Nerd Valhalla: Recounting My Time at Star Wars Celebration Orlando

Image result for star wars celebration 2017

We’re one month away from the premiere of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, so let’s go back to April of this year, when I ventured into the nerd Valhalla that was Star Wars Celebration Orlando.

Now first off, I LOVE Star Wars. I'd consider myself a pretty big fan. Hell, I even thought I was a bit of a nerd going into SWCO (that’s how the kids abbreviated it), but compared to some of the dorks I saw there, I looked like Steve Goddamn McQueen.

The event took place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. I went on a bit of a last second whim.


I didn’t realize just how packed it was going to be. The convention center is a massive place and no matter where you went, you were bumping into people. The line to get into the festival store was three hours long. Three hours of waiting for the opportunity to drop fifty bucks on a shirt.

I also didn’t realize that to get into most events you had to buy tickets in addition to the tickets that you bought to get into the convention, which really limited what I was able to do. For some events, like the Last Jedi Panel, even if you had a ticket to the panel itself, you’d find yourself spending the night crammed into a room with a thousand other nerds who haven’t showered in forty-eight hours. All of this is why I watched the Last Jedi panel on my phone while I sat at the bottom of the escalator that lead to the theater where it was being held. (I could still hear the cheering, so I get to tell people I was there, right? That still counts.) I got to say, “Cool! Daisy Ridley is up that escalator, down the hall a little and behind a set of double doors! Awesome!”

So, you’re probably thinking, “Matt, it sounds like you didn’t do shit at Star Wars Celebration.” That’s pretty much true, which is was why I had to make my own fun. I resorted to checking out the cosplaying.

If you’re not aware of what cosplaying is, don’t waste your time googling it because I’ll tell you what it is: it’s just people wearing costumes not on Halloween. No matter what people may try to tell you, that’s all it is.

Still, there were some amazing costumes there, but these are regular people, they have regular people needs. That’s why I loved seeing Kylo Ren riding up an escalator. Darth Maul waiting in line for a cheeseburger. A Stormtrooper standing in front of a urinal trying to figure out what to do with his codpiece so he can take a leak.

Kylo Ren rides an escalator at Star Wars celebration Orlando
Just like one of us, Kylo Ren rides the escalator, presumably to procure a Papa John's personal pizza in the name of the First Order.
Just like one of us, Kylo Ren rides the escalator, presumably to procure a Papa John's personal pizza in the name of the First Order.

One of my favorite types of cosplayers to look for were any dudes who came in full costume, but dragged along their completely disinterested girlfriend. Nothing was more enjoyable than watching the girlfriend scroll through her phone while she held her boyfriend’s Boba Fett rifle and helmet so he could go stand in line at the Funko POP Vinyl booth because, “Dude, they’ve got Bib Fortuna!”

But my favorite costumed people of all were the ones that thought they had a completely original costume idea, but had to pass half a dozen people in the same costume who also thought no one would be dressed like them. I saw at least five Stormtroopers wearing Hawaiian shirts, and I guarantee that each one of them thought that they were going to be the belle of the SWCO ball.

Nope. Get in line with the other nerds who had the same idea.

Despite not actually doing much, I had a great time at SWCO. It’s fun to be around people who are insanely passionate about something, even if it’s to the point of being over the top and annoying. If you ever get the chance to go to Star Wars Celebration or any comparable event, you owe it to yourself to go once.

Just be sure to plan ahead if you want to do anything there except sit on a dirty convention center floor while watching events in the other room on your phone.


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