At 2:55pm, Mr. Scoop and I made our way to the shuttle stop to await the bus to the convention center. We briefly considered walking the whole mile to go pick up our badges and check out the Preview Night exhibitions, but then we realized that there would be sunlight and and energy expenditure to contend with. A small queue of 20 or so had already begun to form at the shuttle stop as we approached. It was unusually bereft of individuals dressed in Power Ranger or other costumed get-ups, which made us first concerned that we were in the wrong line. However, the bus soon arrived and it turned out we were where we needed to be. We embarked and arrived to the convention center about 5 minutes later.
Although there were vast groups of people around the entrance to the center and more and more throngs coming from across the streets, entrance into the center was surprisingly easy. Last year, when we arrived to get our badges on the day of the convention proper (Thursday), we had to wait for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour, in a line that wrapped around the entirety of the building. The only wrinkle to our entry was the convention staffer who admonished Mr. Scoop for smoking, on the public sidewalk, and directed him to the official designated smoking area...two feet to the left. Yay, Authority! Good luck enforcing that tomorrow when the whole nut of a quarter million people descend on you, Mr. Rent-a-cop.
Once inside, we quickly got our badges and bags of promo materials and whatnot. We wondered what we should do next. To our left, about a hundred or so people sat in a penned off queue that was monitored by security staff. "My God", wondered Mr. Scoop aloud, "that many people have already gotten in trouble for smoking in nondesignated areas?" "No, no", the officer replied. "They're just waiting to get onto the exhibition floor. The doors to that won't open until 6pm."
It was just 3:15 now.
So we followed what appeared to be the only prudent course in the situation: retreat to a bar for burgers, shots and beer. Watch the Red Sox beat the Seattle Mariners in extra innings. Then roll back over to the convention center with a comfortably numbing bubble of boozy goodness, which would make the inevitable brush with cosplay geeks easier to deal with. We arrived back at the center at 6:10pm and entered the exhibition floor without difficulty. It would seem that the penned up convention goers that sat awaiting this moment had already been released safely to the floor. However, we did notice that the major line that we had wanted to avoid when picking up badges had started to form by the time we got back to the center. It stretched a good ways down the side and around the building. God only knows what it will look like today when the convention officially opens.
Here's some pictures from yesterday. Note how big the crowds already are: