The night before the parade, we joined hundreds (thousands?) of others (seriously) to catch glimpses of the parade preparation. I'd read on several sites and in books that this is a great way to feel a part of the parade, even if the parade itself is overcrowded and too much for young children. I have to say, though, the crowds were worse than at the parade (because it was more centralized, rather than dispersed over an entire parade route). The lines out of the subway (which we somehow avoided because we were already in the area earlier) were crazy unreal.
There were so many people walking around this whole square block, we were just inching along. It WAS cool to see the balloons take shape, and I do appreciate the experience. I don't think I would do that again, though. Unless my kids really, really wanted to go.
I do think Tornado enjoyed it. He understood what was going on, and this is his kind of "thing." He liked trying to figure out what each character was as it was being inflated.
It was really warm (well, warm enough) our first part of the trip. Then the day before the parade, it turned cold. I didn't even know if we should 100% commit ourselves to going to the parade. We just decided we couldn't worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ensure a good viewing spot. We'd go when we got up, no pressure, and at the very least, we'd still be able to see the balloons from far away.
However, everyone woke up reasonably early, and our apartment was in walking distance to the parade route. I think we got there around 7:40 a.m. (The parade is 9-12, although we were further up on the route, so it was over for us well before 12.) There were already crowds of people, but we found a spot we were happy enough with. We were against a barricade, right on the curb, not ON the parade street but on an intersecting street just a few feet away from the parade street. Ryan and I kept smiling at each other as we listened to the intermittent arguments that would break out among the crowd members. One of them was between Dash and a 10 year old girl who was tired of listening to him say he couldn't see over and over again.
Sissy's excitement whenever there was a "girly" float or cheerleader
My final thoughts on the parade experience? Well...just look at the people. Mashed all together, trying to get even a peek. Ryan and I kept looking at each other, like, "Why?" I mean, I can't question why everyone was there - WE were there. It just felt very surreal; we agreed that it didn't feel like we were in attendance at anything any more spectacular than the Springfield Christmas Parade or whatever. Without the quick moving aerial shots that are provided on t.v., it all just felt a little flat and dull.
I think the parade transmits onto television looking brighter and cleaner and more spectacular, in general. Some of the bands were playing, but unless you're in that exact televised spot, I don't know that you even get to see anyone perform. And the "celebrities" look so tiny on the floats, it was hard to tell who was who. I assumed it would be written on the float or announced or something. I don't remember if I even saw Macy Gray, and I'm pretty sure I saw Jimmy Fallon - but I can't be sure.
I hate that it didn't live up to my "dreams." So many people seemed excited that we were going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, I hate to shatter anyone's fantasy. It WAS an EXPERIENCE, and I can check it off my "bucket list." Whenever the kids see it on television now, they will be able to say, "We saw that!" which is fun. And I'd probably go again if I happened to already be in town.
After the parade, we headed back to our apartment for a quick bite to eat and naps. We had dinner reservations at 4:30, and we thoroughly enjoyed our delicious vegan Thanksgiving meal, sans preparation and clean up.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving, everyone!