June 6, 2018 – So what happens when thousands of fans compete online to purchase an estimated 300 or so Jedi Master VIP tickets? You get a new Star Wars Celebration record.
Yesterday, the Jedi Master VIP tickets ($850 each) sold out within the very first minute they became available at 12:00 noon CDT/1:00pm EDT. Some lucky fans who were able to complete their VIP purchases say the highly sought-after tickets were gone within 30 seconds.
How did they do it? A high degree of luck, immediate entry into the queue, auto-fill of your payment information and checking out quickly were required to be successful.
Exactly at 12:00 noon CDT yesterday, online visitors would have seen an updated StarWarsCelebration welcome screen:
After clicking on “Buy Tickets”, you would have been taken to the anxiety-inducing digital queue line. Constantly refreshing your browser or switching tabs, as the website warned, might have gotten you tagged and blocked:
Unlike past Celebrations, the problem with server capacity seems to have been fixed. Technical glitches, such as being redirected to a wrong page or inordinately lengthy wait times, seem to have been resolved.
Once past the queue, you would have seen the following options and prices:
Next, you had to immediately select your quantity (limit of 4 VIP tickets per purchase). Or if you’re like us, skip the VIP option, save $635, and go for the 5-day pass:
Scrolling down the menu would have shown you some tempting “Select Add-ons”, including T-shirts ($25-27, depending on size), hoodies ($60-62), lanyards ($10), embroidered logo patches ($6), logo pins ($8), character pins ($10), and the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Guide ($25).
Even if you were fortunate enough to place a VIP ticket in your shopping cart, some fans complained the option disappeared at check-out. They weren’t fast enough to check out and time ran out. Your payment information – name, address, credit card info, etc. – had to be set up for auto-fill – or you would have lost precious time and any hope for a VIP ticket(s).
Yesterday’s screen refresh would have shown the “SOLD OUT” option:
Purchasing tickets (VIP or other) was the easy part. At 1:00pm CDT, a block of hotel rooms at 14 different hotels was made available for reservations. The Celebration website promised that the highest rate per day would be $229 for a double-bed room or $200 for a single-bed room.
After clearing the digital queue, many consumers noticed that hotel rooms nearest the convention center were snapped up immediately (no surprise there) or that consecutive nights were not always available. Moreover, what was once “unavailable” became “available” again later in the day as more waves of rooms were released.
It appears that some consumers were double- or triple-booking rooms, and then later canceling earlier reservations.
As of this morning, only one of the 14 hotels has availability.
But don’t let the above information dissuade you from finding accommodations. Chicago has hundreds of public lodging choices. And alternatives, such as AirBnB, offer even more.
TIP: Online sites such as Booking.com still offer competitive rates – some even better than those listed by the 14 hotels highlighted by Celebration.