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Should You Take Your Kids Out of School for a Disney Vacation?

by Mommy Frog on October 24, 2013

OK, we know this is a controversial topic. There are some parents who wouldn't dream of having their kids miss school for anything in the world, including the Happiest Place on Earth. And we respect that. For others, a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort is a magical experience ... and maybe, just maybe ... the idea of visiting when crowds are lower is worth taking the kids out of school.

Pumpkin Drum Major

While it's great to visit Disney World any time you can, we think fall and winter are particularly great times to visit Walt Disney World because there are some amazing special events, and experiencing the parks all dressed up for the holidays is truly magical.

Parents who plan a vacation during the school year often save more money on airfare and hotels because they are traveling during off-peak times, and of course, they have much more flexibility in choosing when to go, so they can pick a less-crowded time to visit the theme parks or go for a specific special event, such as Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

We're not here to judge, but we do want to offer some food for thought as you consider taking the kids out of school. And, if you have taken the kids out of school for a Disney World vacation, please share with us your thoughts about it in comments below.

Now, Leap and I have taken Tad out of school for occasional trips (Lily is so little that it's less of a disruption to her schedule), but I must confess, even he and I are a little divided on this topic. Leap is more concerned with grades and any disruption to Tad's learning process, and even though I am usually the stern task-master at home, I feel like the exposure Tad has to other cultures and new experiences at the parks (especially Epcot, right?) means that he is not forgoing all learning just because he is going on vacation.

China Epcot

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about whether a Disney World vacation during the school year is a good idea.

Does your school allow it? 

Obviously, this is the most important question. Find out what your school or school district's policy is on absences -- whether excused or unexcused -- before you even think about planning that trip to Magic Kingdom.

What grade is your child in?

Elementary-age children generally have less homework and less testing than older children, and it is often less disruptive for them to take off than it is for older children, who carry heavier course loads, and have more teachers, assignments and tests to square away. I would also argue that it might be more worth it if you have younger children simply because they really believe in the magical place called Disney World. For them, Cinderella, Snow White and Mickey Mouse are as real as you and me.

Snow White and Prince Charming

How well is your child performing in school? 

If you're child is struggling with grades, it is probably not the time to take him or her out of school. The good news is that Disney World isn't going anywhere :)

How well does your child do with change in routine?

A trip to Disney World during the school year will be disruptive no matter how much planning you do. While you can minimize impact by planning ahead, scheduling for shorter trips and over weekends, if you have a child who really needs an established routine to do well, then it's probably best not to schedule during the school year.

Does your child want to miss school?

Sometimes there are special events going on at school or extracurricular activities that children don't want to miss even for a Disney World vacation. Be sensitive to any concerns your child has about missing school, because, trust me, if he or she would rather stay home than go to Disney World, it's a BIG DEAL.

Is your child open to having more work to make up?

Your child isn't just missing homework. They are missing class time and all of the lessons that go along with it. Expect your child's teacher to give extra assignments to cover work that was missed in class as well as homework. Are YOU up for more work? Because you will likely be the one teaching these assignments.

Downtown Disney art

For some parents and kids, a trip to Disney World will offer relatively minimal impact on the school year, but the memories will last a lifetime. For those of you who have decided to take a Disney World vacation during the school year, we'll be bringing you some tips to help make it a smooth and enjoyable process.

Would you take your child out of school for a Disney World vacation? Share any points you think parents should consider. 

Related: The Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

Until next time ... hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Jalan Oct 24, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

I think taking your kids out of school to go to Disney is irresponsible. It teaches them all of the wrong things. It teaches them to act selfishly in the interest of what is more convenient, cheaper, easier and more favorable to their own needs. It teaches them these misguided things at the expense of teaching them that you have obligations in life that mean you don't always get what you want, what is most convenient for you and what you'd like to do at all times. Coddling parents are part of the problem of the younger generation thinking they should have everything they want, when they want it.

Mary Oct 24, 2013 at 6:08 p.m.

As a teacher, I very much respect your recognition of the importance of education. I do think, however, that its also important to teach our children to live and enjoy life. There are too many adults in this world who never take a vacation and are constantly "plugged in." They often do this at the expense of the family. While I certainly would not recommend making a habit of pulling the kids out for vacation, the occassional trip can with the family can be beneficial to a child's development as well, especially for younger ones. Its important to teach children a sense of balance.

Kim Jul 12, 2015 at 3:52 p.m.

Thank you

Cherrie Mooney Aug 9, 2015 at 8:04 p.m.

