• March 22-24, 2024
  • Lancaster County Convention Center, Lancaster, PA

New Member Guide

Are you new to conventions? Is Zenkaikon your first convention? Are you looking for a quick list of helpful tips for attending conventions? Please read on.

Have a convention tip that you think should be added? Contact us and let us know.

What Should I Bring to Zenkaikon?


  • Acceptable forms of ID include government-issued ID (Driver’s License, Military ID, Government ID, etc).
  • We will accept a High School or College ID as proof of identification only for general entry into the convention.
  • For all attendees 18 and under who are accompanied by an adult, the adult may present their ID.
  • For legal reasons, we will only accept a State-issued Photo ID for entry into any of our 18+ panels or showings.


  • Some vendors may only accept cash.
  • We do not accept checks

Hotel Confirmation

If you have registered to stay in one of the local hotels, make sure you print a copy of your hotel reservation confirmation, or write down your confirmation number. This will ensure that you can get checked into your room easily.

Cell Phone and Charger, or Long-Range Walkie-Talkie with Extra Batteries

What better way to arrange dinner plans or pick up by parents than by phone call or text message? If you are a minor, or are relying on a parent or guardian for a ride, and are not answering your phone, your parents will come looking for you. Please remember to keep your cell phone charged. Please note that the cell phone signal may be inconsistent on the convention floor.

Portable Gaming or Reading Material

Conventions are always infamous for lines. Many attendees will bring a book, Nintendo DS, or another hand held gaming device to keep themselves busy while waiting in line.

Comfortable Shoes and Clothing

Remember that those awesome high heels work well for cosplay, but may not work well for your feet through two days of walking.

Personal Hygiene Products

  • It is common sense to most, but not all of the convention attendees will have access to a daily shower. Please remember to bring and wear deodorant.
  • Perfumes and colognes may be nice, but don’t over do it. Many people are actually allergic to some or all fragrances.


  • Prescriptions
  • Over the Counter
    • Conventions are infamous for the “Con Plague.” As with airline travel, when you are around a large number of people from many destinations in a relatively small space, it is easier to catch germs. Think about bringing these along to minimize your exposure to germs and keep your immune system strong:
      • Tissues
      • Hand Sanitizer
      • Vitamins
      • Cough Drops with Vitamin C or Zinc
    • A parent or responsible adult should carry any pain relievers. Conventions do get loud and hectic; if noise bothers you, you may appreciate the relief by the end of the day.

Snacks, Packed Lunches, and/or Bottled Water

To save time and money, you may want to consider bringing some non-perishable food items along with you to the convention. Energy bars or bottled water are good to have handy for when you are hungry but don’t have time to stop for a full meal. To stay energized, please remember to drink plenty of fluids, and eat at least two full meals a day.


Take lots of pictures to commemorate your visit to Zenkaikon, but please, remember to stick to our Photography Policy.

Backpack or Bag

  • We will be providing a plastic bag containing a convention schedule and other related information, but you may find it more convenient to be able to carry some or all of the above mentioned items in a backpack.
  • We highly recommend that you include identifying information (such as your name, address, and phone number) on or inside your bag so it can be returned to you if you lose it.

General Convention Tips

Consider Pre-Registering

Pre-registering is a great idea for Zenkaikon (and most conventions in general). You have the opportunity to save money on your membership, and will have your own special line to check in when you arrive at the convention. You will get into the convention faster than at-the-door registrants. All you will have to do is pick up your badge and program, and you are good to go. Pre-registered attendees may also have access to special contests and giveaways. You can read more information about pre-registration on our Registration page.

Plan in Advance, But Don’t Try to Do Everything

The convention schedule will be posted to the Zenkaikon website about a week before the convention. This is a great opportunity to plan out the events and activities you would like to attend. Keep in mind that there will be events taking place all the time at Zenkaikon. Many activities will even be scheduled during the same time period, so it is literally impossible to do everything. Try to pick a small selection of the events you most want to see, and also have a few backups in case you can’t make it to your first choices. If you schedule every moment of your convention visit, you will spend most of the day running around and wear yourself out.

Also, be aware that there could be last-minute changes after the schedule has been posted. These can be due to unforseen circumstances such as guest cancellations, illness, etc. If this is the case, you will be notified at the convention with a sign or other notice in the convention program.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you have a question or concern, just ask a Zenkaikon staff member. You can recognize a staff member by their official staff T-shirt and badge. If a staff member can’t answer your question, they will direct you to someone who can.

Know the Rules

Take time to make sure you are familiar with the Convention Policies. These are rules you will be expected to follow at the convention, and are for the safety and enjoyment of all of our attendees. Also, make sure your costumes (including weapons) are in line with the Zenkaikon Cosplay Prop and Weapon Policies. You wouldn’t to spend lots of time and money on a prop, only to find out you aren’t allowed to bring it into the convention.

Choose a Meetup Spot

It is a good idea to pick a location and time to meet up with your friends if you get separated. Out-of-the-way, less crowded locations are usually best for finding one another.

Zenkaikon does not have a convention-wide intercom system, so we will be unable to make an announcement if you do get separated from your party.

Remember to Eat, Drink Fluids, and Sleep

This may seem like common sense, but with so much to do at the convention, some attendees forget to take care of these necessities. There have even been tales of attendees becoming so exhausted they pass out. Don’t become a statistic! There will be food and drinks available for purchase at the convention. You can also check out our Dining Guide for suggestions on other dining establishments in the area.

Make sure to stay hydrated. Consider bringing a water bottle that you can fill up throughout the day. We will also have some water stations set up at various locations on the convention floor, but we cannot guarantee they will always be stocked or available. If you feel like something besides water, convention concessions will offer a variety of drink options.

Finally, make sure to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Zenkaikon will have activities going on until the wee hours of the morning, but if you don’t sleep you will miss out overall. For even more enjoyment of convention activities, we recommend you get a hotel room. It is much easier to go to late night events if you only have to take a quick elevator ride to get to sleep.

Be Prepared for Lines

There will be lines for some events. This is typical of most conventions. It is a good idea to arrive early for the events you want to attend the most, especially if they are popular. If you arrive at the last minute, there is a chance you may not be able to get into the event. While you are waiting, why not strike up a conversation with the other attendees in line around you? You are in line for the same event, so you already have something in common. It is a fun way to make new friends and have the time pass more quickly.

While you are in line, please make sure to not block the hallway flow of traffic. Also, in some cases a line might become hard to manage and Zenkaikon Staff may ask you to move. Please follow their directions. They really are just trying to help.