For many people, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey and the fixings. But for other families—mine included—the highlight of the holiday is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. So I was thrilled to visit the Macy’s Parade Studio in New Jersey to see where the magic happens.

All of the new floats are built there, where about two dozen people work year-round. John Piper, vice president of the parade studio, described the process as “a whimsical, wonderful, enchanting adventure,” which seemed pretty spot-on.

This year, five new floats will make their debut, bringing the grand total of floats in the 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to 30. Like Santa’s workshop, the action in the studio is nonstop; they’ve already started designs for the 2014 holiday season and even the parade’s 100th anniversary. Watch the video below for an insider preview.

Be sure to watch the parade live at 9 AM EST on NBC.