We are coming Nov. 1st -8th. My twin granddaughters r going into Kindergarten! Our family has been plagued w deaths over the last 2 years. We need to do this to open a new memory chapter for all of us! Both son and daughter in-law are High School teachers n both got the blessings of their principals! Its Teachers Convention in Jersey so they r only missing 2 days! Can't wait to go n start a new chapter for us!

Jen Nov 3, 2015 at 5:14 p.m.

Thanks! I completely agree! As a child we rarely did any vacations outside of camping in TX. So personally a week out school to have an experience (special Disney events) is irreplaceable. Glad to hear it from a teacher.

Rob Oct 25, 2013 at 8:53 p.m.

My youngest son can't take the summer heat in Philly, let alone Florida. Both of my boys are as polite and well behaved as any child I have ever met around their age. They excel in every class they take, they enroll in sports, never miss class, and they are always the first to volunteer when something needs to be done. We have done quite a few trips and have made so many memories in the short time they have been on this earth and every trip to Disney was during the school year. We take extra work from the school with us and its usually done before the plane touches down at MCO.

I wouldn't change a thing.

I don't just punish if my boys do something wrong. I also reward when they do right. Nice boys do nice things. It's not hurting their grades and their teachers are fully supportive. I can see in some cases where a week from school is detrimental to the child, but that's not always the case. A Disney trip doesn't make a good parent, but a good parent knows when to make a Disney trip according to their child.

Heather Dec 24, 2014 at 3:19 a.m.

My parents took me out of elementary school for a week for a Disney vacation (along with my brother and sister-also in elementary) and somehow we all managed to obtain our B.A.s, my sister holds her M.A. I'm working on my M.A. while working full time and my brother has a very successful career. Let your kids live.

Some people!

deborah Apr 14, 2015 at 7:50 p.m.

We taught our children at home until this past year when our oldest entred high school. i was concered that our travel would be an issue with the school. However we were pleased to find that our school views travel in the same way our family does, not as missed education but rather as part of the childs life education. Even a trip to Disney which some might consider frivolous is travel and in the broad scope expands a childs knowleged of the world and makes them more capable. They may take this view becuase our town is so isolated, but i consider it a very healthy view.

FamilyFirst Jun 26, 2015 at 5:11 p.m.

#1 "Irresponsible"? #2 "Teaches them the wrong things, to act selfishly"? #3 "Teaches them misguided things at the expense of obligations"? Truly you are the misguided....#1 It is not irresponsible to teach my children to handle things in the proper manner, it in fact teaches them responsibility and the right way to do things such as filling out the appropriate school forms, requesting permission to miss school, learning accountability to complete their missed school work on their own while we are gone, and that it can't last forever, that yes you have to go back and work hard, that's how you earn fun. #2 These trips have included opportunities to teach my children selflessness, not selfishness. Ex) On our last trip, families were split up on the airplane ride and 2 little boys were sitting separate from their mother and visibly distressed. My teenage son sat with them, talked with them, let them play games on his phone, and kept their minds off stress the entire ride! Doesn't get much more selfless than that! #3 Obligations not only include things such as school, but FAMILY as well! My children did not ask to be born, and by ME making that choice, I owe them love, encouragement, learning opportunities, yes an education, AND the knowledge that life is short and their childhood even shorter...they are fulfilling their obligation by doing good in school, caring for others, and making family a priority just once or twice a year. I did not choose to have children to be robots and be exactly what I think they should be, I had children to love them and help them become not only productive members of society, but tolerant and caring as well, and what it means to work hard AND play hard...that's the reward for hard work. I am a stickler for grades and responsibilities, but school does not come before being a family, and being a family is so MUCH MORE than school, grades, and sports schedules. I have far better relationships with my children who maintain jobs and good grades than friends I have that view the world as you do, Jalan. And if "coddling" is what I am doing by choosing to spend uninterrupted time with my children during whatever time of year I see fit, then so be it. If "Coddling" is what I am doing when I show them that THEY are worth spending time with, missing work, and missing school...permissibly, then so be it! High strung Type A helicopter parents are far more damaging to their child's minds; my kids have learned life lessons on our trips that they never would have learned sitting at a desk!

Cynthia Aug 31, 2015 at 11:47 p.m.

I take my child every couple of years to go on vacation. It is only time I take off so I can afford a decent vacation.

Jennifer's Sep 27, 2015 at 2:50 p.m.

