The World’s Largest American Flag Takes 600 People To Unfurl (VIDEO)

Patriotic displays don’t get much bigger than this. At 505 feet wide and 3,000 pounds, “The Superflag” is the world’s largest American flag. Each star on the enormous banner is nearly two stories high, and it takes 600 people to unfurl it. lf this giant giant version of “Old Glory” looks familiar (besides, of course, the standard stars and stripes), that’s because it makes stops at events across the country. It’s been displayed at the Super Bowl, Daytona International Speedway, the Washington Monument and even on the face of the Hoover Dam. Check out the above video of the flag at a recent Flag Day celebration at Longaberger Basket HQ in Ohio. But remember: it’s not the size of your flag that matters, it’s how you use it.

Where Fireworks Freaks Go On Independence Day

Independence Day
Adam Baker/Flickr

As America prepares to celebrate its Independence Day this week, thoughts might turn to picnics, barbecues, an extra day off work and a patriotic display of fireworks. Look up after dark on the Fourth of July at just about any city or town in the United States and colorful displays will fill the sky. Some Americans plan their own displays where permitted while others seek out traditional fireworks celebrations that have been held annually for decades. Not sure where to go for the best of the best in fireworks? We checked in with a variety of sources and experts in their respective fields of travel for ideas. One of these places should work just fine for the fireworks freak inside you.

The Travel Channel ranks everything from the best beaches to the best bike cities in the U.S. On their list of Best U.S. Fireworks Displays, they like “America’s biggest birthday party” under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Kaboom Town in Addison, TX, the largest fireworks display in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Navy Pier in Chicago, with regular fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday night as some of their top places to go.

Hotel search engine Room 77 knows about more than 200,000 hotels worldwide and has a list of the Top 10 Hotels with the Highest “Boom Factor,” offering the best vantage points from pools and rooftop bars to balconies, beaches and even bathtubs. They like the Hyatt Regency Austin, one of the few hotels in the city that overlook the water; the Mandarin Oriental New York, where some rooms in the 54-story hotel have marble soaking tub views of the river and fireworks; and the W Washington DC where the rooftop bar offers a premiere vantage point for viewing the fireworks over the mall, one of the most spectacular Fourth of July celebrations in the entire country.At Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line ships, nightly fireworks displays are a big part of the experience every day of the year but especially on July Fourth. What fireworks freaks know that many fans of the Disney displays do not is that the colorful, timed explosions are not actually “blown” off the ground at all.

The Walt Disney Company is the largest user of fireworks in the world and coordinates aerial displays with microsecond accuracy to coincide with music or live action performances. They have been doing that using compressed air rather than gunpowder since 1999, making display shells explode in the air using an electronic timer. The result is a reduction of fumes, greater accuracy in height and timing and a surprise effect unmatched by gunpowder-driven pyrotechnics.

To see one of the reasons why Disney Cruise Line ranks consistently high in customer satisfaction, take a look at their Buccaneer Blast display, held at sea:

One Day Not Enough To Celebrate Independence Day? Take A Week

tsuacctnt/Flickr

Coming up in less than a month, America celebrates its Independence Day as fireworks light up the sky at events around the country. This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Thursday. That might mean an extra day off work for some, returning on Friday to end the week. Others might be in for an extra long, four-day weekend with plenty of time for travel.

Regardless of how your holiday schedule works out, one day might not be enough celebration. Plan a visit to Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort to the east or Disneyland Resort to the west. Both will be celebrating the Fourth of July for an entire week, starting July 1, 2013, during what Disney calls Limited Time Magic.

Said to “surprise and delight Guests in fanciful and unexpected ways,” Limited Time Magic events happen “only at certain times of the year,” says the Disney Parks blog. Between now and June 23, Disney wishes “ears to you” as graduates are invited to buy a mortar board Ear Hat at the Magic Kingdom park, then choose from five different tassels representing their school colors.During the Independence Week Celebration from July 1 to July 7, 2013, a fireworks spectacular will happen at 9 p.m. on July 3 and 4, and 10 p.m. on July 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 at Walt Disney World and 9:30 p.m. each night at Disneyland. At either park, Disney chefs will have Independence Day-themed cuisine including red, white and blue strawberry shortcake or desserts in Mason Jars, apple pie-filled cupcakes and patriotic cotton candy.

Other Limited Time Magic events include a sneak peek at “The Lone Ranger,” a “Monsters University” homecoming celebration and other Monstrous Summer events.

Can’t make it but want to see those Disney fireworks? They might look something like these:



A stay at home 4th in order this year? Check Gadling’s Best Independence Day Travel Movies Of All Time.

Photo Of The Day: Proud To Be Romanian

Photo of the Day - Romanian men
Today is Independence Day in Romania, a country most known for the Transylvania region and its implied ties to the legend of Dracula. It’s often overlooked in a traveler’s typical European Grand Tour, even among eastern European countries. If you have the time to explore, you’ll find absolutely gorgeous country villages, cheap and good-quality wine and beer, and evidently, bad ass old men. From the Flickr archives, today’s Photo of the Day by Jon Rawlinson captures five cool Romanians, just shooting the breeze on a park bench. Some commenters have noted the men look like they could be in organized crime, but I’d prefer to just say they are proud to be Romanian and it shows.

If you want to learn more about Romania, you can read the excellent My Bloody Romania series with Lonely Planet author and Romania expert Leif Pettersen.

Add your travel photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be chosen for a Photo of the Day, or share with us on Instagram using #gadling AND mentioning @gadlingtravel.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Jon Rawlinson]

Video Of The Day: Fighter Jet Flies Above Northern California

Here’s a dash cam video you won’t soon forget. An F/A-18 Hornet cruises at top speed through the canyons of Northern California, showing off the landscape of the area while also completing amazing acrobatics. Watch how ridiculously close to the ground the pilot flies as he inverts turns and completes barrel rolls just over tree tops and riverbanks. These fighter jets are the same aircraft used by the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron. If the inside of the plane looks familiar, that’s because the machines often make movie cameos; the planes have been used in “Independence Day,” “Behind Enemy Lines” and many others.