Thank you very much for your honest and detailed explanatory post, I appreciate that.
From a person who wasn't going to come at first after a guest cancelled, I have to say I REALLY ENJOYED my day despite the teething troubles.
I was under no illusion that moving to a venue like this would throw up some problems and it seems there were some and I'm sorry for all those that had a negative experience, but I have to say I wasn't one of them; here is my (hopefully fair & honest) impression:
The signage around MK is rubbish but I think it always has been - I found the venue by myself with no problem after working out where it was on a postcode finder site and using and old-fashioned road map and coming from someone who gets lost going to my post office, I think this will remain a crowning achievement of the weekend, lol. (However, one of my friends did get lost for an hour in MK trying to find it)
I parked with no problem (though that was @ 8am on the Saturday)
I found Ben Browder's queue with no problem; I knew where Leonard Nimoy's queue was because one of your team came to tell my queue twice in case anyone was standing in the wrong place (which they were, so thanks to that staff member, hopefully they got good tickets).
Yes, it was cold & raining, but I don't think even SM can change the weather, lol. (Thanks to the Friday peeps that posted about that on the forum; I changed what I was going to wear and was fine with my scarf & gloves, lol)
We were let in at 9am as promised, walking along the concourse to the Virtual Ticket 'dispenser' was difficult for my friend who has back trouble but we still got reasonable auto tickets for Ben, which was super because I was getting something signed for a charity and was really hoping I would be lucky.
I then left my friend sitting on one those handy wee plastic tip up seats situated on the top of the main seating so she could rest and scampered along to the Leonard queue, never thinking that I would be lucky and that the VTQ would be closed... no! It wasn't! I got a ticket! WoooHooo!!
Some of my experiences based on your comments:
I always take my own food as I'm a veggie but got a nice cuppa tea from one of the kiosks from a polite young man (now THAT makes me sound old, lol) and didn't have to wait too long at all.
The SM staff, at least everyone that I came across, was knowledgeable, helpful yet friendly - THANK YOU SM staff, all of you.
The Cosplay peeps were FANTASTIC, and thanks to the peeps that brought the Stargate costumes.
Personally I didn't have an issue with Mr Nimoy's security; I see some others did, shame about that; I hope that Leonard felt safe enough in the UK to maybe come again.
Yes, the dealer's room was crowded but no worse than the shopping centre and at least it was warm, lol.
Shame about the talks but it really was far too cold to expect the guests to stand out in the open, darn the British weather - it was even raining *IN*side, lol.
The fun fair was cancelled due to the weather? Sorry to be selfish folks, but that didn't personally bother me in the slightest.
Photo pick-up - yes, we were was kept waiting for a while, but we tried to make light of it and I had no idea you guys had to run to Boots to get this done, what a pain for you - but maybe something in-house can be arranged for next year when you have better facilities? Boots should come to you! (BTW, none of us liked being 'ogled' when at by the next 'customers' in the photo queue, if you are looking for comments for next year & if you don't mind me saying)
Lastly, the guests; everyone I met was lovely, even Mr Nimoy who seemed tired (I mean to say, the gentlemen is a very senior citizen who deserves personal care and attention, IMHO) who didn't speak (again through tiredness I think) but gave me a lovely smile when he signed my poster (despite me babbling like an idiot as usual). I spent much more money than I ever have done (okay, some was for other people and charities, but also for me - YES) and I did have a super time.
From what you say, Jason, the event attendance was a success and I'm chuffed for you all and reading about what you say for next year's event "a massive 3000 meter Olympic hall + food outlets + hotel accommodation" at what will be a top class venue - WOW, BRING IT ON AND GOOD LUCK!
Heck, I didn't mean to waffle on like that lol, basically, it was FAB and I'll Be Back