! Both Dan and myself pre booked our VR experience a few days before ComicCon on the dedicated PlayStation VR website. We booked separate days so the kids were not waiting around too long on one day whilst Mum and Dad got to play! We both got to experience Farpoint. Farpoint is a new VR game that has been built round the PlayStation VR headset.
We both loved how immersive the game was. 3D headphones meant that it actually felt like you was in the actual game. I completely forgot I was even at ComicCon!
Dan found the game equally as immersive and at one point during the demo was even leaning over to one side because he really thought he was walking along a cliff edge. A PlayStation VR headset is on our wish list now.
At the fringe of the gaming section I ran into some very special people, the Special Effect Gamer’s charity! It was great to see them there, I hadn’t even realised they were going to be at ComicCon. Special Effect were giving attendees the opportunity to play Dirt Rally – with just their eyes.
There was only one kid who wanted to go to this stand, well a big kid…Me!! I LOVE the Final Fantasy Series that is produced by Sqaure Enix. They had amazing loot on display and the world exclusive pre-sale of the new Starter Packs for the Final Fantasy Trading Card game.
On the Saturday we squeezed past the Square Enix stand again. I almost didn’t believe my eyes as we went over. Job Campling (face actor of King Regis from Final Fantasy XV) was there! I’d previously met him at Final Fantasy fan event Kupocon He was as kind and charming as ever, stopping for pictures with both me and Dan
The 501st UK Garrison
I think this may have possibly been my husbands favourite stand. The 501st UK garrison are the leading Star Wars costume group in the UK. It’s one of Dans long-term dreams to own his own stormtrooper costume and join the 501st.
There were just so many stalls at ComicCon. There were many well-known places like Forbidden planet and Magic Madhouse.
As well as the giants that are Funko. They even had a giant Harry Potter Funko to take pictures with!
A huge number of independent artists and sellers also showcase at MCM ComicCon. We easily spent a good few hours just browsing round looking at all the fantastic stuff available to buy.
The Super Hero Cape treasure hunt
Yet another great free activity for the kids was provided by the information desk. You could pick up a special card and as you visited Stands collect stamps.
Once the card had been filled it could be exchanged back at the kids zone for a superhero Cape!
This was a great activity for the kids. It was a great way to keep them interested in looking round all the stands and trying g to spot the ones they needed!
Cosplaying is synonymous with ComicCon. On both the Friday and Saturday we attended we sure heaps of amazing Cosplayers.
Brooke was a little bit scared of some of the cosplayers. Everyone was so friendly and if a cosplayer saw she was scared of them then they kindly backed away. A cosplayer dressed as Jigsaw from the Saw movies even kindly took their mask off and got her to give them a high 5 so she knew there were friendly people underneath the masks! After that encounter Brooke felt a lot easier about interacting with the other cosplayers wearing masks.
Brooke’s favourite cosplayers were a really friendly bunch of Disney cosplayers.
The Mad Hatter was leading his procession through the busy crowds on the Saturday and they stopped when they saw Brooke dressed as Super girl.
Both Alice and Belle got down to her level and asked if they could have hugs. Brooke was only too happy to oblige and was amazed that she’d met real life Disney characters at ComicCon 😍
I managed to get so many brilliant pictures with cosplayers. Everyone I met was really happy to have their pictures taken. I must give a special shoutout to Deadpool who was ALWAYS in character whenever we ran into him.
There are several theatres set up at ComicCon. Lots of shows with the different guests attending run panels. These are all included in the price ticket. We didn’t attend any of these over the weekend as both Dan and I felt that the kids wouldn’t be hugely interested in sitting still for long. We did however get to see Veronica Taylor (the voice of Ashe from the Pokemon cartoon!). There was a MCM Buzz stage set up in the middle of the floor which meant we were able to skirt round the edge keeping the kids interested in the stands whilst we could hear her interview. Even Brooke got excited when she heard Veronica shout something in Ashe’s voice about Pickachu!
The Special Guests
Last but not least lots of special guests attend MCM ComicCon every year. As this was our first family visit we decided not to arrange any signings or photographs with any of the guests. Both Dan and I are still regretting not getting a picture with Chris Barrie though (Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf)
What are the facilities like for kids
There were lots of toilets with baby change facilities that were easy to get to. Depending on the area though some required going up or down stairs but there were lifts available. I didn’t see a dedicated feeding or changing room for babies during my visit. There were lots of table and chairs set out on the Saturday. The seating provided ample space for people to eat their food. As ever trying to keep costs down we bought our own food on both days. There are however several reasonably priced places available to buy good from inside the expo, including my kids favourite Subways!
Would we do it again?
Most definitley. I wish i’d been able to go on the Sunday as well. There was just so much to see and do and the kids never got bored. I would say however that if visiting with kids on the Saturday come very early. Saturday got so busy at one point that we could barely get through the crowds. In comaprison the Friday was a lot quitier and easier for the younger kids to enjoy and take in as many sights as possible.