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Phil800101
12-12-11, 8:07 am
This is a repost of what I wrote up last year, with some edits and additions.

1.Buy your expo tickets online.

It's generally cheaper and it can save you time.

They do sell wristbands directly at the doors, which is better than the old system where you had to get your tickets and then exchange them for a wristband. You never know what the lines might be like though, so personally I prefer to have my tickets in hand ahead of time just in case.

2. Bring in food and water.

The expo center is hot and crowded, and you will get thirsty. Getting to a fountain or a concession stand can quite honestly be an ordeal, and while there normally is a water cooler in The Box, we're usually burning through almost as fast as I can slam a ten sack of sliders...and that is fast. I recommend a gallon water jug with a handle. They're cheap (usually around a buck at the store), and you can refill it or just chuck it when it's empty.

Food at the expo center can be pricey. And again, the lines can get long and just getting somewhere can take quite some time with the crowds. And year after year it seems like the samples are getting fewer and smaller, so don't necessarily count on sustaining yourself on free stuff. On the plus side, you can bring in bags. Nothing beats a good old anabolic sandwich. Doesn't need refrigeration and it hits the spot.

Here's what my man rev8ball had to add on the subject:


If you don't bring your own food, go outside the convention center to one of the local eateries; prices are alot better, and so is the food.

This is definitely true.

If you do grab some samples, remember to practice moderation and be wary of what you might be mixing. Many of the booths will have little sample cups of stuff they're handing out, and several different blends/formulas of different protein shakes/drinks and what not sloshing around in your gut can lead to an upset stomach or worse.

Flash419 had this important tip to add:


Just my addition.... as you walk around lots of vendors will offer you little shots of their energy / diet drinks.. DO NOT sample every one. After an hour or two you will be wired up tight for the rest of the day.. and if your sensitive to stims. It will not be a comfortable afternoon. Take in moderation.

That's the truth right there.

3. Bring in a backpack.

Like I said, one of the great things about the expo is that you can bring in bags. It's a lot easier to carry all the cool Animal swag you pick up on your back then it is in a shopping bag, especially when it comes to navigating through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. Plus, you can use this to carry your food and what not. And finally, it will give you that little extra space so you won't have some dude breathing on the back of your neck.

As for free bags, some of the booths hand out huge-ass bags that are great for carrying samples and what have you, and these come in handy. Some of them are pretty thick, so they hold up well. They can get heavy though, and it's a bitch to be weaving around people with one. So I usually just keep the samples in there and put the bigger stuff (shirts, etc) in my backpack.

4. Wear comfortable shoes.

You'll be standing and walking a lot. Duh.

5. Be ready for the crowds.

If you've never been, then you probably have no idea. Over 100,000 people come to the Expo, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it is literally a sea of people walking shoulder to shoulder. If there is something you want to see besides The Cage, go as early as possible. If you can make it on Friday, even better. The place fills up FAST and moving around gets to be a huge pain-in-the-ass, even on Friday. And popular stuff will sell out fast.

Hit up The Cage first thing, as the limited edition stuff goes quick. Hell, even the non limited-edition stuff moves like hotcakes. The Cage is the place to be, Animal is the shit, and everybody knows this.

Here's a gem that rev8ball offered when it comes to this subject:


Lots and lots of PATIENCE!

Couldn't have said it better myself.

6. The bathrooms.

They fucking smell.

Like I said, the Expo is one crowded place. And the bathrooms get pretty ripe. The staff bust their asses to do the best they can, but it is a Sisyphean endeavor to keep them clean. Plain and simple, they aren't. If you're a dude and you just have to take a quick piss, then it's not too bad. If you're going to drop a deuce, then my advice is to seek out one of the restrooms further away from the main hall. I myself have taken many an escalator ride to one of the upper floors to find a suitable throne.

As for the ladies, I have never been in those facilities, so I have no fucking idea what you may or may not be getting into. My sister-in-iron deanna7272 gave me a hand with this one:


For the girls.... the bathrooms aren't that smelly, they are just crowded and it is at times difficult to get to a sink due to make up and hair touch ups....lol. Bring sanitizer!!

And there you have it.

7. Bring cash.

Most, if not all booths are cash only. There are ATMs, and if I recall correctly one bank has a booth where they have several set up. However, there are of course the dreaded ATM fees, not to mention potential lines, and as I already mentioned fighting the crowd in general. I have also seen several ATMs there run out of money, I shit you not. Save yourself the trouble and come with the greenbacks firmly in hand.

