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

by Mommy Frog on October 24, 2013 109

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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1–50 of 56 comments
Jul 6, 2019 at 8:48 p.m. Gina Says...

As a teacher, I would like to point out that it is unreasonable of you to expect that a teacher would have to take the time to create lessons especially for your child, because you chose to go on vacation. A vacation is not that same as being out due to illness or family emergency. If you are pulling your child out for a vacation, then he or she is going to miss those lessons. If you would like to consider paying for tutoring, that's another story, but please do not expect that a teacher has time to plan special lessons just for your child.

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Aug 4, 2019 at 5:25 p.m. Jessica Says...

Give me a break... lol

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Jul 26, 2019 at 5:04 p.m. Marisa Says...

No one said anything about special lessons. They just said that the student might be given extra assignments to complete - not just the homework, but the work done in class, too.

I really hope you're not a reading teacher, because you lack reading comprehension skills.

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Jul 9, 2019 at 8:11 p.m. Brian Says...

I think its unreasonable that teachers get three months off in the summer and then still call off during the school year. Guess we both have our opinions. If your children are top notch grade getters and otherwise well liked by the teachers we have never had anything but full cooperation from the school.

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Jul 10, 2019 at 5:09 p.m. Keith Says...

As a middle school teacher and parent of two, we have taken WDW vacations on Thanksgiving week when they were 8 & 11, 11 & 14 and 12 & 15. We also took a Universal trip in late January this year when they were 13 & 16. With the Thanksgiving weeks, they only missed two half days which were easy for them to make up. For the 4-day weekend in Universal, we let the teachers know a month ahead of time. Then, two weeks prior to the trip, we asked each teacher if they could make up any tests and/or assignments before they left for the trip. Out of 13 teachers combined having my two kids, all but one was grateful for the advanced notice and proactive attitude. The other teacher was a long-term sub that didn't feel comfortable planning that far ahead.

We will be taking our longest out-of-school trip in January 2020 that will have my 8th grader and 11th grader missing six consecutive school days. Thankfully, it will be at the very beginning of a new marking period, so there will not be that deadline to navigate. Out game plan will be the same as before: notify all parties involved one month out, request assignments/meetings two weeks out, work with teachers in the week leading up to the vacation to take tests early (if possible) and hand in any assignments homework that are available. Whatever is not done before hand has a deadline of six school days from the time they return to school.

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Jul 10, 2019 at 4:59 p.m. Keith Says...

Wow. Seriously? The old "teachers get summers and weekends off" gripe is still getting used out of jealousy, I see.

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Nov 20, 2018 at 1 p.m. Kristen Says...

We just returned from a week in Orlando Nov 8-15. Traveling around Veterans Day we took our 6th grade daughter out of school for five days. And it was totally worth it. While we did four days at Disney, we were able to coordinate two of those days days meeting up with her younger cousins, who live in another state and whom we hardly get to see, at the parks. For an only child this is PRICELESS - to have playmates while on vacation! They made memories together she will never forget.

We hadn’t been to Disney since she was 4, so going again before she was “too old” was a driving factor as well. I asked teachers for homework one month in advance and she did work while we had down days. She’s a very good student and a few teachers even told her not to worry about homework and to enjoy her vacation!

We bought a three day base park pass plus tickets to Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party which we attended on Tuesday Nov 13. This is very possibly the BEST VACATION PLAN EVER! Crowd levels were medium. We stayed off site at a timeshare. I’m not a Disneyphile so only bought tickets and Magic Bands two weeks before our trip and didn’t book Fast Passes until just a few days before we left. Regardless of missing out on some the best FP, we still managed to hit every ride we wanted. We got to Hollywood Studios one day at rope drop and basically walked onto the Slinky ride. As soon as we got off the line was 90 minutes long. But the best was MVMVP. We got in the park at 4, and the longest ride wait was 35 minutes. Our kiddo is interested in rides, not characters. We literally walked onto five rides with no line. And did Thunder Mountain twice in a row with hardly any wait. We saw almost all the shows and the parade. It. Was. Awesome!!

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Nov 8, 2018 at 12:56 p.m. Cris Martin Says...

The 4 kids are grown now, but the decision to take them in early December for two weeks one year (ages 5-16) while pulling out all the stops is something we still talk about with delight 20 years later. The crowds were thin, we had lower rates at a premiere Disney hotel, and there were no lines for anything. We often could finish a popular ride and get right back on. Teachers were great and we took homework along because kids still need downtime. What a marvelous time - we saw everything and with the parks empty even the older kids were content to do repeats of Its a Small World for their little sister. Do it.

