FAQs

Accessibility

Assistance Stickers for Official Programming Items (starting with PantheaCon 2016)

Who should have an assistance sticker?

1. If you need to move with an assistive device and/or have substantially impaired mobility (strollers do not qualify).
and/or

2. If you need to sit in the front row because of severe hearing or vision restrictions.
and/or

3. If you have a service animal (comfort animals do not qualify).

How do I get a sticker?

They are available at the following locations: At registration when you get your badge, at Convention Operations, or from a member of the programming staff. They’ll be put on the back of your badge so you don’t have to advertise your status to anyone except staff when you need an accommodation.

*We will also have a programming staff member sitting outside the green room during green room hours on Thursday 6-11p, Friday 9-11a and 1-5p, and Saturday 9-11a and 1-5p if you have questions about the sticker program or process or would like a sticker.

Can a sticker be provided to a companion?

Yes, it will be marked ‘companion’ and they must be with you to get their sticker. There will be ONE issued to you to be given to a single companion. It does not provide admission to the con and your companion must have their own badge.

What about standing in line for long periods of time?

You don’t need a sticker unless you also have one of the restrictions listed above. We will have a few chairs available that you can take to your place in line and maintain your spot there. Please be understanding of our limited capacity to help you with this and manage your own care if at all possible. Most items you’ll be in line 15 minutes or less. Very popular items (usually held in the ballrooms) or ones with limited attendance (marked with a human eye icon in the program guide and listed in the item description) can be up to 30 minutes wait.

Will this help me get seatings in programming items?

For large items or ones that traditionally fill early please plan on arriving at least 15-20 minutes prior to the item. Just having a sticker doesn’t mean you automatically get in or avoid waiting like the rest of the conference. We do understand it can be hard to get across the hotel but please don’t abuse the system. We will do our best to provide priority seating for those people with stickers but it is on a first come, first served basis and we cannot guarantee seating. Once the doors have been opened for all to be admitted, we cannot guarantee anyone – even those with special needs – a seat.

What’s an official programming item?

Items that occur in the public rooms of the hotel occurring in the ballrooms and in the city function rooms.

I have a sticker and I’m going to an official programming item. Now what?

Please come to the front of the line and when asked, show your sticker to the programming staff when they appear. Please tell the programming staff what accommodation you need (more time to get to your seat, a seat up front for sight/vision issues, etc, scooter parking). Programming staff are managing up to 6 items simultaneously per programming period so be patient with them if you don’t see them immediately.

Doors will open for assistance sticker’d folk and their companion FIVE (5) minutes before the posted start time of an item (ie, if an item is scheduled for 11am, then we will admit you at 10:55). Sometimes this means you will be admitted while the presenters are finishing their setup. Please respect their preparations and find your seat silently.

I’m in a special needs room.

This has nothing to do with special needs rooms. You don’t need to be in one to ask for a sticker, nor do get one automatically because you are in a special needs room. Please ask for one at registration if you need accommodation to attend items.

I’m using a mobility device and there are a lot of us in line:

For attendees with mobility devices and their companions we will pull chairs to make space for you but they will not always be up front. We frequently pull a few spaces up front, then in the middle and at the back.  Some rituals have attendees on the floor but the presenters have always accommodated attendees gracefully in the past. Every programming room has at least one mobility device and companion space in the default layout (bigger rooms have more).

This is a small room and there are a lot of us in line:

We are aware that sometimes in small rooms it is possible that accessibility sticker folk and their companions could take up the entire room. In those cases the programming staffer will make their best judgement about space and will instead do a 50/50 split to keep the item fair for everyone going by the first come, first served overall policy (so be prompt!).

I don’t have one of the restrictions listed above but I think I still need a sticker.

Please check in with a Programming staffer and let’s talk about it. We want you to have a good experience at con and are happy to answer questions about how the conference works that might make it clearer for you and for us if there is a need. On Friday and Saturday there will be a programming staffer outside the green room that qualifies for a sticker herself that is happy to answer questions. On Sunday please check in with Con Ops.

I don’t think that person deserves a sticker!

That’s none of your business. There are many invisible illnesses and we are not here to pass judgement on anyone. Sometimes people can walk in the morning without impairment but can’t in the afternoon, or they can walk but cannot stand. Or their pain levels spiked and now they need to sit. Frequently people who ask for accommodation don’t want to sit up front. They often prefer in the middle or along an aisle. Please respect your fellow attendees and their needs.

Note: This has nothing to do with: Hotel Registration lines, Starbucks, Restaurants, party rooms or elevators. This is solely to help our attendees attend official programming items. Please be responsible in your use of the sticker.

