On June 1-3, Creation Entertainment hosted one of their many fabulous conventions in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton – Lake Buena Vista, right across the street from Disney Springs. This time, it was for the ABC series, Once Upon A Time. The show, which started in 2011, was centered around popular fairy tale characters, who were under a curse and forced to live in the modern world, but not knowing who they really were. Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Jared Gilmore and Lana Parrilla started in the series, which instantly became a hit.
The show went on for seven seasons, the conclusion happening this past May. It was a great ending to a beloved show; every character returned, and you knew that it was a great closing to the series. This was a way for me to say goodbye to the show, which has one more convention in October.
Some of the actors from the show had been touring with Creation Entertainment for Once Upon A Time conventions around North America, and it was announced that these last few shows would be their farewell tour.
Thanks to Creation, we were able to attend the convention in Orlando. After being to many other conventions and my first Creation event this past January for Supernatural, I was excited to see what Creation had in store for Once Upon A Time fans.
Saturday morning we arrived at registration, where the line was easy to manage and efficient. The atmosphere was electric, fans excited and all wearing Once merch, with The Evil Queen’s face on it, or quotes from the show, or even cosplays as some of the show’s most beloved characters.
There were signs all over to help point you in the direction to purchase photo ops, where things were, prices, etc. They also had schedules right on the registration table, so you knew where everything was and when it was.
We went into the ballroom, where the stage was set up, complete with banners hanging all around of the cast members, and got a great seat in general admission. All of the rows in front of general admission are assigned, as part of the gold, silver and copper packages that you can purchase that include some other great perks, such as autographs, concert tickets, etc.
The host of the convention was Lee Arenberg, who plays Grumpy. He came on, got the crowd excited and ready for the weekend. The house band, Samurai Fish, excited the crowd with great music and really got the convention going.
The first panel was of Jared Gilmore (Young Henry), Lee (Grumpy) and Chris Gauthier (Smee). The three told exciting and fun stories about their experiences on set, how they’re all very close friends because of the convention, and many more fun stories.
Next up came Emilie de Ravin, who plays Belle. She had some great questions about the show, as well as her other work such as Lost, Remember Me and Roswell. She was charming and engaging and the audience really loved her.
As the panels were going on, Creation was announcing photo-op numbers on the screen, which is such a great thing to do. Instead of having fans stand in lines to wait, they let fans enjoy panels and call them over in groups of 50.
After Emilie, we decided to look out at vendors. The vendor area was small, but their content was great and in a great location, right outside of the main ballroom. We ended up buying a few posters, and there were some great items that Creation was also selling like shirts, beanies, mugs, and prints that you could get signed by the guests. They were all priced great and affordable, which is a great thing to see at a convention.
We went back into the ballroom to see the Costume Contest – which was so much fun! Stephanie from Creation was the host, and first called up a group of children who were in full costume. After all of the children introduced themselves and what they were dressed as, Stephanie surprised all of them with gift certificates! That was the sweetest thing to see!
Next they brought up people in groups of 8 – where they introduced themselves, where they were from, and what costume they were wearing and how it was made. There were some incredible costumes; ones that people had hand-made, or pieced together from things they had. There was just so much attention to detail and found myself in awe of a lot of the costumes. After they were introduced, Stephanie would stand behind every person and the audience would cheer for their favorites; which would eventually move into final rounds. The contest is so great, and congrats to the winners!
Next, was a panel with Karen David, who is Jasmine. She was also fun and charming, and told many stories about set, and also her time on Galavant. The best part about Creation’s events is just how great the seating is, and how comfortable the panels are. You have a blast at every single one.
The last panel of the day was with Rose Reynolds (Alice/Tilly) and Colin O’Donoghue (Hook/Killian). This panel was so much fun, and everyone was having a great time; Captain Hook is one of the most beloved characters in the franchise, and Colin is so humble and down to earth, that any answers he gave were so endearing.
After their panel, there was a bit of a break. Fans could go rest, eat dinner, or explore other areas of the convention. At 9:00 p.m., the doors opened for the Once Upon A Time concert, where fans could watch Lee Arenberg, Beverley Elliott, Rebecca Mader, Rose Reynolds, Jared Gilmore, Chris Gauthier, Karen David and Samurai Fish perform! What’s great is that a ticket for this is already included if you get the Gold, Silver, or Copper packages!
On Sunday, the first panel was with Rebecca Mader (Zelena). Lee came out for the welcome, getting everyone pumped again for the day. He’s a great host. Rebecca came on and just absolutely killed it – she’s witty, charming, and just really kept the audience on their toes. Everyone was cheering, laughing, and it’s easy to see why she’s a fan favorite.
Right after Rebecca, Emilie de Ravin and Karen David did a joint panel together, which was really cool seeing them interact together and a different dynamic from their own solo panels from the day before.
There was a little bit of a break again, and Creation hosted an auction, where they auction off some really great items like banners, autographs, etc. for great prices. If you’re ever looking for one-of-a-kind merchandise, definitely check out these auctions!
Right after the auction was Beverly Elliott (Granny), who had a great panel. Later on in the day, Lee had his own solo panel. Getting to see Lee do his own panel was great! He talked about all of the multiple roles he’s been in, his favorite Once Upon A Time episodes, and more.
The next two panels were the last of the day and the last of the con. Creation knew how to end the party, because these were two of the biggest panels. The first panel was Jared Gilmore returning with Andrew J. West (Adult Henry). It was really interesting to hear their experience playing the same character, as Andrew played Henry in Season 7, when the show did a bit of a time jump.
The last panel of the day you knew was going to be huge, due to the fact that the lines for questions were the length of the entire room. The last panel was of Lana Parrilla, who is of course, Regina/The Evil Queen. The audience was full and the audience went absolutely crazy when she came out. She spoke of how hard it was to wrap the show, her favorite costumes and experiences, and it was almost surreal seeing her there, after seeing her on television for so long. Her panel was an hour, and you could tell everyone just hoped it would go on forever.
However, like anything, the panel had to end. Lee came back out to thank everyone, and the band played everyone out.
Overall, I had a great time at the Once Upon A Time convention. After being to two Creation Entertainment conventions, I can comfortably say that they throw my favorite conventions. They’re just so well organized, the schedule is always great, and the experience is just memorable. There’s really not enough words for me to rave about their conventions.
Check out Creation’s website for a convention near you and come out to see a show!