Cheaper Disney Vacation or Education: The Ultimate Parental Dilemma

cheaper disney world vacation

A Walt Disney World vacation is expensive. This is certainly not news in 2023. Many have repeatedly spoken out about how pricey a Disney vacation is, not to mention adding in airfare, the prices for which are currently through the roof. Disney fans have to find ways around it, and per a recent Wall Street Journal article, they have. Some parents have decided to let their kids skip school for a few days to take them down to the Walt Disney World Resort to enjoy a cheaper Disney World vacation.

magic kingdom wait times

Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort/Courtesy of Disney

One parent, Amanda Howard, planned a Walt Disney World getaway for the week after the Thanksgiving holiday—both for “shorter lines and cooler weather”—and spent ten months doing this. For her kids to be allowed on the trip, Howard had to fill out forms describing how the trip would be educational for the children. She came up with the idea of having her daughters create a journal each that detailed what they learned on the drive from Kentucky to Florida. They even shared what they learned about the mechanics of a particular ride when Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was temporarily closed during their visit.

Some educators are still divided on whether this is a wise decision for families. Still, the reality is it makes their vacations more affordable, and certainly, traveling during the off-season leads to a cheaper Disney World vacation.

The reality is, whether one chooses to stay at on-property at the Disney Resort at a Disney World hotel—think like Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, or even one like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa—the cost of these vacations have shot up.


Sorcerer Mickey meet ‘n’ greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park/Courtesy of DVC Shop

Related: Disney Prices Still Out of Reach for Families, Is Disney Listening?

A middle-school teacher from Vancouver, Tim Cavey, shared in response to the choice of prioritizing a vacation, “I know a lot of teachers get annoyed by it or roll their eyes, but for me, I feel like particularly in middle school it’s not a terrible thing for children to spend quality time with their families.” He felt it was alright, provided the kids weren’t out of school too long.

But it’s important to note it isn’t just for the sake of a cheaper vacation.

Courtney Thatcher, from South Jordan, Utah, who works in risk management for a healthcare company, also took her kids to Disneyland Resort to “experience the Christmas magic without the crowds.” Her sons missed two and a half days of school; Thatcher added, “I think it’s really good for their mental health.”

Tusker House Animal Kingdom

Tusker House, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort/Courtesy of Disney

Related: Is This Affordable for Americans? $10,000 Disney Vacations Have Guests Going Into Debt

Be it from making memories with their children to just saving up because of how exorbitant these vacations have gotten recently, it appears pulling kids out of school for an off-season trip might become more common in the upcoming months.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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