Pulling kids out of school for a WDW trip


DIS Veteran
Jun 5, 2000
I took my oldest out for more than a week for my brother's wedding when he was in first grade. We didn't ever have a "once in a lifetime" type thing come up again. We planned regular vacations when school was out of session.

Personally, I wouldn't take kids out of school to avoid crowds. However, I would take them out if was truly our only chance to take that trip due to family schedules, etc. I'm sure the fact the I went back to work as a teacher played into that as well.


DIS Veteran
Sep 25, 2015
My sister and I lived 2,000 miles apart. Her kids were a few years older than mine. But she didn't hesitate to pull them out of school to make an infrequent trip when our families got together every couple years. (Our school districts had very little overlap in vacation weeks.) She passed away last March from pancreatic cancer and if she hadn't made that effort to get together when she did, my kids would have no memories of her.


I was a click-clack champ!!
May 16, 2006
I know its been discussed a million times, but for the first time, it's me.

DD started kindergarten this year and we pulled her out of school for a week to go to WDW. It was a family trip with my parents. My mom has cancer and we don't have too many years left with either of them, so its important to me that my kids have these memories with them...

Is it wrong??
No! Those memories with your parents are precious. You know your mom is in ill health, and I'm sure your DD's teacher understands the need to travel before she can't. We've pulled DS (for a week in preschool, and for a couple of days at least twice in elementary) and his teachers were fine as long as he made up the work. When one was surprised that he came back all caught up, she told me what usually happens is that people ask for work, the teacher scrambles and puts in extra time to get it together, and then the kid doesn't do it. - Just don't be that person.

We stopped in middle school because DS felt it was too stressful catching up (though now that he's a senior, make-up work is actually easier than it used to be - because so much has gone online - that I would have considered it this year if necessary.)

And don't worry about the letter. We got one once when DS had "too many" absences in one semester from random tummy bugs and stuff. I was nervous about it and met with the principal and he calmed me right down! It's automatically generated, and as long as your child is doing well academically, it will all be OK.
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  • MrsCobraBubbles

    Life's too short to wear pants all the time
    Jul 24, 2013
    I have no issues with it. I probably won't do it again for my son, he is in high school and it was hard for him to catch up on his workload and it was stressful for him. January/February is the best time to go to Disney, in my opinion. So that means taking kids out of school.


    DIS Veteran
    Apr 3, 2009
    I did it when the twins were in elementary school a few times. They never miss school otherwise though so it wasn’t an issue. I think kids who miss school for every dry cough and scraped knee can’t afford the absences, but kids with generally good attendance are fine.


    DIS Veteran
    Apr 1, 2001
    We used to take our son out for a few days to take a Disney trip. He was a very good student and the teachers were always on board. The last time we took him out, he was in the Fifth Grade. He told us after that trip that he didn’t want to do that anymore. He felt like he missed too much and he had too much work to make up. So, that was the last time.


    DIS Veteran
    Jun 29, 2017
    It is 100% your business to do what is best for your family. Nobody has any right to judge.

    Every school district is different. Mine where I teach is extremely strict because of the 10% of the population who have chronic absenteeism. In other words, everyone else is being held accountable at a much higher standard because of a few deadbeats that can't seem to get out of bed and get their kids to school on a regular basis. My students are allowed only 10 days absent without doctor's notes. So, if they need to travel to visit grandparents, many of whom are out of the country, it doesn't give them much wiggle room for actual sick days. And let's face it, you don't always go to the doctor when you have a cold or a 24 hour stomach virus. We have attendance contests with Xbox game systems as prizes and threats of DCF referrals for those who happen to get sick too often. It's chaos.

    As for me, I had pneumonia a couple of weeks ago thanks to all of the germs from my students who come to school sick all of the time (they want to win the Xbox), and I have racked up 10 sick days so far this year. I do have my doctor's note though...

    When we go to Disneyland during April vacation, I'm taking two personal days beforehand to fly and not affect my time in California. My principal approved it in September, so I should be okay. Another administrator would have told me, "No way," because of my 10 sick days.

    I think your reasons for these January vacations are very valid and matter to your family. Ultimately, we all have to do what is best for our families.
  • dish rag

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 30, 2017
    Children in some schools now have dress codes against wearing Canada Goose coats and other expensive designer clothing. It's to keep children who's parents cannot afford that clothing from feeling bad about themselves, to keep people equal I guess. I wonder if those who push this type of thought will want to make it impossible for parents to remove their student from school for luxery vacations so that the other students might not feel bad.


