The Unoffical TFCon Burbank Survival Guide

In what seems these days to be another lifetime, when BotCon would come to Pasadena every other year or so, I put together a "Survival Guide" that would attempt to let fans who might come to the area from other parts of the country know where they could find hotels and other amenities. Now that TFCon has been announced to be in Burbank from March 15-17, 2019, it's time to pull out some of those old notes again.

Of course, Burbank isn't quite the same as Pasadena, and I still can't predict every need a fan might have. But I know the Greater Los Angeles area pretty well, having lived here for more than two decades now, and hope that this list will be helpful. Of course, this area has lots of stuff to see. With a few exceptions, I'm only listing places that I've actually been to and would recommend. You can find other attractions just by using your Google-Fu, of course!


Air and rental car discounts:

  • TFCon has arranged with United Airlines to get up to 20% when travling to any LA airport. 
  • They have also arranged for up to 45% with Hertz Rent-a-Car.
  • Go to this link for more details. They ask that as many people use these codes as possible (even if your own pricing isn't affected), as this both helps them to know how many people are coming, as well as helps them to secure future discounts.

Hotels:

Airports:
  • Bob Hope Airport (BUR) — This airport is practically at the hotel where the convention is taking place, so if you're able to use it, it should be your first choice. I'm quite fond of this airport, having found traveling through it to generally be a very pleasant experience. The main caveats relate to its comparatively small size. It only serves a few cities directly, so you'll almost certainly have to come in via a connecting flight. Also, it can be a bit more expensive than other options. That said, you could easily find that the extra cost of coming through BUR is offset by not having to spend so much on taxis or shuttles from further away.
  • Los Angeles International (LAX) — This is generally the cheapest airport to use, but it's a zoo. It even made a list of "America's Worst Airports" I found when putting together one of these lists for BotCon several years ago. None of the other airports on this list were mentioned, so even if you can't go through BUR, I would recommend using one of these others, especially if you have plans that might take you to other parts of Southern California while you're here.
  • Ontario International (ONT) — About an hour to the east, in San Bernardino Country (and, yes, I'm talking about California and not Canada!). Also a very nice airport, with more capacity than BUR.
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA) — SNA stands for "Santa Ana," which is in Orange County. Another nice airport, which might work especially well if you plan on working a trip to either Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm (see below) into your arrival or departure plans.
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB) — Much smaller, so finding a flight that works through here will probably depend on your particular location. It's great for JetBlue, if you like to fly with them, but I can't think of any other reason you might want to come through LGB.

Transportation:
  • Metro — Our mass-transit system, including both buses and trains in the Greater Los Angeles area. If you intend to use this option very much, I'd recommend either getting a weekly pass, or consider a rental car.
  • SuperShuttle — If you just need to get to/from an LA-area airport, this is perhaps the most well-known of the many shuttle companies.
  • Shuttle2LAX — An alternative shuttle option for transportation to/from Los Angeles-area airports. 

Food and groceries. These just scratch the surface:
  • The Daily Grill - Within the hotel itself.
  • Del Taco - Fast-food Mexican food. They also serve burgers.
  • Denny's - Well-known. Inexpensive. You can perhaps sit down and relax a bit more than with fast food.
  • E.D.B. - Stands for "Eat. Drink. Be." An upscale option within the hotel itself.
  • Fish Dish - I can't tell you anything beyond what the name implies, but it's close to the hotel.
  • McDonald's - You know what you're getting.
  • Panda Express - Chinese fast food. While I can't speak specifically about the Burbank location, I've enjoyed "Panda" (as my wife and I always refer to it) for years.
  • Ralph's - A grocery store less than a mile from the hotel.
  • San Sai - Japanese fast food. I don't know specifically about the Burbank location, but the one in Pasadena is usually okay if this is food you're into.
  • Starbucks - I've said for years that you can stand at one Starbuck's and throw a rock that could hit the next one, so if this location doesn't do it for you, you shouldn't have to look far for another.

Mail and Shipping:
  • The Burbank Post Office — About half a mile from the convention hotel. 
  • FedEx provides a drop box at the hotel itself. Ground pickup is at 5:00 pm.
  • The UPS Store  — There are two in Burbank, but neither are really walking distance from the hotel.

Local Attractions within Burbank (feel free to suggest additions):

Outside of Burbank:
  • Giant Roadside G1 Bumblebee statue — This was put up a few years ago, and is still there to the best of my knowledge, although it's a bit far away to go see while at TFCon. That said, if you're driving in from the north (not far from Fresno), you might want to take the side trip to see this work of art made from an actual Volkswagen Beetle.
  • The Griffith Observatory — In Los Angeles, especially if you're into astronomy, or just want to see where parts of the first live-action Transformers movie were filmed.)
  • The Museum of Tolerance — Also in Los Angeles. Not a place I'd recommend for young children, but it's definitely worth going to for those mature enough to handle it. The main topic of the museum is the World War II Holocaust, educating people about those atrocities in hopes that nothing like that ever happens again. There are other historical periods featured, as well.
  • The Tillman Water Reclamation Plant (especially the Japanese Garden) — A bit of a drive away (in Van Nuys), but it's been used as the setting for Starfleet Academy, as well as a few planets on Star Trek: The Next Generation, so there are probably a few fans who would have an interest in checking it out (Orson Christian of Captured Prey suggested this one, having been there several times, himself).
  • Hollywood — A word to the wise: do not go at nighttime unless you've got a fairly large group with you. It's really pretty run-down outside of the immediate attractions. Besides the famous sites themselves, there are lots of show tapings (both in Hollywood and in the surrounding area) that you might enjoy. Most of these will take several hours to complete, so plan accordingly. There are tons of sites that offer tickets. Here's just a sample. (Some shows may not be taping during the convention, of course.)
  • Amusement parks

If there's some other dimension of your TFCon experience you think I should address on this list, but feel that I've missed, just leave a comment, and I'll update as necessary. In any event, you should look for comments that may be left by others here, as they may offer some ideas that are worth investigating, even if I don't have direct experience with them myself.

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