If you’re like me, you probably like a fun dinner and movie night out with your family. Of course, you say, everyone does. Also, if you’re like me, you are probably extremely talented—bordering on gifted—at making plans and executing them.
No? Okay, good, me neither. With that off our chests, let’s learn how to plan a fun family food and flick night with a few laughs at my expense.
1. Begin at the end.
What is the endgame? What kind of bedtime are we looking at? Will the kids be worn down or jacked up as the night wraps up? Will you even have enough energy for Netflix and chill afterwards? We ended our outing with a viewing of Moana in theater. That was probably the strong point of our plans. Two hours of Disney/Pixar magic in a dark room with cozy chairs segues nicely into bedtime. It ended up being a fairly late viewing for our young kids, which brings up the next point…
2. The clock is your friend, but don’t push him.
Does any portion of your plans have a specific start time? Say, a showtime at the local movie theater? Did you fritter away the better portion of your day so that you can only make it to the late showing? Are you still getting the kids ready two hours prior to said showtime, so that you’ll probably have to find, order, eat, and pay for dinner in an impossibly short window of time with two small children? Of course not! Me neither! We’re smarter than that! Okay, maybe that scenario played out for us the other night, and maybe it underscored the importance of the next point I also ignored…
3. The best preservation for alimentation at your chosen location is a reservation.
While you and your date may be able to wait at the bar and catch the later showing, the kids may not appreciate happy hour like you do (let alone the bartender).
We naïvely waltzed into one of our favorite spots—ready to start the stopwatch on our allotted dinnertime window—and to our chagrin (but not surprise), there was a wait at Forager. No worries, we would just try Twigs. Nevermind, several coach busses full of eager diners had beaten us there. Newts? Apparently burgers were also very popular that night. Who knew? Pasquale’s Pizza by the slice then! If only the line had been shorter than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We ended up down the street at the People’s Food Co-op, which turned out to be a nice quiet dinner spot after our dizzying search for grub. We may have eaten our self-serve dinner out of boxes, but it was still delicious, and we even made it to the movie on time.
Will we learn from this ridiculous man who almost emptied his gas tank on a night with only two ultimate destinations? Will we finally master the trifecta of dinner, movie, and reasonable bedtime? Or will we need a designated driver and a nanny by the end of the night next time? Maybe we’ll see you at the early showing of the next movie. If all goes according to plan.