I’ve been attending Anime Detour for ten years now. Eight of those years were at the same location, the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington, MN. So many people, including myself, had reservations when the announcement was made that they signed a multi-year contract with the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis.
This made me especially nervous because I live in New York now, so I would have to travel to attend the con. This meant that it would be the expensive year I’ve ever attended.
Thankfully, the con was more than worth the trip.
The Hyatt Regency
The Hyatt Regency is a beautiful hotel in a great location. I was a big fan of the Double Tree, and I still miss it, but it was obvious that we were outgrowing the location. Anime Detour 2018 had a similar turnout this year, but it didn’t feel crowded this time.
The lobby had a giant screen that played anime all weekend, and the hotel staff seemed generally happy to have us. It was also nice that my favorite arcade bar, Up-Down, was only a 10-minute cab ride away.
It may seem odd to devote an entire section to elevators, but they were a huge problem at the Double Tree. Lines were so long that my group would intentionally stay at the hotel across the street. Even with walk time included we could get to our room faster than if we stayed in the main hotel.
The elevators at the Hyatt were great. At least the one I took was. I didn’t take the main elevator very often, but there was a second sets of elevators that only went as high as my floor that I rarely waited longer than a minute for. There was also escalator access to all the main con floors, which sped travel time up exponentially compared to previous years.
My only real complaint about this location is the lack of fast/cheap food options. The Double Tree had several option within a 3-5 minutes walking time. Most of them were in the parking lot.
Downtown Minneapolis practically shuts down on the weekend. It felt like everything was either closed or too far of a walk for how cold it was. It’s entirely possible that I didn’t look hard enough. Because I was paying so much to attend this year, I chose to prioritize con time over exploring the city.
On the last day I had a burger at the hotel restaurant. This was a mistake. The burger was decent, but the service was terrible.
Despite a mostly empty restaurant, I waited an unusual amount of time to be seated. And even longer for my order to be taken. They never checked on me during my meal. And I finally had to ask the bus boy to find my server so I could pay. I would understand if they were packed at the time, but they weren’t.
I know this wasn’t the fault of the con, but it was still disappointing.
I spend the majority of my time at Anime Detour in panel rooms, so this change was especially important to me. The rooms at the Hyatt proved to be adequate replacements. The size felt similar to what I was used to. The sound system, while not perfect, was mostly the same.
The layout of the programming rooms was more sensible. Even after several years at the Double Tree, I always found myself having to use the map to find the correct room. I had things figured out at the Hyatt after a few hours.
They tried something new this year that wouldn’t have been possible at the Double Tree. Instead of checking IDs for each 18+ panel, they had an 18+ hallway where you had your ID checked once and your could go from room-to-room, so long as you didn’t leave the area.
I like this in practice, but the walls were very thin in the 18+ area. During one of my panels the music in the room next door was loud enough to be distracting.
This only happened once all weekend, so it’s possible that my neighbor just had their computer turned up too loud.
It could have been worse, though. During the second year of AniMinneapolis I did a panel in a room next to the rave. The music was so loud that you couldn’t hear what I saying.
Main Event Room and Dealers Room
My only time in the Main Event Room was during the end of the auction. The biggest thing that I noticed was that the AV equipment looked a lot nicer and that they were streaming the event online this year.
The new Dealer’s Room was impressive, and reminded me of cons I’d attended on the east coast. It was much larger than it had ever been at the Double Tree while managing to avoid feeling congested.
My time in the Consuite was brief this year. I don’t know why. I usually spend a lot more time snacking. The new Consuite it was a lot bigger and better organized compared to previous years.
The only problem was with one of the people serving rice. I didn’t interact with him personally, but I overheard him say something like, “Before I serve you, I feel morally compelled to let you know that I have herpes.”
Unless he was using his dick as a serving spoon, I’m pretty sure the risk of spreading herpes to con-goers is nonexistent. His statement was highly inappropriate and I could tell that it made the patrons uncomfortable.
UPDATE: A member of staff reached out to me for details on the individual. I was only able to give a timeframe of when it happened. An attempt is being made to identify him based on this information in order to prohibit him from volunteering in the future.
I was too tired to party on the first night because I had left so early for my flight, and jet lag got the best of me. However, I checked out most of the parties on Saturday.
This is one thing that the Double Tree did better. The parties themselves were fine, but they were difficult to locate. I found myself asking staff for help at one point. Compared to the cabana room layout at the Double Tree, it felt like trying to navigate a maze.
Overall, Anime Detour 2018 was a blast. I made new friends and hung out with old ones. The weekend went by too fast. Being in a new hotel felt weird, but that’s to be expected. I’ll always look back at the Double Tree era fondly, but I look forward to seeing what this new chapter will bring.