Well, I am just ending our trip to Disney during the school year and I am very strict and scheduled mother. But that being said my children had to work hard and get good grades in order for us to go. Also spending my hard earned (very hard earned as I work in a mill and I am also a college student in industrial engineering), I felt that we should enjoy more of the experience with less crowds versus have a miserable time with longer waits and crowded areas. As I am a single mother of five children it too was a safer time to go and enjoy Disney so having a little more peace of mind is worth it. My children are well behaved and mannered and if the situation is explained and they are raised correctly to grow up and be a positive contributor to society then it should not have a negative impact on the child/children.

Judy Oct 24, 2013 at 1:24 p.m.

I've taken my kids (11 and 8) out of school twice now for a Disney vacation and plan to do it once more in 2 years when they are in grades 5 and 8. I think you cover the main points that should be considered. The only thing I didn't think about when planning was school activities so my son was disappointed about missing his school soccer tournament - we didn't know the date of the tournament when we booked our trip and when we found out it was too late to change. When we go again I will definitely plan around school events that the kids don't want to miss.

Jim O Oct 24, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.

We have. My son was 12 when we started. And my he still managed to graduate from HS with a Regents diploma. We did when my daughter was in elementary school, but now that she's in jr high and going into high school next year, we don't pull her out.

Erin M Oct 24, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.

We took our 3 kids out of school at the end of September to go to Disney and it was definently worth it! Every line was a 20 minute or less wait. To me that was worth it. We got to do everything we wanted and more because we didn't have to spend much time in the lines. We also went to Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween party and the kids loved it. The weather was still hot but it was tolerable. I would recommend taking your kids out of school to go to Disney because you pay so much money to go, you want to make sure to have the best experience ever and get your money's worth.

Valery Oct 24, 2013 at 1:47 p.m.

Although our view is already skewed towards life- and world-learning because our three kids do not attend traditional school, so my emphatic response is YES! So worth it. Most kids do not get to spend very much uninterrupted time with family these days. School, sports, even church services are often separated by age. Siblings need to connect, and kids need to connect with parents. Disney is an amazing place to do this. Left to their own devices, we have found our kids to be amazingly inquisitive and engaged at Disney and they love the many learning opportunities in the parks. We return refreshed and more enthusiastically attack our day-to-day routine and schoolwork. Mental health is VERY important!!

Karen Oct 24, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.

I had taken both my children out of school during the elementary years to take advantage of the low cost and low crowds during the off season at Disney. I notified the school in advance which gave their teachers time to prepare a packet of work they could do on their way there or even at night while on vacation. We drove from Mass to Florida so they had lots of time to get their work done. We would normally plan the trip to overlap with a school vacation week. We could go to the parks the week before the school vacation week (winter breaks in the north are usually the third week in February) and spend the remaining last few days doing non-park things. My kids could handle it then, but as soon as my oldest entered 5th grade the strategy changed. The most we would take them out for would be 2 days prior to give us a jump on the travel.

Jennifer Oct 24, 2013 at 1:59 p.m.

We have only been to the parks in Florida once- this past February. We decided to go during school because I didn't want to deal with the heat and extremely busy parks in the summer. And we chose this past year because of the school grades my kids were in- 8th, 6th, and 3rd. Everyone was still in the same school building and there was no high school for my oldest to deal with as there is this year! I arranged it ahead of time with the school to check on dates that might be problematic such as standardized testing and other events. We went from the middle of one week to the middle of the next week and saved so much on plane tickets that we were able to spend it on an extra night at the Disney hotel. Luckily, my husbands vacation days are flexible and he was not required to take a weeks vacation between Sunday to Saturday. Once our trip was booked, and I was talking to my friends about what to expect, etc, I discovered many families that took their kids out of school for a week or so for a Disney trip or a beach trip or such. This year, my youngest who is now in 4th grade told me last week (mid-October) that for the first day this school year, every child was present at school for the whole day. There had been at least one family who pulled their child out on vacation every week until mid-October! I don't feel at all that it's problematic for kids to miss school for vacation. However, you did bring up a good point... watch out for those after school activities that they will miss... my son was fairly upset at missing out on basketball practice and a game- even though the season lasts for months!

Amanda Oct 24, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Disney is a very educational place. Many of the rides and shows are very entertaining and still educational. What better way to learn about the world and history? I went to Disney when I was 13 and was taken out of school to go. My teachers were able to give me assignments so I could keep up with school work. I would look at a Disney trip as a field trip instead of vacation for kids.

Carol Oct 24, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

I have never been to Disney when the schools are out. I always go off season. We now have a problem with the jr high not allowing kids to miss a week of schoo unless medically necessary. I'm not sure what we are going to do. May try to see the less crouded of the summer. Or we my just do a disney cruise. I hate crouded.

CinColo Sep 15, 2015 at 4:28 p.m.

