Have you ever wanted to take a luxurious break from your responsibilities like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2 — that is, before he destroyed a brownstone on the Upper West Side of New York City? Lucky for you, the Plaza Hotel is giving you that opportunity with a whole Home Alone 2 package for the anniversary that will toss you right back into the '90s and remind you how different things only are a couple of decades later. I got a sneak peak at the experience this fall, and the throwback is kind of the bomb, maybe even the bomb diggity.
The Plaza's "Live Like Kevin" package is available until October of 2018, so no worries if your holiday plans are set for the upcoming season. They won't hire bandits to chase after you or real estate moguls to point you towards the lobby, but it's something. The experience includes photo booths that put you inside the movie as part of the official exhibit. I was just handed a slice of cheese pizza on the way inside, but, in the package, you can get a pizza in a limo that will take you to ice skating rinks and toy stores. There's an ice cream cart you can get delivered to your room, a paint can filled with DVDs, and a special Home Alone 2 backpack you can keep. It's the works.
Why was I more Liz Lemon than Kevin McCallister in this photo booth that mimics the film's poster? That's a mystery for the ages.
But then, and maybe most importantly for a sensory time machine, there is the food. Todd English, a restaurant in the Plaza, developed a throwback menu that will set fulfill every one of your '90s kid heart's desires.
The first thing I heard upon entering the restaurant was a child loudly complaining that he didn't like any of the food there. What a shame. My heart truly broke in that moment. Kids these days don't know what they're missing. I don't know what kind of sad kale smoothie life he's leading, because the Plaza hooked us up.
Remember Lunchables and Hot Pockets? What if they were made from the best charcuterie? That's the experience we got. The restaurant also has fried "Funyun rings," Gushers, Surge, Spaghetti-Os, Sunny-D, and Zima.
That's right. There's Zima for the grown-ups in attendance as well as a CapriSun and St. Germain cocktail that came in a specialized pouch with a bendy straw — which was obviously my favorite thing. I'm throwing it back, but not that far back. Adults can have some fun too, and I obviously took some snacks home with me.
If you plan on re-watching the movie in preparation for your experience (or during it), you might notice that your perspective has changed a bit in 25 years. For one thing, future President Donald Trump's cameo is considerably less ha-ha in 2017. At the screening that preceded my Plaza experience, the young Manhattanite audience booed. Whitney Houston was right, the children are our future.
Also, the young audience for Home Alone 2 today was born well after the 9/11 attacks. Not only are the Twin Towers visible in the New York skyline, but Kevin visits them. There's a shot of him on one of the observation decks. I didn't expect to feel thankful while watching this family comedy sequel — but I'm really glad that footage like that is preserved.
Still, for a variety of reasons, none of the shenanigans that Kevin McCallister gets into would be possible in today's world. There's no way a child would be let on a plane without a boarding pass, and his father's credit card would be immediately flagged at the hotel.
I personally think that Catherine O'Hara, who plays Kevin's mom, is a severely underrated comedic actor — and that the homeless pidgeon lady is lowkey the most relatable character. But mostly it's fun to watch Kevin live it up and take the bandits down in a world that's so unlike our own today, even though many of us remember it vividly.
Younger fans of Stranger Things marvel at how those meddling kids manage to spend so much time out of the house without adult supervision, which is kind of the whole point of the Home Alone franchise. The Plaza's experience includes all of the indulgent aspects of being a kid in the '90s, from junk food to fantasizing about limo rides — and the fact that most of the sequel would be impossible today makes the nostalgia aspect extra special.
So, whether you participate in this Plaza package yourself, or just re-watch the movie (there's a special 25th anniversary edition available on Blu-ray and DVD) — I'd like to take this moment to wish all you true '90s kids a "Merry Christmas, you filthy animal."