Southern California Holiday Spirit & Disney: roses, roses and more roses!

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January 8th 2017
Published: January 9th 2017
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The Magic of DisneyThe Magic of DisneyThe Magic of Disney

Stunning at night
There are any number of people who have a vision of southern California being warm all year around. In part, we have Hollywood movie producers to thank for that as they always show women in scantily clad clothing no matter the time of year. California locals laugh at tourists when they show up during the LA winter expecting to wear t-shirts and flip-flops. While an LA winter is no reason to pack the snow boots, you need to be prepared and dress appropriately. Layering is the key. Fortunately, we’ve lived in CA enough years to know this so once we bought our Rose Bowl tickets we made plans to bring a proper coat and gloves back from Florida when we were there for the Christmas Holiday.

Driving before the break of dawn toward Pasadena, we focus on traffic, crowds and whether we have on enough layers. Rolling hills surrounds Pasadena California and the temperatures drop at night. We were expecting upper 40’s low 50’s, a slight drizzle in the morning, a low cloud cover and variable winds…the winds are always a key factor. Our excitement builds as we find our pre-paid parking lot and start our 2.5-mile hike to our
Holiday LightsHoliday LightsHoliday Lights

Newport Beach, California
bleacher seats. Yes, you heard that right….you cannot just pull up and park when attending one of the oldest, grandest American parades. You alight from your vehicle and hoof it……

Six weeks ago, when we went online we were surprised to find that seats were still available. Yes, they were at an inflated rated, in most eyes a highly inflated rate, but we used the old, “how often are we going to be living 30 minutes from this parade?” excuse to justify the expense. The Rose Bowl Parade is one of those things that we have watched on TV for years. Every New Year’s Day from a young age, almost every American flips on the TV to see this parade at some point. Until today we couldn’t imagine how amazing all those roses looked up close. Today was the 128th Rose Bowl Parade and we were stoked to be there. It’s kind of a “bucket list” thing.

We were entertained and a bit mesmerized as we weaved in and out of bodies on Colorado Boulevard on the sojourn to our seats. The thing is….if you’re willing to show up at about midnight and bring brave the night, you
Rose Bowl ParadeRose Bowl ParadeRose Bowl Parade

One of the most famous parades in America. Roses, roses and more roses.
can have a front row seat to this parade for free. We guess that many of these people have camped out many a year as they looked like professionals. It looked like a tailgate party with fire pits, grills full of food with sinful smells wafting in the air, elaborate air mattresses, airbeds, and sacks full of food. Sunrise was still in the offing, but you couldn’t really tell judging by all the activity.

Many vendors along Colorado Blvd were selling parade programs; various souvenirs and our favorite vendors were grilling giant hot dogs wrapped in bacon and serving them with sautéed onions and red peppers. This was not what we wanted at 7am but we did eye them and consider them for later.

After the long urban hike, we arrived at our bleacher stand and found row M and our seats. Mission accomplished and we soon realized the view was worth the time and investment. We were 100 yards from the NBC set where Al Roker and Hoda Kotb would be blathering on about the parade. We don’t want to seem negative, but we don’t always enjoy watching parades on TV because the announcers distract from the
Vibrant Colors!!!Vibrant Colors!!!Vibrant Colors!!!

Stunning craftsmanship
action. The seats allowed a great view and the parade started soon after.

We learned many things about this parade if you plan to go in the future. You can attend for free if you sit or stand along the five-mile parade route. You must arrive very early or spend the night if you want a good viewing point. We did see a couple of the pros who brought step stools and small ladders so they could stand a few feet back and see over the head of the people in front of them. In our opinions, if you purchase bleacher tickets you do not want to be low on the bleachers. They have a metal gate barrier lining the parade route that would obscure your view during the parade.

We did discuss how tired some of these people would be as they got to the end of the parade route. It was a cold morning and many of the uniforms were skimpy and the kids had to be freezing. Ah….but their youth and excitement would most likely carry them through….

The marching bands put on an extraordinary show! MJ is quite serious when she states that
Giant Giraffe Giant Giraffe Giant Giraffe

A rather studious-looking one at that!
she wants to petition the NFL to have The Ohio State Marching band or any of the bands we saw today for half time at the Super Bowl in place of the entertainment that we are currently subjected to. What an experience to perform at the Rose Bowl Parade. The uniforms, the instruments, the enthusiasm were amazing…….cold cloudy day notwithstanding.

