A few weeks ago, I wrote about the questions to ask yourself before you take the kids out of school for a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. Overwhelmingly, most of you who responded on our blog post and Facebook thought it was more than OK to plan a school-time visit to the Happiest Place on Earth and many of you have. Today, I wanted to offer up tips to make it as smooth as possible. For those of you who have been there and done that already, feel free to share your advice in comments below!
- Travel during less busy school times. For example, a trip in the middle of the semester in the fall is probably less disruptive than a visit during the middle of a semester in the spring, when schools typically do standardized tests. While students are just getting in the swing of things in September, the days before winter break or major holidays are usually less hectic at school.
- Consider a shorter vacation. While we’re in favor of a week-long or longer vacation in Orlando, where you can schedule in days of relaxation at the hotel pool or trips to the water parks, you might not be comfortable taking the kids out of school that long. If so, consider taking longer weekends, leaving town on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon and returning on Monday or Tuesday afternoon still gives you plenty of park touring days and often minimizes missed time.
- Schedule during Monday holidays. While Disney World attendance increases any time there is a school holiday, some of the holidays have less impact on crowds than others. The least-busy major holidays are Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and MLK Day. Consider making mini-trips around these holidays to shorten time off from school.
- Talk to the teacher in advance of the trip. Let the teacher know as soon as you can that your child will be missing school, and ask what you can do to help minimize the impact. Understand that your child’s absence will create extra work for the teacher, so you should be as accommodating as possible. While not all teachers will give homework or assignments in advance, and you should certainly not expect it, this can be helpful, since your child can complete assignments during down time, on the plane or during the car ride. Some teachers will allow students to document their vacation experiences in lieu of homework.
- Factor in time for re-acclimating. Plan to arrive back home at least by the afternoon of the day before a child will return to school. The worst thing you can do is schedule the last flight out from Orlando and then have your child arrive back at school a zombie. This also gives you some padding if your flight ends up being delayed.
- Don’t make it a habit. Teachers and school officials are more likely to be understanding if your child doesn’t routinely miss school, and this includes tardies and partial-day disruptions for doctor and dentist appointments.
While a Disney World vacation is tremendous fun no matter when you visit, there are more considerations if you are taking the kids out of school for the trip! Hopefully, with these tips you’ll make it the very best experience for the whole family.
— Mommy Frog