11 Life Lessons Learned from 'The Parent Trap'

Some movie fans may think that Oct. 3 is the only day that matters this month, but we have to disagree; Mean Girls is great and all, and it's awesome that Aaron Samuels himself gets involved each year, but the real day worth celebrating is today, Oct. 11. Why, you ask? Because Oct. 11 is the birthday of Hallie Parker and Annie James, the twins played by Lindsay Lohan in 1998's The Parent Trap, one of the most beloved and childhood-defining movies since 1961's The Parent Trap.

If you don't recall (but seriously, how could you not? The movie's on ABC Family like every other hour), The Parent Trap centers on Hallie and Annie, twin girls raised separately — and secretly — by their now-divorced parents (Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson, R.I.P.). When the girls are coincidentally sent to the same summer camp, they discover the truth through a series of "I do that too!" questions asked during time in the isolation cabin (don't ask). It's discovered that they share the same Oct. 11 birthday, and after a few follow-ups involving peanut butter Oreos and a photo torn right down the middle, Hallie and Annie ecstatically realize they're twins. So, logically, they begin plotting to reunite their parents by posing as each other when they return home. The plan works, mostly — shenanigans ensue and a woman is almost swept out to sea, but the movie ends (15-year-old spoiler alert!) with the entire family together again.

So it's obvious why today, Oct. 11, is a huge day for Parent Trap fans. To honor the momentous occasion, let's revisit 11 life lessons learned from the beloved Disney movie.

1. It's Entirely Possible You Have a Long-Lost Twin

It happened to Hallie and Annie. What's to say it won't happen to you?

2. People Who Haven't Heard of Leonardo DiCaprio are Weird

The year is 1998. Annie Parker is almost 12 years old. Yet somehow, she hasn't heard of teen superstar Leonardo DiCaprio. Unfathomable.

3. It's a Really Bad Idea to Let a Pre-Teen Pierce Your Ears

Sure, Annie had no permanent damage (other than, you know, a hole in her ear) from the event, but having an 11-year-old stick a needle through your skin is probably not the best idea. Couldn't she have just worn her hair down for a few days until she snuck off to Claire's to get it done by a professional? Not your smartest decision, twins.

4. It's Normal to Know How to Play Poker at Age 11

Hallie was the poker champion of sleepaway camp until Annie came along and started shaking things up. The gambling scene is important for setting the stage for the girls' feud, but it's more memorable to us for making us wonder how the 11-year-olds knew how to play poker so well. We'd like to blame Nick and Elizabeth for teaching them, but we all know it was probably Chessy and Grandfather.

5. Isolation Cabins Are Totally Legal, and Actually Really Fun!

When the girls misbehave at camp, they're sent to the isolation cabin, where they're told to live alone, far away from everyone else, because that's totally safe. The questionable nature of the cabin aside, it actually turns out to be a ton of fun, once the girls begin getting along. They have their own space to hang out, cut hair, and pierce ears, and it makes for the perfect opportunity for long-lost twin bonding sessions. Why didn't our sleepaway camps come with isolation cabins? Oh, right, probably because it's completely illegal.

6. No Friendship is Complete Without a Secret Handshake

One of the biggest takeaways from The Parent Trap is the handshake between Annie and her butler, Martin, which she eventually teaches to Hallie. It's super-long and weirdly complex, and today, it's something of a rite of passage for friends to master. You can't honestly say you've never tried it, right?

7. You Have a Right to be Pissed When Your Dad Gets Engaged to A Woman He Met Two Months Ago and Doesn't Tell You Until Weeks Before the Wedding

Especially when she's practically Cruella DeVill.

8. Dogs Just Know

When Annie, pretending to be Hallie, first arrives in Napa, the family dog starts barking uncontrollably. It's clear that Sammy senses that something is wrong, despite Nick, Chessy, and other human beings who have known Hallie her entire life not finding anything unusual. Dogs just know things, guys.

9. But It's Totally Easy to Fool Your Parents Into Thinking You're Someone Else

It makes sense that viewers can't tell Hallie and Annie apart, since they're both played by Lindsay Lohan. In the movie, though, they're supposed to be actual different people, so it’s pretty disturbing that both Nick and Elizabeth don’t realize their kids have switched places until it’s revealed by the twins themselves after a few weeks. Quality parenting, guys.

Have you, Elizabeth?

10. The Best Romance Isn't the Most Obvious One

The main love story of The Parent Trap is Nick and Elizabeth's, and that's all well and good. The couple deserves to be reunited, and we're thrilled when they finally manage to get together. Yet their romance is not our favorite from the movie. That honor goes to the one between Chessy and Martin, Hallie's nanny and Annie's butler, respectively. The two meet when the family comes together to switch the girls back, and they immediately fall for each other. While their relationship may not be the focus of the movie or their bosses' lives, they don't care; they're enamored with each other, and that's all that really matters. It's a relationship lesson for all of us.

11. The Concorde Gets You There in Half the Time

Sure, this might not be accurate (can a plane really get you from California to London that fast?) but it's what Parent Trap told us, so we're choosing to believe it's true. In any event, it's what manages to get Nick and Hallie to London before Elizabeth and Annie do, allowing for a surprise reunion that makes us cry every single time. Seeing Nick and Elizabeth kiss, the girls back together, the whole family finally reunited for good... it's the best ending to the movie that we could ask for.

So happy Oct. 11, everyone, and celebrate by playing a round of poker, eating some peanut butter Oreos, and re-watching this perfect '90s classic.

Images: Disney, Tumblr