Four years ago our family drove Route 66, 2,400 miles, between Chicago, Ill., and Santa Monica, Calif. We drove through baking hot desert, climbed majestic mountains, and make stops in a litany of fabled towns: San Bernardino, Flagstaff, Gallup, Albuquerque, Tucumcari, Amarillo, and Joplin. We saw the Grand Canyon, the St. Louis Gateway Arch andMeramec Caverns. And we followed in the footsteps of dreamers, ramblers, drifters, and writers: John Steinbeck, Woody Guthrie, and Jack Kerouac.
We also followed in the footsteps of the Disney and Pixar animator and director John Lassetter and his crew of movie makers who rove the highway only a couple years before us to get inspiration for Cars. The animated film about an anthropomorphic race car named Lightning Queen who helps save Radiator Springs, a dying town that was once a popular stopover on Route 66. The town and many of its characters are based on real-life places and people along the famed American Highway.
And now Disney and Pixar have created a new land in California Adventure based on the film—and another crew of Disney imagineers made the trip along Route 66 to gather ideas.
Our family visited Carsland this summer and we spotted similarities between those roadside diners, auto shops, gas stations, souvenir stands, and burger joints we visited along Route 66 and the shops, restaurants and fluorescent signs lining Carsland. We snapped a lot of photos at the new area of the park and we later pulled out our Route 66 pics. It was fun to draw connections between what we saw at Disneyland and places we visited along Route 66.
Below I've paired a few Route 66 and Carsland images. Can you tell which one is the real deal and which one was created by Disney?