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Oct 29, 2018 at 9:58 p.m. Trina Says...

We took our son for his 6th birthday in January of this year and his teacher's encouraged the idea of the family bonding time - they agreed that learning is not just in the classroom. Almost a year later - it is all he can talk about and has already asked to go back for his 7th birthday. I think his fond memories are worth it and outweigh anything he could have learned in those missed school days.

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Oct 29, 2018 at 7:03 p.m. sherri Says...

My husband and I have schedule to take his kids to Disney in December a couple of days before winter break because my husband can’t take off during their winter break because of work. The kids biological mom whom is a teacher has kept them home twice since school started in September to play hooky. Just worried maybe we should cancel?

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Oct 29, 2018 at 10:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Sherri!

We would recommend checking in with the school to make sure they won't be missing anything crucial.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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Aug 25, 2018 at 2:42 p.m. Susan Easterday Says...

We have taken our kids out of school for Disney World, Disney Cruises, and other vacations. This year we are taking them out for 2 additional days at Fall Break--to visit Boston, NH and Quebec. The value of family time and learning about new places and culture is invaluable. We also do trips in the summer. But, WDW is best enjoyed in the Fall or winter when the weather is nicer.

While I never want the teachers to have extra work, most didn't seem bothered by it. They were happy to encourage the family time. And the kids didn't suffer at all. One year my daughter had a country report to do, so instead of researching on the internet, we picked Norway. We learned about Norway at Epcot. She tried Norwegian food and interviewed Norwegian young people. Her experience far surpassed what she would have gotten off the internet.

This year I'm taking that same daughter (10th grader) out for 2 days to experience the International Arts Festival. She is focusing in art and didn't even hesitate to miss school (she is a good student). This will be an enhancement to her education. Even if you don't use it in that way, your time to bond as a family and make that important is important! For families who care about education and prioritize it, 2 - 7 days out of school will not make a difference in their life.

Our school system--because of state changes--has cracked down on attendance. But, this isn't because of the good students, but because of real truancy. I have to expect an email from district, but I'm not worried about it. These are OUR kids; do what is right for your family and don't be intimidated.

Lastly, I would say that there are some things my daughter won't miss for school and don't go during finals! :-) (Thanks to all the teachers out there--you guys do an amazing job!)

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Jul 6, 2018 at 3:54 a.m. EeveeMae Says...

As a teacher, the two things I would say is that if you do take your child out of school for a trip to Disney, PLEASE give us at least a week of notice (more is ALWAYS better, and we’re great at keeping secrets if needed!) and consider bringing back a little thank-you for the teacher. Often we have to come up with materials that are heavily adapted or completely different from what we are doing with the rest of our students in order to accommodate their absence from the lesson. On top of that, we then have to grade that pack of work on top of our regular duties, and some school districts (like mine) impose required turnaround times on returning such work (my district allows me one day for every three days a student is gone to return work, so if a student is gone for 6 days I only get 2 days to grade all of their work). We also have to copy and organize everything before you leave, and I usually photocopy sections of the textbook so students don’t have to lug the whole thing with them on vacation. I also make myself available to the student to come in before or after school to review their work, and I answer questions via email during my “virtual office hours”. When it’s all said and done, a single student being out for a week usually amounts to somewhere around 4 additional hours of work for me. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but bear in mind that this is on top of regular duties, which already make up about 55 hours a week, and many teachers work summer jobs to make ends meet, so it’s not like we’re making up for all that time at the beach from June to September. Most of us do it unquestioningly for any student regardless of circumstances, but even a simple thank-you card would be a nice recognition of that extra time put in for your child.

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Jan 14, 2019 at 4:20 p.m. Dee Gierlicz Says...

As a long-time teacher, I agree with everything you have said here. I would add that parents also consider the number of school days your child normally misses. If your child is sickly, or catches every illness that comes along, it's probably not a good idea to have him miss more. If you let them stay home for a hangnail, or there is already a truancy problem, that's when teachers get upset. Also, check the school's testing schedule. Kids always test best in their regular room with their regular teacher.

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Apr 15, 2018 at 9:15 p.m. Jenny Says...

