SAN FRANCISCO -- They skipped classes, played hooky and generally packed downtown San Francisco streets Wednesday with a sea of orange and black to cheer the 2012 World Series champs.
Sporting panda hats and fearsome beards, fans lined the parade route, some perching on lampposts and leaning out windows to catch a glimpse of their beloved Giants' victory lap.
Many were up with the sun this morning -- a determined few even lined up the night before -- to witness the 11 a.m. event. The parade was expected to draw as many as one million and BART, Caltrain, Muni and ferries added extra service Wednesday morning.
Amanda Elke wasn't taking any chances. She arrived at the Civic Center Plaza the night before -- at 11 p.m. Tuesday -- to be one of the first at the front of the line.
"These guys play for the name on the front of their uniforms ... that's why we love them so much," said Elke, 23, from Salinas. "They did this for all of us so we had to be there for them."
Stefanie Herin, of Concord came with her deaf husband, Robert, their son Matthew, and a group of deaf friends who sat directly in front of the stage.
"This is so cool to be here with my dad and have the privilege of sitting up front" said Matthew 12, a die-hard giants fan. "And best of all I get to miss school too. "
Squeezed into a BART train from Pleasanton, 50-year-old programmer Ron King was ready for even more craziness than two years ago. That time he was able to sneak a peek at the Giants during the City Hall rally near his Civic center office.
This time he isn't so sure.
"The trains weren't this crowded this early in 2010," King said. "Today's going to be huge!"
Eight additional ferry runs were added from Vallejo, and two out of Alameda/Oakland.
Fans attending the parade were advised to avoid driving their cars to the event, with lengthy delays likely and parking extremely limited.
Caltrain was expecting thousands of additional passengers today and as of 8:30 a.m. had sent an additional five trains this morning to help fans get to San Francisco, according to spokeswoman Christine Dunn. Caltrain used an additional two express trains from San Jose, as well as an extra three trains that originated in Redwood City to help with the overflow crowds.
"We have had lots of Giants fans coming in," Dunn said. "Everything is going really smoothly. We have very crowded trains but everybody is having a good time."
When the Giants celebrated after winning the World Series in 2010, Caltrain set ridership records with an additional 37,000 passengers on the day of the parade. Caltrain averages about 50,000 passengers on a weekday, Dunn said.
As fans try to get home following the parade, Caltrains will leave from San Francisco every 15 minutes.
"That will expedite people getting home," Dunn said.
For those who cannot make it to the parade in person, it will be televised live by the ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox local network affiliates, KRON 4 and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Mercury News staff writer Patrick May contributed to this report. Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.