Pure, unadulterated fanboy (and girl
It'll be crowded and hectic, but it's just a great feeling to be surrounded by so many other who have a similar hobby to yours, and the energy level is cool too! Tons of stuff to see, do, and buy, so come prepared! Bring some cash just in case all the credit card and ATM machines go down at once like they did at the San Diego Comic Con...
The Silver Fett
line at Paizo's booth will likely be pretty long - at least an hour, probably more. It tails off during the day though, so check in with their booth early on and again in the middle of the day just to make sure their stock is fine, and then stop on by near the end of the afternoon to pick up your loot. They didn't sell out at all on any days at the Comic Con or recent Gen Con in Indy, so you should be fine Beth. Just don't waste your entire day in that line. It was a solid 3 hours most of the day at Comic Con that I was there, but we stopped by with a couple hours left in the day, and the line was down to a "measely" 45 minutes. And if you're into the MOMC thing, feel free to ask them to look through several Fetts 'til you can find a nice one that suits your liking. They don't mind!
The Blue Clone Bust (at the Gentle Giants/Dark Horse booth) is an entirely different story though. That's going to be an extremely tough piece to snag there, as there will only be between 100 and 500 available for the entire show. If you want one of those, you MUST be the first in the door and make a b-line for their booth, or you'll miss out on it. The "fiasco" with these at the Comic Con, was that they might've overshot their convention allocation of 500, possibly by as many as 400 based on some rumors, which would only leave 100 of the total 1,000 left for Chicago. They also gave out 2 a piece (rather than just one) to any exhibitors or 4 day pass holders on preview night at Comic Con, which was a BIG mistake.
As for your Muppets exclusives (at the Palisades booth), I think you should be in pretty good shape with those, since at Comic Con I stopped by the Palisades booth almost at the very end of the day on Friday, and they still had PLENTY of the Animal and Swedish Chef exclusive figures left. No lines, no hassle - piece of cake. Not sure if the two old farts will be in greater demand at the Chicago show though...
There'll be lots of other little radom vendor booths set up everywhere where you can find and buy many a HTF SW collectible, and maybe even get a good deal or two. Lots of fun, amazing and wild costumes of course - so bring your camera! I assume you'll be in costume as well, right?! You'll want to stop by Hasbro's booth as well, to check out the upcoming figures that they'll have on display there!
If you don't have a ticket yet though, I'd recommend getting there pretty early - like an hour or so before opening so you can figure out where to do that, and likely jump in the line that will already have formed for on site ticket purchasing. Hopefully they'll give you (or you can find) a map of the convention floor which details where all the various exhibitor and vendor booths will be located so you can find your way around. If not, guess you'll just have to go aisle by aisle to see what you can find.
Not sure about the autographs though, since I've never gone after those. I'd imagine Sean Astin won't be there for too long, and will have a pretty long line, as will Leeanna Walsman since I think this is the first signing that she's ever done. So hopefully you can track down an autograph schedule with the hours and locations for each star, which should be included in a program you should receive when you buy your ticket.
Good luck with everything Beth
, and enjoy your day there! I'll expect a full report upon your return...