Convention Quadrant: RangerStop & Pop 2021 Review

Hello to all of you beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast nerd universe! It’s time for our convention review!

RangerStop & Pop 2021

So, last month RJ and I traveled to Atlanta for RangerStop & Pop 2021 and it was amazing! It was our first time doing an out of state convention since it was a goal to do one after our first start at MetroCon back in 2013. Besides the convention, I will also be talking about the trip and some of the places we ate at to give the full experience. But first is our disclaimer!

Disclaimer:

This review is based on thoughts and observations from the lead writer and her co-producer. Please respect their thoughts and opinions since they have gone through a lot through this trip.

Flight and Arrival

First is our flight! Instead of taking a road trip we decided to fly and it was easier with that. I booked with Delta since Southwest was not flying out of Daytona and American Airlines was adding an extra stop which cost extra to book. Glad Delta had a straight shot and it was an easy flight. The pilot did help me onto the plane since I did have my cane in hand. It was heartwarming to see the plane take off from the airport and heading north. When we arrived, that was when it was a bit rough. I did book a car on Priceline but when we got there and hoping to pay for the car at the desk, they did not mention a deposit had to be paid at the desk either. So, RJ did have his AAA discount and got a car from Hertz at last minute. So, we didn’t get any penalties for not getting and paying for the car from Dollar Rent a Car. I would say go with Hertz or Enterprise if you’re renting. I did check into the hotel over the Marriot to make sure we didn’t get there in time. At least we did and just spent all of Thursday evening in our hotel room. Which hotel is next!

Hotel

The Weston Buckhead was nice to stay at and we did wipe it down when we got to our room with anti-bacterial wipes to add some more cleanliness. What was interesting is that the hotel also had subterranean parking in the garage since there are times where parking can be a problem. I remembered this being an added issue at the World Center in Orlando during 2018’s Holiday Matsuri. Unfortunately, Florida is swamp land all over so that can’t be something to do but at least we had an easier time finding parking spots throughout the weekend, even near the elevators leading to the lobby area. The convention did take place on two levels for panels and the vendor room and press room which made it very convenient. Besides the convenience of the convention, the hotel was also surrounded by local restaurants and stores like Target, Kroger, even two malls. It made it easier for getting food delivered from local places. I did like how Uber Eats and Marriot did have a deal where you can get extra points for ordering take out. We did go out to a few places for food and will mention that next!!

Food

Like I said, there were a lot of local places around the area. It sure beats driving to different parts of town that are father away. We did get water from Kroger nearby but did get food from a few places. We did get food delivered from Corner Bakery and Farm Burger. The Corner Bakery had usual breakfast items such as pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, and I even ordered a cookie to snack on later Saturday. It was good! With Farm Burger, on the other hand, RJ did not like how the menu didn’t give that many choices like the extension of Culver’s but it did have things we tend to go for at some places here in Daytona. I did have a Create Your Own Beyond Burger which was really tasty. RJ did have the double bacon burger which he did enjoy. We did split an order of fries and onion rings. We did enjoy the onion rings and they were crunchy in a good way instead of soggy. For Sunday’s breakfast was good since we had DaVinci’s Doughnuts which were like Doug’s Donuts where they do gourmet and regular donuts. They also serve coffee. The donuts were small but filled you up after a few. We did have a nine pack to split. I did enjoy the maple and bacon one, cannoli, salted caramel, and forgot one more I had but they were good. I know we will have them again whenever we go back. And the best place I saved for last. As you probably know, RJ and I love Japanese food and two years ago our favorite place in Orlando, Aki, shut down due to their location being sold and had to close for good. It was very sentimental to us both and it was our all-time favorite authentic place, even when they served their food at the Japanese festival there. The place we found in Atlanta Friday night was Rousan’s. It was close to the hotel and man it was tasty! We ordered the Rock & Roll sushi, a chicken skewer alongside a pork one, and some vegetable tempura and Takoyaki. For anyone new to Japanese food, they are octopi’s dumplings that are breaded with bonito flakes and sauces. You can get a snack pack in Japan with these dumplings that I saw in one video. We did order our favorites we loved at Aki, RJ had the pork curry while I had the katsu don which is a rice dish with pork, scrambled eggs, and onions with sauce. They got it right since most places hardly do. The place that was supposed to replace Aki did their katsu don with tempura vegetables and pork and rice, while another place had their stuff separated and the rice in one bowl. Nope! Rousan’s did theirs the traditional way and should be that way as well. I hope we do get to go back and have more food from this place because they really hit the heart with their delicious food! I did post on Facebook that Atlanta has spoiled us with their local places. Kroger did have pretty good food like subs and chicken plates as well.

