Background: I’ve been to WDW a dozen times. We have 4 kids and have been to WDW approx. every other year since we had kids. So oldest has been 6 times, 2nd has been 5, 3rd kid has been 4, and youngest has been 3 times. We are a big sports family and therefore most of our other "vacations’ are at sports tournament locales, visiting family out of state, a summer beach week, that type of thing. DH and I are planning an adults-only 5 day trip to WDW this spring!! Anyway, we would like to take our two youngest back to Disney for a week next winter/early spring. We can only travel during spring break or July if we take the older two as they are in high school and play sports and can’t miss sports or school for more than a day or two. We don’t mind pulling the younger two out of elementary school for a week to go at our convenience. And with such an age gap, WDW is awesome, amazing, magical with all of us together but it is also easier to focus on the interests of the younger ones (or the teens) at once. The older ones have been multiple times, and we certainly spend copious amounts of time and money traveling with them for sports all year. BUT I am feeling sooo guilty as this has been a favorite “family trip” for quite a while. DH says they will not really mind too much. They shrug. But I need advice: plan a trip with just the two younger ones, wait until next summer (ugh–heat and crowds if Star Wars opens), or don’t go at all for a couple of years and find something new to do with the family??? Feel guilty? Get over it? What do you think? WWYD?
Personally I wouldn’t go with just the younger ones unless I knew the older ones didn’t want to go. Not that they can deal with it but that if you asked them would they like to go, they would say no (and not just because of school commitments).
If I was the teenager being left behind I’d be furious. But you’d probably only have gotten a shrug out of me too if you asked, cuz that’s what teenagers do.
We took only our younger two last summer, but it was for different circumstances. We are a blended family. In 2011, we took my stepkids to WDW as a sort of family “honeymoon” after our wedding the previous year. That was and is the only time they’ve been. I’m a huge Disney freak, and my stepkids have never been into it. They had a blast, but have never asked to go back. They are now 18 and 15. Last summer, we decided to take just our “ours” kids- age 3 and 4 at the time- for their first trip. We did feel guilty about leaving the big ones, but they could only take one big vacation due to sports and work commitments. We wanted to be able to focus on JUST the needs of the preschoolers and give them a magical experience without worrying about our teenagers and keeping them happy, dragging them out of bed for RD, etc. Next time we return to WDW, it will be as a family of 6 (if the big ones want to go). I think do whatever makes the most sense for your family! Since you go so often, they may not miss out and maybe you can do another vacation for all of you when it is convenient for them to travel.
One of my favorite things about my Disney trips is the way I get to connect with my son. When he was a teenager, and Into his 20s when he didn’t need me at all- he still had fun and enjoyed spending time with me and he talked to me (!) at Disney.
There is something about that Disney Magic! ️
I would not take half the kids. If you want to go sometime with only the little ones wait until the older ones are in college at least.
I would say no. I grew up with a large age gap between my sister and I, 7 years. Regularly my parents would allow her to miss school for trips skiing, Disney once, California twice, etc. but due to my AP class and sports schedule I had to stay home. They explained at the time that it wasn’t about me but my schedule, but it didn’t stop me from feeling hurt … and honestly a little unwanted at the second or third trip.
Y’all are right. I feel too guilty. Just to clarify—I know that the boys won’t feel unwanted as we often take trips with the older kids alone too. Usually it is one parent and the child. Took the oldest for a long weekend to see the NCAA basketball tournament a year ago and to explore that city. DH took middle son hiking in National Park for a few days. And both parents are taking the two older boys to Myrtle Beach for a tournament and then staying a couple days while we leave the littles with Grandma. And I’m taking the middle son and some friends with other parents to DC for four days. But that is not Disney. That is the difference, as it is our “family trip”.
I didn’t mean to say they would feel that way. I am sure you have a loving family with far less dysfunction. I’m sure you will make the right decision for your family, after all you know your kids best.
Oh no, I’m sure we are all kinds of dysfunctional. I wasn’t offended by your post @hillary_murphy I maybe am just trying to justify. Thinking we will book for all for next spring break
Our oldest two boys (19 and 18) have reached the college years and so are no longer able to go with us on family trips. But the other three kids still go. We are in a different boat, since we homeschool. This allows us to vacation when crowds are lowest with all the kids. BUT, I will say that if that weren’t the case, I’d rather have everyone there with all the kids than have shorter lines but leave a couple of kids out. Once they are in college, however, it changes. They have their own lives. They are adults. We missed them in our most recent trip, but it is a stage of life. If, however, we had told them when they were still in high school that we were going to go to Disney without them because of shorter lines, they probably would have acted fine with it, but I’m not sure they truly would have been fine with it. (Hey, as it is, my 18-year-old was tempted to skip a week of college classes not to miss this year’s trip!)
My next trip is in 8 days and we are only taking our youngest 2. We have a large blended family of 6 kids. 3 boys do not live with us full time they are 17, 15, 11. 3 girls do live with us full time are 16, 9, 3. We are taking the 9 year old out of school for the week and the youngest does not yet attend school. My 16 year old daughter rejected the idea of going again at least until Star Wars opens. The boys will all be in school and have perfect and near perfect attendance records as well as sports and show choir commitments. Our plan is to take the 2 boys (15,11) over fall break and the 2 oldest (17,16) sometime in 2019 before the oldest heads off to college.
We debated this as the best way to go but personally taking them all at once is very hard to do. The older kids obviously do not have the same interests as the younger ones. We took them all for Spring Break 2016 and we had a nice time but as a family we have better vacations elsewhere when everyone is going. My husband and I try to go once a year for an adults only trip which is always nice.
It truly is whatever works best for your family. This past summer we took all the kids to Jekyll Island Georgia for a week and it was the best family trip we have ever had. Disney just works for us in smaller groups!
I would feel absolutely no guilt about taking only the younger ones. The older ones are busy with activities they chose to do, and they have greater school responsibilities because they are older. The younger ones deserve some alone time with the parents without having to deal with their older siblings. Let them be the focus for this trip; I’m sure the older ones have had their turn.