I work in the school district and have taken my kids out of school twice for Disney vacations. And I’d do it again. Yes, they have work to make up, but we feel, and our kids agree, that it’s worth the extra homework to go to Disney when the crowds are smaller. As they get older it’s a little trickier to schedule around after school activities (they are in junior high and high school)and still agree it’s well worth it. I will say, though, they don’t struggle academically, and I might feel differently if they did. You only have your kids at home for a short time. Make the most of it!!!

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Feb 22, 2018 at 6:43 p.m. Jen Says...

I have taken my kids 4 times over the years and taken them out of school every time. I can say unequivocally I have absolutely no problem doing this. We enjoyed our vacation so much more than if we were fighting high crowds, and our school district is very understanding. When the kids were smaller, in fact, the teachers often had them keep a diary of their trip as opposed to making up their work. That was 4th grade and below. Also I’ve been able to afford to go 4 times because I was paying off peak prices. Take them out, I say. These are the things they are going to remember their whole lives, not the math test they had to make up!

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Feb 19, 2018 at 10:22 a.m. Lonni Says...

While I can understand the views of pretty much everyone here, I can only speak for our situation. My children are currently ages 10, 9 and 3 and we have NEVER been able to afford a “family vacation” until now and are planning our first and probably our only one, for February 2019 when crowds are less and yes, when airfare and accommodations are typically lower. This is literally a “once-in-a-lifetime “ event for us and while we hope this is going to be all about bonding with our kids and making a great memory for our kids, my husband and I still have to think about the money. And I’m not going to feel guilty about that.

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Feb 8, 2018 at 6:55 a.m. NANA Brenda Says...

we took my grandson out of Kindergarten a few years ago for a GREAT Halloween week at Disney. We made arrangements with the Teacher and did school work everyday. he did a report over all that he had done, with pictures too. And, when we got back the district had filed Truancy reports and we had to pay a fine. So check with the district for their policies before you go. we learned, no more than 3 days out without a Dr's note.

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Dec 18, 2017 at 4:45 p.m. Cindy Says...

All I have to say is learning is not restricted to a building and four walls, nor can it only be done by a teacher. Parents who share in their children's learning by spending time with them whether it's at a grocery store or at Disney should be applauded. Go, enjoy, make memories and share in life's lessons !!

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Dec 9, 2017 at 3:37 a.m. dolores malbasa Says...

we went on a family trip with my grandkids we had our own room lol but we had a great time kids missed 5 days of school and never missed a beat did not affect them at all except they had a great vacation they will always remember we went in may close to end of year and weather was great price was good to

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Nov 12, 2017 at 9:11 p.m. Christen Says...

We are about to take my daughter (5th grade) out of school for 6 days in December for Disney. I agonized about it and brought up my worries to her teacher. Her response..... family is more important. You won’t get this time back. It made me really think and I’m definitely worrying less now. She’s absolutely right!!

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Sep 8, 2017 at 10:51 a.m. Helen Says...

First of all what a fantastic website, so much valuable information so thanks for this!

I unfortunately have to take my son out of school just before his Easter break next year. I've limited this as much as possible so he will only miss 4 days . Wouldn't usually do this but trying to coordinate my holidays from work and those of my husband and my 2 older children (18,24) with school holidays has been a nightmare and had we not made this decision we just wouldn't have been able to go. Sometimes it isn't just about getting a cheaper holiday or going when it's quieter (although that's nice) in lots of jobs now holidays have to be taken at set times and these don't always coincide with school hols.

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Feb 14, 2017 at 2:45 p.m. Janine Says...

We took our kids out of school 5 years ago to go on our first Disney trip. We had one in high school, one in middle school and two in elementary school. I agonized long and hard about it, but looking back, I am so glad we did it! Wonderful memories were made and even for my high schooler, making up the work was not that big of a deal. Kids grow up WAY TOO FAST! Spend time together, that's what they will remember!

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Jun 9, 2016 at 10:20 p.m. Big Kid Andy Says...

I book my holidays when the little darlings are back in school so I can enjoy a nice, relaxing but fun filled time. Usually though, some misguided parents turn up with their kids in tow, shouting and screaming and generally being obnoxious.

Everyone can talk about how they want to broaden their childs view of the world but we all know that for the most part, its because its cheaper at certain times of the year. Its parents putting the cost of the holiday before their child education and getting in the way of those of us without kids from enjoying ourselves.

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Feb 8, 2018 at 7:07 a.m. Nana Brenda Says...