The floats…….. the floats were amazing. We learned they spend the entire year working on the floats for the next year. Hundreds of hours planning and designing, plenty of hard work and a great deal of fun go into pulling this parade off. In the last few days, hours they add the roses in a refrigerated warehouse. We are told they are not allowed to use paint that all of the flowers are natural. The colors were uber vibrant.

The people sitting behind us flew in from New England for the parade and the football game. They also volunteered to work on one of the floats. When the Cal-Poly float came down the street they cheered with pride.

Three rows up behind us a young lady who had purchased the program read to all of us who had not made the purchase. She kept is short and sweet. The 128th Rose Bowl had participants from 30 states. That’s quite amazing……

Many people were smarter than us and brought pillows or blankets to sit on. Those steel bleachers got very cold. MJ sacrificed her wool scarf and we sat on it which helped for the first hour but the second hour was a bit chilly and we realized we should have worn two pair of socks. The wind kicked up a bit and the temps dropped in the second hour of the parade. As it ended we were glad to get up and move around.

We wanted to go find a place with hot coffee and a place to sit indoors for a bit, but as you can imagine many had the same idea. We were also surprised that many restaurants in downtown Pasadena were not open. We can’t imagine why. We stopped to share one of those amazing hot dogs wrapped in bacon. OMG….. a true taste treat. We snagged one….a taste delight, even at ten in the morning. We finally found a spot for breakfast and settled in for a nice breakfast.

White ChristmasWhite ChristmasWhite Christmas

at the iconic Hollywood Pantages Theatre
you are in the LA area during the holidays there are a million things to help get you in the holiday spirit. There were several things we wanted to do but ran out of time. As you know work always seems to interfere with our playtime. We had hoped to make it to the LA Zoo lights but didn't manage to make it. Many of the coastal towns have boat parades. Once weekend, we opted to go to Newport Beach to see the holiday lights. Balboa Bay has many amazing houses where the very rich people have decorated their amazing homes with lights. They put their money to good use. The boat ride is about 90 minutes and the lights are amazing. Well worth time if you are in the area.

During the holidays, we went to the Pantages theatre to see a live production of White Christmas. It is one of our favorite holiday movies and it was just perfect to get us in the holiday spirit. The Pantages theatre is lovely and well worth seeing a production there while you are in LA whether it is a holiday or not.

And last but not least we
Hollywood Pantages TheatreHollywood Pantages TheatreHollywood Pantages Theatre

The golden era....the beautiful architecture
made it to Disneyland on the last day of the holiday celebration. Every Christmas season the iconic American park decorates with additional holidays lights and has a Christmas parade. With MJ never having been to Disneyland, it seemed like time to go...although Dave was not exactly ecstatic over the idea, since he was stuck on the ride, "It's a small, small world" in 1974. He bucked up and humored MJ. Each year his story gets bigger and better regarding the continuing trauma inflicted that day over 40 years ago.

Disneyland is a clean and safe environment for you to take the kids to for the day to strectch the imagination and quite possibly the budget. Some say it is magical. They have put a great deal of planning and creativity into building quaint and inviting shops and rides. A variety of food and entertainment so that everyone can find something they enjoy. In decades past both of us were coaster freaks. In 1994 we went to an amusement park in Wisconsin and Dave turned green on the first big coaster we rode. It was a rough ride and MJ had a sore neck for a couple of days. We
Too cold for the skimpy outfitsToo cold for the skimpy outfitsToo cold for the skimpy outfits

Marching the 5 1/2 miles in style
haven't riden many rides since that time. At Disneyland we officially retired from coaster riding. Dave got a little nauseated on the Star Wars ride. We walked the park, enjoyed the Christmas parade and then headed to Space Mountain. Yikes! Both of us came off that ride feeling ill. That's it, we are done with coasters. Not sure what happened with us because we both used to love them. Our bodies are telling us to forget it. We wandered the park in search of our equilibrium and ended up at a section called "It's a Small World," (see the above mention of this ride) MJ enjoyed it immensely. Dave was haunted by the past but MJ could tell he was enjoying it. Disneyland does take on a magical glow after dark. All the colored lights enhance the fairytale like atmosphere.

