In the new Disney+ original series Cars on the Road, Lightning McQueen and Mater embark on a cross-country road trip. Each episode sees the duo visit a different roadside attraction or town, meeting new characters along the way.
The team behind the series wanted to capture the spontaneity, fun, and unpredictability of real-life road trips, shown through the lens of Lightning and Mater.
“When I was eight years old, my family traveled from Ohio to San Francisco. We moved across the country. And that trip stuck with me,” said director Steve Purcell during the Cars on the Road press conference. “I just remember every day was like some new adventure. Something new was unlocked or, you know, all these crazy roadside attractions that we would beg my dad to stop at along the way. So, that stuck with me. And in creating this series and writing these stories, it felt like a great opportunity to create something that was sort of modular in that every stop along the way could be a totally new location, a totally new sensibility, and a totally new set of characters.”
Lightning and Mater find themselves visiting a circus and a haunted hotel, hunting for Bigfoot and more on their series of new adventures. Larry the Cable Guy, who voices Mater in the Cars films and the new Cars on the Road series, said it’s hard to choose a favorite stop on the trip, but he’s partial to the one that takes place in a dinosaur park. When it comes to real-life adventures, he recommends the National Parks in the Western US.
“I like going everywhere. My favorite road trip destination would be… I actually just took one. Me and my family took another family, we went out West and we went to Yellowstone National Park. We went to the Grand Canyon. We went to the Narrows of America,” Larry said. “It is so beautiful, and I have not been to the West that much. I mean, it’s my first time I ever saw Yellowstone Park. And man, it was crazy. And we also went to the giant redwoods up in Northern California, which was fantastic. That’s a great road trip. You know, just going with friends and staying at campgrounds and cooking out at night and hanging out and then getting up in the morning and going sightseeing. That’s a great American road trip.”
If you can’t jump in the car and head west though, you can do a little sightseeing on Mater and Lightning’s trip instead. Yup, we’re talking Pixar Easter eggs.
“Well, one can always assume that the Pizza Planet truck makes an appearance throughout the entire series in every episode. So, look out for that,” producer Marc Sondheimer said.
Director Bobby Podesta also recommends keeping a close eye on the Cars on the Road credits.
“One thing for our audience to pay attention to [is] the credits and the music,” said Podesta. “Our composer Jake Monaco took our theme song and he crafted a different version of it for every single episode in the credits in the style of the show. And it’s a pretty amazing bit of music that’s in there.”
Whether you’re looking for the Pizza Planet truck or checking out that end credits music, fans of the Cars franchise are sure to be excited to see their favorite characters hit the road for new adventures.
“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, and coming back and doing the voice has just been fantastic,” said Larry. “Honestly, I am so blessed and excited and happy just to be a part of it. It’s really awesome.”
Cars on the Road debuts as part of the Disney+ Day lineup on September 8.