Wrap-up: Dragon Con 2023

by Jen “Lil’ Bit” Schleusner

Another Dragon Con has come and gone, and this year it took me over a month to recover! Finally though, it’s time to recap my experiences.

As expected, Barbie took the lead in costumes this year. From movie outfits, Barbenheimer crossovers, mashups, spilling off the Hilton steps for the big group photos and a beach scene recreation of “Push” in the Hyatt lobby – pink fever and Kenergy were on full display.

Another costume group that took con by surprise this year – the Running of the Ropers. Three’s Company fans came out in droves Sunday night for the inaugural meetup of Helens and her friends at Dragon Con. We crashed the Masquerade, paraded through the three main host hotels on our way to the Hilton steps and confused the heck out of a bunch of attendees with shouts of “Hi Helen!”. It was a fabulously good time and next year is already lining up to grow in scope and size. Check out the Mrs. Roper Does Dragon Con group on Facebook if you would like to come knock on our door.

I attended two new-to-me panels this year on Sunday. In the morning, the Horror in Tiki panel over at America’s Mart with panelists Michael Gordon, HC Warner, Derek Yaniger, Jonathan Chaffin, Justin Peterson and Sara Pope Hoffman. As a fan of tiki culture as well as a longtime follower of many of the panelists – it was an informative as well as fun Sunday morning hang.

A huge shout out to the con for adding “fast passes” to the Mart this year. The ability to sign up before con and skip the vendor hall line when it was time for a panel over there was easy and made for a major improvement over previous years. I hope Dragon Con will continue to utilize this system moving forward.

Later Sunday afternoon, it was time for the Riker Games hosted by the Trek Track. I have not laughed harder for an hour straight since the first time I attended the Late Night Puppet Slam. Let’s set the scene – contestants line up and are put through various tasks to see who is the top Number One. From the Riker Maneuver (sitting on a chair), avoiding phaser fire, a talent portion and more – this was seriously one of the funniest, engrossing and well produced events at Dragon Con that I have had the pleasure of attending. Kudos to Joe Campbell and the rest of the Trek Track team for such a memorable time.

As followers of both the Dragon Con Report and the Dragon Con Parties, Meetups & More groups know – the Cult of the DC*DJs arose this year. Getting to meet all the DJs who perform at official con parties was awesome and I hope they are able to continue to grow and receive support from attendees to help make each party more enjoyable.

Drunken Dragon’s Thursday night meetup at Trader Vic’s continues to grow in popularity and I’ll say it again – if you like to imbibe while at con, the satellite bar they set up in the back of Trader Vic’s during Dragon Con is the best bang for your buck. Value-wise as well as flavor, they’ve got you covered. This year, they also added some to-go food options off of TV’s menu and were open every afternoon till about midnight Thursday thru Sunday. In my opinion, this is definitely a spot to keep in mind for your next Dragon Con trip.

Speaking of food, even though the “Sheraton” changed to the Courtland Grand this year – the food trucks thankfully returned to the parking lot. The “Grand Corgi” as many of us staying there have nicknamed it, might not have been prepared for con attendees this year, but it was nice that some of things we have grown accustomed to remained in place. Hopefully, they are more prepared for the chaos of Dragon Con next year.

Until prep time for 2024 begins – ya’ll take care out there! Good luck planning your new costumes, fingers crossed you get the hotel of your choice and have fun storming the castle!

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