Disney WITHOUT the kids - feeling guilty!


DIS Veteran
Sep 26, 2016
I've been to Disney World twice with my boys (first trip at ages 2 and 4, recently in January at ages 4 and 6) and I've always had fun, but it's a stressful trip with young kids and I feel like I spend so much of the trip fussing at them, entertaining them in lines, having them steal my food and drinks, answering a million questions, and just generally not being able to fully relax.

After we got back from our most recent trip, the free dining promotion was running and my sisters and I decided to take a girl's vacation this summer. At the time, I felt really great about booking it, but now that the trip is approaching I'm feeling SO BAD for my kids that they don't get to come, especially since that trip impacts our ability to take a big summer vacation.

My husband is planning fun things while I'm gone (like a couple of nights at Great Wolf Lodge), and I have frequent conversations with the kids kind of downplaying the trip - about how Star Wars land won't even be open yet, it's probably going to rain every day, we're going to ride all the scary rides the kids don't even like, and it's going to be super hot, so they're pretty convinced it wouldn't be any fun for them anyway, but I'm still just feeling bad about it.

Any other parents taken a disney trip without the kids? Did you feel guilty about leaving the kids behind and how did you talk to them about the trip? I've been away from the kids before for work trips, but this is different. Thanks!
It sounds like your boys will be having a great time with their dad while you are away having fun with your sisters.
Think of it like this, when your boys grow up, wouldn't you be very happy to hear that they planned a brothers weekend?
All the relationships that are important to us deserve attention & fun...sisters included.
Your whole family will benefit from this trip & you doing something nice for yourself.
Yes, we went for our anniversary once. The kids were little, maybe 5, 2, 2 or something like that. Personally, I don't think you should worry about trying to rationalize it. Yes, we felt guilty, very much so. At the same time, it was important to us and we had a good time.

So IMO, it's OK you feel bad. You love your kids, you're leaving for a few days...I think those feelings are perfectly normal. But sounds like they've got fun plans anyway and WDW will still be there for the future. Go and enjoy yourself!

I completely understand, I have always wanted to take a Disney trip without kids....but, in the end I always decide against it. The children are small for such a short time, I'll have plenty of time for solo trips or girls trips to Disney later hen the kids don't want to hang with me! I don't think it's the ' guilt' of you having time away to yourself.... it's that it's to Disney, and obviously your children know how fun Disney is. I say go on the trip, but maybe book another trip for you and the kids to go back to Disney soonish.....this way you can say, yes I'm going now, but we are ALL going back in xx amount of months. I think this would go a long way with the kids. Have a great time!
Do I feel bad going on vacations w/o my children?
Noooo but they'd like me to and they're in their 30's and 40's, LOL.

It's normal to feel a bit of guilt when leaving your little ones for the first time just like crying when they go off to college or get married. It's a change in the norm, a new chapter in life and you (and they) don't know exactly what the future will bring.
It's also normal to embrace the changes life brings us and recall that we are not only parents. Not sure about that? Ask your own parents who they were before you were born:).

When my children were small, I frequently traveled w/o them for business and pleasure. Didn't take long for all of us to adjust to that reality and it made it easier when they went off to summer camp and such.

Now I'm back to parenting again after a long and enjoyable stretch of empty nesting. DGD is a dream and has no problem loving everyone who are molding her into the woman she'll become. She leaves us to spend time w/ her parents (separately), returns and is still the same caring being she was when she left. We decide we want to visit someplace and she doesn't want to go? Go spend some time with your other grandmother 'cause she loves you too.

Have fun on your adults' only trip and don't worry it'll all be alright!
My husband and I have taken a couple trips to Disney without our daughter. WE LOVED IT! Yes, I felt bad leaving her behind, but it is such a different experience going without kids. Our trip was more relaxing and slow paced, we drank around the world, went to Jellyrolls, rode the rides she doesn't like, and had some much needed quality time together. Yes, of course you will feel guilty (you're a mom). We do so much for our kids we sometimes forget to take time for ourselves. Go have fun and enjoy the time with your sisters!

