Our 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade experience

Macys TDP
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tickets & merch

Gambit and I had bid and won some ‘priceless’ Thanksgiving Day Parade tickets at a charity event earlier in the year.  Our tickets gave us seats in the grandstand and on the day we managed to sit between 68th & 69th along Central Park West.  Our seats were excellent and gave us a great view of the parade. As you will see using the map below, we were more towards the start of the parade route.

Macys Thanksgiving Parade route 2015
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade route 2015

We couldn’t have asked for better weather considering it was heading into winter.  The day was sunny and chilly – but there was not a rain cloud in sight.

We started the morning off by waking up at around 5:30am as I wanted to start walking up to our meeting point of Columbus Ave & 71st at around 6am.

On our walk up, we were surprised to see that many people had already started lining up for the parade along Central Park West with blankets, thermostats and donuts!

The sun hadn’t full risen by the time we joined our queue for seating, but by the time we sat down the sun was out.

Waiting in line 1
Waiting in line and for the sun to rise
Waiting in line 2
Still waiting in line but now the sun has started to rise

We waited fairly patiently for the parade to begin and felt lucky that we were smart enough to pack a few muffins I had bought from WholeFoods the night before since many of the families around us had packed nothing at all.  We sat down around 7:30am but the parade didn’t start until 9am. If I had known better, I would have definitely invested in a thermostat and made mochas for us to drink.  And quite possibly more snacks to share with people sitting around us.

What did help pass the time away for us was watching a group of people across the road from us (those ones that got up extra early to save a spot) wearing hats shaped like roast turkeys, chanting some sort of song called ‘Turkey Day Touchdown’. I often wonder what aliens would think of us if they landed.

The parade was well paced.  The branded balloons were spaced out and in between each branded balloon float were smaller balloons and entertainer floats.

Some of the branded balloons included Angry Bird’s Red, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Elf on the Shelf, Hello Kitty, How to Train Your Dragon’s Toothless, Ice Age’s Scrat and His Acorn, Paddington, Snoopy & Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants and Thomas the Tank Engine.

I think I read somewhere that each balloon requires 80-90 people to help hold and navigate the balloon.

Here is a video I made of snippets of most of the balloon floats and some of the parade. This is probably a good representation of what it would be like standing in the crowd close to the barriers.

 

Gambit and I usually only do big events that require a long long long wait period, or cost a lot – once. And I can safely say that having done it this way, I will never want to wait in line for the parade again for the rest of my life. We feel that we did it properly and got the experience we wanted.

I would definitely recommend it.  Whether you have grandstand seats or not – just to wake up super early, bundle up and wait it out from a great viewing spot to see the parade.


Highlights:

  • Mariah Carey – I honestly nearly lost my sh^t when I saw her. I have loved her ever since I was able to buy my own music.
  • Making new friends… when we bid for the parade tickets at the charity event, there was a slight mishap and the tickets were originally given to another couple.  When I went to clarify with the auction people, it was all sorted out.  I actually then met the man that made the bid and apologized for the mishap.  I suggested that since we only needed two of the tickets that they were welcomed to purchase the other two if they wanted. And that’s what they did.  And that’s how we became friends with ‘Samuel Adams’ (our nickname for them).
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