Transportation to the hotel

In general:

  • If you are arriving by lift-equipped van there are spaces large enough for your vehicle in self-park. Parking does fill up quickly during PantheaCon and there are extremely limited placard designated spaces.
  • There are limited numbers of accessible parking spaces near the entrances.
  • There is a convenient drop-off and pick up point, adjacent to the main doors that is covered and has automatic door sensors. The doors are double wide sliding glass.
  • The hotel is reachable by public transportation (#10 bus, and we are about 10 minutes from light rail.

 

San Jose Airport:

  • The San Jose airport lists that it has wheelchair-accessible vehicles form taxi and door-to-door shuttle services at both terminals. The hotel is .5 miles from the airport.
  • The #10 bus to Metro Stop
  • To the best of our knowledge the hotel shuttle is not wheelchair accessible.
  • The drop off in front of the hotel is wheelchair accessible and covered by a large roof.
  • The #10 bus
  • A $5 taxi ride (approximate)

San Francisco Airport

  • Approximately 35 miles from the hotel (40 minutes)
  • $5 on the bus, $35 by super shuttle, $8 from light rail, $100 by taxi (all prices approximate)

Oakland Airport

  • Approximately 30 miles from the hotel (40 minutes by car)
  • $8 by bus, $40 by super shuttle, $120 by taxi
  • Note you can do BART to light rail for approximately $15  (all prices approximate)

Accessible hotel rooms at the San Jose DoubleTree (host hotel for PantheaCon 2016)

If you need an accessible hotel room because of health limitations please be aware there are a few room in the main hotel set aside for that purpose. They have as of July 2014 the following amenities as defined by their website (please contact the hotel directly if you have specific questions as we are not qualified to answer all your questions:

Guest rooms have entry or passage doors that provide 32″ of clear width.

The swimming pool had a chair lift added in February of 2013.

Accessible: conference rooms, business center, concierge desk, exercise facility, hotel restaurant, parking (can be limited during the convention itself due to overcrowding), and registration desk.

Closed captioning on the televisions.

TTY for guest use.

Features that are NOT available:
Valet only parking

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome at PantheaCon. California state law allows service dogs in any public area. We do ask that you indicate your animal is a service animal with a vest (if at all possible) so that staff as well as your fellow attendees know that the animal is working.

PantheaCon staff is permitted to ask by law two questions about your animal – if your animal is required because of a diability and what work or task the animal is trained to perform.

Your service animal must be on a leash or otherwise under the control by you. PantheaCon can be a very stressful situation for humans, who understand what is happening, it can be even moreso for companion animals. Please keep that in mind when you attend.

You are NOT required to provide documentation about your service animal.

If however, your animal is out of control or the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it, or the animal is not housebroken you will be asked by staff to take remedial steps which could ultimately include removing the animal from the convention premises if it is deemed necessary.

This policy has been strongly informed by the Disability Rights of California’s PDF (dated 2011) and as of July 2013 can be found here: http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/548301.pdf

A consolidated listing of California’s guide dog laws is here:

http://www.animallaw.info/statutes/stusca_civil_54_55_2.htm

The conference takes place within the city limits of San Jose, California and is in Santa Clara county.

We welcome feedback and suggestions about this policy.

Nursing moms

The only available public (and semi-private) space at the hotel for nursing mom’s is on the ground floor of the hotel, outside the Bayshore Ballroom in the ladies bathroom (next to Registration and the Dealer’s Room). There are several comfortable chairs with small tables.

Wheelchair or scooter rental

At this time there is no capacity to provide wheelchair or scooter rental at the San Jose DoubleTree hotel. However, there are local rentals that can deliver scooters to the hotel for pick up.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Effective PantheaCon 2016 the Doubletree hotel is allowing us to designate the bathrooms on the ground floor behind the elevator lobby (the closest function room is Monterey) as gender neutral for the duration of the programming period (Friday at 12:00pm to Monday at 12:00pm. The other public bathrooms in the hotel are still single gender designated.

Accessibility for wheelchair and scooter users (and their companions)

Accessibility in Program Spaces

All program rooms have a minimum door width of at least 32″.  None of them are power assisted. The larger ‘city’ function rooms as well as the ballrooms are double doors and we usually open both at the start and end of sessions.

We have open space in each of the programming rooms for those of you with mobility devices such as wheelchairs or motorized scooters. The exact space available will vary as we have a wide variety of spaces and layouts that we use throughout PantheaCon but we hold at least two spaces for assistive devices users and their companions per room.

The seats immediately adjacent to those open spaces should be held for any able-bodied companion of those who need assistance to get around the convention.

Aisles will be as wide as possible (almost always at least 40″) to allow people and wheeled people to pass each other freely within function rooms. Please be aware that standing or sitting in the aisles is not permitted.

