Let them take flight! On Thanksgiving Day, a new cast of balloon characters and some returning favorites will soar in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From a beloved beagle to a fearsome dragon, the Parade’s signature line-up of balloons are set to thrill millions of spectators.
Since their first appearance in the 1927 Macy’s Parade, the line-up of balloons has featured a who’s who of the world’s most beloved characters. This year’s cast is no different with two returning favorites taking a new form and two never-before-seen characters taking flight as the Parade’s storied history of character balloons continues to grow. This year, making their debuts and taking flight in the 87th edition will be pop culture sensations Adventure Time with Finn and Jake; the world-famous beagle Snoopy with his pal Woodstock; the eternal undersea optimist SpongeBob SquarePants; and the loveable night fury dragon Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.”
Starting out as a work of imagination put to paper by the skilled hands of a Macy’s Parade Studio artist, the new balloons each begin an almost year-long transformation. Every Macy’s Parade balloon combines artistic design with aerodynamics and engineering. Under the direction of John Piper, vice president and lead designer of Macy’s Parade Studio, the Studio’s design team and resident group of “Balloonatics” transform the drawing into a larger-than-life flying wonder. Ballooning experts, the Macy’s team in collaboration with consultants, Raven Aerostar, together calculate and perfect the balloon’s aerodynamic design. Once a flight-worthy balloon concept has been approved, it moves on to the clay and painted model construction phase. This step helps the team create a physical blueprint from which the balloon will be built. From there, giant reams of polyurethane fabric will be patterned, cut and sealed together to create multiple chambers, which ultimately produce the character’s head, body and limbs. Once the balloon has been created and painted to the exact specifications required of the character, it will undergo many tests including indoor and outdoor flights, inflation and deflation tests, and final touch-ups before its inaugural flight in the Macy’s Parade.
Following is the complete listing of balloons in the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
GIANT CHARACTER BALLOONS
ADVENTURE TIME WITH FINN AND JAKE
Pop culture sensations Finn and Jake of the hit series “Adventure Time,” take to the sky for the first time. Finn has his sword at the ready and Jake is set to roll against any wizards or evil creatures they may encounter on their journey. Measuring 57-feet long, 26-feet wide and 40-feet tall, Finn and Jake are turbo psyched for an awesome adventure as millions of fans celebrate their maiden voyage.
Disney•Pixar’s superhero Buzz Lightyear, returns for his sixth trip down the streets of New York. Toy Story’s fearless, Inter-galactic Space Ranger measures 67.7-feet long, 39.9-feet wide and 34.3-feet tall. Taking a break from starring in “Toy Story OF TERROR!” with his pals, Buzz will fly from Central Park West to Herald Square … and beyond this Thanksgiving.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID®
AMULET BOOKS, AN IMPRINT OF ABRAMS
Greg Heffley returns once again to the skies of New York City clutching his “diary”/journal, to the delight of millions of kids. At 60-feet long, 25-feet wide, and 56-feet tall, wimpy is not the right word to describe this balloon behemoth. Clutching his precious diary close for comfort and security, Greg is excited to celebrate millions of copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books in print and the completion of his eighth book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck,” this holiday season.
THE ELF ON THE SHELF®
CCA AND B, LLC
The Elf on the Shelf will take his second flight in the Macy’s Parade this Thanksgiving. Sent by Santa Claus to watch over good little boys and girls around the world, the Elf on the Shelf will take his reporting duties to new heights, measuring 46-feet tall, 28-feet wide and 64-feet long, in the Parade line-up. Reveling in the recent release of his birthday-themed book sequel, the Elf on the Shelf is sure to be in an even more celebratory mood than usual!
Flying high in her airplane and wearing her trademark red bow, Hello Kitty returns to spread happiness and friendship along the Parade route and into homes across the country. Her retro airplane design is based on one of the first Hello Kitty looks from the 1970s and a visual nod to her 40th anniversary next year! Hello Kitty flies at 36-feet tall, 38-feet wide and 50-feet long, as she soars over the Big Apple bringing smiles to her millions of fans.
From the world of Paul Frank, check out Julius! Everyone’s favorite monkey is rocketing through the streets of New York in style as one of the largest balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Measuring 41-feet tall, 65-feet long and 39-feet wide, Julius brings his world-famous smile and awesomeness to millions of fans.
