The fleet of wonder hits the road this Thanksgiving to transport spectators into lands of fantasy. Cruising down the streets of New York City, Macy’s signature floats are magic come to life, thanks to the imagination, creativity and skills of the artists at Macy’s Parade Studio.
A stage for whimsy and delight, the Parade’s flotilla depict marvelous scenes that conjure up magical destinations. Ready to debut this year are seven new feats of engineering including the imaginative Daytime, Play Time, Night Time Too …; the wonderland of Goldfish® on Parade; the beats lifestyle magic of Music is Our Life; the hoops appreciation on board the 75 Years of March Madness; the home-baked goodies of Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations; and the ninja precision of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
While they hit the street as three-story tall, 360 degree masterpieces, the floats start out as a one-dimensional sketch. From there, the Studio’s team of designers, carpenters, painters, animators, metal fabricators and electricians work to bring each to larger-than-life form. Using blocks of foam, wood, metal and paint, the creations take shape over the course of three to five months.
In designing the Parade’s moving stages, the team must take into account many factors, to which their creative inspiration must conform. From weather to dimensions and the logistics of assembling and disassembling the floats in the streets of New York City, the team will have to make their vision a work of art and engineering.
It’s all about dimensions for a new Macy’s Parade float. Always several stories tall, elaborate settings with whimsical animation, everything imagined, designed and built must easily fit through New York’s Lincoln Tunnel. Macy’s Parade Studio and its storage facility are located in New Jersey, miles and a river away from the Parade route. As a result of this logistical challenge, each float must be engineered in such a way that it collapses to no more than 12- and one-half-feet tall and 8-feet wide in size. This enables them to be transported seamlessly through the tunnel on Thanksgiving eve. Overnight after the fleet arrives at the starting line, the Parade Studio team with the help of several cranes, assemble each float’s intricate pieces.
With an eye toward the fanciful and a mission to entertain kids of all ages, the Macy’s team is always on the cutting edge of entertainment. The ultimate proof for these grown-up kids is always a special test. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, a few hundred invited school children will take a tour of the factory of wonder and get a first look at the new float class. Kid-tested and approved the floats then await their Thanksgiving debuts.
Following is the Complete Cast of Floats in the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
1-2-3 SESAME STREET
The most famous street in the world, Sesame Street returns to the lineup for a Thanksgiving celebration. A place where friends gather to enjoy the magic of the season, the stoop of 1-2-3 Sesame Street will be alive with music as Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Oscar the Grouch and Elmo along with a slew of their friends, delight the crowds with their musical abilities. With help from their friends at Cardstore, the cast will remind audiences to send a little joy to loved ones this holiday season. At 32-feet long, 20-feet wide, and 2-stories tall, the Sesame Street float will rock the holidays when the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street perform “What We Are.”
THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The city that never sleeps provides the inspiration for the New York Daily News Big Apple float. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and of course Macy’s, share the landscape with New York’s signature taxi cabs and subway stations. With a giant, 30-foot inflatable apple at its core, the float perfectly represents the frenzied and bustling city. Helping to capture the energy of this bustling metropolis is superstar Flo Rida.
BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE
Featuring iconic New York City transportation hubs, the Bridge to the Future float includes a reproduction of New York City’s famed Brooklyn Bridge and a look forward at the Delta Y Tri-Suspension Bridge of Tomorrow. At 32-feet long, 20-feet wide and 30-feet tall, the float also incorporates an elevated highway and features the debut of the 2012 Hess Helicopter and rescue. On board to rock the bridge are worldwide pop sensations The Wanted.
DAYTIME, PLAY TIME, NIGHT TIME TOO …
SPROUT® From morning to night, Sprout is a place where parents and kids can share everything from singing and dancing to birthday wishes and bedtime stories. Bringing this preschool TV vision to life, this colorful new float features Chica the Chicken and all her friends from Sprout. From a playful barnyard to play time on a stream aboard a newspaper sailboat, and finally to a night time oasis atop a giant tree-house, childrens’ limitless imaginations take to the physical world in spectacular form. Aboard for the ride is the star of the “The Chica Show” herself, who will perform “Squeaka Chica” with her friends for the holiday crowds.
