Educational Value of a Walt Disney World Vacation

Ask almost anyone and when you tell them that you are going on a Walt Disney World vacation, they immediately think that you will be spending the week having fun in the sun, going to the world’s biggest theme park everyday, and not thinking about work or, for the kids, school.  This has caused a backlash among some school administrators to push back and hold family vacations against families.  This post will provide you with some counter arguments to their concerns.

Increasing demands both on the academic and athletic fronts and shifted a lot family vacations from throughout the year to exclusively in the summer.   The athletic front is easier to navigate.  The body needs a week to recover from the pounding it takes day in/day out on the court, field, or diamond.  A family vacation solves some of that problem.  School administrators, on the other hand, are different nut to crack.   Here are some of the counter arguments that you can use on school administrators and teachers.

1) Kids can learn budgeting first-hand

Budgeting Worksheets

Attached are some budgeting worksheets that you can give to your child as you start to plan your Walt Disney World vacation.  These budgeting worksheets can be used two ways.  First, they can teach your child some perspective on how the vacation is costing the family.  Most kids understand the value of a dollar and seeing that the vacation costs in the thousands of dollars should help temper some of the complaints that could occur during the vacation.

Second, it breaks down the cost of the vacation into smaller chunks.  There’s a breakdown for room costs, travel costs, and park tickets.  They can also compare and discover which form a transportation is the least expensive in an attempt to trim money from the expenses.  They can also track their souvenir expenses from their starting budget and learn decision-making on if “they really need that souvenir.”

These are real world tools that kids will use more and more as they get older and when they go away to college.  The sooner they understand how budget, the better they will be at budgeting.

Day Two #2

2) They can do research

Parents can give their kids the “independent research” project of learning about the different resorts, restaurants, and park ticket options that they can choose from at Walt Disney World.  Parents give the kids a deadline where they need to have a prioritized list of three or four resorts that they would to stay at, five or six restaurants that they would like to eat at, and what park ticket options would work best for the family’s vacation.

Frontierland at park open
Frontierland at park open

3) They learn about deadlines/project management

Tell the school administrators about the project management aspect of planning a Walt Disney World vacation and how your kids will be actively involved in the planning process.  These rolling deadlines (365 days before a vacation – book a WDW package, 180 days before vacation – book dining reservations, 60 days before vacation – check-in to resort/book Fastpass+ reservations, 45 days before vacation – pay for vacation in full).  Tell the school that the children are going to actively involved in the planning process.  Choosing restaurants to eat at, choosing which attractions will have Fastpass+ reservations.  They learn more about prioritization and how to cope with deadlines that are always looming.  Project management at it’s finest.

Wordless Wednesday - Music

4) Every Attraction is a learning experience

Whether your family is riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Spaceship Earth, Star Tours, or Kilimanjaro Safaris, every attraction  can be a learning experience.  Some attractions, like Hall of Presidents, it can be easy to determine the educational value.  Other attractions, like Dumbo, it can be a bit more difficult.  But it can be done, some of those “spinner” attractions are mini-physics experiments.  Kids can learn how the ride operates, what physics principles are occurring on the attraction and what safety measures are in place to ensure guest safety.  Kids can learn something with every attraction, land, and character interaction.  These learning experiences can be used as vacation project ideas.

Ariel welcoming guests to her ride
Ariel welcoming guests to her ride

If you would like to learn about some of the vacation project ideas or how planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be a lesson in project management, pick up a copy of my new book – WDW For Teens and Tweens.  This book is has “educational slants” for every attraction, discussions on every on-property resort and on-property table service restaurant.  It is a great resource for teens and tweens who have “aged out” of the guidebooks geared toward younger kids.  Books are available through Theme Park Press or Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.

Thanks for reading!

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