    DIS Veteran
    Sep 2, 2004
    We did it up until they graduated high school. Obviously college is whole different ball game. This past October we took a cruise and my oldest dd was supposed to fly out with us to NYC to catch the boat. Originally her class was cancelled that Friday before fall break. Then the professor changed his mind. She either went or got a zero. We all agreed there wasn’t going to be a zero. I switched her flight for a fee. The funny thing was her flight ended up being the very next one out. Ours was delayed by 3 hours so we all ended up sitting in the terminal together. There was no room on our flight for her to change back.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 4, 2016
    I don't think it's a question of right or wrong. You know your kids best and what is best for your family. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

    Personally, we have pulled our kids out of school for 4-5 days at a time almost every year since kindergarten (my boys are now 4th and 7th grade). They are both straight A students and have had zero issues making up the work. If I thought they would struggle at all, we wouldn't do it. I will say, now that my oldest is in middle school we have started planning our vacations more around holiday breaks. In the upper grades it does get harder for them to keep up if they miss too many days. The most we'll pull him out now for a vacation is 2-3 days once a year.
  • DisneyHardin

    DIS Veteran
    Jan 20, 2010
    I agree that it is important to make memories with your family, but am going to play Devils Advocate for a minute too. I am a teacher at an Elementary School. If a child misses and entire week of school, even in Kindergarten they missed TONS of instruction, most of which can't be "made up" with a homework packet. At our school we really strive to not have much work that is done as worksheets. So much of the work is hand-on or small group instruction. There is no way a teacher could make up a weeks worth of missed small groups with a student.


    DIS Veteran
    May 2, 2011
    Is it wrong? In terms of parenting - goodness no. You get to decide what is right for you and your family, and there are a large number of reasons why vacationing during the school year can be a good reason. Plenty of people have legitimate conflicts with the weeks that schools are on break. But even if you didn't have a legitimate conflict, it's still not wrong - they are your kids to parent as you see fit. We took our kids out in elementary grades and very grateful that we had those vacations. My kids particularly like school and are in a bunch of activities now that they're older so I don't imagine we'll end up pulling them out again, unless we need to travel for family illness/death.

    is it wrong in terms of the school district? That varies widely - some places are very strict about absences, I've heard some horror stories of parents getting in a lot of trouble. Neither districts that we've been in have cared that much, our old district had certain attendance days that they used for federal/state funding - and they all out begged everyone to show up on those days (which were twice a year). Our current district just puts out a calendar with all the state testing and asks parents to try hard to avoid missing those days.


    DIS Veteran
    Mar 22, 2012
    Generally speaking the letter is out of the teachers hands. Once attendance reaches a certain number, the letter goes out. It's usually part of the districts improvement plan and is tied to funding through the state.

    Family time is important. I try to get together work if I have the week planned out and send what I can send. I only get annoyed if I take the time to get work together and then it never comes back, so I have to re-gather once the child returns. Or it could be like this week where I might have given work but then we had 2 snow days with 2 possibly 3 cold days expected this week so please dont do the work cause we are all going to be a week behind :jester::scared::rolleyes::rolleyes1:crazy:


    Christmas Day 2017
    Apr 29, 2009
    I did my DD was in school... she had one teacher once in middle school that tried to stop it... I went to the principles office, and that took care of that. I did not tell them why, just that I needed to take her out for a few days for family reason... end of story...


    DIS Veteran
    Feb 18, 2012
    We did it every year until my son was in High School. But really so many people do it here, it was never even questioned. Not usually for Disney but a trip to Mexico or Hawaii and cruises. Our winters are brutal and our school district does not have a spring break. So, everyone is itching to get away for some warm weather or just a break around February.


    DIS Veteran
    Jun 26, 2010
    I'm going to be in the minority, but I think there are very few "valid" excuses to justify a trip to WDW. In your example, you say January is when you can afford and you're planning on doing the same next year. Who says you have to go every year? By not taking a trip one year, that gives you extra money for the following year. As far as being with their grandmother, I get that, but couldn't they have memories of being with their GM at some place (presumably cheaper) other than Disney?

    Everyone has their own sense of what is right and wrong. As long as you can justify it to yourself, it doesn't matter what anyone on the internet says. As far as schools, I'm of the opinion as long as you're willing to accept whatever repercussions are handed down (0's on work/tests, no recess, whatever), do what you want. Obviously the younger the kids are, the repercussions won't be as severe.

    We have three kids, with the youngest in 7th grade. There's been three days missed due to a family trip, and that was only because the school year was extended because of so many snow days.


    DIS Veteran
    Nov 10, 2001
    To each his/her own. However, we take our vacations during any one of the 13 weeks out of the year we have off from school.
    That would be great if you can do that however my first 10+ years at my job I could not hit a summer week or any of the school breaks- vacations are picked in seniority order and the senior guys grabbed all those weeks first so I had no choice but pull out of school if I wanted to go on vacation with my child.


    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Dec 15, 2003
    I totally get the precious time aspect. That time was so precious we just paid the higher prices and went when our kids were not in school. The time was more important than the money.


    DIS Veteran
    Jan 26, 2016
    I have taken my elementary school age many times. Their teachers have even said to me "do it while you can!!". My oldest will be in middle school in the Fall so I'm not quite as comfortable anymore, but we will see.


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