Seattle Mariners Fan Fest Review & Tips

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mariners fan fest tips

*I shared these tips last year when we went to the Seattle Mariners Fan Fest weekend and Fan Fest is coming up again next weekend, so I wanted to share these tips with you if you’re thinking about attending! We had a blast & if we didn’t have a busy schedule for next weekend, we’d definitely be going again!

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We mentioned yesterday that this weekend is the Annual Seattle Mariners Fan Fest and my dad is in town from the East Coast for the weekend, so we decided to head to Fan Fest for a fun event with the kiddos today.  I have to say that we all had a blast & it was definitely a unique experience  – we’d definitely go again another year! It really is a pretty good deal, too, as you pay $10/person (I’d recommend buying them online before you go), but kids 14 & under get in free. You can also get parking in the Mariners Parking Garage (right across the street from the entrance) for just $5 to park if you purchase it online before you go & print off the voucher.  I thought I’d share a few of our favorite parts of the day as well as some tips for you!

Helpful Tips for Mariners Fan Fest::

Come early for Autograph / Photo  Sessions:: If you really want to meet & get autographs from the players as well as get a photo op – make sure to get there early as they only let the first 500 people in for each autograph session. Check the schedule to see when your favorite players will be signing autographs. They had 2 signing sessions today – 11:30 am & 1pm.  Fan Fest opened at 11am  & we got there about 11:45 & they had already run out of time slots for all the 11:30 sessions and they had also run out of 2 sessions for the 1pm session (for the more popular players).  Once you get your pass, you then go to the autograph area & stand in a long line to get your autographs/photos. It is a pretty cool experience to be able to meet them in person, but just know that it will take some time with the lines. {There are other opportunities to meet & get autographs/photos, though, if you don’t want to wait in these lines.}

*If you are wanting an autograph, make sure to bring pens & items with you for them to sign (even if you don’t wait in line for the sessions – there’s still other opportunities to have players sign). I saw people with bats, balls, baseball cards, etc. You can buy these at the ballpark, but I’m sure you’d get a much better deal if you bought them somewhere else or brought items you already own for them to sign. 

Dress Warmly: Thanks to several FB fans who mentioned that it would be super cold since almost all of the activities were outside, we did bring hats & gloves and boy, were they needed! Unless it’s an unseasonally warm day, January is just going to be cold, so make sure to wear warm layers!

Bring Food & Snacks or Eat Before You Arrive:  They do have some of the food vendors open – maybe about the 1/3 of the vendors are open for snacks (basically just the basic food items – hot dogs, popcorn, etc for the most part) & they are definitely ballpark prices ($6.25 for a large hot dog, $3.50 for a small hot dog, $4.50 for a bottle of water).  So, I’d recommend either eating beforehand or bringing in some snacks / lunch with you. You are allowed to bring in food in backpacks; however, you cannot bring in liquids / bottled waters. You can bring in an empty water bottle, though, if you want to be able to fill up with drinking fountain water. If you forget to bring the empty bottle, you could buy 1 bottled water & ask for several cups to pour the water in & then get water from the fountain for the rest of the time (they wouldn’t give us a cup unless we bought a water).  This could be a fairly affordable outing with only having to pay admission for the adults; however, the food can quickly turn it into a pricey family outing if you don’t plan ahead!

Plan Out the Activities You’re Interested In: The great thing about this event is that once you pay for admission, all of the activities inside were free, but there were long waits for some of the most popular activities.  So, just make sure you check out the full list of activities & events they are offering to plan for what you want to make sure you see & do.  If you don’t, then you will end up waiting in long lines & then not be able to have seen everything you were interested in. We ended up waiting in some long lines in the beginning of the day & then had to scramble to see & do more at the end. We also missed a few things that I was hoping to see – like the Mariners ClubHouse Tours.

