Family vacations and movies go together like PJs and room service, photos and bunny ears, popcorn and butter! And while your kids might be too young for the adult humor of most vacation movies, there are still some fabulously funny and family-friendly movies that are perfect for kids on trips. So whether you’re looking for DVDs the kids can enjoy from the backseat on a road trip or for family movie nights cuddled up on the hotel room bed, these flicks fit the bill.
In Paris, a rat name Remy longs to become a French chef. He befriends a young restaurant worker, Linguini, and “mentors” his human friend in the ways of preparing fine French cuisine. Although it is a rat who is doing the cooking, by the end of the movie you will be craving French cheese, soup, omelets, and, of course, ratatouille (a Provencal dish made from produce like tomatoes, garlic, onions, eggplant, bell peppers, and spices). You’ll also be checking airfares to Paris so you can go taste some of these dishes in the City of Light!
- The Sound of Music
This musical, created in 1965, still enraptures audiences young and old today. Set in Salzburg, Austria before World War II, the von Trapp family and their nanny, Sister Maria, sing their way into our hearts against the backdrop of gorgeous, sweeping views of the Austrian Alps. It’s a long movie and can be slow-moving at times for young viewers, but my children love to sing along with its famous songs like ”Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things”.
The best part of this movie is the first scene, which depicts main character Carl Fredricksen as an 8-year-old boy meeting his future wife, Ellie, a tomboy who teaches Carl about a renowned world explorer and the vast adventures available to those willing to dream. In a matter of minutes, we watch these two sweet children meet, fall in love with each other and with the idea of travel, marry, attempt (unsuccessfully) to start a family, grow old…and then Ellie dies. Enter Wilderness Explorer Russell, a little boy who flies with now elderly Fredricksen to South America, via a house lifted aloft by hundreds (thousands?) of small helium balloons. They reach the fictional South American Paradise Falls, for which Ellie had longed to visit her whole life. This story is about letting go of things you cannot change and following your passions today, before it’s too late.
Even if you have to leave the furry members of your family back home, you can still take Bolt on vacation with you—he’s a road-trip-savvy, über-protective Super Dog, after all! This animated movie is great for all ages, because even the most serious adult or too-cool teen won’t be able to resist cracking up at hilarious hamster Rhino, Bolt’s ultimate fan boy.
- The Parent Trap
Got a kid heading to sleep-away camp for the first time? Then let a young Lindsay Lohan give her a glimpse of the fun she’s going to have, even if the prospect of a long-lost identical twin is totally out of the question.
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Three lost housepets (voiced by Michael J. Fox and others) have to find their family, and they’re packing bravery and brains for the trip. Your family might even recognize some of the American scenery in the film on your own journeys this vacation season.
- Peter Pan
This live-action telling of the classic tale shows the fantastic adventures the Darling kids have while in Neverland. It also reveals the importance of parents’ love and home sweet home.