As part of my "we're buying APs" plan for 2020/2021, I've built in an adults trip so that we can do food/wine and not have a kindergartner on the world showcase circuit with us.
My husband and I have gone many times without my son. We typically go once a year with him and once a year without him. I have never felt guilty for even a second. He’s having a ball with whatever grandparent is watching him. It’s nice to explore the adult side of Disney.
My husband and I just got back from an anniversary trip without our 3 kids. The older 2 have already been to Disney 4 times and our 3 year old has been twice already. We did feel bad and we talked about them constantly while we were there but it was so nice to go and have a relaxed trip and spend uninterrupted time together. We did all kinds of things we never would do if they kids were with us which was awesome. As parents, we all deserve a break and the truth is, we need those breaks! Take the trip and ENJOY!
My wife and I are heading to Saratoga Springs next week without the the kids, but no guilt here, we just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Fantasy with the kids, so they were cool with it😃
We just did it last September! I definitely carried some guilt at first, especially our first park day walking into MK. It took a little bit for me to get out of the "mom" mode (where my job is to make sure everyone else has a good time) and allow myself to have fun for my OWN sake. But once I did.....we are now planning our next adult-only Disney weekend for next year :) Experiencing Disney as an adult is SO MUCH FUN...and I got lots of ideas for things to do the next time we bring our kids.
We did a 20th anniversary trip without the kiddos. Were they disappointed? Yes. Did we feel bad? Of course. It lasted for about 10 minutes. We had a great time. It totally changed the way we tour. My wife had always wanted to see the Flower and Garden Festival so I planned it for then and made reservations at Victoria and Albert's. Spectacular meal! Guess what? They both got over it. Cheers!!!!!
My wife doesn't do a lot of thrill rides, so for me I enjoy having the kids because the kids an I ride things together that I'd have to ride solo if it was just the two of us. My wife and I have gone on vacation without our kids, but not to Disney.

My biggest concern isn't guilt, it's worry about if something were to happen to the two of us traveling alone.
I've gone by myself when at a conference, with kids but without my husband, and with my husband without the kids and didn't feel guilty on any of the trips :-) Never even crossed my mind to feel guilty -- maybe if the kids had a job and were paying for me to go I might feel guilty, but they are a bunch of freeloaders :rotfl2:
DH and I went without the kids for our 25th anniversary. Youngest DS was only 6 so I felt guilty. DH did not, lol. We did, however, have a Disney trip planned with the kids 5 months later so it helped ease the guilt and we were able to do things that the kids didn’t like doing. We visited every country in Epcot and had a few nice sit down dinners that the kids would have considered boring. Go and enjoy the time with your sisters and kudos to DH for taking the kids and spending special daddy time.
Yes, many times lol. Next up, sailing the Disney Dream with my sister celebrating our birthdays!

I love this...I would love for my four boys to remain close when they’re older to want to vacation with each other...it warms my heart
It sounds like your boys will be having a great time with their dad while you are away having fun with your sisters.
Think of it like this, when your boys grow up, wouldn't you be very happy to hear that they planned a brothers weekend?
All the relationships that are important to us deserve attention & fun...sisters included.
Your whole family will benefit from this trip & you doing something nice for yourself.
Kids need happy parents. Taking care of yourself and taking breaks can be part of that if thats a way you like to recharge. For me, solo time is important and sometimes I choose to spend that at Disney.

I've always told my kids I'm going on my "mom trip" when they ask. My oldest child pieced together on her own that I've been going to Disney. As long as I bring her something back and help plan fun things for the kids to do with their dad while I'm gone, they are fine with it.
I just went on my first solo trip in May. I loved every minute of it and felt not one bit of guilt! LOL My daughter is a Junior in High School so she couldn't have missed a week of school anyway. There were times I missed her, but I still had fun! It was so nice to be able to get up and go without having to start my day off fussing at someone to get out of bed and get ready (teenager!), and to do what I wanted when I wanted. Nobody begging me to go into this gift store or that gift store, or whining because they were tired, or hot, or hungry, or their feet hurt (and we take afternoon breaks!). Go have fun with your sisters and be glad that your boys are getting some quality time with their Dad. My husband died 5 years ago and I would give anything for our daughter to be able to have time with him again.

We're going back in August for a pre-graduation trip and getting her Senior pictures taken in Epcot, so that helped with not feeling so guilty as well lol.
Thank you so much everyone who responded! I really appreciate all the different perspectives. I've already told the kids we will go next year once SWGE is open, and we *just* (well, in January) took the kids to Disney for nine nights, so I just have to keep that mind if I start feeling bad.


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