Sorry, I don't agree with you. We take our family a Vacation to the beach or the mountains during the summer yearly. But there's something really Great about going to a place Like Disney when the weather is cooler and the crowds less. you enjoy your time with the kids a lot more and they enjoy themselves more too. If at all possible I want my family to be comfortable when the are in a place like that, not worrying about getting lost, or overheating, or dehydrating, or if Grandpa is going to stroke out from the heat or crowd.

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Jan 17, 2018 at 12:41 a.m. brad Says...

Or the parents are smart enough not to take their 4 and 6 year old in 95 degree summer Florida weather vs a mild 60 in december

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Jul 21, 2016 at 7 p.m. Gigi Says...

Andy, I'd say since Disney is for kids and family maybe take a vacation to Hawaii or some beautiful island. I bet there's less kids on those types of trips as opposed to a "children's" amusement park. Of course adults go too, but the majority of people know it's a kids paradise!

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Feb 10, 2017 at 2:27 p.m. Lacey Says...

Disney is for whoever enjoys it, including big kids that don't enjoy others ill mannered children. I do have to agree with taling the Hawaii vacation at least once thpugh. You won't regret it.

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May 29, 2016 at 4:17 a.m. Kevin Says...

No missing school! We taught our kids to "Work Hard Play Hard". My two girls have only missed 3 days of school K-12 between them and they are both now in Berkeley. My son is a freshman in high school and has perfect attendance from Kindergarten. He is in Varsity Track and his GPA is #1 in a class of 480. Every 3 years, I have rewarded them with a trip to Orlando, in the summer, while school is out. Yes, the lines are longer, but there are ways to maximize your park visits, especially with Apps from Undercover Tourist. Is saving a few minutes in line (or even hours) worth risking the massive head start in life offered by choice colleges? You may be thinking, "But my kids are only in elementary school." Accountability, study habits, setting goals and meeting them are skills developed in elementary and middle school. Showing them there that they can miss days "because the lines are shorter" leads to casual attitudes in high school. Colleges see that. Without perseverance, would they still have beat out the thousands of other college applicants? Maybe, maybe not. Don't take a chance with their future, no missing school!

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Jun 9, 2016 at 5:29 p.m. DougP Says...

And Kevin, am curious and I understand this is a personal question so if you don't want to answer that's fine but what will you do if your son says I don't want to go to college? Are you going to be able to handle that if it happens?

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Jun 9, 2016 at 5:05 p.m. DougP Says...

Kevin, I applaud you for your dedication to ensuring your kids get what you think is the best education and start in life. But like so many other comments above I say what works for one family or one kid is not what works for every family.

My family took us out of school semi-regularly to travel. I think in grade 7 we left a month before the end of the school year to spend the summer in Europe. I still learned to work hard. I still went to a very

good college. Admissions didn't care at all about my elementary school attendance but were impressed by my travel experiences. And now I have a good job and will likely take my kids out of school every so often to travel if I think they can handle it.

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Mar 30, 2016 at 4:29 p.m. Wendy Says...

Public education is not an education so much in itself but rather a door that opens our children to a life long of learning. As important as it is for our children to sit in school and learn about flight, I want my daughter to know how to get around an airport and the opportunities the world of flight has opened for us. Maybe someday my daughter will want to study abroad. I want her to have the knowledge and confidence to be able to do this on her own. As important as it is to be taught to use you imagination, why not allow our children to see what an imagination can truly create. Not all parents work schedules allow vacations to take place around school holidays. I have pulled my daughter out of school one week per year over the past three winters ( two of these being trips to Disney) as my husband and my busiest times of year often coincide with school holidays. The school work is easily made up but there is no replacing what she gained on our vacations.

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Feb 26, 2016 at 7:22 p.m. Old Fashioned Momma Says...

A strong family is one of the biggest contributors to a well-developed child. The only way to keep a family strong is to spend time together, and put the family first.

Additionally, they are only young for an incredibly short period of time, even more so now that they are forced to perform at high levels in school and athletics at increasingly younger ages; you'd be crazy not to capitalize on those moments, and help create amazing and magical memories for them. Society has all but stolen the magic and fun of childhood. Its up to parents to give it back, and if that means taking a Disney vacation during school time, then so be it.

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Jan 23, 2016 at 5:34 a.m. Linda Says...

As a retired teacher, I used to get upset when people would take their children out of school for a Disney vacation, knowing what they would miss. But now with grandchildren, i realize that while school is important, so is family time. And time is fleeting.. so take them out of school. Go at a time that is best for you. They will learn and make it up but those family moments can't be replaced. Go!

