When I first heard about Anime Festival Orlando, I knew I needed to check this one out. An anime convention at a resort with multiple pools, in Orlando, less than 10 miles from Walt Disney World? Sign me up! And since the program also included video games and Japanese culture, I knew I was bound to find a Zelda fan or two.
Got my badge, ready to scope out the Zelda and Nintendo scene
First up, let’s talk cosplay. There weren’t a ton of Nintendo-related cosplays, but there were some Marios, Luigis, Shy Guys, and some super cute Eeveelutions; I was thrilled to run into the Hero of Time himself!
The Shy Guys, errr Girls were my favorite.
AFO had one of the best dealer rooms I’ve seen. Aside from licensed merch, I came across some fun Zelda goodies from independent artists.
This Wind Waker bunny hat is so soft!
M.a.D. Hatters is a mother and daughter team that makes geek-themed fleece hats and mouse ear headbands. The fabric is incredibly soft, and everything is well stitched. If you check out their Etsy shop, you’ll find several Nintendo mouse ears, including one with Majora’s Mask fabric — a great accessory for a Zelda fan to wear at the Disney parks.
Nintendo parody shirts from Max Lv. Tees
Comic book artist and designer Ed Middleton founded Max Lv. Tees, a T-shirt company that specializes in video game apparel and posters. Pictured above is a Zelda tee along with Pokémon mashups. I’m a big fan of the Geodude/Mountain Dew design. The shirts themselves are made of high quality material, and I would highly recommend them.
How many decals can I fit on my car?
We Zelda fans love to show our pride for the franchise. The Sticker Dork offers loads of geeky decals that are perfect for your 3DS, laptop, notebooks for school, and even your car. The decals come in a variety of sizes to fit anything that needs a little Zelda flare.
While smaller than many of the cons I go too, Anime Festival Orlando was packed with content and celebrity guests. The resort layout gave it a laid-back feel and I loved not having to wait 20 minutes to squeeze into a crowded elevator, and when it’s 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity, cramming into tiny enclosed spaces is less than desirable. This was my first time at AFO, and I’m marking July 28-30, 2017 in my calendar for next year’s con!