Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, Okla.

The Walt Disney Imagineering team visits the Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, Okla. (Walt Disney Imagineering / November 27, 2012)

"Cadillac Ranch is a must stop for any road warrior," Wallis said.

The radiator cap mesa at the center of the road race ride is based on Tucumcari Mountain in Tucumcari, N.M. Even the "RS" painted on the butte mimics the capital "T" on the side of Tucumcari Mountain.

The rusty red striated grooves of the Cars Land mountain range look just like the real cliffs looming above the Teepee Trading Post in Lupton, Ariz. The ride's load and unload stations are dead ringers for the arched caverns hovering behind the Chief Yellowhorse Trading Post, also located in Lupton along the New Mexico border.

The sequential Rusteze signs placed consecutively along the front of the Racers ride are an ode to the Burma Shave roadside advertising campaign — remnants of which can still be found along Route 66 between Ash Fork and Kingman, Ariz.

Cozy Cone Motel

The snack stands in Cars Land serve chili cone carne, cone on the cob, popcone and other food pun novelties.

The five oversized orange safety cones that double as snack stands are an obvious reference to the Wigwam Village in Holbrook, Ariz. Another teepee-style motel can be found in San Bernardino.

The Cozy Cone office, run by Sally the Porsche in the movie, recalls the Blue Swallow Motel, a neon beacon in Tucamcari, New Mexico.

For the time being, the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Okla., remains home to the real-world inspiration for the Sally character — restaurant proprietor Dawn Welch. After rebuilding following a 2008 fire, Welch has put the Rock Cafe up for sale.

Flo's V8 Cafe

Designed to look like a Ford V-8 engine with architectural elements recalling a circular air filter, spark plugs and pistons, the whimsical quick-service restaurant in Cars Land owes its DNA to a number of diners on the Mother Road.

Much of the chrome and stainless steel Streamline Moderne decor of Flo's V8 Cafe (and even the 1950s-inspired waitresses uniforms) can be traced back to the 5 & Diner in Tulsa, Okla., and the 66 Diner in Albuquerque, N.M. Both diners serve American comfort food — chicken fried steaks, turkey pot pies, patty melts and meatloaf — to hungry travelers.

But if you're searching for the true spirit and personality of Flo's, look no further than the Midpoint Cafe located midway between Chicago and Los Angeles in Adrian, Texas. Former cafe owner Fran Houser was the inspiration for the Flo character in the movie and her signature Ugly Crust Pies can be found on the menu of the Cars Land carhop. Houser has sold the Midpoint Cafe since her brush with fame, but the new owner still serves the same food (including the famous pies).

Radiator Springs Curios Shop

In Cars Land, the exterior of Radiator Springs Curios Shop is covered with "last chance" pleas while the interior is filled with souvenir tributes to Route 66.

There's certainly no shortage of souvenir stands along the historic highway bursting with knick-knacks celebrating the self-fulfilling legend of the fabled road.

The Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, Okla., was one of the first stops for the Pixar and Disney road trips. Dressed in their red-and-white striped "Redneck Tuxedo" overalls, proprietors Harley and Anabelle Russell would greet each of the caravanning creative corps from California with a raucous welcome that included hand-made signs and personally penned songs.

You could almost imagine Lizzie, the matron of Radiator Springs and the owner of the Cars Land curio shop, rolling up to the Hackberry General Store after a long drive on Route 66. There's even a Model T that looks just like Lizzie amid the jumble of roadside artifacts and vintage gasoline pumps in front of the Hackberry, Ariz., store. Known as the "mother lode of Mother Road memorabilia," the souvenir shop is pretty much all that's left of the former mining town.

Next door to the Radiator Springs Curio Shop is a billboard that recalls the "Here It Is" advertisement associated with the Jackrabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, Ariz. The Cars Land version of the sign replaces the rabbit icon with a jalopy.

Ramone's House of Body Art retail shop