How early should I get in line each day?
Getting in line is something that should be decided by YOU, so many of us can't tell you exactly when you should show up. However, I would recommend getting in line fairly shortly after the doors open. If not, then feel free to show up whenever you wake up. If you are the more social geek, I would highly recommend getting in line as soon as you can. The people are what make PAX, and there is no better way to meet/converse/trade pokemans with these people than being in line. Remember, you are all there showing your love for games in some way, shape or form, so feel free to strike up a conversation with the person next to you! However, if you end up befriending these people, I would highly suggest getting their contact info, as I have lost many potential friends this way, watching the people I just spent 3 hours with in line fade off into the crowd of gamers.
NOTE: doors to the building don't open until 8am!
My Gods! The Lines! The Crowded Crowded Lines! What do I do about the Lines? Whichever venue PAX is in, on whatever coast in whosoever dimension, Crowding is almost omnipresent. Recent PAXes have sold out weeks in advance, and the various convention centers have been unable to contain their awesomeness in a roomy manner. There are lines for almost everything, including lines in order to get into lines (I'm talking to you, Merch line PAX East 2010). There is little you can do to avoid them. Neither is there a hard and fast rule for when you need to get in line for a panel or event, as it depends on demand for the individual panel, as well as what day of the Con it's on, what's going on at the same time, and whether Wil Wheaton is involved in any way. For most Panels an hour beforehand is quite sufficient, and you might be able to get away with 30 minutes, if you're lucky. The Make A Strip Panel, any Wil Wheaton Panel, and Scott Kurtz are likely to require a little more time. If you want to get into the keynote on Friday, you'll need to arrive at the convention center when it opens at 8:00am, and go straight to the queue room.
Advice for surviving the lines
Relax - Lines happen. Getting angry, impatient or upset will not make them go away. Before you line up, decide whether spending this time is worth it, and then simply go with it. Take the time to plan the rest of your day, read the forums or, better yet, refer to the bottom entry in this list.Follow @PAX_Lines on twitter!! This feed updates constantly about how full lines are around the convention.Plan Ahead and Prioritise - Unfortunately there is no chance that any one person can experience everything PAX has to offer, and any five people would have their work cut out for them. When you're looking at which panels or events to go to, choose a few select things you absolutely can't miss and spend the time in line to make sure you get in. When looking at the timetable try to mentally add queue times to the beginning of each session, to get a more realistic idea of what you can and can't see.Queue Responsibly - Don't impede walkways. If an enforcer asks you to move, he's not taking away your place in line, just trying to consolidate it into something more manageable and less in the way.Get comfortable - If sitting on a hard surface or standing for extended periods of time causes you discomfort, you might want to consider bringing a cushion or a collapsible chair to sit on == is this actually allowed? ==. Unfortunately, chairs or beanbags can't be provided because they would hamper evacuation in the event of fire.I need to pee - That's not a problem. Just ask your friendly line neighbour to hold your place, and go. Try not to leave it until the doors open, and DO NOT open your DS or check your Facebook whilst enthroned. If you want to be super prepared, check to see where the nearest restroom is before you get in line, and visit it before you settle down to wait. Also, don't dehydrate yourself just in order to hold your place in line.Enjoy the lines - Seriously. There are few places in the world where the next random person standing next to you is likely to be friendly, and instantly grok your rim-shot Monty Python reference, Trade you that last Pokemon, or finally explain THAC0 to your satisfaction. Take your Magic deck, DS, Zombie Dice, Travel Catan and a bottle of water, and hang out with some interesting people for a while.
There are of course some people who find it impossible to wait in line for any reason. If you have a medical condition which precludes lines, talk to the enforcers, who may well be able to accommodate you. If you are simply temperamentally unsuited to waiting, or don't want to take the time to do so, there are ways to enjoy yourself at PAX without waiting around. Many freeplay areas, especially Tabletop, can easily be navigated without having to wait at all, or with a simple sign-up sheet. Large portions of the expo halls also, and the Concerts have generally been accessible 20 minutes or so after the line has gone in. Play tests for the major developers are essentially impossible to get into You may need to sit or stand nearer to the back of the hall, but if you hate lines you probably aren't all that fond of mosh pits either. Not all the sessions fill up to capacity, especially later in the con. As long as you avoid the big ticket sessions, and are prepared for disappointment, you may simply be able to ask the enforcers on the door if there is any space inside.
Are the theatres cleared in-between panels / concerts?
YES! Except for a few back to back panels in the main theatre (ie, the Keynotes goes right into the first PA Q&A) all theatres are cleared out between panels.