The Duncan family heads out on a holiday trip from their home in Denver to visit Amy's parents, the Blankenhoopers, who live in Palm Springs. The family ends up finding themselves stranded between Denver and Palm Springs. Among their other misadventures they try to hitch a ride from what seems to be a normal older couple who actually believe they are the victims of alien abduction. They resort to purchasing a clunker Yugo to get to Utah, and have their luggage stolen in Las Vegas. Finally, they must survive a Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma Blankenhooper.
The Duncan family plan to go to Amy's parents in Palm Springs for Christmas. However, they are separated on route after Teddy (Bridgit Oliver Mendler) makes a snap decision to give up her airline seat for a free ticket for her spring-break trip to Florida with her best friend Ivy Wentz. Unwilling to let her little girl travel alone, Amy also disembarks the plane, only to discover that the next flight to Palm Springs departs after Christmas. Meanwhile, the rest of the family arrives in Palm Springs, but things aren’t any easier as Bob (Eric Allen Kramer) tries to care for Charlie (Mia Kaitlyn Talerico) under the watchful eye of Amy’s mother Petunia (Debra Cloris Monk), who strongly dislikes Bob; PJ (Jason Myles Dolley) learns the pros and cons of his grandparents’ pool after getting a sunburn; and Gabe (Bradley Steven Perry) quickly realizes the downfalls of teaching Grandpa Hank (Michael James Kagan) how to play his favorite video game after Grandpa becomes addicted to it.
Stranded and in desperation, Teddy and Amy find unconventional ways to get to Palm Springs before Christmas, while keeping in contact with Bob via cellphone. On their journey, Teddy finds out that Amy is pregnant again when they hitch hike with two strangers who turn out to be part of an alien abduction survivors network. When the two arrive in Las Vegas, they get into an argument, where Amy promptly blames Teddy for them getting them lost in the first place; they later make up. Hungry, they sing and perform Christmas carols to get money for food, as someone has stolen their luggage. Amy then wants to turn their arguments into a Broadway Musical, (The next Jersey Boys). Later, they find the girl named Jordan who had stolen their luggage and confront her. She apologizes for stealing it, breaking down in tears and explaining her situation. Since she is unable to afford a plane ticket, Teddy gives her the free plane ticket so she can get home for Christmas. This gesture helps Teddy and Amy bond from their previous arguments.
PJ, Bob, and Gabe travel to Las Vegas to get Amy and Teddy, but are mistakenly kidnapped on the way and participate in a ballet duel based on Gabe's video game so that they can return to their car. Gabe wins the duel by taking the "Stone of Mitrios", which she was already planning to do. In return, they get a free helicopter ride to save Teddy and Amy. Grandpa and Grandma then arrive with Charlie by car, and the entire family is finally reunited. Amy admits not only that they finally got the Christmas vacation they wanted, but also that this was the best Christmas they've ever had. She then reveals that she is having another baby, much to the joy of the family.
In the epilogue, on the way back to Denver from their Christmas trip, Gabe attempts to take the "Stone of Mitrios" on the plane ride back, but it is taken away by a flight attendant. Another flight attendant then announces the offering of a free plane ticket, which Teddy quickly accepts once again. Amy says to Bob, "Your turn", as in it is his turn to go along with Teddy in leaving the plane. Bob obediently goes after Teddy, jokingly reminding Amy that they will be back by New Year's. Amy smiles in response and says that she knows they won't. A short blooper roll follows the epilogue.
- Bridgit Mendler as Theodora (Teddy) Rebecca Duncan
- Leigh-Allyn Baker as Amy Liv Duncan
- Bradley Steven Perry as Gabriel (Gabe) B. Duncan
- Mia Talerico as Charlotte (Charlie) Shasta Duncan
- Eric Allan Kramer as Bob Jordan Duncan
- Jason Dolley as Patrick John Darth (PJ) Duncan
- Debra Monk as Petunia
- Michael Kagan as Hank
- Ernie Grunwald as Walter - Bike Shop Owner
- E.E. Bell as Lenny
- David Wells as Stan
- Sean Bott as Nerdy Player
- Pamela Dunlap as Sue
- Big Budah as Bus Driver
- Joey Nader as Daryl
- Lonzo Liggins as Airline Passenger
- Floyd Westover as Santa Claus
- Jeff Olsen as Sheriff
- Charan Prabhakar as Dead Player
- Nate Davie asAirline Passenger
- Logan Ward as Cowboys Friend
- Allan Groves as Defeated Player #2 (uncredited)
- Billy Holden as Cowboy Hat guy (uncredited)
- Jizelle Jad as Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
- Ryan Johnson as Shopper / Audience Member (uncredited)
- Cathleen Mason as Air plane passenger (uncredited)
- Karen Peterson as Restaurant Patron (uncredited)
- Megan Nicole Rees as Shopper / Audience Member (uncredited)
- Amy Savannah as Customer (uncredited)
- Brandon Whitney as Young Bus Passenger (uncredited)
The film was executive-produced by Sheri Singer along with three executive producers of the series, Dan Staley, Phil Baker and Drew Vaupen. The script was written by Geoff Rodkey and directed by Arlene Sanford. The film was shot in Salt Lake City and St. George, Utah from March 2011 to September 2011.
I'm Gonna Run to You
Mendler co-wrote and performed the song "I'm Gonna Run to You", which is featured in the movie. The song was released on iTunes on November 12, 2011. So far, it has peaked at number 15 on Radio Disney's Top 30 Countdown as of January 23, 2012.
It was watched by 6.9 million viewers, the premiere also delivered 3.3 million Kids 6-11, 2.4 million Teens and 1.4 million Adults 18-49. The movie became no. 1 live-action cable movie of 2011 in total viewers and the no. 1 live-action scripted telecast across all TV in Kids 6-11.
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