FAQs

Programming

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.

Program structure

Convention Programming

Great people come to entertain and educate us from all over the Bay Area, California and the rest of the country and from other countries too! Programming starts Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm with the opening ritual and continues through Monday afternoon till 5:00 pm. We have up to thirteen simultaneous workshops going on during the day. At night we will have about six different programs plus postings for parties.

We have ninety minute workshops starting at 9 AM and 11 AM with a 30 break between them; afternoon workshops are at 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM with a 30 minute break. There is a scheduled lunch hour from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM and the dinner break is from 5 PM til 7 PM. Each year, we try to have the program available by Jan. 15.

For more information about what’s happening at PantheaCon this year, click here.

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.

Program Guides for previous PantheaCons

Click on the links below to access Program Guides from previous years:

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