Here are several of the activities we found to have the longest waits:

  • Zipline – This would have been really cool to try, but we heard the wait was over 2 1/2 hrs pretty much the whole day (if you go, they said that from the top of the stairs down to the bottom was 2 1/2 hrs, so keep that in mind). If you really want to do this, you probably want to get there really early & head straight there when Fan Fest opens.
  • Autograph Photo Sessions – these also involve long waits, although I’m not sure exactly how long they are, as I think they depend on who the players are. If you don’t get in line right away, your wait time might be a bit shorter as they cap it to a limited number of people for each session.
  • Root Sports Virtual TV Broadcast – This is one that we did wait in line for as we didn’t think the line was very long – turns out that it took well over an hour in line as each group got to have a few minutes for their broadcast, so it took quite a bit longer to get through everyone. Our girls loved the experience, though…and we took turns taking them to other activities without lines while we waited in line, which is an option if you want to keep the kids active & seeing as much as possible – just take turns waiting in the lines.

Our Favorite Activities:

-Boeing Dugout Dialogue – This was the question & answer time with players & coaches at the Mariners dugout.  I actually caught quite a bit of this as we were waiting in line for the Root Sports Broadcast booth for awhile, so I kept stealing over to listen in on these discussions. This is a great opportunity to be able to ask questions of your favorite players & listen in as they chat about baseball & life in general in a relaxed, low-key setting. If you sit in the first few rows, you could also possibly have a chance to get an autograph, too as they would sign some autographs right after they finished. So make sure to have those pens & items ready for them to sign!

Photo Op with Mike Zunino – He was the #1 Draft Pick for the Mariners in 2012 & just a really nice, friendly guy!
My dad actually ended up sitting next to him & his wife on the flight out here on Friday – he said they were just the nicest people!

-Accessibility of Players, Staff & Media – This was a fun & relaxed atmosphere and I was really surprised that there were so many opportunities to see the players & Mariners staff around the ballpark.  Even if you don’t wait in line for the autograph sessions, they also had a Seattle Mariners booth up behind Home Plate, which had a Photo Zone, where Mariners players & staff would appear for you to take a picture with them & the lines were significantly shorter!  Ask any of the staffers for a schedule of who would be appearing in the photo booth if you want to get a photo with a particular player.  Also, near the Mariners photo booth was the Komo 4 TV booth & they also had a number of tv personalities (Dan Lewis, Steve Pool, Brad Goode & more) who you could meet & get pictures with – those lines were also very short when we walked by in the afternoon.

-Root Sports Virtual TV Broadcast – Now this was one of the long lines I mentioned, but it was also my girls’ favorite activity of the day because they got to be on “tv”, so I would still recommend it if you think your kids would be interested in this!  This was just a fun experience & we now have a cute little video of our girls being “interviewed” by Roots Sports Anchor Angie Mentink. Basically, it’s a chance to sit up in their broadcast booth on Home Plate & have a little interview. The reporter interviews the kids (or adults) for about 3 -5 minutes & it’s a fun little photo op. You then get a flash drive with the interview on it to take home & they also gave each of the kids a bag of goodies with Mariners posters and a baseball (which  you could then use to get autographs later). I was really impressed with the Roots Sports broadcasters as they took each interview seriously & made the kids feel really special. Our girls were feeling pretty proud of themselves.  My dad went up there with them, too, in case they got nervous, but it turned out they did awesome!

Honestly there were so many fun activities at Mariners Fan Fest, that we really enjoyed all of the activities. They had lots of opportunities to get active by throwing pitches, hitting a Felix Fast ball in the batting cage,  catching pop flies (make sure to bring your glove!) & much more. Next time, we’ll just make a better plan of figuring out what we really want to do to make sure we have time to do everything. There were a few things that we ran out of time to do, like the tour of the Mariners clubhouse, so having a plan next time will definitely help! The day definitely gets you excited & hopeful for baseball season, though!

*One last tip – make sure to stop by the Mariners Social Media booth (next to the Photo Zone) & they have computers set up where you can “like” the Mariners on Facebook or follow them on Twitter & then you’ll get a FREE t-shirt! Super fast & simple & fun little freebie! 

 If you went to Fan Fest, what was your favorite part of the day?

seattle mariners fan fest tips