Daisy Brookes / Ekko Cosplay

The Cosplay Journal cosplay uk access review disability access

Although I wouldn’t necessarily call it a short trip, I popped over to Birmingham this past Saturday to attended their local MCM Comic Con for the day. Held at the NEC twice a year, it’s a pretty big convention, all things considered, far from your “run of the mill” local events. A lot of this is probably down to ReedPop’s involvement in MCM over the past few years, it really seems to have worked in MCM’s favour, making their events much easier to attend and far more enjoyable.

MCM Birmingham was actually the first con I went to this year, and I had such a fantastic time debuting my Captain Marvel there in March, so I was really looking forward to attending their winter show. Sometimes it’s nice just to attend a con for the day, even though I initially planned to do the whole weekend, life intervened and I was only there on the Saturday. That being said I did feel like I managed to do and see everything I wanted to in just one stop.

Back in March I just bought a weekend ticket, I didn’t really bother looking in to the Access and Extra Help as at the time I was in a huge amount of denial regarding how much help I needed. I was full on just pretending I was well and ignoring my health. This time around though I’m in a much more stable frame of mind and decided to go ahead and apply where I could. The process was actually very clean and easy, and my application for both Carer and Extra Help were approved the same day! It wasn’t particularly bothersome or complicated, and all they asked for was a photo to go along with the pass, which I actually found super reassuring!

From my experience this time around, the Extra Help pass didn’t really make all that much difference to my visit. I don’t know if maybe I didn’t ask about enough or read in to what the pass could do for me but luckily this time I didn’t necessarily need it. We managed to have a pretty relaxed convention with no health issues or altercations. Unlike MCM in London, Kevin was well behaved and my leg wasn’t causing me too much grief, I didn’t even need my crutch which was incredible!

I personally love the NEC. It’s my favourite convention venue and I’ve yet to have a bad experience Access wise there. The layout of the NEC means that everything is pretty well laid out. There are accessible toilets spaced out equally between the halls, everything is on flat ground and easy to walk on and the best bit is that there are places to sit in all of the corridors. Another thing I love about the NEC is that the area that they usually hold MCM has a little quieter area upstairs to sit and wind down. You can sometimes spot a few togs taking pictures up there but otherwise it’s a very relaxed little spot to catch your breath and rest up!

MCM Birmingham Image 3
The NEC

Although Birmingham is a few hours away from me, parking at the con was really easy with my blue badge. They had dedicated a whole separate parking lot just for accessible parking that was only a short walk away from the entrance to the event. I heard that there were a lot of issues at the regular car park so I feel really lucky to be able to have parked so close, especially as I know that actually getting a disabled badge is a bit of a nightmare, so I understand that I am very privileged to actually have one.

Like most cons, the actual stall layout is a little bit crowded. We got a bit stuck by the con shuffle in one of the corners of the main hall. Foot traffic was incredibly busy on the Saturday, everyone I spoke to was overwhelmed by just how manically busy it was. Friends running stalls were overrun by attendees and the whole place seemed packed to the rim. Even with it this busy though, it still wasn’t impossible to manoeuvre the event and see everything you wanted.

Although I didn’t attend any panels, I did speak to a couple of people who said that the organisation there was very well done. Queues were well maintained and people who asked for help and had passes were able to sit and watch talks without any pain or stress. Really it’s a breath of fresh air to hear so much good news about a convention being run well for the people attending.

MCM Birmingham Image 2
A moment to breathe and check social media

I’m also really happy to say that for the first time in forever, I didn’t have any negative interactions with security. The ones who were ushering folk through to get tickets and passes were all super friendly and helpful. Having kind and thoughtful security made a huge difference, I didn’t feel anxious or put out and I wasn’t worried that if I’d need help, knowing that if I approached a security guard they weren’t likely to bite my head off or laugh at me.

I feel like on a whole, Birmingham MCM really was the best con I’ve been to so far this year. It ticked all the right boxes access wise and really made for an enjoyable and stress free day out! I honestly had such a good time, that I don’t even have that much else to say about the event. I had a wonderful time cosplaying with my friends, enjoying the event and drinking a ridiculous amount of frozen tea.

MCM Birmingham Image 1
Repping my Cosplay Journal badge!

Con season isn’t quite over for me, I’ll be attending Reading Comic Con this coming weekend with the majority of The Cosplay Journal family and then in another few weeks time I’ll be heading over to Telford to check out Wales Comic Con at their new venue so watch this space for more convention review and think pieces. Here’s hoping that this positive train can keep on going for the rest of the year!!

Next time: Reading Comic Con 2019

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