What Happens When Anthrocon 2015 Hotels Open on Monday?

"Say.. that's a nice webserver you have there..."

Hi everyone, this is your friendly webmaster leopard here!

I'm sure there are lots of questions about what will happen when hotels open on Monday morning, and I'd like to cover some of them in this post.

10 AM EST, Monday

Around this time, I will place the website into read-only mode. Any attempt to load a page from our website will instead show our hotel countdown page. The purpose behind the countdown page is to keep the website from falling over under the insane crush of traffic which is expected to hit at 11 AM. This level of traffic is greater than even during the convention itself.

11 AM EST, Monday

The hotel page goes live. Rather than reloading the website, you can view the official time either at the USNO's webpage or at www.time.gov.

This is an automated process handled by PHP code on the server side and requires no manual intervention on my part. This is important because with thousands of inbound connections, my SSH connection may not be very responsive. Smiling In theory, this means everyone should be able to visit the website with no issues. In practice, a huge spike in traffic may make the site unresponsive for a few seconds.

That is why, instead of posting the hotel reservation link on only this website, we are also posting it on our major social media channels also at 11 AM EST on Monday:

I would strongly recommend bookmarking these links now, and checking them on Monday morning as an alternative to this website.

11:05 AM EST, Monday

If you plan on staying in The Westin, Doubles sell out within a few minutes, and all other rooms sell out of the Westin within the first 30 minutes of hotels opening.

If you plan on staying in The Courtyard, there are very few rooms available there, and they are in high demand; thus, they can be expected to sell out almost immediately. We must apologize in advance for this, but there is very little that we can do about it. The Courtyard has been extremely gracious with us and has allocated as many rooms to us as they are allowed to under their corporate policies. Having learned from previous years, we limited the number of rooms available to supersponsors for their advance reservations, so we can assure you that there are as many rooms available at the Courtyard as is practical for us.

In short, if you do not see your preferred hotel listed, it means that it has probably sold out. The first thing you should do is try shortening your stay. Sometimes the hotels will sell out on the earlier or later days, but still have plenty of rooms available for the peak nights. If you shorten your stay to just Friday and Saturday, the hotel may re-appear. Book your room, then, and contact housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com to see about extending your stay afterward.

If you experience any issues or have questions or concerns about your reservation, please contact VisitPittsburgh Housing Services at housing(at)visitpittsburgh.com. Do not contact Anthrocon! This system is operated entirely by a third party and we have no access to it, and we will not be able to help.

11:30 AM EST, Monday

If traffic levels last year were any indication, things usually calm down within 30 minutes. When that happens, I'll restore the regular version of the website and things will be back to normal here.

Now that I got a room, what do I do with it?

First, please visit our Anthrocon 2015 Hotel Reservation Experience Survey and let us know your thoughts on the reservation experience.

Next, make travel plans!

Finally, if you need roommates, we have room share forums for that.

You got questions? We got answers!

If this post didn't cover any outstanding questions, please let us know in the comments below or via email!

Best of luck to everyone on Monday, I hope you get the hotel room you want!

-- Giza

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Anthrocon promo video

Richard Baldovin of Trifocal Production made a promo video for us, just because.  We think he did an outstanding job, even if he did make our chairman look fat.


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Anthrocon 2015 Charity: Western PA Humane Society

Anthrocon has selected the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society to be our beneficiary for 2015. Their mission is to provide the most comprehensive, compassionate and humane services to enhance the lives of companion animals for families and the community; to educate and to prevent cruelty to all animals in the region. They will be at the Charity Auction and will have a table in the Dealers' Room where you can meet them and peruse information about their organization.

More information about the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society can be found at their website, wpahumane.org. If you have any questions regarding the Western PA Humane Society, they can be reached through their representative to us, Sarah Shively, at or by phone at 412-321-4625 ext. 244.

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Special notes for 2015 Supersponsors

First off, thank you very much for your support! We quite literally could not do it without you.

This is just a reminder of the perks that Supersponsors can expect this year:

1) Advance hotel reservations. A link will be sent out by email on January 30 at 11:00 AM EST. Please be certain to whitelist "anthrocon.org" in your email client; we are not responsible for lost or misdirected emails. If you do not receive the link by that time (after giving it a few minutes to percolate through the internet tubes), contact ceo(at)anthrocon.org. As a reminder, we can only offer a single room for advance booking. If you want to have more than one room, there must be a supersponsor in each one. We apologize if this is an inconvenience, but sad prior experience has made it necessary.

2) Supersponsor luncheon. We can only offer this to pre-registered supersponsors! It will be at 11:30 on Saturday, in the Westin's Allegheny Ballroom, and will be served buffet-style. As a courtesy, we let fursuiters who want to take part in the parade get to the buffet tables first so that they have time to get changed. It is listed as ending at 1:00 on the schedule, but even the chairman can not talk for that long, so there should be ample time to get into costume if you wish to take part in the parade.

3) Advance admission to the dealer's room. We keep a separate line for sponsors and supersponsors, who are allowed in a few minutes ahead of the pack.

4) Advance admission and up-front seating at main-stage events. You get your own line in the prefunction area outside of the Spirit of Pittsburgh ballroom.

5) Nifty stuff. How nifty? So nifty we cannot even begin to describe it! Not yet, at least.