Have you checked their schedule to go when they may already have a couple days off? I took my kids Oct. 2014 when they were already getting 2 days off the week. We left on a Tues. after school and returned on Tues. They had that Mon/Tues off of school, so they really missed only 3 days of school.

CinColo Sep 15, 2015 at 4:31 p.m.

Really, in the whole scheme of things, is your kid's life going to be terribly affected if they miss a few days to a week of school? That's how I look at the big picture. No, it won't, but they will have some wonderful memories! Plus, if you go when it's less crowded and hot, you can see more and everyone is more comfortable.

Elizabeth Oct 24, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.

I have taken my kids out for a trip & would do it again. We did it when my son was struggling in school, but we worked with him the whole week and he made it through. I would love to do it again, especially now that he is doing so much better. I'd love to go in the off season, especially the fall. I love fall at Disney. We need to spend more time as families! Kids are too "scheduled" these days. Nothing wrong with a little fun!

Liane Oct 24, 2013 at 3 p.m.

I have taken my kids out twice, but now that my son is in high school it's harder. There is a limit on how many classes they can miss in a term. I think it's unfair that kids who go on school trips to Europe, or California are allowed and they don't count as missed classes, but time for a family vacation does.

Judi Oct 24, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.

This question is a no-brainer for our family. Absolutely YES! My girls are now 19yo and 21yo, and have been to WDW 100+ times (visits never being less than 3 nights) in 17 years. Most of these visits were made when they were in lower and middle school. TIME WITH FAMILY is a priority in our lives. By the way, my oldest is an HONOR STUDENT at the University of Florida, with a 4.0 GPA and is currently studying abroad in Tokyo. My youngest has a 3.6 GPA at FSU and they are both very RESPONSIBLE young women who still can't wait for me to announce a future trip to Disney World...ABSOLUTELY YES!!

Dave Oct 24, 2013 at 3:08 p.m.

I haven't had to take my kids out of school for a trip (yet), but I would in a heartbeat. Life is about LIVING, and there are so many things my kids can learn outside of the classroom. About 30 years ago, my family went to So. California during the school year for five weeks for my dad's work, and we went to Sea World, Disneyland and Universal Studios more times than I can count. Of course we were given extra work to make sure we "kept up" with the class. When we got back, we were two weeks AHEAD of the class and had memories that have lasted a lifetime.

Kimberly P. Oct 24, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.

We're taking them out in early November to go. We included election day and Veteran's Day as part of our trip so the kids miss less days. Both teachers were happy that they were going. Their response was "they're only young once!" Both need to keep a journal while we're there for homework but they end up being great souvenirs. We all take time off of work for vacation and figure out how to make make-up work, I think its a great early lesson for kids about how to balance work and play.

Winter Oct 24, 2013 at 5:09 p.m.

I am an adult now, but even when I was a kid, i was taken out of school for a fall disney trip (i can still remember it was the year Nightmare Before Christmas came out!). I was never a good student in school, but even with missing school between illness, hating school, and disney, i still managed to get a professional job and i hold multiple degrees and certifications in my field. I even did TWO disney internternships in which i received no credit. Talk about putting disney before my education!

Each family is different and each child is different. I for one, think that taking a child out of school for a few days will not ruin their lives. While a disney trip does not have to be a classroom lesson, they can still learn things (like reading a park map, managing their time getting on rides, placing food orders, memorization of disney trivia) that lead to a well rounded person. Encouraging a shy child to order their own meal at a disney restaurant may be just the ticket for them to gain confidence in other aspects of their life. Encouraging a child to take charge and manage their ride times and meal times (of course give help as needed) can give the child a sense of independence and they can learn real life time management skills while still having fun.

Sometimes, breaking up the normal routine can be good because it can help a child to think more on their feet, be ready for the unexpected (and to be OK with the unexpected).

I also think that many families do not get to spend much time with each other. Most dual parent households have both parents working now adays. Children are either in day care or school. Even during the summer the children still go to summer camps while their parents work. A week at disney can be a great bonding time for the entire family.

Julie Oct 24, 2013 at 5:16 p.m.

Yes, take them out of school - it CAN be an educational experience! We live in the UK and it can be VERY expensive to fly to WDW during the school holidays, ridiculously so. I took my daughter out of school twice to go to WDW, first when she was in reception age 4 (that's pre grade 1) and once age 7 when she was in year 3 (US grade 2 I believe). During our trip she did Maths - converting £'s to $'s,time zones etc, we did Art (paintings, buildings around World Showcase), History (talking about events in American Adventure etc), Geography (America and where Florida and specifically Orlando is in relation to our home town) and she wrote a report about the trip (daily diary) to give to her teacher (English). WDW can be a fantastic learning experience if you think about it and plan accordingly. I still think she learned more in her 2 weeks at WDW than she would have done in the classroom - and guess which she remembered! I wouldn't take her out of school during exams, or if it was an important school year like GCSE year (Year 11), but if your kids are young, then why not. Plus its important to spend time as a family, and lets face it - life is for living, you never know what is around the corner.

