We're only just back in Glasgow having spent the weekend (and more) in London.
We've been to over 20 events run by SM now and I refused to attend CM:MK last year due to our experience back in 2010 but thankfully things were much better for us this time.
We decided to attend on the Friday and everything was very relaxed. There couldn't have been any more than a hundred or so in the queue at opening time. Guests were allowing photos at the table, hardly an queues, very relaxed atmosphere etc. We had a brilliant time and met about 10 guests we really wanted to take the pressure off of Saturday. I'd strongly advise anyone to attend on Friday at a future event if they can make it.
Kudos to Jason on Friday as well for assisting us with a mis-understanding and I was really grateful to him and the crew (Kev for their assistance). I got the chance to speak to a number of crew and fans about the events and provide feedback on the event and our recent experiences of the forums. The guests were brilliant - especially Eric Avari and Lance Henriksen.
Saturday (as expected) was mental and we saw another several guests.
I was very surprised that some guests were out on the concourse (David Bradley and Brian Blessed) as I'd guessed they were going to be very busy whereas other guests that I saw in the tents had no-one with them (i.e. Michael Dorn) from what we could see and feedback at previous events has highlighted how "unbusy" some were.
Saturday was crazily busy and at some points quite scary for my son (10) and daughter in a pushchair, particuarly when passing near the photoshoot collections. There were a number of wheelchair users also trapped in that area and I saw one woman in her wheelchair was very distressed at one point. While SM can't predict crowds the photoshoot collections should be in a separate area if possible. Just after I helped someone else in a wheelchair get through the crowd, I was asked by someone at the dealers entrance if I wanted to buy early VT numbers as he had already seen some of the guests (he had John Barrowman and Sean Astin). This fits with what others have said in that VT tickets were not being taken from attendees.
There's a number of comments about the photos over the desk policy, etc. All I can say to people is - get there on Friday. We've been doing this for several years now and it's the "gabbers" who take far more time than those taking seconds taking a photo but I understand that for some people they want to chat to the guest. We rarely get photoshoots and it's not down to the cost - it's the fact that we can't wait hours to collect them - I'd be happy paying to take my own.
All in all, a fairly good weekend for us but I do feel for those who weren't as fortunate.
It's also worth noting that at CM:MK 2010 the following criticisms came up on the forum and from us:
1. A lack of signing inside the stadium, especially at the entrance.
2. Not enough space for photoshoot collections and no information behind the desks showing which numbers were back or where to collect them.
3. Older guests being left out in the cold (back then it was Kenny Baker) and I've read the comments about Jake La Motta.
On a final positive note - all the crew we spoke to were brilliant and over the years this has really improved and made the whole experience worthwhile.