We can see the appeal of Disneyland but its not a place we will frequent. We are puzzled by all the parents who take kids in strollers. In our opinion, they are too young to enjoy this environment. If the parents want to go it seems like they would find a sitter for the little ones and go alone.
Dragons storming the castleDragons storming the castleDragons storming the castle

Creative ideas and amazing flowers
From our perspective, it seems like a kid should be 8 or 9 before they could truly enjoy all that is going on there. Ah....but what do we really know? We do not have children, but do understand that there are many different ways to seek happiness and the good flok

Happy New Year!

We hope 2017 finds you healthy, happy and prosperous!

Additional photos below
Photos: 40, Displayed: 29


Syncronicity Syncronicity

Play it loud
Surfing DogsSurfing Dogs
Surfing Dogs

This was really cool
Artistry of the floatsArtistry of the floats
Artistry of the floats

Unique and Creative
Carriage & HorsesCarriage & Horses
Carriage & Horses

So many amazing flowers
Magnificent and colorful dressesMagnificent and colorful dresses
Magnificent and colorful dresses

Dancing in the the streets!
Grand MarshallGrand Marshall
Grand Marshall

Rose Bowl Parade
Marching MilitaryMarching Military
Marching Military

Amazing band
Tuba... tubas a plentyTuba... tubas a plenty
Tuba... tubas a plenty

The really put on a show
Commitment to the musicCommitment to the music
Commitment to the music

We love a good marching band!
NBC Morning CelebritiesNBC Morning Celebrities
NBC Morning Celebrities

Al Roker and Hoda Kotb announcing from the booth
Colorful BandsColorful Bands
Colorful Bands

Vibrant and talented

9th January 2017

Beautiful pictures! Did you see the Nicevile High School Band?
9th January 2017

Niceville Marching Band
Yes, we saw them, photographed them and cheered them on!
9th January 2017

Worse places to spend holiday time.
Long time no speak. Good to see holidays are in full swing regardless of the impending inauguration of a certain president. And I thought our politics was demented.
9th January 2017

Holiday Times
LA has so much to offer at the holidays and we didn't eve scratch the surface. Demented politics.... nothing to say.
9th January 2017

Great pictures
Loved this blog and all the pictures, and all the 'inside information'. My kids were 8 and 11 when we went to Disney in FL. Perfect ages- didn't need naps, bottles or diapers. It really is cruel and abusive to have infants, babies and even toddlers wait in long lines often in hot sun. It's a fun place once or maybe twice in your life. When I give travel workshops I try to explain to people that visiting the real place is VERY different than Disney.... starting with you don't wear shorts and flip- flops in Paris or Rome. Thanks for sharing your fun day.
9th January 2017

Great pictures
I told Dave I'll want a day at Disneyworld in Florida to do a comparision. It was enjoyable but I won't become a Disney junkie. I actually like Epcot better. Dave hasn't been to Epcot so I'll have to take him. The Rose Bowl Parade was as wonderful as you might expect.
9th January 2017

The rose what parade??
We must have lived under a rock all our lives as we have never heard of the Rose Bowl Parade, but then I guess that rock we live under is on the other side of the world. Does look really amazing and perhaps will end up on that ever growing "to do list", just love beautiful floats and a great parade. As for 7am being too early for a bacon hotdog, I feel that is the perfect time for such gourmet food. Started many a day at 5am with a greasy bacon and egg roll, and credit my great physical well being and health to such practises.
9th January 2017

Rose Bowl Parade
This parade 128 years strong is in conjunction with American Football. At the end of the season we have "Bowl" games and the rose bowl is one of the premier games. The parade is a celebration before the game and the roses, roses and roses are amazing. You must see it some day. Nutrition notes made....will include bacon dogs for breakfast in the future.
9th January 2017

Rose Bowl Parade
This parade 128 years strong is in conjunction with American Football. At the end of the season we have "Bowl" games and the rose bowl is one of the premier games. The parade is a celebration before the game and the roses, roses and roses are amazing. You must see it some day. Nutrition notes made....will include bacon dogs for breakfast in the future.
9th January 2017

Happy New Year 2017
What a way to go...128th Rose Bowl Parade and Disneyland. Brilliant. Great pics guys. Only thing missing is the obligatory photo with Mickey Mouse. Maybe next time!
9th January 2017

