Kids need consistent routines, and they need to focus on their education in order to prepare for adulthood. Definitely.
At the same time, life is short. I will always remember one of the very few times my parents took me out of school so that I could spend time with my Aunt who was sick. That day was precious.
In addition, lots of learning can take place outside of a classroom – if you take the time to look for the opportunity and plan accordingly.
There are actually many ways that a trip to Disney World can be educational. Aside from focused time to spend together and discussing things like manners, planning, and getting along, there are specific areas of educational opportunity you can explore during your next visit, whether it is during the school year or not.
Perhaps no place in Disney World gives your kids a chance to both learn about and actually experience culture more than World Showcase in Epcot. It’s like a trip around the world without ever having to get on a plane.
You can get a sense of the cultures at Epcot through the food, merchandise, and the entertainment – like the fun but educational movies you can see in pavilions like those for Canada, France, and China.
And you have an unparalleled experience to actually talk with people who are native to these countries. How often do you get a chance to talk with someone from Morocco, Japan, or France? Consider planning ahead by preparing a scrapbook with maps and key facts about the various countries. Seek out a Cast Member who might have a bit of time to talk (those in food service or at cash registers keep pretty busy, but greeters or stockers may have more time). Ask where they came from on the map, and what their country is like. You might learn a lot!
Going to Disney World takes plenty of money. Your trip can be an opportunity for your child to keep track of the expenses, perhaps even categorizing them by type (transportation, food, lodging) and preparing a financial report on how your family spent the money.
You can get an amazing overview of United States history at the American Adventure in Epcot, and learn about the struggles of the USA and its presidents in The Hall Of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom.
Take time to read the classic book “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain and then go exploring on Tom Sawyer Island in Frontierland. Or read Lewis Carroll’s famous book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” before taking a spin on the Tea Cups in Fantasyland. Find a copy of J. M. Barrie’s original story of “Peter Pan” before riding the Disney attraction. There are many fairytale stories you can read in print before you see them come to life at Disney World.
If your child is old enough, have them help you with navigation. When you enter the park, ask your child to pick up a Park Guide Map. Have them spend a few minutes learning about the layout of the park and its organization. Then have them help your group navigate from destination to destination. They can learn about things like scale and landmarks, as well as how to politely ask a trusted person for help if they get lost.
Disney offers a number of tours that can be quite educational, especially for older children with a longer attention span. The “Behind The Seeds” tour in The Land Pavilion in the Future World section of Epcot provides lots of great information about agriculture and future farming techniques. The tour called “Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains” allow you to learn about the original trains that helped build America.
In addition to the educational factors for visiting Disney World during times when school is in session, there are a few non-educational perks as well:
Generally speaking, it is cheaper to visit Disney World when kids are in school. Hotels are cheaper, and sometimes transportation is cheaper, too.
Do you think it is OK to take kids out of school for a trip to Disney World?