Guests & Vendor Room

The vendor room was good at this version of RangerStop. I felt I got more items during this one and had more to look forward to and find. I was not able to get any itaa bag items as I hoped but did find a few things like new coffee mugs to have my morning coffee in before heading for work during the week. We did find a stand that sold seasons of Power Rangers and we did pick up SPD, Lost Galaxy, and Wild Force. RJ was hoping to find Beast Morphers since some of the rangers were guests from that season. I was glad to get my paws on Wild Force since Netflix no longer had it and was sad not able to see it before it was taken off. Now I get to finish up the series and get it signed by the cast whenever they get invited back for either Atlanta or Orlando. The guests were amazing throughout the weekend and placed around the vendor room like in Orlando. We were able to meet the Time Force cast. Well, day one was when we met Kevin who played Trip, Deborah who played Katie, and Michael who played Lucas on the show. I did get to meet Jason Fondt on my own since RJ was busy in the press room. Unfortunately, Erin Cahill and Dan Southworth were not able to make it but hoping to meet them at a future RangerStops. We did also bring something for one of the anime guests which happened to be GetBackers for Jason Leigh Brecht to sign. I was deciding what to bring him after seeing him on the list of guests appearing and remembered he was on GetBackers as Ban. I did find the FullMetal Alchemist movie in the same box since we haven’t unpacked all the anime DVDs from the move. I figured Jason hadn’t signed GetBackers and I was right, he was surprised to see it and told Elizabeth Maxwell and Leah Clarke that it was one of his first works. We did talk with other guests including Johnny Yong Bosh and we did have a run in with Paul Schrier after being in the press room on Friday and ended up on the same elevator as Mercury Ranger Friday after dinner. We did visit Artists Alley and we will be sharing links from their tables so you can check them out. Just go down below. If you’re a screen reader user, you will be able to get to the Artist Links heading at the end of this post!

Panels

Like with Orlando, there were panels but on Friday and Saturday since we had to leave early Sunday get the rental car back. We did get video of panels but I do have a separate post about some of the panels I took notes on Saturday. I didn’t want to try recording anything after having focus issues years ago. RJ did get some press videos so wait for those videos when they are uploaded onto our YouTube. I did like how there was a voice actors panel since they were also including actors from My Hero Academia. It felt good to attend panels again after a year and a half without attending conventions. Just follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for the latest posts.

Verdict: Convention Accomplished!

This convention felt a breath of fresh air after being without conventions for over a year. I was glad we got the opportunity to do press at an out of state convention. It gave us a new environment to explore. I will do a post on things we have learned from our travels to Atlanta to help us when we come back and go to future conventions. We do have goals to attend OtaKon in Maryland and Anime Boston in Massachusetts. Heck, if we get to go, Canada for Con Bravo and TennoCon.I do have to give it to the volunteers because this was another convention that I had sighted guide. I remembered back at the Orlando version, some of the volunteers did help me get around the area since it’s hard to see the line ropes and where panels are located. Seeing that volunteers took the extra few minutes to give me sighted guide helped a lot. I wished most other conventions would give their time to do that. Thank you RangerStop for that and even Omni who also did that as well. The convention was also set up very well with being on two different levels for panels and vendors which made it easier to find and go where needed to be. Plus, It was more spacious in the halls than the Wyndham in my opinion. I hope we can get another opportunity to do another convention away from home. Heck, I still want to head back to MetroCon in Tampa. I do have one thing to say about improvements.

Needs for Improvement

Not all conventions are perfect but the only thing I have a bit of a gripe is that the websites for Orlando and Atlanta are hard to navigate with access software and they need to be worked on. Before this convention, I took a course through American Printing House for the Blind on how to create accessible documents. If you haven’t noticed but I have used what I learned to make the posts easier to navigate and read here even when you use access software. One thing the course does stress is the creation of headings which makes navigation easy. In Jaws and NVDA, we have the Headings and Links lists where a list compiles headings and links into an easy to navigate area to go from one heading to the next and the same with links. I notice how my screen reader tends to go to the bottom headings instead of the center of the website if I need to look at something. Another thing too is that when looking at the guests there were links that didn’t show their names but some letters and a few numbers next to their pictures. I can’t see photos but did get taken to their IMDB page. The only person who had their name next to their photo was Karen Ashley except that was not a clickable link. I would say it would be easy to have Guests as a heading and their names as clickable links for both sides of the websites. Best to create these things in word and then transfer over to the website creation. I did try contacting the team but didn’t get an answer, so hoping anyone on staff that is reading this, I am willing to talk about making the website accessible. Especially when accessing the events schedule even with he QR codes that were embedded on the badges, which that is another thing that needs improvement because not everyone’s devices could access them. RJ’s phone was able to access the schedule just fine when my phone couldn’t when it is an I Phone 12. I did meet with one of the other people who were promoting their convention in Artists Alley that he had issues also scanning the QR code. Not sure if it was device specific but it should be able to be scanned by any device, tablet or phone even with the latest software. Not sure how the event schedule was formatted but that is another thing that should be accessible to screen reading software. Again, I am available for a talk about accessibility!

Artists

I did mention that we dropped by Artists alley and with the return of cinventions, we want to include the artists that appeared at this convention so we can help them in being promoted. This also includes conventions that also promote themselves in the artists area as well. So, check these guys out with their links down below!

Dragon Wick Embroidery Facebook Page

Dragon Wick Embroidery on Instagram

InyoFace Art

@ Axel Error – This is their Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr handle in order to find them on the internet.

Artful Sunshine

PD Sean

K20custom

Morphin-Toku-Society On Instagram

Tim Bree 3D

Elsewyr Shoppe

Shannon Manor

Super R Illustrations

Joe Lisi

Burning Spear Comix

Tuskegee Heirs

Papa’s Stuff

Lady J Cosplay

Big Gold Belt Media

Geek Dunn Ryte

Elector Z Cosplay

HBCU Con

Metrotham Con

The Crafted Dragon: 334-462-3829, ask for Judy.

Alchemist of Avalon

Well, that is it for this review. Again, thank you staff at RangerStop & Stop for giving us the opportunity to cover the event. Hoping to come back next year or even just appear at Orlando again. Next up will be my Allure Beauty Box for a convention break before we start getting our videos up.

Convention Quadrant: RangerStop & Pop 2021 Review

Convention Quadrant: RangerStop & Pop 2021 Review

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