Denise Oct 24, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

We've taken our son out of school every year until 8th grade. He is an honor student and does his work so we knew he wouldn't fall behind. If there had ever been any doubt about his school work we would not have done it. Now that he's in high school he has told us he does not want to miss school so now we go on shorter trips that revolve around teacher professional development, when he has off school. To us there is nothing more important than family time and we never hesitated to take him out of school.

Matt G Oct 24, 2013 at 6:04 p.m.

It depends on the age of the kids and how well they do in school. I took two of my kids out a few year ago when they were in the 4th grade and K5 (which isn't even mandatory where I live). Now my kids are in grades K5, 2nd, 5th and 7th. My older one will probably have the roughest time with homework when we go at the end of January, but elementary school age children don't have as much new material being taught on a regular basis. Also, when the schools start actually teaching the kids the 180 days that are required by law, I will make sure my kids will be there to learn. There are too much "party days" "video days" "field days" "pizza party and watch movies days" to count along with all of the standardized testing that goes on. Schools need to stop focusing so much on attendance and what they are actually learning or not learning.

Jess Oct 24, 2013 at 9:17 p.m.

We have taken our daughters out of school for Disney trips and will be doing it in February for another. Our girls are currently in3rd and 4th grade and are A/B students. We talk with their teachers first and plan for special "projects" to help keep their minds learning, like reports about their trip or something then they have to tell the class about it which helps with public speaking! We try and get some work early to take with us for the drive/trip. So there isn't so much to do when we get home. We have only done a trip to Disneyland so far and find exciting things like scavenger hunts at the park ( I grew up in ca so I know the land!) have the kids budget our trip money, ect. That way there is still some sort of learning going on. This year it's a special trip because their big sister is a dancer in the parade and the Aladdin is it worth it.....yes the memories we are making and the learning experiences that get while there and traveling, are priceless! My kids are now 8 and 10. They know how to budget their money ( they already have over two hundred dollars each from chores alone that they have saved to buy their own gifts and toys when we go again( btw allowance is $10 a week if their chores are done....correctly)). I think it all depends on the child and the parents, if you make a trip both fun and educational. Then it's a win win for everyone!

Vern Woodruff Oct 25, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.

My family wanted to visit during a less busy time of year, so we choose the week after Thanksgiving. This week seems to be considered about the best week to visit due to the combination of smaller crowds and all of the festive Christmas decorations and activities. Plus, the kids also had the day off before Thanksgiving to get a head start on their school work, and we wanted to take our children while they were younger and before they became involved in school activities that would preclude them from being able to go during the school year. Our children of course had to miss school for the week, and I remembered reading debates about whether or not to take children during the school year. There were some teachers and others that said just how bad of an idea they thought it was to miss school just for a Disney trip. However, I wondered if these same people complain when school bands or choirs miss school to visit Disney. Do they campaign against such trips and advise the school board to deny such requests? While we were there, a number of high school choirs were participating in the Candle Light Processional. Also, our local high school's band takes a trip to Disney every 3-4 years. If schools do not see a problem with letting the band or choir go on a school authorized trip to Disney, why should it be such an issue for kids from an individual family to do so? I would argue having a large group of kids missing would be more disruptive to classroom instruction because of the number of students (as well as teacher chaperones) involved.

JessD Oct 25, 2013 at 6:02 p.m.

We take our children out of school for vacation every year. One of our children has very intense special needs and we go when it is most comfortable for her and she is able to truly enjoy our vacation. They usually miss 6 days of school and I let the school know, but I also tell them it is non negotiable. Last school year my kids did not miss a single day of school outside of vacation and this year one of them has missed one day due to illness and the other has missed none. We'll be going in January and again they will miss 6 days of school. Education is very important to us, but our goal is a well rounded education and not simply teaching to pass a standardized test. Children can learn things outside of four walls and I hope ours learn that family is a priority.

A_teacher Nov 13, 2013 at 4:44 a.m.

Great! You all have fun. Mean while, your child's teacher is working extra time to plan and prepare lessons sooner so you can have a shorter wait time. I hope you enjoy your memories while your child's teacher is feverishly trying to administer assessments which are year round now and catch your child up on missed concepts. I am delighted that you saved a few bucks while the teacher's family loses his/her family time so missed work can be graded.

