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:
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.
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!
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!