Route 66…The Gemini Giant & the Launching Pad Drive-In
Picture this…the sun is setting in the Midwest, and not just a normal sunset kind of day, but the Midwest kind. The air smells dewy and sweet, the temperature a perfect 70 degrees. The sky has turned a bright orange, followed by a deep pink. The last of my Route 66 treasures for the day, I had one left to check off before the veil of night fell completely. I was focused, I was determined, and I was ready to see him and the Launching Pad.
Do you remember that moment in “National Lampoons Vacation” where they are running towards Wally World, that thrill and excitement they all had of FINALLY getting to see it? So maybe I wasn’t THAT enthusiastic about this, but still, nobody feels good when you see the CLOSED sign. I mean, at least the Giant didn’t pack it up and head home for the day (Altho entertaining that would have been to see).
So what’s the story? Here goes. They refurbished a bunch of these iconic fiberglass “Muffler Men” from back in the day to sport something other than selling Mufflers. They created this one to be a Space Man holding a space ship and wearing a helmet. The location is in alignment with the timing of the space program in the 1960s in which they had Gemini Space Missions.
Not only does the big guy watch over the Mother Road, but he also stands next to the Launching Pad Drive-In! Now had I gotten to go in, instead of looking through the windows like some kind of creeper, I would’ve gotten to see they also had a Route 66 Welcome Center, Museum, and Gift Shop. Apparently when they Diner is in full swing, you can get a Chicago style hot dog or a fresh piece of apple pie.
And as I wrote this, I realized something. At Magic Kingdom, found in Tomorrowland, there is a walk-up eatery called….. THE LAUNCHING PAD! Here’s some more Disney irony….the one on Route 66 also serves Dole Whips!! I will have to add that to my “Disney around the U.S.” file.
Still cool to see, even though I didn’t get to spend any time inside. I also traveled during the summer of some rough times, so that could also be why they stayed closed. I hope to see it again, open, on brighter and better days. Check out their site for more information, and remember….get your kicks, on Route 66
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!