Last year, AnimeNext took a big gamble moving from their original cozy little spot in Somerset, New Jersey location to accommodate their expanding attendance record of Cosplayers and anime fans. The new location was in the Atlantic City Convention Center, roughly 2.5 hours away from the previous location which was in the Double Tree hotel.
We attended that last year, check here for review. The general sentiments from the loyal patrons who bothered to drive further to the new location for AnimeNext last year on 2016 was that the sparsely populated event only seemed that way due to the much larger area to fill up. And to a point, that certainly rang true. I don't remember the Con experience being any lesser, in fact, the wider space to move around was a welcome change.
Fast forward a year later, AnimeNext 2017 held at the same location on June 9-11 was still barely able to fill up the Atlantic Convention Center with barely visible, if any, increase in attendance.
Again, that still didn't stop us from having a real blast enjoying the company of like-minded. The voice-actor A-list was certainly not all that populated either, but we did get the chance to hang out and have a few drinks with Jon Swasey.
The game room was adequate, but nothing impressive. The industry panels were also so-so. But the highlight of the weekend were the Cosplay Meetups and night parties which were subsequently topped off with a crazy rave dance floor.
Unfortunately, due to an SD Card failure, I was only able to salvage a precious few video files of our good time. Still, even with the seemingly slow to increase in attendance at the new location, AnimeNext is and will continue to be a destination for us to visit next year as well.
Oh and one more thing... a very painful lesson to learn, DO NOT book your hotel room under "Pre-Paid" rates regardless of how tempting the additional $30-50 discount may be. It will charge you the full amount regardless if you make it or not to the event. And once there, you are also unable to change rooms or negotiate if the rate changes to something lower as was my case. The rate 1 month away through AnimeNext's booking block was at $280. Then, 2 nights away from the convention, I found the rate went back down to $150 per night. >.< pissed.