SONY PICTURES ANIMATION
Papa Smurf is taking a break from helping Smurfette and the rest of the Smurfs battle evil wizard Gargamel in this past summer’s hit film “The Smurfs 2,” for a return flight on Thanksgiving Day. Jumping for joy and dancing his way down the route, Papa Smurf sports a festive bow tie and baton, as he clicks his heels to the holiday fun. Measuring 51-feet tall, 36-feet wide and 46-feet long, Papa Smurf will help usher in a Happy Smurfgiving to one and all!
THE POKÉMON COMPANY INTERNATIONAL
Pikachu lights up Thanksgiving once again with its signature electrifying presence and rosy glowing cheeks. Measuring 53.5-feet high, 36.9-feet wide and 40.8-feet long, Pikachu is set to celebrate the holiday season and the massive worldwide launch of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, chasing a Poke-ball down the Parade route.
The Pillsbury Doughboy®, with his warm smile and world-famous giggle, is ready to once again ring in the holidays flying down the streets of Manhattan. Known for bringing families together to share delicious baked treats, the Doughboy will rise to the top and transform from his normal 8 ¾-inch frame to a balloon giant measuring 53.7-feet long, 34.4-feet wide and 46.4-feet tall.
The world’s most famous clown Ronald McDonald® returns to the Parade to kick-off the holiday season. Delighting millions of families, Ronald skates down the route, sporting the world’s largest pair of ice skates. Measuring 76.4-feet long, 28.8-feet wide and 48.6-feet tall, Ronald is always in a playful mood as he flies through the air smiling at spectators young and old.
SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK
The beagle’s clinched the title, no question about it, as Snoopy, the world’s most famous companion with a wildly imaginative, supremely confident, canine master of disguise personality, returns to the Macy’s Parade. The newest Snoopy balloon will take flight along with his pal Woodstock, marking another record setting stint in the holiday spectacle – his 37th flight and seventh balloon. Measuring 67-feet long, 27-feet wide and 38-feet tall, Snoopy and Woodstock will have Peanuts fans rejoicing at the return of their beloved duo.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG™
With his massive blue spikes, signature white gloves and red sneakers, Sonic the Hedgehog is zooming into the atmosphere and causing a blur of activity across the sky! The Parade’s first-ever balloon based on a video game character returns for a third flight down Manhattan. Sonic measures 50-feet tall, 55-feet long, and 37-feet wide, as he sprints down the route.
MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT AND SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Back to patrol the skyline and protect the citizens of the city is The Amazing Spider-Man! New York’s own friendly neighborhood Super Hero™ takes to the skies over Manhattan to delight millions of kids and adults. Spider-Man, in full wall-crawling action mode with one hand set to release his web, floats down the route measuring 78-feet long, 37.8-feet wide and standing 29.1-feet tall.
Holding on to his Christmas hat, SpongeBob SquarePants, the world-famous eternal optimist, returns to the Macy’s Parade! The sponge-tastic resident of Bikini Bottom takes a little vacation for a dip in the blue of New York City’s famed skyline to celebrate the start of the holidays. Based on Nickelodeon’s hit animated series, SpongeBob continues his run as the first-ever square balloon in the Parade standing at 44-feet tall, 41-feet long and 34-feet wide. His unique and iconic shape is made possible by more than 800 internal tie-lines that pull the single chamber sphere balloon into a square.
This Thanksgiving, a mythical dragon will be spotted over the skies of New York City as millions of spectators catch a glimpse of the fierce but beloved Toothless. Star of the “How To Train Your Dragon” movies and television series, Toothless measures 72-feet long, 36-feet wide and is 48-feet tall. The color of midnight with glowing green eyes and an enigmatic grin, Toothless is positioned with his giant wings folded in a landing pose ready to descend among the gathered crowds.
SPECIAL APPEARANCE BY
THE WIZARD OF OZ™ HOT AIR BALLOON AND BALLOONHEADS
WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT INC.
Set to mark the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of OZ™, a 47-foot tall, giant hot air balloon emblazoned with the portraits of the characters from the classic film, will glide down the route carrying the Wizard of Oz™ himself! Along for the ride below will be Dorothy™ and special balloonhead characters of the Scarecrow™, Tin Man™, Cowardly Lion™ and the Wicked Witch of the West™.
BALLOONING CAST INCLUDES
ARRTIE, THE PIRATE
Arrtie the Pirate, a recreation of the classic Pirate balloon of 1947, returns! Standing 36-feet tall, Arrtie, with map in hand, is on a search for holiday treasure this Thanksgiving.
Quacking down the route for the third time is the loveable Aflac Duck! The famed spokesduck will once again take on a new form for the festivities as a 35-foot tall balloonicle. Riding on a sleigh and wearing a festive scarf, the Aflac Duck balloonicle will continue to be a sure-fire hit and have fans quacking “Afflaaac” all along the Parade route.
