Road trips represent a rite of passage in American life and are an iconic staple in the life of many relationships, romantic and otherwise. Youth, freedom, spontaneity, adventure, and people who make an impression – they are all in the essence of long drives through the middle of nowhere. A date night in Cars Land is all those things and more.
Life Could Be a Dream
Start your walking road trip with a kiss. Amble to the middle of the street a few casual minutes before sunset to wait for your green light, then as soon as the music pumps up and “Sh-Boom” starts playing, set your date’s heart racing. Why precisely then? Every night at the moment of twilight, all the neon lights in Radiator Springs light up at once, recreating the moment from Cars when Lightning McQueen begins to fall in love with the town for the first time. Perfect.
Fill ‘er Up
When you’re ready (no rush!), move on down to the road to Flo’s V8 for a pit stop. Like lots of Disney eating establishments, this roadside diner has a full story that will enhance your dining experience. Theirs includes a sassy girl group of singers, a whole jukebox of songs from the dawn of rock ‘n roll, and inspiring views. Eat inside on sparkling vinyl booths or outdoors with the roar of racers zooming past. Either way, you can enjoy generous helpings of homemade fare while you watch the moon rise over the red rocks.
After sharing a slice of Flo’s Signature Chocolate Mud Pie-O-Rama, patronize the rest of the local businesses. Cars Land has a lot of unique merchandise that transcends the traditional park offerings, so it’s fun to shop around and see it. There’s plenty of logo merch, but the designs are a finely curated mix of kitsch, retro, and kustom kulture that will make you feel like you’re somewhere in the real world instead of tucked safely inside a Pixar film.
If you’re a seasoned Disneyland dater, you might balk at the idea of waiting in the standby line for Radiator Springs Racers, but slipping into a lower gear on purpose will give you loads of time to talk. You could challenge yourselves to as many car-related topics as possible (your first car, dream cars, favorite movie vehicles, driving pet peeves), or you could just let it flow as you wind slowly through the twists and turns of Ornament Valley. Waiting in the ride line also lets you fully appreciate the amazing playlist of rockabilly music that underscores life in Radiator Springs. And it will give you plenty of time to try to get your penny to land right where you want it in the fountain at Stanley’s Oasis.
Once you’re buckled in, enjoy the ride. Night time is a great time to race. The illuminated waterfall is extra special, and the illusion of entering Radiator Springs under starlight is seamless. Squeeze hands when the pedal hits the metal and the wind rushes through your hair.
Toast the night by checking in at the Cozy Cone Motel for victory slushies.
Photo credits: Souvenir Shops by Michaela Hansen, Ornament Valley by Matthew Hanson, and Cozy Cone by Kevin Crone – all of toursdepartingdaily.com.