No Kidding Around: Part I

When folks plan their WDW vacation and drop me an email I am often asked for advice on one or more aspects of their upcoming tripp.

While I usually enjoy offering suggestions, I must admit that sometimes when someone asks for certain advice on an upcoming Walt Disney World trip I get a bit nervous..

The demographics for Walt Disney World’s guests are all over the map“¦young, old, wealthy, not so wealthy, Dole Whip fans, non Dole Whip fans, yadda yadda ya.

So due to this demographic diversification (I love alliteration) it’s obvious that one size does not fit all and what may work for me and my family may not work for Mr. John Traveler and his family.

It comes down to the basic rule of thumb that says each one of us knows what works best for us and our family and we should use that knowledge to craft the best possible trip”¦for us. No one should make that decision for us”¦except us.

This philosophy really comes into play when I’m asked the dreaded school question.

Hide your children, lock your doors and windows and draw the shades”¦better light a candle too”¦this is BIG”¦.are you ready for the question?

“Mike, do you think it would be okay if I took my children out of school for a few days for a trip to Walt Disney World?”

(Shudder)

I’ve been able to handle this question better in recent years”¦there is no longer need to secure a smelling salt tablet to my forehead for my friends to revive me after fainting from being asked this question.

Having a background in education and training, as well as a deep love and appreciation for all things Disney, I have always had mixed feelings about this issue.

It really depends upon the child”¦and a few other things.

For the sake of this blog entry I will take the “Nevermore!” position and suggest some reasons for not taking the child out of school. I don’t think I will be successful. I sense I will end up walking the fence, so to speak.

Remember, this is for entertainment purposes only and please keep in mind that no harm should come to this author in the aftermath of the posting of this blog entry.

Since I didn’t want to go down this road alone I’ve invited (actually pleaded on bended knee) fellow AllEars Staffer Michelle Scribner-MacLean to help me sort out some of the issues here and also hopefully provide some counterpoint opinions to help make for a healthy discussion. I tempted her with a Dole Whip.

Okay, here we go.

Best Time of Year

The argument can be made that parents don’t like to limit themselves to school vacations for trips to Walt Disney World”¦especially if they would like to bring their family down during the less crowded times of year or for a special event like the International Food and Wine Festival.
Okay”¦I understand the point.

I had a choice and elected to stick with summer family trips. I actually gave my children a choice.

“Okay Holly and Mike, let’s see what’s behind Door #1. Oh wow, it’s a five to seven day trip to Walt Disney World during the school year. That’s nothing to sneeze at right kids? But there’s another door.”

Then I show them Door #2.

“Okay Kids let’s look at what’s waiting for us behind door #2. Holy Mickey Mouse, it’s a 10 day to 2-week trip to Walt Disney World during summer vacation. Wow”¦the choice is yours”¦.sorta.”

Here is what they said.

They told me that they did not relish the idea of doing homework while on vacation or trying to catch up when they returned. There was also the feeling that not all their teachers would warm up to the notion that they were out of school on vacation and not because of illness.

They also argued that they knew that the summer months meant more things were open and for longer hours.

So their argument was”¦less stress and more quality fun in the summer then let’s say November or March.

Again, those were the words of my children who at the time were 12 and 10 years of age when this discussion took place.

I felt the same way. It’s easy as a parent to say, “Oh well the kids can make up the work.” Sure”¦parents don’t have to deal with the teacher(s) and make up work waiting for the children after the trip.

I actually believed it was more enjoyable for my children to have an extended trip in the summer than any other time of the year.

Also, there was more to miss than just school. My children were involved in school athletics and other school activities, plus dance, piano lessons, and so on.

Sure, the argument is that it’s only for a few days or just a week; but think of what’s waiting for the kids when they return.

Again, just my opinion”¦and it pertains to my family.

Now let’s hear Michelle’s take on this issue:

“ Although there is always plenty to do while you’re there, there are many special events that happen only during specific times of the year at WDW. If you limit your visits only to school vacations times, you might miss out on some really fun events such as the Flower and Garden Show (May), the Food and Wine Festival (October and November), and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (October). For example, during the past several years we’ve visited in May and the entire family looks forward to seeing the spectacular topiaries, the butterfly garden, the ladybug release, and seeing the dozens of different types of roses during the Flower and Garden Show.

Here’s another consideration, school vacation times tend to be more crowded than other times of the year. Families may find that they are able to see more attractions, obtain Advanced Dining Reservations, and not spend their vacation standing in lines if they take their students out of school to visit WDW. Cost can also be an issue for families. School vacations are considered “peak season” at WDW, which translates to higher room charges, airfare, etc. For some families, this is a “deal-breaker.” Families traveling during the school year can often find “non-peak” prices, making a trip to WDW more feasible.”

Remember those points”¦Special Events”¦.crowds”¦.cost”¦all part of the equation.

Stay tuned…there’s more…Part II is right around the corner!

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