Should You Pull Kids Out of School for a Disney Vacation?

should you take kids out of school for vacation?

Updated for 2016!

Want to get an interesting discussion started among Disney lovin’ Moms and Dads? Pose the question, “Should we pull the kids out of school for a Disney vacation?” The main objection you will most often hear is that missing school will damage a child’s education. Hmmmmm. I’ve read where people actually describe it as “ruining their education.” And I thought, for a Disney trip vacation, the poor kid will be ruined educationally, like for life?

For those children who can miss school without a required doctor’s excuse, I bet missing some class days would sound like a great idea to them. The general thought has been the younger the child, the less information they would miss being out of school. Many parents steer away from taking older high school age kids out of school, but pointed out a study in 2013 that revealed a link between educational travel with kids and success later in life. How’s that for a reason to skip school and take a trip?!

In the survey referenced by, children who took educational-focused trips between the ages of 12 and 18 had greater success in school, higher grades, and typically had earned a college degree. The Travel Improves Educational Attainment & Future Success Survey also showed those who visited educational attractions and destinations as kids earned more as adults.

We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they would take their kids out of school for a Disney vacation, and the answer was a resounding yes and for several different reasons.

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should kids miss school for Disney vacations

Family Time

Leasa, “We are going for the first time in October. My kids will have two days off from school for educator meetings, and we will take them out for 2 days. I’ve heard fall is a great time to go.”

Jessica, “I love the fall at Disney; I don’t care about taking them out of school. A week is not going to hurt them. I am a teacher.”

Theresa, “I grew up in Orange County, CA, very close to Disneyland. My mom would take us out of school all the time to go, and my brother and I both did very well in school. Creating special family memories is just as important as getting a formal education.”

Stormy, “I choose the fall because it really allows for a quality vacation both in time and money. Family comes first, and the time spent together is so precious. School work is temporary, memories are forever!”

Barbara, “Sometimes it’s the only time the parents can take off. It is usually a busy time in retail on spring break, or Thanksgiving through Christmas. We just give the teachers a heads up that we are going to go. Then we tell the kids they need to really work hard playing catch up.  It’s worth it.”

Christina, I did it a few times over the years, and it never hurt my now-adult kids. In fact, I’m pretty sure they benefited from the travel and being able to hang out with some extended family.”

How much school is missed for vacations? Before teachers start panicking, according to, in most cases…

  • 43% missed just one day
  • 29% missed two days
  • Only 11% missed more than one week

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princess Pressed penny machines at Disney World

Katie, “I love the weather and shorter lines. I do take the kids out of school (it’s elementary school right now). I am for homework, and they do some on the drive there. School is important, but so are family memories and my kids are great students. Plus me, my husband and one daughter all have fall birthdays!

Mendi and Nick lay out all the reasons, with numbers, for those of you that appreciate a nice focused outline.

 1. low crowds

2. great weather

3.  free dining is sometimes available

4. quality family time always trumps perfect attendance

Do the majority of parents agree or disagree with taking kids out of school?

A poll conducted exclusively for in 2012 showed 78 percent of 1,709 respondents with kids had let them miss school for a family vacation.

ABC News says the main attraction for many parents is simple, “It’s cheaper to travel during the academic year than during scheduled breaks, especially if you’re flying. If you ever want to know when a particular major city’s public schools are on spring break, look no further than airfare prices.”

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Mickey Mouse waffles at Disney World

Lower Crowds

Kara, “Family time is more important than school when the kids are young. It makes much more sense to take them to WDW in the fall when it’s cooler and less crowded!”

Jessica, “Yes, we do take our son out. There are less crowds, it’s cheaper, and there’s Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.

Erica, “Of course I would take my children out of school, and I have. Kids have the rest of their lives to sit at a desk for hours every day. Very few children will carry those memories on to adulthood happily, but family vacations will love on forever. Disney is too expensive to pay for line after line of waiting.”

Kylee,  “Travel is good for children, and Disney is good for everyone. Plus it’s a little less crowded at the times you have to pull the kids out of school.”

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Best Deals & Free Food

Tanya, “My kids are only little once; they grow way too quick. You bet I pull them out of school! That is when the best deals are.” 

Elizabeth, “September is our favorite time, and we pull the kids out of school for a week (we get their assignments). Crowd levels are great, temperatures are not too bad, prices are the best, and most importantly, there is the free meal plan!”

Kelly, “We are taking our daughter out of school for the first time this fall. We couldn’t afford to go in the peak months and found the fall prices and free dining to work with our budget. We don’t do this every year, so this will be extra special. We’re surprising our seven-year-old in September. I can’t wait!

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should kids skip school to go to Disney World

Interesting Points

Social Media Warning

Jeff says do not  take the kids out of school, “Absolutely not, if the school’s administration members are Facebook friends.” This reminded me of the honesty is the best policy life lesson.

Make Your Own Assignment

Darlene explained,  “We did and it was fine. They kept a journal of each day, and when they went back to school, they did a show and tell with photos. Plus they got writing credit for it.” Imagine the fun of reading this when your kids are in their mid-20s!

Many of Us Missed School as Kids

Erica, “My parents did pull us out of school. In elementary school my parents would take us (my brother and I) out for a week-long Disney trip a few times a year. We let our teachers know ahead a time, so they could get us the material we would miss. We would then do our homework at Disney. We were A & B students, and week-long Disney trips never effected that.”  I totally get Erica’s point, because I personally missed school for vacations as a kid, and I turned out mostly fine!

This is another article that deals with a time of year most kids would probably miss some school.

8 Reasons You Should Visit Walt Disney World in the Fall

plan a Disney vacation for children

Questions to Ask Yourself…

There are questions to ask yourself before you head off on vacation when all the other kids are in school.

