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Time-Starved American Families Look to Vacations to Rediscover Each Other, Survey Shows

Parents More Affectionate, Family Togetherness at Dinnertime Doubles on the Road, According to Findings

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.  Feb. 20, 2013- Between long work hours, busy after school schedules and countless distractions, today’s American family is feeling more disconnected than ever – creating a deficit in “quality time” amongst U.S. parents and their children.

The solution? According to the Disney Time Survey, a blind study conducted by Kelton – a leading research firm – quality family time not only increases while on vacation but parents and children say they learn something new about one another during this time, as opposed to when at home.

More than 1,000 parents of children age 5-17 participated in the Disney Time Survey, which asked families to think about and share thoughts on quality time when at home – versus when on vacation.

So, how do parents define quality time? Ninety-one percent of parents report that quality time is achieved when they learn something new about their child, while 84 percent of parents say quality time means their child learned something new about them. From favorite to least favorite activities and food, to details about their children’s friends – the survey found that moms and dads saddled by hectic lifestyles are craving more time together with their kids.

We’re Busy!

Time is precious – and fleeting – and for many parents, scarce.

  • Out of 52 weeks a year, on average, parents surveyed admit that they have only 15 “free” weekends – i.e. “no plans.” Further, 13 percent say they have no free weekends.
  • Seventy-one percent of parents would love more time with their kids – up to nine hours more a week, specifically.
  • Ninety-six percent of parents would give up at least one thing for a year to spend just one extra hour with their children every week, such as a favorite TV show/sports/game (78 percent), the internet (74 percent), shopping (74 percent), sleeping late (69 percent), a favorite hobby (64 percent), even coffee (59 percent).

Solution? Go on Vacation!

The findings present vacations as a key way to cultivate family bonding and strengthen quality time.

  • Ninety-seven percent of parents say that their children have gotten to know new things about them while taking family trips, including more about their parents’ childhoods (86 percent) or facts about other family members (74 percent).
  • Almost one in two parents feel that out of all the time they spend with their children, only half of it, at most, could be classified as “quality time.” However, while on vacation, parents report that 82 percent of time would fall in the “quality time” category.
  • When they do vacation together, the whole family is inclined to be more excited (77 percent), relaxed (75 percent), silly (68 percent), calm (54 percent) and even more affectionate (54 percent).
  • Parents report eating an average of 10 meals with their children in a typical week at home. However, when on a seven-day vacation, families say they almost double the number of meals they eat together (19 meals vs. 10 meals) – and 68 percent claim they would eat all 21 meals (three meals per day) as a family.

Family Travel: Looking Ahead

As part of the study commissioned for Disney Parks, parents were asked to share some vacation habits and places of interest. Family travel is set for growth over the next five years, findings showed.

  • More than eight in ten (82 percent) respondents who have taken family vacations reveal that they will take the same amount of, if not more, vacations in the next five years. Further, 94 percent of parents think it’s important for families to take vacations together on a regular schedule.
  • When asked to pick one specific location where they felt their family would have the best time on vacation, top responses in terms of type were theme park, beach, cruises and camping, respectively.
  • Parents also highlighted Florida, specifically Orlando, Hawaii and California as top destinations for family vacations.

Disney asked Kelton to conduct the survey to better understand the value parents believe vacations bring to their families.

“We know vacations are important, but to have parents validate how important vacation time is to their families was insightful,” said Leslie Ferraro, executive vice president of global marketing for Disney Parks.  “As we’ve learned from families who participated in the survey, those moments of quality family time can feel fleeting in our everyday home lives.  At Disney Parks, families enter a different kind of time – where the entire family can relax and be a kid – Disney Time.”

This year, Disney Time gets an extra sprinkling of pixie dust as Disney Parks celebrates Limited Time Magic, featuring special and new experiences every week aimed at creating memories to last a lifetime.

Survey Methodology
The Disney Time Survey was conducted by Kelton between January 8 and January 21, 2013 among 1,004 American parents of children ages 5-17, using Random Digit Dialing of listed and unlisted numbers. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.

About Kelton
Kelton is a leading global insights firm serving as a partner to more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and thousands of smaller companies and organizations. Utilizing a wide range of customized, innovative research techniques and staff expertise in marketing, branding, PR, media, and business strategy; Kelton helps drive our clients’ businesses forward. For more information about Kelton please call 1.888.8.KELTON or visit www.keltonglobal.com.