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Jan 20, 2016 at 1:51 p.m. Lisa Says...

I am now a "grandmother". When my children were young, we made a conscious decision to take them out of school so we could ALL enjoy it our trips to Disney World MINUS the extreme crowds! A trip like this IS an "investment" - certainly as an expense and ALSO in "family FUN". I can give you a CLEAR example of a "misstep" we took one year LONG ago. When my daughter was about three and a half years old, we were living on the East coast and took her for a visit to see her grandparents in California. I grew up with Disneyland and so NATURALLY, that would be on the agenda! I do not remember the time of year we went (sorry!) but it was OBVIOUSLY a "break" for the schools!!! LET ME TELL YOU. . . It was one of the MOST MISERABLE times I can remember at what IS TRULY "The Happiest Place On Earth!" I NEVER thought I'd say that but we found ourselves (MOST memorably) in a "SEA" of people - waiting to get in to "It's a Small World" - for our daughter's sake. We had a two-and-a-half hour wait! Of course, these were "prehistoric"/"PRE-Fast Pass" times - :) I have PICTURES of my daughter sucking her thumb, FAST ASLEEP over her dad's shoulder! NEVER AGAIN!!! I DO NOT "pass judgment" on ANYONE! My husband and I will be paying for our entire family to vacation at Walt Disney World in Florida this year and the ONE condition I made was to PLEASE, "take our grandchildren OUT of school". We took it up with their respective teachers AND principals in advance. If you are not a "jet setter" - you are not able to vacation OFTEN - and you want to take your kids/grand kids for an ENJOYABLE experience at ANY Disney destination, I HIGHLY recommend taking them out of school to do so. I DO respect you for being a staunch supporter of their education -- I am too. . . but I agree that "balance" is KEY! As long as time AWAY from school is not ABUSED, it will make for one of the BEST family times you can give yourselves and enjoy REMEMBERING for YEARS to come!

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

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

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Dec 21, 2015 at 6:04 p.m. Jan Says...

Disney may not be going anywhere, but family members will not be around forever. Some of us cannot take the heat, others will not be able to make the once-in-a-lifetime trip because they can't afford it during peak times, and others have other reasons for taking the trip during school time. School is important, absolutely, but taking a magical trip with the family can be so much more than "just" a vacation. School is important, no doubt, and school comes first 175 days a year, but there's no reason why it has to be more important than one week of joy and unforgettable memories. If you choose not to take your kids out of school for a trip, that's your decision but it's not mine. Somehow my oldest managed to get into the National Honor Society even though she missed a week of school now and then... hmmmmm... how did THAT happen? ...

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

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.

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

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 ;)

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Dec 20, 2015 at 8:39 p.m. Kim Says...

Well said!

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

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.

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Aug 21, 2015 at 7 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Tina,

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

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Chris,

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

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

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??

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

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.

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

...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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!

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

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 "...one 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!”

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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Jun 5, 2016 at 9:43 p.m. DeeDee Says...

I also have a child with severe special needs. He is 14 and we never take vacations, because the typical family vacation isn't conducive for him. I also have an honor student daughter that is about is about to be a junior in high school and thank God my parents have taken her to Disney every year since she was little, outside of the school year. This year we really want to do a family vacation to Disney, with my sweet boy. There is no way this would be a successful trip if we go when there are large crowds. He is a big boy too and cannot tolerate severe heat for extended periods. I am hoping that my daughter's school will understand our situation, so we can all take a nice Disney vacation with all of us together.

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

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.

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

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 show...so 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!

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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!!

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Jul 19, 2016 at 5:07 p.m. Diana Says...

Awww. That is so sweet. I remember all those family Disney trips. I am an only child so it was definitely nice to have fun time with my parents as a girl and even teenager. I now take my daughter; she is only 4 and has been there 6 times already! It is always a beautiful bonding time for family and i will carry those memories with me always

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Oct 24, 2013 at 3 p.m. Liane Says...

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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Apr 10, 2016 at 1:01 a.m. Julie Says...

Our schools require prior permission but my husband and I always laugh about it thinking if they will say no. When THEY pay for my vacation they can tell me when to go. As long as my kids' grades are ok I honestly don't care what the school says. We have taken our kids out of school for a week every year since 2006 for our Disney trips b

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

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.

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

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.

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Oct 24, 2013 at 2 p.m. Amanda Says...

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.

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

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!

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