Should Kids Miss School for a Disney Trip?

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Author Bio: Tami For more tips on Walt Disney World trips, or just general family life silliness and fun – you can find me at The Colorado Mountain Mom!

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Should Kids Miss School for a Disney Trip?

Thinking of taking a trip to Walt Disney World with the family? That’s a fantastic idea!  Allow me to outline a few of the reasons why my family has chosen to do so during the school year.

I realize that my take on this topic is one-sided, as I am not aware of the educator’s perspective.   But I am one of “those parents” who have taken Disney trips in January and/or February, resulting in my daughter’s absence from Elementary School.  We don’t take this decision lightly, but there are definite reasons why we do so.

Why do we take our Disney World trips in the middle of winter? There are three distinct advantages to visiting Mickey this time of year:

  • Price
  • Weather
  • Crowds

Price

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando groups the various weeks of the year into seasons, driven directly by the guest numbers, which each have their own price range.  Value Season is considered their least busy time of the year, and corresponding carries the lower price tag.

The price differences affect primarily the on property resort rates, but can affect other areas as well.  Many of the more popular themed dining experiences at Walt Disney World also have different, higher prices for the busier seasons.  Disney World also runs some great deals from time to time on their vacation packages, but these special offers will only be found during their lower seasons.

This has been the primary driving factor in our choosing winter as the time for our family trips to Disney World.  The bottom line is, the Value Season prices and specials make it attainable for us.  We would not have been able to afford to take those trips at a different time during the year.

Weather

We are from a dry part of the country.  If you are not used to humidity, you will likely not enjoy the typical summertime Florida weather – HOT and HUMID!  We did try September once, and were amazed at how much it affected our energy level and our enjoyment of the outdoor attractions.  Whew!

Suffice it to say, the Florida winters are just about perfect.  Temperatures are high 60s to low 70s, and you don’t have nearly as great of a possibility of rain.  If you live somewhere with a real winter, getting away for a warm break in the middle of it is a welcome break indeed!

Crowds

This logically goes hand in hand with the Disney World defined seasons.  The Value Season is their least crowded time of the year.  Translation:  you will stand in fewer lines, for much shorter periods of time.   There is so much to do and see.  This literally frees you up to do and see much, much more!

Do the math:  if you have to wait in line for 1 hour just to ride Space Mountain … how many attractions will you get to fit into your day? And personally, I like a little breathing room in such a venue.  I know it’s the Happiest Place on Earth, but rubbing hot, sweaty shoulders with strangers all day long can diminish the magical joy factor for me!

When it is such a big investment to take your family to such a place … going at a time when you will be able to have a higher quality experience and enjoy the maximum number of opportunities, is well worth traveling during the season of lower crowds.

Case by Case Basis

As a child, we were able to make two pilgrimages to Orlando.  Both of these were during the summertime.  At the time I was not privy to vacation decisions or planning details, but as an adult I have since asked my mother why they did not consider traveling during the off season for these trips?

She reminded me that my younger brother would have never wanted to miss that much school.  Yes, it’s true:  there are some kids who actually do not want to miss school!  In his case, it was his first year of middle school.  He was a very good, but very anxious, student.  By the end of the year, his resulting ulcers had been diagnosed.  But in the meantime throughout that year – he missed plenty of school from being sick.  Which resulted in even more anxiety!  Poor kid.

My point being, every child’s situation is obviously different. Traveling to Disney World during the summer time, or another school break, may work much better for your child.

Make Up Homework

My daughter is currently in the first grade.  This past Fall we took a trip to Disney World. Rather than specific make-up homework, her teacher just asked her to keep a daily journal during the trip. I thought this was a fantastic idea!  It kept her in the zone scholastically, was a nice way for her to reflect on her experiences for the day, and her 6 year old rendition of our vacation will be a precious memento for years to come.

In one of our layover airports on the return trip home, I witnessed two slightly older children, also returning from a Disney trip.  It didn’t take long to detect that they were doing the same thing – working on their journal assignment, in lieu of missing classes.

It’s Your Decision

We all make hard parenting choices each and every day.  We want the best education for our kids.  Our families mean a lot to us, and we strive to enjoy grand experiences together whenever we can.  A trip to Disney World can be a momentous occasion in the lifetime of a child.

So for all you teachers out there – please know that as parents, we greatly appreciate when you are supportive of our decision to take our kids on a Disney Trip during the school year.   Please know we have great respect for how hard you work to educate our kids, and that this choice is not meant to imply otherwise.

Thank you for all that you do!

 

 

4 Responses to Should Kids Miss School for a Disney Trip?

  1. Todd Bloch says:

    Tami-

    Here is an educators perspective:

    1. Not all parents will be as proactive as you. I have some that will make learning a priority on a trip but most will let the learning slide and just have fun. I have found that parents are more concerned about the “deal” that they take these trips the week before or after a vacation just because of the price.

    2. When planning a trip like this be sure to check with the school about testing periods so you are not scheduling a trip during testing windows. Especially in this time when test scores are becoming part of teacher evaluations.

    3. Would you want an educator taking a vacation at this time for the same reasons? (Of course not) Teachers have families and have to plan around the school year. Parents should think the same way. I respect families that want to take these vacations, and school is not the end all be all of education, learning happens everywhere. Schools just help focus it.

    • markmolloy says:

      Todd,

      Thanks so much for the feedback. It is great to hear an educators point of view. I have not made it to Disney but I know the prices are high during the Massachusetts school vacations of February and April!

      Thanks again!

  2. bader929 says:

    I can give feedback from both perspectives, as the parent and as the educator. When my oldest child was much younger and I worked in a profession outside of education, my family took a Disney trip during the school year and my son missed several days of school. But, I was a parent who took school very seriously. His teacher gave my son a packet of work to do, and we made sure he did a little bit each morning at breakfast before we set out for fun each day.

    Now, having worked in education for over a decade (both high school and middle school), I have see countless families take vacations during the school year (Disney, cruises and other warm weather locales). Some families approach me ahead of time to find out what their child will miss while away so they can “do” the work while on vacation. The overwhelming majority of students do NOT complete any work that I assign while on vacation. If they miss a test or quiz, or if a test or quiz is scheduled for when they return, most feel entitled to be exempt from the exam because they were “on vacation.”

    Sadly, many families do not even let me know that they are going away on vacation. All I know is that a student is absent for several days and when I inquire, classmates tell me that the student is away at Disney, on a cruise or overseas somewhere. Thankfully, the school district where I currently teach has a policy where students are not entitled to make up work missed while on vacation and the absences are marked as “non excused.” If a student approaches me for work during non-school vacation, I do not “have” to provide it. However, I am kind. Just last week a student said she would away at Disney and asked what she would miss. I made sure to spend my own extra time and uploaded all work for this student to my school based website so she could follow what we were doing and informed her we would be having a vocabulary quiz by the time she returned, so that she should be ready and at the very least study on the plane. Did she check my website? Did she study for the quiz. Of course not! In fact, she was quite surprised that we were having a quiz and asked for an extra day to study because she was on vacation. I didn’t grant the extra time.

  3. Shannon C says:

    So glad that we homeschool. We always travel during the traditional school year and Disney is much better in the off season. I feel that my kids are learning all the time while on vacations and sometimes kids just need to be kids and make those family memories.