Kellie Ambrosia of Mesa is one such local who’s eager to geek out at the popular event, which has been on a three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic.
“Don’t you mean ‘The Blip’?” she says, referring to the incident from the Marvel Cinematic Universe where half the universe’s population returns after being snapped out of existence for years. “It feels a little like that because we’re all resuming our lives after being in limbo for so long.”
And just like the MCU characters who returned to life, attendees of Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 will discover there have been a few changes.
The three-day pop-cultural extravaganza, which runs from Friday, May 27, to Sunday, May 29, will be one day shorter than its previous editions. Its overall size has also been condensed with only one exhibitor hall hosting all of the various vendors, artists, authors, special guests, and local costuming groups.
Beyond those changes, Phoenix Fan Fusion will remain largely the same during this year’s run. Dozens of celebrity actors and actresses are scheduled to appear, including Billy West and John DiMaggio from Futurama, The Guild’s Felicia Day, Encanto voice actress Diane Guerrero, and Star Trek: Discovery’s Doug Jones and Anthony Rapp.
There will also be plenty of panels and programming events taking place across the weekend, many devoted to such geeky subject matter as anime, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films. There will also be tons of cosplay, trivia contests, and nighttime events like a nerdy burlesque revue.
Ambrosia, who oversees local Star Wars-themed costuming group the Dune Sea Garrison, sounds like she’s pumped to attend.
“I cannot wait to go back,” she says. “I'm excited to see exhibitors. I'm excited to see other people. I’m excited to see other costuming clubs. It’s hard to wait any longer.”
If you’d like to feel the excitement and anticipation for yourself, check out our extensive Fan Fusion insider’s guide to the event, including everything you’ll want to know.
When and Where Will Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 Happen?
The three-day event runs from Friday, May 27, to Sunday, May 29, inside the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 North Third Street.
What Are the Hours?That depends on what part of the event you’re talking about. Different areas of Fan Fusion, like its three secured entrances or exhibitor hall, will have separate schedules. Programming will also run into the late-night hours on Friday and Saturday.
Here’s an exact rundown of when everything will be operating.
Badge Redemption Stations
Located outside each secured entrance
Friday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located at Second and Adams streets, Third and Monroe streets, and Third and Washington streets.
Friday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Exhibitor Hall and Hall of Heroes
Located on the lower level of the convention center’s West and North buildings
Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Programming and Events
Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How Much is General Admission?
Daily memberships for adults are $40 on Friday, $55 on Saturday, and $50 on Sunday. A full-event pass is $90 and covers all three days. Kids ages 3 to 12 can get a $15 “sidekick” pass and children under 3 are free with a paid adult admission.
Are VIP Packages Available?Yes. They cost $295 and are loaded with perks, including a collectible badge and lanyard, exclusive lines for celebrity guest photo ops and autographs, express lines for the biggest Q&A panels, and access to a VIP-only lounge near the convention center’s main food court.
Are There Age Limits?Nah. Fan Fusion is totally an all-ages event open to children, families, and everyone else. Keep in mind, though, that certain adult-oriented programming and activities (like the geek-themed burlesque show on Friday, May 27) are strictly for the 18-and-over crowd.
What’s the Best Way to Get There?
Unless you’ve got stuff you’re hauling to the event (such as a large costume), we strongly suggest taking Valley Metro light rail. It's cheap (fares are $2 for a single ride or $4 per day) and stations are located along both Washington and Jefferson streets within walking distance to the convention center. Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding parking.
Note: The station at Washington and Third streets will be closed daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for safety precautions. It’s recommended that attendees use the Central Avenue and Washington Street station instead, which is only a five-minute walk from the convention center.
Where Should I Park?Your best option is to go with a parking garage instead of worrying about finding a space. Fan Fusion is offering a deal where you can reserve and pre-pay spaces for $20 per day at four garages near the convention center.
How Can I Get Around Downtown?If your feet are worn out after spending a day of walking around the con, you can take a pedicab for $10 to $20 per ride or hit up either a taxi or ride-sharing service (fares vary) to get to and from your car, a hotel, or a nearby eatery or bar.
What Is Weather Going to Be Like?
Pretty hot. Like early summer hot. Expect 100-plus-degree days and plenty of sun all weekend long. Unless you’re rocking a costume, we suggest sticking with shorts and a T-shirt. You’ll also want sun protection like shades, a hat, or an umbrella or parasol in case there’s a line to get in.
What Is Fan Fusion's COVID-19 Policy?Per the Phoenix Convention Center’s COVID-19 operating plan, no one will be required to show proof of vaccination status or a negative test to attend its events, including Fan Fusion. That said, face coverings are recommended for anyone, regardless of their vaccination status, while indoors. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to practice social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines.
According to Fan Fusion’s website, “decisions about whether to attend a large scale indoor event [are] a matter of personal choice, to be determined on an individual basis.” Organizers of the event “encourage everyone who is able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine to do so to protect themselves and their communities.”
What Will It Be Like Getting Inside Fan Fusion?The area surrounding the Phoenix Convention Center will be enclosed to create a security perimeter. That includes the area along Third Street between Monroe and Washington streets between the West and North buildings. Secured entrances with prop-checking stations will be located at Second and Adams streets, Third and Monroe, and Third and Washington. Security will screen each attendee and any costumes upon entry as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Will There Be Badges This Year?Yes. Fan Fusion is ditching wristbands and bringing back attendee badges with lanyards. They’ll grant you in-and-out privileges and must be worn at all times within the event’s secured area. They can be picked up before you enter from badge redemption stations located outside each entrance.
