Boston 2018 will be a race I never forget. The will and determination from the athletes to the volunteers and spectators here are immeasurable.
The expo moved this year to the seaport. While more inconvenient from downtown, it's super close to Logan if you hit in on the way in. The Bib/shirt pickup was easy, while the merchandise section is still very congested, and, for me, not worth shopping through. There's plenty of opportunities to buy stuff downtown at Runbase, Marathon Sports, Nike, Tracksmith, Rabbit, etc...
As part of the Boston365 program out of Chicago, we got a chartered bus to the start in Hopkinton w/ our own gear check. I can't speak to the process of the school bus/gear check offered by the B.A.A.
If you're in Chicago and plan to run Boston, sign up for this program. It's well worth it, just for the bus. I can't imagine sitting out in the athlete village for 2 hours in the pouring ran.
It's a decent walk from the village to the starting line. I got in the corral w/ about 10 minutes to spare and just tried to stay warm.
The actual race went pretty well for me. I ran controlled through the front half and managed a decent back half w/ the hills. The weather was a huge factor for most, even if just making it an uncomfortable experience.
The finisher area was full of volunteers and everyone along the course and here were incredibly helpful. I think you could exit the chute earlier than in 2016, so I was able to make my way back to the hotel quicker.
The expo isn't a great experience (IMO), the access to the race start can be tricky, but everything else about this race is amazing. I can why people enjoy coming back year after year for the experience.