This is not just about you! Anyone ever stop to think how much more work you create for a teacher with this decision? Now multiply that by x number of students on vacations during the school year. Think about that please.

High School Teacher Jan 6, 2014 at 1:20 a.m.

Thank you, yes! I've had several students have planned absences and it's a lot of work for me. I've wasted entire prep periods figuring out work to give to students who are going away (and I only get two hours of prep each week). And God bless all of you parents who give advance notice, because I've only once had more than two days notice. And its not just about your child having enough time to get the assignments done. I often give out busy work to practice basic skills because your child is missing valuable instrucional time. I'm not going to give students assignments that they will do incorrectly because they missed the instruction. Then, when your child return to school, I take time out of my lunch, prep, and study hall periods to teach them the material they missed.

mothet Jan 16, 2015 at 2:04 a.m.

I thank all teachets for what they do for our children, BUT no one will ever teach my child more in life then a parent, and if i feel that taking my child out of school and living life, trying new things, and spending time with family while they are still young enough to want to spend time, then im sorry for the trouble it may cause you, but it is so worth it to me and my children. And we dont only take our kids out during school to be cheap and save a buck, sometimes thats the only time we can get away.

Another teacher Feb 21, 2015 at 7:28 p.m.

As teachers we agree to teach because of our love and calling to educate children. If at times we need to put in extra effort, so be it. I'm not going to claim this is a bridge too far if families judge this is important-- who knows what else is going on. Maybe health issues, family stress and this is needed for the emotional health of the family. Teaching is always about going the extra-mile for the children we educate. That's why we decided to be teachers!

SusanMomof5 Sep 18, 2015 at 5:35 p.m.

To Another Teacher:

“As teachers we agree to teach because of our love and calling to educate children. If at times we need to put in extra effort, so be it...Teaching is always about going the extra-mile for the children we educate. That's why we decided to be teachers! “

May God bless you and allow those lucky children you are still to teach be a testament to your love of teaching and children. I am a parent educator, and have 4 children in different grades from pre-k to 12th grade, and a college student. We continue school work through the summer in order to travel when prices are lower. We are lucky in this way. And if there were more teachers with your attitude, other families could, and should, take advantage of the weather, seasons, and lower expense. I agree that the most advance notice should be given - no one usually books a trip with just two days notice. Childhood takes up but 1/5th of our life, and in that time we as parents should try to have fun, memorable outings with our children that will last their lifetime. We will one day be gone, but the things will instill in our children (both good and bad) will live on for them to either learn by or grow into the adults and parents they will become.

Disney is one of our favorite trips and we will be there for 14 days in October. It is our "Fall Break" in lieu of Spring Break. Also because we school during summer, we have been able to go to Europe very economically during May. My kids have been to Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Blarney Castle, NewGrange, Neuschwanstein, the Eagle's Nest, Prague, etc. all because we can do it off season. And next year, Rome here we come! Can you tell me that they are not learning lessons because they are not in school for Xdays on Xdays? This is REAL history, and Disney is part of that also. My kids do school work for MORE than the required days, it is just not always M-F, 8-3:30. I only wish it were possible for more families to have these opportunities.

I love to hear of your passion for teaching, and I would love to think that most teachers are like you. Everyone remembers the teachers, like you, that they "loved" and NO ONE can say they did not come across " of THOSE..." that they will always remember with fear and/or loathing. Bless the children of folks like Jalan - bitterness does not a soul good.

Go ahead, take your kids out of school. But be sure to give your teachers plenty of notice, and be sure to remember them when you come back. I bet a small "Thank you" would go a long way in acknowledging their effort for your child’s and family’s benefit. What do you say, ANOTHER TEACHER? And to you I give a “Cheers!”

Also_A_Teacher Mar 16, 2015 at 6:29 p.m.

I have had kids pulled out for vacation with family. The only time this bothers me is when the kid is habitually absent or late anyway, or when he is already behind on work. If the kid seems a decent student and the parents say they will do the work to keep him/her up to date, I have no problem giving out the worksheets we intend to work on for the next few weeks and assigning the textbook pages that correspond with the lecture. I have even emailed my lectures to the parents for the kids to take notes from. I don't see why it is a problem for kids to be pulled out if they are going to do the work anyway, and probably in less time than I could teach it in my overcrowded classroom. And yes, I have many students. Over 150 since I teach middle school. Not many of them do this, and the ones who do typically have responsible parents and are responsible themselves.