DORA’S CHRISTMAS CAROL ADVENTURE
NICKELODEON’S DORA THE EXPLORER
Its Nochebuena and Dora’s having a party! Exploring the past, present and future of Christmas is Nickelodeon’s Latina heroine Dora the Explorer. For the holidays, Dora and her friends are off on an adventure to help Swiper learn the true meaning of Christmas. Featured on the colorful float is a stunning 12-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with dazzling ornaments and very special gifts. On board with Dora for this holiday trek is Nickelodeon star and Columbia recording artist Rachel Crow singing “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.”
ELVES RAISE THE ROOF
Elf Yourself and get the party started this holiday season! Ready for a much-needed break, Santa’s elves are set to raise the roof and boogie. Taking to rooftops, cupolas, chimneys and balconies to celebrate, the elves throw a yuletastic holiday party. From disco to hip-hop, the fun-frolicking float showcases various dances. Taking part in the revelry will be the Heartland Hoedowners dance group who will kick and dance their way into the holidays to a performance of “Polichinelles” from The Nutcracker.
GIFT OF FREEDOM
America’s symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty, is immortalized on this brand new float that features a replica of the Lady in the Harbor’s famed torch. Aboard for the patriotic ride will be 2012 Summer Olympic Gold Medalists “The Fierce Five” – Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber.
GOLDFISH® ON PARADE
Finn and his Goldfish friends Gilbert, Brooke and Xtreme have decided to have a parade. Inspired by Macy’s great American tradition, they’ve gathered up some books and toys to create a whimsical Thanksgiving Day procession. Finn leads the way in a dapper top hat and shades as the parade’s grand marshal. Xtreme uses pencils to “stilt walk” down the route while Brooke drives the wind-up car which tows Gilbert on his float made of buttons, caps and a whistle. The march comes to life as it seemingly jumps out of a New York City pop-up book. The Goldfish characters’ vision wouldn’t be complete without a balloon, and so Finn & Friends have transformed a classic toy balloon into a flying wonder. On board for the Turkey Day fun is Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy singing “That’s What Christmas Means To Me.”
HOME BAKED GOODNESS
Baking up yummy treats, the Home Baked Goodness float is overflowing with delicious goodies including scrumptious cupcakes, gingerbread men and cookies. This towering celebration of holiday baking could not be created without special recipes sprinkled with a pinch of Morton® salt for holiday flavor. Traveling down the route, making millions of spectators hungry for these special treats, will be pop ingénue Colbie Caillat singing “Christmas In The Sand.”
INTERNATIONAL CELE-BEAR-ATION CLOCK TOWER
Build-A-Bear Workshop® is sharing hugs worldwide this Thanksgiving! The International Cele-bear-ation Clock Tower float celebrates everyone’s favorite childhood friend – the Teddy Bear. Aboard for the ride is huggable mascot Bearemy® debuting a new outfit designed by a Build-A-Bear Workshop guest winner of a design contest. Also, joining the cele-bear-ation will be Holly and Hal Moose™ and international recording artist Cody Simpson, performing “Wish U Were Here.”
MUSIC IS OUR LIFE
Music surrounds us, overwhelms us and makes us feel alive each day and the newest float in the Parade takes that statement to heart. Featuring a massive Gibson Les Paul guitar as its centerpiece, the Music is Our Life float defines the ultimate entertainment experience, delivering a universal message of fun and excitement! Complete with full lighting and staging, the float will come alive and pay tribute to the creative process and the enjoyment that entertainment brings to our lives each day. The multi-level stage will include a DJ Booth, a simulated “club scene” complete with dancers and revelers and feature a performance from Jimmy Fallon & The Roots – all wowing the parade crowds. It’s music, entertainment and a little life-stylin’ on this incredible float.
JOLLY POLLY PIRATE SHIP
Ahoy mateys! Its Pirate season as a grand schooner ship once again sets sail in Manhattan with its beautiful Polly Parrot sail at full mast. At 38-feet long, 8-feet wide and 40-feet tall, the ship is manned by 30 Pirate Kids who serve as the Pirate Queen’s first mates. Along for the voyage will be Emmy®-, Grammy®-, Golden Globe-, TONY®- and Academy Award®-winner Whoopi Goldberg as the Pirate Queen.