BIG MAN SANTA
The star of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the big man himself – Santa Claus. To pay tribute to his star status, Macy’s Parade Studio magicians have created a fantastic balloon depicting a cheery Kris Kringle with a rather jolly belly, this time full of helium. Big Man Santa measures 26-feet in height and 21-feet in width for his Thanksgiving flight.
Expert fishermen may have thought this big one got away, but Flying Fish is an amazing catch! Bounding down Manhattan and stretching out to a full 30-feet, this classic recreation of the 1951 classic is one happy halibut.
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO® RESORT
Debuting in the line-up this year before heading down to celebrate the holidays daily in Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando, is Happy Hippo. A recreation of a classic Parade balloon which first appeared in 1940, Happy has added a bit of red ribbon and holly to her wardrobe to celebrate the season. With 12-inch long eyelashes framing her big blue eyes, and smiling from ear to ear, Happy is set for her New York City debut this year.
HAROLD THE FIREMAN
Who better to salute the city’s bravest, the men and women of the New York Fire Department, than that lovable character Harold the Fireman! Originally seen in the Parade of 1948, Harold is a recreation of the original balloon. At a height of 32-feet, New Yorkers can rest assured that he will keep a watchful eye over the city.
HAROLD THE POLICEMAN
Joining his Fireman twin is the Parade’s newest recreation, Harold the Policeman. Joining the line-up after his first stint in service in 1947, Harold the Policeman salutes the NYPD for keeping us safe.
KIT, CHARLIE & C.J. ELF
The Gnome Balloon from the 40s and early ‘50s are back in new form, as the Macy’s Parade Elf Family. At 34-feet high, 18.5-feet wide, and filled with 2,100 cubic feet of helium, these novelty balloons give a new meaning to the word “elf.”
Oh Yeah! It’s the Kool-Aid Man! The cherry-flavored icon returns to the Big Apple to show off his super cool moves. Always smiling, the Kool-Aid Man sails down the route on his skateboard measuring 33-feet tall and 24-feet wide and wearing size 130 sneakers. The gigantic pitcher is large enough to carry over 1.3 million cups of the newest Kool-Aid flavors launching in 2014 – Green Apple and Sharkleberry Fin!
Macy’s is the star of the Parade as its signature five-pointed namesake and Believe stars fly high in a variety of colors and configurations. Celebrating the famed red star that guided R.H. Macy to shore during his days as a seaman, the Macy’s star still shines today.
MACY’S ORNAMENT BALLOONS/BALLOONICLES/BALLOONHEADS
Macy’s knows how to accessorize the holidays! Featuring a balloon cast that includes pumpkins, a baseball, football and balloonheads of founding fathers and Pilgrims – the Parade’s novelty balloons are a sight to behold. New this year, to mark the start of Hanukkah, which falls on Thanksgiving for the first time in centuries, a spinning dreidel balloonicle will delight spectators as it spins its way down the route.
BULLDOG & TOUGH GUY /
NUTCRACKER AND MOUSE KING TRYCALOONS
It’s all in the pedaling! A Macy’s innovation combining a cold-air balloon and tandem tricycle, the trycaloons offer a fun new level of interaction along the route. Featuring a classic Bulldog and Tough Guy characters, along with the Nutcracker and Mouse King, fans of slapstick will enjoy these pedaling marvels.
THE PLANET EARTH BALLOON / POWER RANGERS SUPER MEGAFORCE
The Power Rangers Super Megaforce are making their MEGA debut at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Saving the world from evil, this iconic team of superheroes calls on legendary Power Rangers from the past and the future. With the Power Rangers Super Megaforce on hand, and some added help from surprise guests, the Earth is well protected this Turkey Day.
RED/WHITE CANDY CANE
Kids will scream in delight wishing they could get their hands on this sweet treat. This 20-foot tall candy cane is a holiday favorite on a sky-high sugar rush.
Stars and Stripes Forever! Let’s hear it for the red, white and blue as Uncle Sam makes his way down the route in true patriotic spirit. The first Uncle Sam balloon debuted in the Parade in 1938. This recreation of the original represents everything American, from our shared values to our freedoms. Uncle Sam is a proud citizen of the Parade and the U.S.A.!
Virginia, the little girl who taught everybody to believe, soars once again. Modeled after the animated version of eight-year old Virginia O’Hanlon, who famously wrote to the editor of the “New York Sun” about the existence of Santa Claus, Virginia is ready to kick off the holidays, but first she must get that letter in the mail.
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