OMNI Expo (2016)

Following a year focused almost exclusively on Attack on Titan, OMNI Expo returned last weekend with a new location and a lot more variety.

The Scoop:

What – a sci-fi, fantasy, anime, comic, gaming, and pop culture convention located in Orlando, Florida

When – 9:00AM-2:00AM on Friday and Saturday, 9:00AM-6PM on Sunday; March 4th-6th

Where – Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Entrance to Universal Orlando (5780 Major Blvd., Orlando, Florida, 32819)

Who – HISHE, RJ Haddy, Paul St. Peter, Austin Tindle, Brian Beacock, Kevin Duhaney, Jeff Parazzo, Indra Rojas “FantasyNinja”, Alyson Tabbitha, Hooded Woman, xXSnowFrostXx, Kaye Cosplay, UnoriginalSam, CelestiialMoon, Rob Sims, Con-Men©TV, Meta Games, Inc., 501st Legion, CRH, Shinobi School, Pleasure Pixels, Necronomicon, Lilith – Back in Black, Coulombe Enterprises LLC., Shadowfax, dj-Jo, Justy

Price – $30-$35 (single-day), $55 (weekend), $100 (VIP pass)

Perks – VIP passes, meet-and-greet with cosplay and acting guests, Masquerade Costume Contest ($1,000 grand cash prize), cosplay repair room, The Crystal Carnevale – Festa della Notte Dinner, The Super Café Live, Suicide Karaoke, Live Rave Event – Atarashii Sekai, Blackout Rave, Dream Dance Rumble: Dreamburger, Borderlands: Assault on OMNI, The Black Butler Drag and Cabaret Show, 80s Retro Video Dance Party!, Star Central Dance Tournament, Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup – International Cosplay Competition

jurrassic park omni expo

Located just a short walk away from the HQ of the Orlando Toy and Comic Con earlier this year, OMNI Expo made use of the Doubletree’s smaller hallways to keep attendees en route to various panels, dealer’s rooms, artist alleys, and special events. This layout did away with the temptation to amass in the hallways, and the dealer’s room afforded plenty of room in-between vendors for even the bulkiest and floofiest of costumes.

purple guy and springtrapWhile largely unpopulated in the earlier hours, special guest tables took stage in the open, visible to passersby and not reigned off by tape and elastic barricades. “Ease” is what OMNI most emphasized this year. A spacious dealer’s room and artist’s alley made for a relaxing, comfortable shopping experience, and cosplayers who happened to damage any part of their costume in the process only needed to walk a few doorways down to the cosplay repair station for a quick-fix.

Doubling as a meet-and-greet area for cosplay guests, including Alyson Tabbitha and xXSnowFrostXx, the cosplay repair room provided all the essentials—from hotglue and thread, to wig heads and hairspray; all materials donated to the Con by staff members and cosplay guests. The repair table hardly saw a spare moment, with cosplayers flocking to it prior to the Masquerade Costume Contest on Saturday afternoon.

Despite its spacious dealer’s room, and thus easy opportunities for cosplay photos, most cosplayers gathered outside in the courtyard, where photographers and clients vied for prime spots by the fountain. A fully representative group of Sailor Moon cosplayers stole many a shutter’s snap during their afternoon photoshoot on Saturday. All the while, many cosplayers preferred to recline at tables and watch the activity rather than partake in it themselves. A nearby, indoor diner encouraged costumed lunchbreaks on the patio.

omni expo 2016 vendors

While pass-access-only areas saw more traffic than OMNI’s previous years, Friday received a low attendance rate, which rose incrementally on Saturday. VIP holders were allowed early access to events and rooms, along with standard entry to special ticket events.

shutter spade omni expoExpanding its event resume, OMNI held raves, special dinners, troupe performances, karaoke nights, and over 50 independent panels throughout its three-day weekend run. However, OMNI also succeeding in upholding its default staples as well. A video room ran non-stop, recent releases of anime episodes and films, including Attack on Titan: Junior High, RWBY, and Dragonball Super; while cyber-athletes and casuals alike competed over the generation’s most prominent multi-player video games. Tabletop gamers held a room all to themselves next door to the main events hall.

Wrapping up each evening with a climatic main event and energetic hosts, OMNI Expo rounded off the week with enough finesse to compete with its weekend rivals Conjure and Treasure Coast Freak Show. Regardless of its youth, OMNI continues to expand its interests and recruit additional talent and special guests with each year. At this rate, one can easily imagine OMNI competing with the likes of AFO and Holiday Matsuri in a year or two.

OMNI EXPO is founded-by-fans multi-genre convention event which takes place over one weekend a year. We cater to all fandoms, from Scifi/Fantasy, Gaming (including Tabletop!), Comics, Anime, and Pop Culture! We’re your Spring Destination for geekdom and nerdkind alike!

Visit the OMNI Expo official website here

Follow OMNI Expo on Facebook

Photography by Amy Covel

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Author: Casey Covel View all posts by

Casey Lynn Covel (known online as “Cutsceneaddict”) is an award-winning, published writer, avid reader, and aspiring author. She runs a nerdy writing blog called Meek-Geek and founded PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts in 2012. When she’s not writing for Geeks Under Grace, Florida Geek Scene, Beneath the Tangles, or FROM JAPAN, she enjoys cosplaying, and has won several awards for her work. Follow her on Instagram for her latest cosplay endeavors. #meekischic

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