Sailing full steam down the streets of New York is the largest vessel to ever float down the line of march, the Marion-Carole Showboat. The Showboat is a 33-foot tall, 16-foot wide and 42-foot long masterpiece. Complete with an authentic looking paddlewheel and twin smokestacks, the Showboat is a sight to behold.
MOUNT RUSHMORE’S AMERICAN PRIDE
SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM
From the Badlands to the Black Hills, and of course the iconic faces etched on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota’s heritage, attractions and natural beauty are showcased on the Mount Rushmore’s American Pride float. The stage captures the memorial flanked by South Dakota’s most majestic scenery. From rivers and pine forests, ancient dinosaur fossils to Great Plains animals and their American Indian legacy, the float is a majestic representation of the great state. Helping to celebrate this Thanksgiving will be national treasure, singer-songwriter Don McLean who will perform the classic “American Pie.”
ON THE ROLL AGAIN
HOMEWOOD SUITES BY HILTON™
Based on the wonder of wooden pull toys, the On The Roll Again float features Lewis the Duck and his colorful family. Dressed in a dapper hat and carrying a backpack, Lewis is taking his flock on a holiday getaway. The Homewood Suites mascot lets his feet do the “cranking,” pulling his wife Lois and kids Lance and Lisa down the line of march with their luggage in tow. This adorable family of ducks will be joined by superstar duo Karmin performing their latest hit single “Hello.”
SPIRIT OF AMERICA PRODUCTIONS
Spreading the holiday spirit with good cheer is the Pep Rally float. Putting the pep in the step-off, more than 20 spirited cheerleading kids will show they really do know how to get the party started. On board the cheery ride are up and coming stars Megan & Liz.
It’s time to BELIEVE as the one-and-only Santa Claus makes his way to Macy’s Herald Square straight from his home in the North Pole. Depicting Santa’s magical night of travel on Christmas Eve, we see good old St. Nick as he leaves the North Pole on his enchanting journey. The North Pole is showcased by Santa’s Toyshop home and a giant ice and granite obelisk that is supported by ice sculptures of a walrus and a polar bear. Santa’s Sleigh is a colossal float that measures 60-feet long, 22-feet wide and is 3-and one-half stories tall.
75 YEARS OF MARCH MADNESS®
March Madness takes Thanksgiving aboard this new float celebrating the 75th year of the NCAA’s Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and the resulting fan revelry. Hoops take center stage on the multi-level float featuring two regulation-sized basketball hoops. Styled after a basketball court, the float also is adorned with the pendants of the 34 colleges who have won the prestigious tournament during its 75-year history. On board to celebrate will be a number of former student-athletes including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of UCLA, Christian Laettner of Duke and Chris Mullin of St. John.
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
The Smurfs™ take a break from Smurf Village for another fun-filled day in Manhattan as they ride down the Parade route on a Smurf-tastic float with the Papa Smurf balloon. The float features a replica of The Smurfs legendary mushroom-shaped homes.
As Charlie Brown returns to the sky over the Macy’s Parade, his Peanuts® pal Woodstock helps guide the way down the route. Snoopy’s famous doghouse is air traffic control headquarters and Woodstock is the official in charge. Checking out the scene to watch Charlie try to catch that elusive football will be the Peanuts gang including Snoopy, Lucy and Linus.
STIRRIN’ UP SWEET SENSATIONS
Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations, the new Domino Sugar float, features a magical take on holiday baking. Designed and constructed by the artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, the centerpiece of this 26-foot tall float is the giant cookie dough bowl and cookie press that dishes out the confections. Three stories above the ground a giant spoon stirs the cookie dough in an equally colossal bowl. As it travels into the cookie press, the dough drops in perfect dollops onto the turntable and finally into the oven. The savory treats are then baked a golden brown and shoot down the ramp to the awaiting cars of the Cookie Express train which is ready to deliver the yummy baked goodness to children everywhere. Set to add his down-home flavor to the mix is country superstar Trace Adkins who will perform “Just Fishin’.”
