Taking the family to the theme parks can get really expensive and when parents who foster children take them, it adds to the cost. There should be discounts.
Disney World will offer discounted tickets to Canadian visitors throughout the year. They will offer discounts to Florida residents, California residents, and most of the theme parks in each state do the same. They should offer discounts for foster children.
Hear me out here. I want to be clear that I am not advocating for the foster parents to be rewarded for being, well, foster parents, I’m advocating that these theme parks should offer discounts for the children in foster care systems.
I have been a foster parent since 2015 and have had quite a few children of all ages come through my home. My wife and I and our oldest biological son have all had season passes to Disney in the past. After we adopted our first two, we quickly bought them passes as well. Eventually, our third adopted child will get them too.
Here is the thing, as foster parents we don’t know when a child will come into our home. We can’t plan for that. We can turn the placement down but we try not to. Our walls are adorned with family pictures at various theme parks in Orlando and our foster placements always comment on them. “Oh, I love Disney! Can you take us?” It’s a question that can break your heart.
It is safe to say that almost all fostered children will never visit a theme park as children. There is a reason they are in foster care, in the system, and if and when they return to their bio families, it isn’t likely to change their odds of going. The same can be said about the placement homes.
Most foster homes can’t afford to take children to big theme parks. It is expensive. Disney alone can cost over $100.00 per child. Two parents, three kids, and two foster kids will set a family back over $900.00 and that doesn’t include lodging, food, and any souvenirs you may want them to have.
Our family has been fortunate in that we have been able to take our foster kids to Disney but that is because we have family who works there. We can easily get permission to take our foster kids out of state but DSS doesn’t pay you to take the kids on vacation and in many cases expect you to leave the foster kids with another family while you go on your vacation. I find that to be incredibly insulting to the child that is in foster care.
Admission discounts would make a world of difference in a foster child’s life. It would bring a small reprieve from the daily reminders that they are not in regular contact with their own parents or siblings. It would give them something to look forward to and give them even a little joy for a few days. Memories that can help them get through tougher times. A simple stuffed animal that is associated with something nice in their lives for a change.
The problem is always cost. There are some zoos across the country that offer discounts for fostered children and we have been able to purchase family passes to aquariums and zoos and have our foster kids added to the family list. It has helped those kids feel somewhat normal and part of something.
Honestly, I think the big theme parks are missing an opportunity. This should be something they strive for. Something they can offer a child, even if for only a one-time option.