Should You Take the Kids Out of School for a Disney World Vacation? We Say…

Chef Mickey's

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate

Your kids will get to a certain age when you have to ask yourself, because you love Disney World, should we take the children out of school to go to Disney? For the record, the “we” in the catchy title that brought you here is really me, myself, and I. No other moms were polled in this article, and my opinion probably doesn’t speak for all of them, nor did I intend it to. So here are MY reasons why, yes, you should stash your child’s bookbag for a few days and pack their suitcase.

School work can be made up

I am a public high school teacher, so this may sound, gasp, like educational hypocrisy. Kids need to be in school. Kids learn important things in school. But as the mother of three pre-teens ranging from 4th to 8th grade, you only have a certain amount of time your children will live with you until they swiftly fly away from your nest. If your child hasn’t missed 16 school days due to illness this year, then a few days at Disney isn’t going to ensure your darling won’t get into college.

Space Mountain

Call the principal beforehand and explain you are taking a trip. You might want to leave out the joy of Space Mountain and focus on the educational slant that Epcot and Animal Kingdom legitimately offer. Chances are it will be excused. Make sure the school work gets completed before the trip or made up afterward. It seems to me that it would be less painful to get it done before you leave.

Am I suggesting you take your child to Disney during state testing? Certainly not.

Am I suggesting you take your child to Disney during exams? Certainly not.

Successful children will take time off from work as adults, and this will undoubtedly require some extra hours of make up work. They might as well learn now how to get things done when plans vary from the norm. Life is full of changes; kids need to know how to adapt to change and different situations because the ability to go with the flow is a life skill.

Off Season is less busy

The general unofficial rule of Disney vacationing is that if kids are in school, the parks are less busy. If you’ve ever been to Disney on December 4th and on December 26th, you know there is a huge difference between crowds levels. If you haven’t been during these times, you can probably imagine it. Any time of year most children are in school is referred to as “off-season” time at Disney. Of course there are exceptions. Lots of kids are in school during March and April, but spring breaks also fall within these months, so park crowds will vary.

For years, most seasoned Disney travelers regarded fall as an uncrowded time to visit WDW, because what parent in their right mind would take their kids out of school when it just started? But more do these days, and with events like the Magic Kingdom’s “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party,” this may not be the most uncrowded time to go afterall. BUT, it will still be less busy than when the all the students are out of school.

Another bounus of off-season vacations is that frequently, you can find hotel and resort specials as they attempt to get you into the theme parks.

Orlando has lots of educational places to visit

Need a little more vacation-schooling to justify the trip?

So what’s the worst that can happen if you take them out of school?

  1. Their grades may drop. This is something you will have to weigh against Splash mountain, I mean, educational learning opportunities at Epcot.
  2. Their teacher may be irritated. Bake a banana bread and send it with a note of thanks and hope for the best. I have pulled my kids out of school for vacations before, as well as taken time off from my teaching job for vacations. I would easily do it again. 8 more years, and there will be no more children at my house to check out of school. My time is running short. Sometimes you study hard, and sometimes you play hard.

What if the school refuses to excuse the absence and you plan to go anyway? See one and 2 above, encourage your child to continue to study hard, and hope for the best. Teachers work very hard every day; don’t make their job any harder by not getting the make up work completed.

Unless you live very close to Orlando, most of us are not going to Disney as often as we would like. We are certainly not pulling kids out of school left and right. So I am going to go against the common educational notion of striving for perfect attendance and say…Go! Have a great time. Take a lot of pictures, so when your house is silent and empty of all school-aged kids, you can remember the fun you had playing hooky. I dread this quiet already.

So let us know if you agree! Will you Disney Moms be taking your kids out of school for a vacation? I hope this gave some of you the little push you may have been needing to start some planning.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate

Come see us at Disney’s Cheapskate Princess on Facebook and Cheapskate Princess on Pinterest.

10 comments for “Should You Take the Kids Out of School for a Disney World Vacation? We Say…

  1. Megan R
    26 April, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I completely agree that it’s okay to take kids out of school. I am a school librarian and have taken my kids out of school twice in mid-December to go to WDW. We did this to take advantage of cooler weather, free dining plan, and fewer crowds. Both of my kids are very good students, so it wasn’t an issue with their teachers to simply make up the work they missed. And going in the off-season is SO worth the extra effort to take off from work and school- neither my kids nor myself have ever regretted it!

    • 26 April, 2012 at 10:45 am

      I was a bit worried about writing this, so it’s nice to have somebody agree! Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a blast on your next trip!

  2. Marian
    26 April, 2012 at 10:30 am

    We have taken our kids out for years…now one is in college so we have to go during spring break or the summer. It’s fine for the them to miss a few days here and there~family time and memories can’t be made up later in life!

    • 26 April, 2012 at 10:49 am

      So glad to have people agree- I was a bit nervous I’d get hate mail! I am so dreading when mine go off to college. Thanks for stopping by, and have a blast on your next trip.

  3. Nicole
    29 April, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I also work in a public high school in
    Special Ed, and I agree less crowds during off season time and a huge money saver!! Our trip is booked for September and we are taking 4 kids ranging from kindergarten to sophomore in high school out for a week. It’s early enough in the school year ( we start around labor day) it won’t effect them, they will all fill out the planned absence form and get work we have a Saturday before we go
    and a Sunday when we come back to complete work. The one they can’t get work for is PE but with all the walking they are going to do more activity than the kids at school!!!

    • 29 April, 2012 at 7:48 am

      Wow, September…I am envious. That really is supposed to be a fabulous month to visit. Hope you guys have a blast! And thanks for stopping by The Disney Moms. Amanda,

  4. Kari
    29 April, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Yes, I completely agree. My husband and I prefer going in January, thus the inevitability of pulling our daughter out of school would come to pass. This past Janaury was my daughter’s 9th trip to WDW and she only just turned 7. She has been traveling to WDW since her 1st birthday. I believe the life experience she gains on each trip far out ways any class time she misses. However, we do have the family understanding that the missed work needs to be made up. On our trips my daughter has gained traveling confidence navigating airport security like a businessman, learned about growing plants using alternate methods with a Behind the seeds tour, learned which fork to use and proper etiquette at the California Grille and experienced watching President Obama give a speech in the Magic Kingdom live while sitting in the Hall of Presidents to view the livefeed (she even waved to the Secret Service Agent). By pulling her out, she gains information and memories to last a lifetime. I would not trade that for a few hours of classtime.

  5. TheMatoe
    30 April, 2012 at 12:07 am

    We have taken our kids out a few times now. We go with their grandmother and great grandmothers and my father-in-law (who has not had a vacation since my husband was born *gasp*) will get to go this year. The memories my children have with the family outweigh anything they have missed at this point. Unfortunately, my elementary school will not approve the absence this year because they are changing their policy on excusing trips. IMHO, WDW is just as educational as any fieldtrip we have ever been to. Although we try to take them out when there isn’t much they’ll miss (the last few days of the year, just before holidays) and although I create a curriculum for them to do while on the road (because their teachers don’t usually send work for them to do) I get alot of gruff from people for taking the kids out of school. I respect parents who schedule around school but just because I don’t hold their same beliefs doesn’t mean that I don’t value education. Thank you so much for your article!

  6. Jennifer
    3 May, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    As a teacher myself I can say there is a lot more to education and growing a well rounded child than what a school can provide. When I look back over my childhood I don’t remember every week I was in school but I remember every Disney vacation we took and the wonderful memories made.

    • Olivia
      2 March, 2013 at 2:41 am

      This comment made me really happy 🙂 ^^^

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