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Westin Suite Requests now being taken

Anthrocon's hotel rooms are not yet available for reservations! On Monday, February 2, 2015*, at 11:00 AM EST, we will throw open the doors for people to make reservations at the Westin Convention Center (our flagship hotel), as well as our all-within-easy-walking-distance satellite hotels, the Doubletree, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn, Marriott City Center, Omni William Penn, the Wyndham Grand, and (new this year!) the Renaissance.

Requests for Westin Hotel suites (and ONLY SUITES) are now being taken. Suites are deluxe rooms as described below and are more expensive than regular hotel rooms, which this year will be about $168 ($185 with tax) per night. We make suites available early because of the high demand. Remember, only suite requests for the Westin are being accepted at this time. Regular room reservations begin on February 2.

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When to begin reserving your 2015 hotel rooms (including Westin suites)

General hotel reservations will begin on Monday, February 2, 2015, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.  All hotel rooms must be reserved through VisitPittsburgh Housing Services if you want to get the special convention rate (usually 20% to 50% cheaper than the standard rack rate).  If you want to reserve a room outside of Anthrocon's room block, you may do so (if any are available), but be advised that we cannot convert a non-convention reservation to a convention reservation.  You will be stuck paying full price.  A link to the VisitPittsburgh site will be posted on this web page at that time, and simultaneously on our various social media outlets.

A pre-payment of one night's room and tax will be required at the time of the reservation.  This pre-payment will not be refundable if you decide to cancel your reservation later.  Prices are still being hammered out, but will be universally within a few dollars of last year's rates.  We will have a full rundown of room rates prior to February 2.  It may take up to three weeks for payments to the Westin, and up to eight weeks for payments to the other hotels, to show up on your credit card statement, so be certain to budget for them.

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Registration for 2015 is officially open

Man your oars! Pull for the Western Shore!  Registration for Anthrocon 2015 is open.

We have rolled out a brand-new registration system, which we have tested, re-tested, and finally quietly unleashed on a few unsuspecting individuals to iron out the last of the rough spots.  Should you encounter any problems, such as the unexpected sprouting of horns or a sudden association with large hairy fellows named Olaf, please let us know immediately.

To register for the 2015 convention, just click here.

DEALERS: We are still working on the dealer-table module, which we hope to roll out on December 15.  Check back then!

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Charity Suggestions - 2015 Edition

The Anthrocon Board will soon be deciding on the Charity to support for 2015. If you know of a charitable organization that you would like to see hosted at Anthrocon, please suggest it here or as a followup to this post in Anthrocon's other forums by December 31st.

Criteria for candidacy:
- Must be animal-related
- Must be 501(c)3
- Must be based within approximately 60 miles of the Pittsburgh, PA metropolitan area
- Must be incorporated in Pennsylvania (can't be in Ohio or West Virginia)
- Must not be a charity we have already supported.

Suggestions FAQ

* Why does the charity have to be 501(c)3?
501(c)3 is a reference to a specific portion of the Tax Code that applies to non-profits and not-for-profit organizations. 501(c)3 is the designation where donations are completely tax-free. That means that all of your donations will go to the charity, and none will have to be used to pay taxes on the donation.

* Why does the charity have to be within 60 miles of Pittsburgh?
Each year, the selected charity brings both volunteers and animals to the convention. At a distance of greater than 60 miles, it creates a burden for the organization to round up participants willing to commit the commute, and for animals to endure extended travel times.

* Why must the charity be incorporated in Pennsylvania instead of nearby West Virginia or Ohio? State tax implications come into play for Anthrocon, a 501(c)7 based in Pennsylvania, to host a fundraiser for a 501(c)3 organization in another state. It risks your donations going to taxes instead of the charity.

* Why does the charity have to be animal-related?

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What's that rushing toward you? It's the Anthrocon 2015 website!

Our post-Anthrocon 2014 break is over, and we're back, starting with a new 2015 look for the website! Many many thanks to graphic artist dragon Cuprohastes for the artwork, design, and endless tweaks. (Oh, the tweaks...)

Other Anthrocon News

We are in the process of evaluating a new registration system already in use by other conventions which we expect will meet our needs through Anthrocon 2015 and beyond. We will post more information here, and to Twitter and Facebook when registration opens.

Additional Website Details

As our registration software moves forward with new technology, so must our website. For the 0.89% of you who use Internet Explorer 8, I regret to reform you that you may have difficulty viewing some of these pages. For the 71.11% of you who visit this website from other desktop browsers, we have widened the content pane and increased the font size to make this site an easier read as monitors become bigger and bigger. Finally, for the remaining 28% of our visitors from mobile devices, we haven't forgotten about you! We have some ideas of mobile themes for this website which we are currently exploring.

Anthrocon 2015 may be 9 months away, but we are now actively planning for it, and will post future announcements here.

-- Giza

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Anthrocon 2015 DJ Auditions Are Open!

Hey, everyone.

I normally write a long paragraph about this, but let's be honest - we all know the drill by now.

We'll be using the same system I was last year. I'm taking auditions and will be listening to them, but I'm prioritizing people who have stood out playing at other conventions. Please feel free to send in auditions regardless of experience, making sure that they're 45 minutes to 75 minutes in length and hosted on a major website like soundcloud or mixcloud.

This year we have a form to help keep my hair not-gray.


If you have any questions, post here or contact me at

Bear in mind that if you reply with your audition/info here, I will probably not wind up reading it and you won't be in the consideration. Unless it's in the form, I'll probably lose it.

Thanks in advance and good luck, everyone!

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