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
NICKELODEON’S TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are back! For the first time, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles emerge aboard an out-of-this world float. Designed by the artists of Macy’s Parade Studio, the float unfolds with breathtaking ninja precision and features a spectacular, dark cityscape including roof tops, fire escapes, window ledges and a zip line down telephone wires. Taking a ride with the Turtles on their Thanksgiving journey will be rockers Neon Trees singing their top 5 smash hit, “Everybody Talks.”
America’s favorite bird – Tom Turkey – returns to the line-up for another glorious Thanksgiving march. Covered in brilliantly-hued plumage, sporting a festive collar and the coveted blue award ribbon, Tom is one giant bird measuring 21-feet tall and 20-feet wide. A gracious host for his millions of guests, Tom also welcomes Food Network’s Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on board for the Turkey Day fun.
TRUE SPIRIT OF THANKSGIVING
ONEIDA INDIAN NATION
The Oneida Indian Nation’s True Spirit of Thanksgiving float returns for another celebration. Representing the Tree of Life, a 30-foot tall White Pine tree grows from a turtle’s back and showcases the Oneida’s representation of the creation story. On top of the Great Tree is an eagle embodying constant watch over the Nations and the protection of peace. Celebrating unity and peace on Thanksgiving Day is Grammy® Award-winner Thirza Defoe, accompanied by the Native Voices choir who will regale spectators with a performance of the original song “Tree of Life.”
UNCLE SAM’S TOP HAT
Boasting American Pride, Uncle Sam’s Top Hat wants you to you to enjoy the celebration of this great American holiday. A star spangled chapeau like no other, Uncle Sam’s Top Hat will serve as the host to the reigning Miss USA 2012 Olivia Culpo.
WINTER WONDERLAND IN CENTRAL PARK
DELTA AIR LINES After flying into New York on one of Delta’s 450 daily flights from one of the more than 100 destinations served, visitors should head to the city’s most famous urban oasis – Central Park – to get the quintessential New York experience. After seeing the real thing they can fully appreciate the intricate recreation of the park’s Gothic Bridge, vintage streetlights, illuminated Christmas trees and fresh fallen snow that set a magical tone on Delta’s Winter Wonderland in Central Park float. The float’s frozen pond serves as a skating rink that will come to life with dazzling ice skaters and the sounds of a Christmas performance from superstar group Mannheim Steamroller.
WOODLAND FAMILY GATHERING
As Americans gather to celebrate, so do a host of woodland critters! The celebratory table is set with yummy goodies and standards including 10-foot long ears of corn, pumpkins, squash and delicious cranberries on the Woodland Family Gathering float. Grandma Goose heads the table that includes Mr. Beaver, Father Fox, wise old Uncle Owl and Church Mouse. As the gathering gets into high gear along the beautiful log table, the woodland critter family will enjoy a performance from Chris Isaak that gives thanks to the bounty of the Thanksgiving harvest.
The loveable ZhuZhu Pets return to Macy’s Parade with the wonderful, fun-filled world of the Zhu-niverse. The Fab Four – Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Chunk and Num Nums – dance, surf and skateboard to the delight of Zhu-natics everywhere. Adding to the holiday revelry is Kidz Bop, performing “A-B-C” from the ZhuZhu Pets movie, “The Quest for Zhu.”
SPECIAL UNITS CAST
McDONALD’S® BIG RED SHOE® CAR Ronald McDonald®, the world’s most famous clown, is riding down the Parade route in his one-of-a-kind, Big Red Shoe Car. Joining Ronald on this fun holiday trip will be his friends the talented McKids®.
MOUNTED PARKS ENFORCEMENT PATROL and NYPD MOUNTED UNIT
Sixteen New York City Park Rangers and Police make up this old-fashioned cavalry.
NYPD HIGHWAY PATROL MOTORCYCLE UNIT
Gentlemen start your engines! New York City Police Officers will officially escort the 86th Parade down the entire route.
Mr. Peanut is getting back to his roots as he returns to the Parade in his Naturally Remarkable Nutmobile. The new Nutmobile runs on biodiesel and harnesses the power of wind and solar energy. Always a perfect holiday host, Mr. Peanut will wave to his adoring fans from atop his new eco-friendly ride.
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