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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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