Many of our rooms have the doors closed until shortly before the presentation time is due to start. Starting in 2016 we have Assistance Stickers available – please see that FAQ for details around seating, lines, and companions.

Please be aware that we cannot guarantee that there is space for you and/or your companions in every event. PantheaCon is frequently overfilled and we will do our best to accomodate everyone.

Currently none of our stages are wheelchair-accessible. We are working with the hotel to remedy this.

Video content is not common. We ask that presenters provide closed captioning but it is not always possible. We encourage you to reach out to the presenter after the presentation as well as let the programming department know so we can help in the future.

ASL is available if requested at least two weeks before the conference. If it is requested by someone we will also indicate it in the program.

Lighting is always kept at a level high enough to sight read lips for workshops and lectures. Occasionally it is a bit lower for some rituals but it is never completely dark. If this is a need for you, please let the programming staff or the presenter know so we can make adjustments for you.

Fire alarms throughout the hotel are audible as well as visual.

Elevators and rooms have Braille characters.

Accessibility in the Public Hotel Spaces

The hotel’s main function space is spread across 4 areas. All of them are accessible by elevator (you may have a wait) or stairs.

The dealers room, registration, info desks, green room and ‘City’ (San Jose, Santa Clara, Monterey, Carmel, San Carlos, San Simeon, San Martin) programming rooms are on the ground floor.

The upstairs ballrooms (Pine, Fir, Oak, Cedar and Silicon Valley) are accessible by a spiral staircase as well as a public elevator. They can also be reached along the ‘overland route’ which is outdoors and on the multi-level roof of the public areas of the hotel but there are a large number of stairs and landings and should not be considered an accessible route if you have any mobility issues.

On the second floor of the hotel, reachable by the public elevators in the hotel tower are the following convention services and rooms: some hospitality suites, Gryphon’s Lair, Convention Operations (including lost and found), the Pagan Youth space. There are also a few programming rooms, most of which are the size of hotel rooms and may be allow larger chairs and scooters to fit through the standard sizes doorways: The Boardroom and Reisling.

There are also suites on the 10th floor of the hotel. A number of the suites have larger double doors and more clearance space. Some however, are regular hotel rooms, so please be aware of that when you visit them.

All the public bathrooms in the hotel (outside the Bayshore ballroom near the dealers room, upstairs near the Tree ballroom, and at both ends of the City Room programming space have accessible stalls. The doors are not assistive however, so be aware of that limitation.

Exterior doors to the hotel are mixed as to whether they have power assist or not. The main doors to the hotel entrance, are double sliding doors that open when there is someone passing in front of the motion sensor.

None of the doors to the pool deck are power assisted due to safety issues required by California state law to protect minors in a potentially dangerous area. The only accessible entrance to the pool deck is opposite the entrance to the Monterey room. All the other entrances have at least a half flight of stairs.

This is a first step towards making the convention easier to access for everyone. Thank you for understanding as this is our third year with these seating arrangements and no doubt there will be education and learning involved for everyone as we continue to refine our process. Any programming staff you see at the convention will be happy to answer questions or help you as best we can as our process evolves.

Are ASL interpretation/Vision Impairment aides available?

ASL or American Sign Language Interpreting will be offered again this year. If you need this service, please let us know which events you want to have interpreted as soon as you can and we will make every effort to accommodate your request. A schedule of the events with ASL will be available as soon as we can organize it.

We will also have some accessibility services for the vision impaired this year. The Information table near Registration will have people on call to help attendees. Again, please let us know as soon as you register so we can make the best accommodations we can within our limitations.

Food options at PantheaCon

The hotel does provide several vegan and vegetarian options on the limited conference menu available at the food cart as well as in Springs, the hotel’s main restaurant. The hotel has not in the past provided a detailed list of ingredients but do feel free to ask the hotel staff. Please let conference staff know if you have trouble getting that information so we can try and remedy it with the hotel.

The official conference suite aka ‘The Con Suite’ clearly labels all of their food but be aware that at times there are nut products out and available.

Individual Hospitality Suites frequently have light snacks out for visitors. It is up to the individuals in those suites to determine what is served and if it is labeled. Please be polite and remember that it is supposed to be a SUPPLEMENT to your regular meals, not a replacement for them.

There is also a Trader Joe’s grocery store nearby which carries a wide stock of items, clearly labeled and frequently all organic.

Unfortunately, unless you have a need for refridgeration for medication, there are no room fridges available at the San Jose DoubleTree. Please check at the overflow hotels if you book there, to see what amenities they have available. As the list of hotels and what they offer changes frequently it is not feasible to provide a list here and hope that it stays up to date.

Hotel and Lodging information

Click here for Hotel and Lodging information. You can also find this link under the Resources menu at the top of the page.

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