Crowd Control: D23 And The Normalization of Hours-Long Lines

As conventions get bigger and bigger, the idea of waiting for hours for a panel is becoming normalized. The idea of sleeping on the ground to get into Hall H at Comic-Con International is basically expected, to the point that it’s a little weird. However, not everyone is taking this adjustment well and over the weekend at D23 we got to see what happens when people wait for hours and don’t get what they want.

There were arguably two “big” panels for Disney fans to attend at D23 this weekend. The first was the Pixar and Animation panel Friday afternoon, and the second was the Disney Live panel on Saturday morning. These two panels were held in Hall D23, which looks to house a couple thousand people, but these panels have become must-attend events for fans.

The line for the animation panel was a disaster. The hallway where you queue up for panels has chutes that you stand in. Once that area is full, you head to a standby area. One would assume that being in that chute means that you’re getting in. Why have the sections done like this if they weren’t clear on how many people were going to be in the room? In a shoot you should be good to get in — or so everyone assumed.

That is, until rumors of people rushing the entrances at one point, and the panel start time came and went. No one had any phones in the room aside from press, so there was precious little information being given. People were confused as the panel began, and there were hundreds of people left in the chutes – people who thought they were getting in and suddenly were not. To say that this did not go over well would be an understatement. People got mad and Disney did something about it.

They compensated everyone in that line with wristbands for reserved seating for the Live panel or the Parks panel the next day. Granted, the staff lost control of the line, but this was the first time I’ve seen people compensated for not getting into a panel.

In 2014, I attended my first Comic-Con International and got in the line for Hall H Friday night around 11 p.m. I didn’t get into the Marvel panel like I wanted, and no one gave me anything for it. If I waited in line to get into a booth and nothing I wanted was left, I wouldn’t expect something in return for my time.

The idea of being compensated for not getting into a panel is one that I’ve never seen at a convention before. The idea that we might not get into panels despite waiting hours is just something some people are adjusting to. I heard plenty of fans say that things were better two years ago, and that things have been getting more and more out of hand. That’s probably true, but this is the reality of the situation now. Sometimes you wait hours and you don’t get what you want.

Did D23 set some sort of precedent when they gave into the demands of their fans? Should they have compensated people who waited despite it says no where that entry is guaranteed? Where is the line between bad luck and bad organization?

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, comics, and political satire. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at

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