20 Years Later: Life Lessons We Learned From ‘The Parent Trap’

It seems like it was just yesterday when we were watching two young Lindsay Lohans meet at summer camp and then reunite to get their parents back together in Disney’s The Parent Trap.

It’s been 20 years since we received this heartwarming family film filled with spontaneous ear piercings, underage gambling, family shenanigans, and quirky handshakes. Looking back, there are so many lessons to be learned from the childhood-defining 1998 film and we should all take notes. In honour of the occasion, here are a few important things we learned from The Parent Trap.


It’s entirely possible that you have a long-lost twin sister

For those only children or those girls who only had brothers as siblings, The Parent Trap instilled a plausible reality that there was a twin sister waiting for them on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. After all, if it can happen to Hallie and Annie, who’s to say it couldn’t happen to you too?


Oreos and peanut butter is the ultimate snack hack

Maybe it’s not quite a hack, but it’s probably a recipe you never thought of before watching The Parent Trap. Dip your Oreo cookies in peanut butter and prepare for the best sweet and salty snack combination ever. Plus, it’s even better when you share it with your long-lost twin.

People who haven’t heard of Leonardo DiCaprio can’t be trusted

The year is 1998, Leonardo DiCaprio is a dreamy, young actor in the prime of movie stardom yet Annie Parker is almost 12 years old and claims to have never heard of him. It’s completely unbelievable and entirely unacceptable, leading us to question any other pre-teen at the time that said the same.


It’s a bad idea to let a pre-teen pierce your ears

This lesson should have been a no-brainer, but of course Annie’s scream didn’t stop us from asking our friends to pierce our ears as soon as the movie ended. While Annie didn’t have any permanent damage—other than a hole in her ear—having a fellow pre-teen stick a needle through your skin probably isn’t the best call. And yes, some of us might have had to learn that lesson the hard way.


It was suddenly very important that you learned how to play poker as a kid

Hallie was the poker champion of sleepaway camp until Annie came along, and the whole thing left young viewers wanting to know how to play poker. The gambling scene is important in the film for starting the girls’ feud, but in reality, most 11-year-olds don’t know how to play poker that well—but that doesn’t mean we didn’t try to grab a deck of cards and start placing bets.


No friendship is complete without a secret handshake

One of the greatest takeaways from The Parent Trap is that everyone needs an elaborate, secret handshake with their bestie. The super-long and surprisingly complex handshake between Annie and her butler, Martin (which Annie eventually teaches to Hallie), became some what of a right of passage for best friends who tried to master it, repeatedly rewinding the clip on their VCRs.


Dogs aren’t given enough credit

While Nick and Elizabeth don’t recognize their children have swapped places until the twins reveal it after a few weeks, there’s one character in the film that knows instantly. When Annie first arrives in Napa as Hallie, the family dog Sammy starts barking at her uncontrollably. It’s clear that the dog senses that something is wrong, despite all of the human characters not noticing anything unusual. Dogs just know when something isn’t quite right.

The Concorde will get you there in half the time (or so we’d like to think)

The Concorde’s claim that it can fly you from California to London in half the amount of time might not be entirely accurate, but as kids and in order to uphold the happy ending of the film, we choose to believe it. This speedy plane is what manages to get Nick and Hallie to London before Elizabeth and Annie, allowing for a surprise family reunion that gets us every time.