What Is the Policy Towards Costumes and Props?Cosplay is completely encouraged at Fan Fusion (this is a geek event, ya know) but there are rules regarding certain costuming items and props. If you’re wearing something covering your head or face either partially or totally, particularly if it’s not easily removable when requested, you might need to show ID or additional information.
Props that are allowed into the Fan Fusion include lightsabers, wands, sonic screwdrivers, unstrung or loosely-strung bows, untipped and non-removable arrows, and lightweight plastic or foam bats/clubs. Shields and armor made from plastic, foam, fiberglass, resin, or cardboard are also acceptable, provided there aren’t any sharp edges. Ditto for swords axes, or Wolverine claws. Metal shields and armor can be brought in but could possibly hinder the screening process.
What props aren't allowed? Any sort of real or replica weapon or anything resembling a gun, bomb, or explosive device. Tasers, slingshots, brass knuckles, metal and wooden swords, edged weapons, and glass or stone props are also banned. You also can’t bring in air horns, whistles, or other excessively noisy, as well as wheeled shoes, skates, skateboards, or hoverboards.
Should I Drink Water?Yes. Most definitely. As much and as often as you can. Temperatures are going to be in the triple digits and even if you’re spending most of your time indoors, you’re going to stay active all day and get dehydrated. As such, you should be drinking water frequently. Attendees will be allowed to bring empty refillable water containers into Fan Fusion and dozens of drinking fountains are located around the convention center. Food vendors and concession stands will also have bottles of water for sale.
Can I Bring In Outside Food or Drink?No. Phoenix Convention Center is strictly prohibiting bringing any outside food or drink into Fan Fusion this year. (Reasonable accommodations for anyone with medical conditions or infant children will be available, which you can read about here.) An extensive food court is available on the first floor of the North building offering multiple dining options, as well as snack bars, food carts, and vending machines in the exhibitor hall and throughout the convention center. Downtown Phoenix also has a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and other eateries within a short walk.
Which Celebrities Are Appearing This Year?Phoenix Fan Fusion 2022 will feature appearances by such actors and actresses as Felicia Day (Critical Role), Anthony Rapp (Star Trek: Discovery), Patrick Warburton (The Tick), Diane Guerrero (Encanto), Doug Jones (The Shape of Water), Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager), Billy West (Futurama), Linda Ballantyne (Sailor Moon), Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows), John DiMaggio (Futurama), Katie Griffin (Sailor Moon), Jackson Robert Scott (It), and Tim Russ (Star Trek: Discovery). A complete list of Fan Fusion's guests can be found here.
How Much are Celebrity Photos and Autographs?Anthony Rapp, for instance, is charging $40 for a selfie at his table or $60 for an autograph. Meanwhile, an autograph by Ariel voice actress Jodi Benson will run you $110. Click here for the complete price list.
What About Comic Book Creatives?They’ll be at this year’s event, too, including famed writers and artists like Jim Starlin (the co-creator of Thanos and Drax the Destroyer), John Romita Jr. (The Amazing Spider-Man), Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Joe Rubinstein (The Infinity Gauntlet) Bob McLeod (G.I. Joe), Scott Williams (Uncanny X-Men), Brian Pulido (Lady Death), and Marat Mychaels (Deadpool).
Where Are the Exhibitor Hall and Hall of Heroes?Both will be located in the cavernous space on the lower level of both the West and North buildings. As per usual, the exhibitor hall will be populated with hundreds of vendors, artists, and all manner of geeky items for sale (ranging from toys and collectibles to artwork and apparel). Photo ops and autographs with celebrity guests will take place in the Hall of Heroes. The opposite end of the exhibitor hall will host comic book guests and authors, as well as cosplay guests and booths for local costuming groups like the Arizona Autobots, the Dune Sea Garrison, and Arizona Avengers will have their booths in one corner.
Will There Be Gaming?Of course, and, as always, there will be a ton of it at the event. The folks from the Game On Expo and local retail store The Gaming Zone will have consoles and systems both retro and modern in multiple areas with tournaments and competitions going on all three days. Cobra Arcade Bar will have a selection of classic games and pinball machines available for play in North 120AB. A full rundown of the gaming track at Fan Fusion is available here.
When Will Fan Fusion's Celebrity Q&As Happen?All three days will feature celebrity guests entertaining crowds during lively Q&A sessions held throughout the weekend. It's one of the most popular attractions at Phoenix Fan Fusion and tends to attract big crowds. A full rundown of when each celeb will appear is available on the Fan Fusion website.
What Sort of Cosplay Activities Are Planned?Fan Fusion’s schedule features several dozen activities devoted to costumes, including fashion shows, workshops, and panels. The biggest cosplay event of the weekend is the annual Masquerade from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 28, in West 301BCD, which features the astounding work of costume creators from around Arizona. It’s literally not to be missed.
What Should You Bring to Fan Fusion?Like we said, an empty water bottle and sun protection are good ideas. Beyond that, credit cards and cash (in case some vendors can’t take plastic), a fully charged cellphone, a digital camera, comfortable footwear (since you'll be doing a lot of walking), and a bag or backpack for carrying everything.
What Shouldn’t I Bring?Besides any banned props or weaponry, leave any drugs or other intoxicants, bad or impatient attitudes, laser pointers, non-service animals, or anything else forbidden by event organizers at home.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since its original publication to reflect the cancelation of Christopher Eccleston's appearance.