1. Can your child handle missing school without falling too far behind? Will the work get made up?

If the answers are no, you better keep the kids in school.

2. Will your school system excuse the absences?

If the answer is no, you better keep the kids in school.

3. Can you meet with your child’s teacher (teachers) to get make up work ahead of time?

If the answers are no, and it will be straight up craziness doing double work when you get back from Fantasyland, you better keep the kids in school.

4. How long will you be gone?

If you will miss more than 4-5 days, your child could really struggle to make up the work, especially if they are in upper middle and high school grades.

5. Will you be traveling during standardized tests and exam weeks?

If the answer is yes, you definitely better keep the kids in school.

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take kids out of school to go to Disney World

Teachers Weigh In…

And what do teachers think? Clearly we can’t represent all teachers, but we found a couple with opinions…

Sally stopped by a different article to leave a comment, which I had to add here. “As an elementary teacher, I would definitely say: TAKE YOUR KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL! Is one week of third grade REALLY going to make or break their entire school career. My principal took her kids out of school for a few days last year because her husband had won a cruise and could only use it during a certain time period. If the principal takes her young kids out of school, ANY parent can! Truancy officers will not hunt you down on vacation.”

Amy says, “ I’m a teacher. I don’t mind when my students miss because of a family vacation. I think it’s important for kids to travel and experience things they wouldn’t get to experience at home. The family time is good for them, too. Some things just can’t be taught in the classroom. I’ve taken my own kids out (and taken days off) for family vacations!”

Amanda, high school teacher and Cheapskate Queen shares, “We have taken our children out of school nearly every year I can remember for some sort of travel. The key is to try to get the make-up work ahead of time so you don’t add stress to teacher’s already stressful lives. Then make sure the work actually gets completed.  My head is full of useless knowledge (= trivia), so I am always throwing out tidbits of information I think my kids could learn from. We talk a lot about money. We talk about how good grades translate into career opportunities which lead to vacations. There is a relationship between success in school and travel opportunities; there is a lot you can learn on a Disney vacation.”


So the results are in. Our fans say that you should take the kids out of school for a Disney World or Disneyland vacation. Remember, you know what works best for your family, so stick with that.

For some fun, go ask your kids – hypothetically speaking of course – what they think about the idea. There’s some great dinner time conversation right there.

Over 20 Disney World Tips for Parents With Younger Children

So will you take the kids out of school, or have you taken them out of school for a trip to Disney? Let us know what you think…

Thanks for stopping by, thanks for stopping by, and maybe well see you and the kids in the Hall of Presidents, learning…


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Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

Erin Johnson, our Cheapskate Princess Travel Agent

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  1. Liz says:

    Anything before high school or even 8th grade is totally ok. When they’re in high school missing one day can really set them back :(.

  2. Melissa says:

    I was a child who was pulled out of school for winter vacations and am now on the administration team at an elementary school. I was taken out of school for 1 week and found it difficult to catch up. I failed classes that were based on step learning (math and typing). As the class was moving on I was always trying to catch up. My self esteem was effected and my frustration grew. Early education is a combination of social and academic skills. It can not be put in a packet to take with you. Higher education is classroom and team projects. Education is fast paced. Teachers have difficulty getting the states standards completed. When a child falls behind it is difficult for everyone to catch up. Pulling a child out of school a day or two may not be too difficult for the child but much more I do not recommend. I would not risk my child’s education and self esteem because I want to beat the crowds. Disney is a wonderful experience I have been to Disney more than 20 times but I would not pull a child out for it. A vacation is not an excused absence. It is not justified because your child wrote up a report about the animals at Animal Kingdom. And too many unexcused absents can become a truancy issue. You may tell the school you are pulling your child out but that does not make it excused.

  3. Tami says:

    I missed days in high school because I played on a travel/club volleyball team…some days were missed because we were going somewhere fun and wanted a day to explore and other days were missed because of how far the tournaments were. I probably missed just over a week of school with all days combined but still…no harm done. My oldest is in elementary and we are taking him out to go to Disney. We will get his work beforehand, but our son is also one of the top of his class so we don’t fear he will fall behind. I think it all depends on the student.

  4. The decision to take children out of school for a Disney vacation is a personal one and parents must ultimately be the ones to determine if their child is prepared to miss whatever course work will be covered in the classroom.
    However, if families do want to proceed with a Walt Disney World vacation and want to or need to make a case for its educational value, they can view our website for helpful Guides and tips. We correlate our articles to subject matter, topic, and FL state standards where applicable. We cover all four theme parks, the Downtown Disney area, and resorts.
    Families may find learning opportunities where they never thought to look before!

  5. Natalie says:

    I suppose with the reasoning presented in this lopsided article it won’t matter if teachers also take a week off to go to Disney. After all, it will be a piece of cake catching everyone up later or to leave students with a packet. I am certain that teachers would love deals that aren’t offered during school vacations, too.

    What about all those pesky teacher evaluations based on student performance? Isn’t it difficult to base this honestly on absent students? Does this count against teachers? This is unfair if teachers have no say in student attendance.

    My guess is that the students in the study used to support the claims of this article were from families that also traveled at other times of the school year, experienced ample cultural events/institutions, etc. It seems a bit of a stretch to rest all future success on a single correlation.

    • Andrea says:

      Find a different profession!!! I’m a nurse and would LOVE to be off three months of the year, all weekends and holidays off, including a major winter break!!! Those of us who don’t teach may need to take our vacations at “off peak” times! All professions have their drawbacks. So my little one misses a few days….irreparable harm? I don’t think so. His time with my family contributes far more to his future than an overcrowded classroom and a disgruntled teacher.

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