January 3, 2019

2-day Rose Parade & New Year’s Eve Celebration

Day 1- Seeing the Tournament of Roses Rose Parade is one of those “bucket list” items that should be on everyone’s list.  It can definitely be daunting with the huge crowds, extra early wake up, traffic and parking issues and cold weather, but going with Daytripper Tours takes care of all that…well, everything but the early wake up and the weather.  It’s the only way to go.  And once you see the spectacle pass by in all its glory, you realize it was worth it.

My group of 52 passengers was raring to go from the get-go!  Even with the early start for our two-day, overnight trip, the laughter from the bus was uplifting!  Driver David loaded the luggage on the motor coach starting at the Daytripper office in El Cajon and we were off.  More folks boarded in Mission Valley, then Escondido.  After a comfort stop in Murrieta, we headed straight for the parking lot of the Rose Bowl, site of one of the “float barns.”

The weather was extremely overcast, even threatening, but as it turned out a winter storm blew through San Diego (complete with snow in the mountains), but completely missed us to the north in Pasadena.  Usually with winter storms, the LA area gets hit and we miss the brunt of it in San Diego, but the Rose Parade “gods” were watching out for us this year!  The lines to see the floats inside the “float barn” were long when we arrived at 9:45, but by now the sun was shining so we didn’t mind.  Inside, we marveled at the precision of the volunteers placing last minute roses and other natural plant material on the gigantic floats. We also got to see beautiful vintage cars decorated with flowing blankets of roses.  These automobiles would be carrying the dignitaries of the Rose Parade, including this year’s Grand Marshall, Chaka Khan.

Lunch awaited us at the always lively Buca di Beppo, an Italian restaurant that serves its food “family style” and since we were already starting to feel like “family,” this was perfect!  After lunch, David drove us to the nearby Graber Olive property where we toured their packing facility and picked up some yummy items in their great gift shop.  We had a big New Year’s Eve night ahead of us, so it was was nice to check into the DoubleTree Hotel to freshen up before walking across the parking lot to the fabulous Candlelight Pavilion for the festivities. Dinner was delicious, but it was the Big Band Orchestra and dancing afterwards that was especially memorable. Everyone was provided with fancy hats and noise-makers for the countdown to the New Year (at 9pm, which was midnight NYC time for us early-to-bedders).  Then the dance floor came alive to the songs we all knew and loved.  “In The Mood” really got the crowd swinging and some Daytripper passengers even stayed until midnight even though we had another early morning wake up the next morning.  The Rose Parade was almost here!

Day 2- The alarm went off early once again, but knowing that today was the day to see the one and only Rose Parade made it bearable. At least we were already nearby in Claremont, CA so we didn’t have to get up as early as other Daytripper passengers who opted for the day trip from San Diego to see the parade.

All in all, a total of eight motor coaches from Daytripper Tours carried folks to fulfill their dream on this first day of 2019.  David steered us through the busy streets of Pasadena like the pro he is and we arrived at our designated parking area on the grounds of Pasadena City College directly behind the grandstands. The time was 7:15. We had ample time to work our way through the crowds to find our seats high above Colorado Boulevard along the parade route.  The sun was shining once again and it was to our backs so we didn’t have to look into it as the parade passed by. That’s an important detail to enjoying the Rose Parade.  Daytripper Tours thinks of everything!  At 8am, the B-2 Stealth Bomber plane seemingly appeared out of nowhere and soared above us down Colorado Blvd. marking the beginning of the parade far up the route from where we were sitting. Amazingly, the B-2 took off from its airbase in Missouri just an hour before and flew all the way to California without stopping, timing it perfectly to be here at 8am.  The crowd cheered.  The person beside me said, “Way cool!”  It took another hour for the parade to reach us.  The entire route is 5 1/2 miles and our viewing point was about 2/3 of the way.

It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to see the Rose Parade in person.  Watching it with thousands of other people all excited to see the same thing, clapping, whooping, laughing, smiling…it’s contagious!  It’s wonderful!  We saw the same floats we had seen the day before up close in the float barns, but seeing them “float” by framed by the tall California palm trees with the stunning San Gabriel Mountains in the distance was even more spectacular.  The marching bands filled the air with rousing music, the flag performers swirling their colorful flags to the music in the cool morning air.  UPS, a San Diego business, sponsored the float that won the top prize, the Sweepstakes Trophy.  This is awarded for the float that is the most beautiful in design, floral presentation and entertainment among all 46 floats in the parade. Quite an honor! Actually, it was my favorite too, depicting a giant ostrich with the theme “Books Keep Us On Our Toes” highlighting the importance of literacy for children. The equestrian units, especially the famous Clydesdale horses were crowd-pleasers as always. The theme for 2019 was “The Melody of Life.”  As the president of the Tournament of Roses said “Music has the power to not only bring us together, but take us back to memories and moments as nothing else can.” On this January 1, 2019 the Rose Parade did just that.

– Pat Brown
DayTripper Tour Manager
Tour: 2-day Rose Parade & New Year’s Eve Celebration
December 31, 2018 – January 1, 2019


Categories: Blog