Precious Nov 14, 2013 at 10:20 p.m.

My husband is active duty military. He has been gone HALF of my sons life because of things that have to do with his life in the military. So guess what.. when he is here to enjoy a vacation with his family we will take it. My son is 4 and in Pre K. My daughter is 2. IN addition my husband is a Drill SGT. SO we don't have much time together. Family needs to be a priority to people.. if you are a good parent, your child's education is also a priority. You will make sure that all work is done and done ahead of time. Spend time together when you can. Sometimes it is not the best time, but it is time none the less.

Tricia Dec 6, 2013 at 11:45 p.m.

When my kids were younger, we took them out of school to go to Disney during the off-season. We used the money that we saved to do a "Behind the Scenes Tour" of Sea World, which proved to be incredibly educational. In addition to keeping journals requested by their teachers, they also brought their books and kept up on their homework. Once in high school, however, neither of them wanted to miss a single day of school. So the Disney vacations went on hold for several years, but guess what? Last year, they both wanted to go once again, so they took time away from their COLLEGE courses and we all had a blast. And they are both straight A students, and remained so, despite taking a little break to have fun with their family.

To the teacher who complained about having to do advance lesson plans, I say this. You are supposed to do them anyway. If teaching those concepts is so important, those lesson plans should be done at least a few weeks in advance. Good teachers don't wait until the last minute and fly by the seat of their pants.

I home schooled my youngest for two years due to illness, and here is another little bit of news. The state told me that I had to teach three hours of school daily. When I expressed surprise that the days were so short, I had a school official tell me, "Take your average six hour school day. Now subtract lunch, a minimum of two recesses, "passing" time, assemblies, and all other times spent on non-educational endeavors. Now think about how long it takes to teach a concept to twenty children, including the ones who are working below grade level, but have been mainstreamed into your child's class anyway. A concept that takes 40 mins to teach in the classroom can be learned at home in 10." We did six hour school days anyway, and my child ROCKED the standardized test scores not only for those two years, but for several years thereafter. The point is, if your teacher is willing to give you a short list of what will be covered in your child's absence, you can totally teach that in the evenings, or on the trip to and from, and your child will miss NOTHING. More importantly, you will all have memories to last a lifetime.

T.R. Sep 1, 2014 at 7:18 p.m.

I just finished looking at my neighbor's Facebook pics of their trip to Disney this week during school. I guess I am in the minority here. I am having trouble seeing how a vacation to an amusement park can be an excused absence at school. If it were the Smithsonian or something similar, I could see missing a day or two. But an entire week at an amusement park? Because that is what Disney is.

I can remember people taking their kids out of school to go to Disney when I was a kid but it was rare (the expense) and the family never broadcast it to everyone because it was an unexcused absence that could get a kid suspended. I personally cannot justify to my son that missing school to ride roller coasters is okay. I realize this is not a popular opinion here but I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. Just provide a differing view.

Nancy Hamilton Jan 15, 2015 at 9:43 p.m.

...and this again is where I love the flexibility I have by home-schooling my daughter. We are taking two weeks at the end of Feb and into March to go to Florida and 6 of those days will be at Disney World. I don't see this as "missing school" but rather augmenting it. We will be traveling to another country, and learning about a different currency. There is another eco-system for us to explore as well. There are different animals and plants for us to learn about too (we just finished a study on flamingos, and will be following up on that when we go to Florida). Roller-coasters can be used as a real-life application of math and physics. Quite frankly, life is learning and not all learning happens in a class-room. There are so many things to do and study and learn. Perspective and how one approaches things can make it a learning experience, or not.

Jacqui S Feb 22, 2015 at 4:04 a.m.

Wow, there is a lot of emotion behind those people who don't think it is a good idea to pull your kids out of school.

We were contemplating taking our son out for a week, so I talked about our plans with the school administrators. They really weren't too concerned about it. They gave me some dates to keep in mind (such as end of semester testing and such) and to be sure to give the teacher good advance notice so that homework or instruction that was going on that week could be done in advance. My sister in law, who is also a teacher and deals with kids being pulled out of school for all sorts of reasons backed up this logic. Her biggest issue was when she received short or even no notice of kids being out for a week. Otherwise, she said it's not that big a deal. The kids get their homework early and are expected to return it complete when they come back.

BK Mar 8, 2015 at 1:11 p.m.

