Beginner’s guide to Gallifrey One

Gallifrey One Convention 2012: TARDIS on stage in the Main Ballroom (Photo: Heather Maloney)

By, Heather Maloney

As the Gallifrey One Convention is fast approaching, many new attendees will descend on the Marriott Los Angeles Hotel for the very first time. While they are in for a fantastic weekend, the first trip to Gallifrey One can seem a bit intimidating. Fear not. Gallifrey One is one of, if not the, greatest convention in the United States. Taking place in Los Angeles from February 15-17, ‘Doctor Who’ fans and stars mingle for three days of celebration. Many friends and memories are made at Gallifrey One. As a first time attendee, there are a few unofficial, insider tips that will make the weekend an unforgettable experience.

Lobby Con and Ribbons

While not an official event of the convention, Lobby Con is a great way to start off the weekend. Attendees gather Thursday night on the main floor by Starbucks to meet and exchange ribbons. Don’t worry; there is also some merriment to be had. While ribbons are not a necessity, they act as an amazing ice breaker to meet other fans and even a favorite podcaster or guest.

Attendees trade ribbons and attach them to their Gallifrey One badge. The ribbons will slowly start to become a scarf-like keepsake that can be worn throughout the event and taken home. Ribbons can be purchased at many online retailers such as PC Nametag. Other details about ribbons can be found on the convention website. If one is planning to participate in ribbon trading, also make sure to bring extra safety pins and duct tape. These are used to stabilize the ribbons and pin them up once they become too long.

The Masquerade of Mandragora

Cosplay plays a huge role in the Gallifrey One experience. Walking around the convention one will see almost any character they can think of. Saturday evening is where cosplay takes center stage. In the main ballroom, The Masquerade of Mandragora is a highlight of the convention. Participants register in advance and appear on stage for an amazing costume contest. Once all of the entries have been showcased, the fun is just beginning. While the judges are tallying the results the crowd becomes witness to an amazing show. In previous years this has included a game show with guests as participants, comedians, and even Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook singing.

Make sure to line up in advance. Almost everyone will attend this event and the line will weave in between many rooms. Do not panic. Even if one is in the far back of the line, the odds are there will not be a problem obtaining a seat. Also, this is a great time to meet other fans and have fun while in a queue! Please visit the convention website for additional information and rules.

Guests and Autographs

One of the greatest parts of Gallifrey One is the fact that the guests will walk around the convention and take in the sights and costumes. Many other conventions hide guests away; however this is a chance to mingle with them. Please be respectful. Many guests like to talk to fans, however please respect their space and allow them to enjoy the convention.

Autographs are split up into two different types. Some guests sign autographs for a fee in the dealer’s room while some sign free with the convention. In previous years, when an attendee picks up their badge they will receive a card that allows them to attend one of the autograph events. When trying to obtain an autograph in one of the panel signings, please be patient. The amazing staff members do try their hardest to get everyone through the line. Since this convention will have the highest attendance yet, extra patience may be needed. Please check the convention website for any autograph policy changes.

Froggy’s Photos

Many attendees like to get a picture taken with their favorite guest. With amazing guests lined up to attend the event, this year will not be an exception. The great team at Froggy Photos help to provide memories that will last long after the convention. They are currently accepting pre orders for photographs with many favorite guests. Please visit their website for more information.

Radio Free Skaro

As one of the favorite podcasts in ‘Doctor Who’ fandom and the convention opening event, ‘Radio Free Skaro’ presents a live taping in the Main Ballroom on Friday. Filled with guests and laughs, this is an event not to be missed. Please check the schedule for this event and do not miss joining a live journey with the Three Who Rule. More information on ‘Radio Free Skaro’ can be found on their website.

Gallifrey 101

In previous years the convention has held a panel on Friday morning for first time attendees. This informative hour provides useful information on the convention. This is not to be missed if one is participating for the first time.

Dealers Room

Imagine a place where one can purchase almost any ‘Doctor Who’ item available. Does it seem like a magical land full of unicorns? Actually, this magical place is the Gallifrey One Dealer’s Room. From toys to books, low cost items to expensive collectibles, the Dealer’s Room is a collection of sellers that bring ‘Doctor Who’ items. Make sure to save up money because most attendees find more than they could ever want in the Dealer’s Room.

While this just explains a handful of events at the convention, there are three full days of panels, Q&A sessions, shopping and exploring. Please check the official convention website for updates to policies and the programming schedule.


Published by: Heather Maloney

Heather Maloney is an avid Doctor Who and British science fiction fan. She attends the Gallifrey One Convention in Los Angeles annually, and facilitates the Doctor Who Panels for the Starfest Convention in Denver. During her active Doctor Who Fandom, she has met four Doctors, countless companions and numerous Doctor Who actors, writers and directors. Contact Heather at

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