Posts Tagged ‘school’

School Schedules and Crowd Levels

by on August 14, 2017

Ed. Note: We frequently get questions to TouringPlans asking how we make crowd predictions. This article provides insight into one of the metrics used when formulating predictions about park attendance.

It comes as no surprise that many families with school-age children take Disney vacations, and most prefer to take their children on vacations when school isn’t in session. To account for these attendance patterns, we track over 100 public school districts. This includes the 100 largest school districts in the country, the largest school districts in each state, and school districts that are close to Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This covers 12 million students. That is more than 20% of all students enrolled in public education. TouringPlans spends a lot of time collecting the school schedules each fall and summer. We put in the effort because school schedules are one of the best indicators for predicting crowd levels. Collecting more school schedules has diminishing returns, however. We would have to collect 100 more school districts’ calendars to cover 5% more of the public school students.

National Center for Education Statistics
CCD public school district data 2014-2015, 2015-2016 school years
http://nces.ed.gov/ccd

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Planning Disney During School

by on July 14, 2014

Approaching an approved field trip may be daunting, but with preparation, can be easy.

Approaching an approved field trip may be daunting, but with preparation, can be easy.

You’re a planner by nature, certainly. That’s why you’re on TouringPlans.com, right? Following guidelines for the best family trip suggests visiting Walt Disney World during the school year, but planning for a week out of school may be daunting. Checking  in with the teacher, educational field trip requests, and team schedules may overwhelm even the most ardent planner. With a little organization, and some honest assessment, any parent can manage school parties, rehearsals, and get all the homework done on time. My wife and I have over thirty years of combined teaching experience, and are notorious over-planners. We can help. You thought all of these tests were done years ago, didn’t you?

Before even making your 180 day dinner reservations, or plunking down the deposit, make some honest assessments about your children. Pull out attendance records and grade reports from the last school year. See what the district reported about performance. If your child missed double digits of school without a trip involved – or any other extenuating circumstances – a trip may impact the year negatively. Even with work provided and advance notification, missing school loses out on that educational experience. With most districts in the United States making a strong shift to common core, much of the educational process builds on previous learning. Especially in math and science, what kids learn today assumes they have the knowledge from previous days.

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Should My Child Miss School for a Disney World Vacation?

by on January 1, 2014

The value season at Disney World has much that appeals, notably low crowds and low hotel prices. That’s great if you’re an adult looking to visit Disney with a minimum of fuss; you can plan your trip to take advantage of value pricing and promotions. But the sticky wicket for parents is that those oh-so-attractive value rates typically occur during times like October and January, smack in the middle of the school year.

Though not always true, typically the younger the child, the fewer repercussions you'll face if they miss school.

Though not always true, typically the younger the child, the fewer repercussions you’ll face if they miss school.

Thus comes the eternal conundrum, “Should I pull my child out of school to go to Disney World?” I’m not here to answer the question for you (without knowing your family situation, that would be akin to travel blogger malpractice), but there a number of variables you may want to consider as you ponder whether it makes sense for you to have your child miss school for a family vacation.

How old is my child?

Back in the day, I once stressed about pulling my daughter out of preschool for a family trip. When I mentioned my anxiety to her teacher, she looked at me like I was insane and said, “It’s letter G week. I’m pretty sure that eventually she’ll figure out the letter G.” Her comment highlights that it is often easy to recover from some missed early lessons. Fast forward several years and this same daughter (who now has full grasp of G) is now in an advanced calculus class in high school. She came home recently and said, “I went to the bathroom for five minutes and was completely lost for the next two days.”

The older the child, the higher the stakes will be for missing school for any reason.

Does my child have any academic challenges?

While an academically advanced child may be able to recover quickly from missed lessons, a child with academic challenges may face a long struggle to regain mastery in the classroom. Consider whether you want to put the child, and his teacher, in this position.

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