New Year 2017
Dave wanted his photo with Goofy but we didn't run into him. As you time.
9th January 2017

The Binkleys at Play
Fun to share-glad Dave got over his fear!! LOL
9th January 2017

Binkleys at Play
I'm sure he's still got that song in his head but at least this time he didn't get stuck.
9th January 2017

So you guys live there now? I love Disney! Space Mountain and Star Wars - sounds like you guys picked the two jerkiest rides at the park! :) The Aerosmith Coaster is better, but Disney is not really known for the coasters, but the elaborate themed rides instead. I took my niece and three nephews on two separate trips when they were between 3-4 and they all loved it. I loved seeing it through their eyes - so much wonder. And strollers are definitely the way to go so they don't get all cranky, plus it is a spot to store stuff like water. :) Never got to see the Rose Parade, not really sad about it, but it does look amazing!
9th January 2017

I've learned today that the Buzz Lightyear and the Raiders of the Lost ark are much calmer than the Space Mountain that made us feel ill. I can see the benefit of the stroller if you are taking a tiny one I just can't imagine the tiny ones get much out of the visit to Disneyland.
10th January 2017

we've taken our kids at all ages. Sure, when they were young we only rode their age appropriate rides like I's a Small World, and we took afternoon breaks back at the Disney hotels to swim and siesta, before returning late afternoon. It was great when they all grew enough to ride every ride...that's when we get best value for the high prices. We had the Fast Pass down pat and were able to go on most rides with few lines. Things have changes, however, since we were last there in 2004.
10th January 2017

Taking advantage of the hotel pools sounds like a good idea. Yes they would have to be older to get real value for your money. We would get the fast pass next time. Our longest wait was about an hour.
10th January 2017

Hi guys! Completely envious of you seeing the Rose Parade. Something I've always wanted to do... I'm in the Orlando suburbs for a bit longer if you happen this way anytime soon. Take care. Melinda
10th January 2017

Good hearing from you Melinda. We don't expect to be back in Florida until late Feb and we will have company. Hope you are enjoying Orlando.
10th January 2017

Disneyland and the rides
First, great photos! Not only colourful, but the resolutions are great. I know how difficult it is take night photography. I admire your courage for the rides. Although I do all kind of monkey business in the sky, I never could handle the rides.....I go nuts with butterfly in my stomach. Your story telling of the Disneyland brought back the memories when we visited there with our son. No, he was not on the stroller, and he enjoyed the theme parks thoroughly. Sitting on the metal benches in a cold day definitely is a pain in the .... And we Canadians know how it feels when we go to see the downtown Christmas parade!!! We carry warm padding, Great story. Enjoyed thoroughly. Thank you!
10th January 2017

Disney and the rides
Thanks Tab, we had a wonderful holiday season full of lights and parades. All Canadians know the cold parade seats. Have fun with monkey business in the sky. Thanks for reading.
10th January 2017

I'm trying to convince my sister to take Ella with them when they take my niece to (Euro)Disney, as I don't think it's a place I would enjoy very much... too many people, too much noise, too much adrenaline! but of course, I can see the appealing for the kids! :)
10th January 2017

Crowds don't bother me at all but I will say that it is big and spread out so you might not be bothered by the people. They have soft music piped in all over the park so it is calming. I know many people go year after year but I won't be one of those. It is well thought out so not exactly like many amusement parks.
10th January 2017
Holiday Lights

It is a dream dream world
But sometimes a break into the dream world can be sooooo nice! Beautiful pic.
10th January 2017
Holiday Lights

It is a dream world
This photo is one of the well decorated homes along Balboa Bay when we took the holiday lights tour. It was fantastic. They really do an excellent job. I suspect in that neighbor you have to submit your lighting plan to a community committe for approval. I don't know that for sure but they were extremely well done. I love all the lights during the holidays. It seems so peaceful. Good to slow down and enjoy.
13th January 2017

Roses all the way!
Hi Dave and Merry Jo, That seems to be a parade to challenge the Flower Festival in Madeira. Another wonderful journey, clearly well researched. It sure pays! David The Grey-Haired-Nomads
13th January 2017

Roses all the way!
We love a good parade. Thanks for the tip on the flower festival in Madeira. Happy nomadic travels.

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