We are planning our first Disney World trip this year & have now run into some issues with my daughter's school. We were hoping to go the last week of October which would take her out (she is 16/our son is 21) from Friday to Thursday; however, because it's a family vacation, it is considered unexcused & she won't be allowed to make up her schoolwork. She will be an 11th grader & I truly don't want to have a negative impact on her GPA with that many zeros. We can't go during the summer b/c of travel softball & the fact that my mom & mother-in-law are going with us (they can't take the heat - I can take it but I don't like it & I'm definitely not fond of large crowds & waiting in lines). We originally planned to go the week after Christmas to be there for New Year's but we've been told that is one of the busiest times of the year at Disney. What to do, what to do??

Chris Jun 2, 2015 at 1:10 p.m.

All of our children are in High School next year. My wife and I have recently surprised them with a Disney vacation in late September. We have left the decision up to them if they wanted to go or stay home. They were then reminded that if they did go they were responsible for all the work they missed and that bad grades would not be tolerated.

My father owned his own business and never had the time to go on a family vacation. He was killed suddenly in a car accident, and the only thing my brothers and I could remember that Dad was always working.

You are married to your spouse not your job.

Family is the most important thing and, in my humble opinion the people that have forgotten that are the people with families that have issues.

FrogBlog Jun 2, 2015 at 8:15 a.m.


Well said. In these days of rushing around and endless obligations, I think time together as a family is the most important thing.

Mommy Frog

Jeff Jun 29, 2015 at 1:43 a.m.

I started reading thru the comments and my head started to hurt. my thought is this, if kids can miss school for school sponsored trips - Washington DC, for example, why not Disney where they can see culture (EPCOT) and other things they may not ever see. A couple of days missed, if work is kept up, should be supported, not demonized.

Liz Jul 3, 2015 at 12:32 p.m.

I live in the UK and coming over to WDW last week of august, my son who is 8will mss 5 days of school, which i have informed the school about. I believe life is to short to not spend with loved ones, i too lost my dad at 12 and cant remember one family holiday with him as he was always at work. This is not the memories i want my son to have.

TinaO Aug 21, 2015 at 1:41 a.m.

I understand this is a hot debate, but I think it is up to each individual family. I have a son with ADHD, not the best grades, and he will be a senior next year, and a daughter with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Our daughter will be 10 next year. We plan to take them both out of school in November 2016 for our first real family trip. We have never been able to afford one, but now with both my husband and I working, we are saving for this trip. While my son struggles, I will have time on the drive to help him with his work. The important thing for us is that we need to go when the weather is cooler, and it is cheaper. We also need to go when there is no testing. This is the perfect time. My daughter overheats quickly with her condition, and a summer or spring trip would not work for her. We have been through he?? and back with my son and his mental health challenges, an my daughter and her three open-heart surgeries. Our family needs this magic. If a teacher can't understand that, than I really think the compassion in this world has been lost.

FrogBlog Aug 21, 2015 at 7 a.m.


Thank you for sharing! We think you've made a great decision for your family. Have fun on your trip!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

DNeida King Sep 13, 2015 at 12:58 p.m.

We've taken our child out of school twice to go to Disney World. While I get it's breaking a rule, in our opinion, this trip is totally worth pulling out of school for! We do not lie about it (saying she's sick), we are very up front about what we are doing, which in my opinion, teaches our child to be honest even in unpopular situations; this trip is not a cheap one, so we'd like to be able to enjoy lower crowds. I should also say we don't pull her out for much more. Doctor appointments are scheduled for summer & holiday times & we never allow her to leave early (after parties).

I totally get people disagreeing on this subject, but for us, this seems to work....for now.

NCalmes Sep 18, 2015 at 1:54 p.m.

We are about to take our 3 kids (ages 5, 7 and 11) out of school for our Disney trip in early November. This is the only way I will ever do Disney! I refuse to go when the crowds are ridiculous, it's more expensive and usually way to hot for anyone! It is a very expensive vacation and spending it standing in lines with whiney, miserable kids is absolutely NO WAY to spend a Disney vacation and takes all of the magic out of it completely! My kids do very well in school and are pretty healthy so they don't miss much school during the year anyway. We've already informed their teachers that we will are going to Disney World and they have all expressed how important family time is and told us that it was no problem at all as they can see that our kids are very good students. They've also said they would put together some work for them to do on the airplane or during downtime and specifically asked us NOT to have them doing it while they should be enjoying their family Disney vacation. I think anyone who says that it's "irresponsible" is just aggravated by the fact that they would or could never take their kids out of school (for whatever reason) and therefore have to go when everybody else in the world goes. I'll admit that it sucks if you are unable to plan your vacation during a less crowded time and I'll forgive you for calling me an irresponsible parent because I can ;)

anonomys Nov 26, 2015 at 6:27 a.m.

No. School comes first. Disney's not going anywhere.

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