Colossalcon Texas 2023 Swimsuit Anime Convention
The hottest convention in Texas
Follow Colossalcon Texas
Colossalcon Texas is an anime convention based in Round Rock, TX. One of four Colossalcon events, CCT had its third event this year. As with the other Colossalcons, it’s held at a Kalahari water park resort. Articles about some of the other Colossalcon events are linked below.
This was my second time attending CCT and I was curious how it might have grown or changed since its first event in November of 2021. The time of year during which it's held has certainly changed. Texas in November is very different from Texas in August. November barely reached the lower 70’s whereas the temperatures this year topped out at 108 degrees Fahrenheit! The very hot and slightly humid weather definitely reduced the outdoor activities and made it more difficult to enjoy the outdoor pools. The temps never dropped below the upper 70’s. This year’s estimated attendance of 5-10k seemed only a little higher than the first year. Considering it’s still a relatively new con, that’s a pretty good attendance number. Well, it’s a new location and not really a new convention. You can think of CCT as an extension of the original Colossalcon in Ohio. The first year’s turnout was unusually high for a new convention and was likely due to name brand recognition. Colossalcon in Ohio has hosted over 20,000 attendees and is well known in the cosplay community.
With four conventions in total, Colossalcon has the advantage of geographical coverage that very few cons have. All are held at Kalahari resorts and I suppose we should expect more Colossalcons if the Kalahari expands (which it is 😉). This raises the shower thought of “What would happen to Colossalcon if their relationship with the Kalahari soured?” I guess they would find some other water park resort, but it’s hard to beat the Kalahari locations. The size, amenities, relative affordability, and other factors make them ideal locations for a convention like Colossalcon. Each Kalahari resort has a large convention center attached to it and a good amount of parking space even though they can fill up. On-site restaurants and in-room refrigerators and microwaves mean you don’t have to leave the grounds to find food. Top it off with some of the largest and best indoor water parks in the US and you have a recipe for fun.
While Colossalcon and Colossalcon East both use the entirety of their respective convention centers, CCT has yet to fully occupy its convention space. It clearly has room to grow. There’s also a noticeable number of non-convention attendees in the water park. During the day it really seemed like just another day at a water park with families and children running about. The presence of cosplayers here and there seemed a little out of place. That’s the opposite of Colossalcon in Ohio where cosplayers can easily outnumber regular guests.
The artists alley and vendor hall seem modest compared to a larger con. They have the feel of a smaller hometown convention. That can be quite a pleasant experience compared to the massive, crowded halls of the behemoth cons like Anime Expo and San Diego Comic Con. They’re quiet, quaint, and afford you the time to stop and have a conversation with the vendor or artist.
Colossalcon Texas offers a modest collection of panels and events. It has concerts with the same music artists who are invited to the other Colossalcons. One stand out event is the after hours water park rave. On Saturday night between 11 PM and 3 AM the water park is open just to convention attendees. For an additional $40 they can grab a drink from the bar and enjoy the park free from families and children. The 18+ event had a great turnout this year, filling the wave pool. A live DJ pumped music the whole night to visuals on a giant LED video screen.
If I had to compare this con to the other Colossalcons, I’d say it stands up well. The venue is very nice. It has the best looking resort with the most modern and sophisticated design. It’s light and clean whereas the other Kalahari resorts have older styling with dark and earthy tones. They feel heavy and dirty. There’s evidence that the other resorts are being updated to this more modern look. The indoor water parks have different layouts, but offer essentially the same features. The Texas resort has the largest outdoor pool area, thanks to the longer warm weather window. It was expanded within the past year to add even more features. However, balance this against the much higher temperatures and it loses a point or two. My biggest complaint about Colossalcon Texas is the weather. It’s really too hot to enjoy the outdoors. If this con was held at the end of September it would be great. The weather would be pleasant and the outdoor pools are still open. If it could swap weekends with Colossalcon East, that would be perfect! Either way, they are still three weeks apart from each other.
The Kalahari doesn't just use Africa for its design and theming. It has a serious investment in communities in Africa establishing clean water programs and holding artist charity events. Art from African artists is presented throughout the resort.
What can I say about the cosplay at Colossalcon Texas that I haven’t already said in my articles for the other Colossalcons? It’s fun. It’s swimsuits. It’s a little spicy. I had to laugh when I saw a sign warning regular guests about the nature of Colossalcon. Another sign asked attendees to dress appropriately. I know that many cosplayers were told by Kalahari staff to cover up. It is a family water park, after all. Perhaps as the convention grows and takes over more of the resort these attitudes will change. It’s just another reason to move the convention into September when less regular guests will be present. Enjoy these still photos and definitely watch the cosplay music video on YouTube.