When I renewed mine last year, I had the same experience. I made an appointment, which was WAY ahead because they were so booked up. When I got there, the place looked empty - it's a BIG DMV - with maybe 20 people waiting. I was in and out in maybe 20 minutes and most of that was spent standing at the window filling out the forms or getting my picture taken.
Of course, then it took TWO MONTHS for my new license to come. I knew I was going to pay somehow for NOT having to wait!
ETA: With year-round school and schools on different "tracks," some are already back in school. My cousin's boys started their school year this week.