Well, that's about it. If you've been to The Cage before then this is probably old news to you. If this is going to be your first time going then I hope at least something in here will prove useful...and just know that you are in for the time of your life! Why do you think so many of us keep coming back?

Phil800101
12-12-11, 8:17 am
Here's an excellent article that Sam "Big" Byrd wrote on the same subject a few years back:

http://animalpak.com/html/article_details.cfm?ID=430&section=

Aggression
12-12-11, 9:41 am
One would be wise to follow this dude's tips and tricks. He's a seasoned veteran of the CAGE and the Arnold Classic in general. Thanks for the tips, bro. They'll be extremely helpful to those who want to take your advice.

deanna7272
12-12-11, 9:57 am
One other thing that I have noticed when first coming into the venue...

When you use the main entrance of the venue, you will see a banding station with a line that sometimes seems a mile long. This past year, they seemed to have a better system for getting the bands on, but IF you happen to come in a different entrance, or get off of an elevator and see a table where they are banding, jump on it!! It will save you some time...

Universal Rep
12-12-11, 10:10 am
Here's an excellent article that Sam "Big" Byrd wrote on the same subject a few years back:

http://animalpak.com/html/article_details.cfm?ID=430&section=

An instant classic...

deanna7272
12-12-11, 11:19 am
An instant classic...

Soooooo true...lol

D-NUTZ
12-12-11, 3:48 pm
Too add to the bathroom thing...

Take your camera! LOL!

Sounds weird, I know. But last year I ran into both Jay Cutler and Phil Heath while go to the bathroom. Naturally, I just creeped outside and was able to snag a picture with them when they walked out. No waiting in line for hours at the booth for this guy.

Best part was is that they were both laughing about it and were pretty cool.

Phil800101
12-13-11, 4:06 am
One would be wise to follow this dude's tips and tricks. He's a seasoned veteran of the CAGE and the Arnold Classic in general. Thanks for the tips, bro. They'll be extremely helpful to those who want to take your advice.

Thanks for the kind words bro!

Sure thing, glad to do it.


One other thing that I have noticed when first coming into the venue...

When you use the main entrance of the venue, you will see a banding station with a line that sometimes seems a mile long. This past year, they seemed to have a better system for getting the bands on, but IF you happen to come in a different entrance, or get off of an elevator and see a table where they are banding, jump on it!! It will save you some time...

Good call!

I know just past the top of the South stairs/escalators, where the tunnel connects the Hyatt to the Expo Center (right next to the doors where the shuttle buses pick up/drop off) there is a banding station set up for both sales and ticket exchange that you can usually get through really quickly.


An instant classic...

That it is, most definitely.


Too add to the bathroom thing...

Take your camera! LOL!

Sounds weird, I know. But last year I ran into both Jay Cutler and Phil Heath while go to the bathroom. Naturally, I just creeped outside and was able to snag a picture with them when they walked out. No waiting in line for hours at the booth for this guy.

Best part was is that they were both laughing about it and were pretty cool.

Excellent tip!

Always good to have a camera with you at all times there...my first year my boy Jake and I ran into Al Snow just walking around and Jake got a picture with him.

Mr. Dead
12-13-11, 12:23 pm
Luckily, at my one time I was fortunate enough to make it... I had a seasoned vet assist me through the sensory overload of the Cage... ghost was extremly helpful in making sure my experience was AWESOME...!!!

Razor
12-18-11, 8:39 pm
Awesome post Phil. This is always one of the most important posts when the Cage thread appears.

Phil800101
12-18-11, 10:18 pm
Awesome post Phil. This is always one of the most important posts when the Cage thread appears.

Thanks my man! I appreciate the kind words.

Phil800101
01-20-12, 4:47 am
Just a heads-up if you haven't bought your Expo tickets yet, but they are cheaper online than they are at the door.

Tickets/wristbands at the door are going to be $15, but are only $10 on Ticketmaster.

If you're going all three days, the three-pack of tickets is $27.00. With all the fees it comes out to about $37.00.

I think when all is said and done with the fees, you probably won't save any money buying tickets for individual days online, but you definitely save some coin picking up the three-pack in advance.