When B. and her husband K. were preparing to take their family on a Disney cruise, they knew they’d have to be prepared. Their son is adopted, and realized Disney has a policy that each child needs a birth certificate to board the boat, and they didn’t have his yet. Unfortunately, despite their careful planning, things went awry, and how.
B. writes of how her son’s adoption was finalized in court a couple of months ago, but that it took awhile to get the papers from that so they could request his birth certificate. Then, it’s another 6-8 weeks before the government sends the birth certificate.
B. planned ahead, and called Disney Cruise Lines a month before their trip, and asked if this lack of a certificate would be a problem. If so, she asked, what should they do?
They told us bring everything we have….Hospital Discharge Papers, Adoption Placement Papers, Final Adoption Decree, and the ATIN (Adoption Tax Identification Number)…and that should be fine. They also said they would make a note about the situation on our reservation. So we thought nothing else of it and gathered those documents (everything we possibly could have at this point) and a month later left for our dream family vacation.
The plane was on time, the limo ride was a blast, pulling up to the ship was so exciting! We were all so happy. Everything had gone great until we checked in at customs at 1:00 (Ship sails at 5:00). We presented ours and [our daughter's] birth certificates and told them [our son's] situation and showed him our plethora of documents. She said I need to talk to a supervisor.
That’s when everything went wrong, writes B. The family waited for half an hour, to be told by a supervisor that they needed to present a birth certificate or the minor couldn’t board the ship. He explained that they had been misinformed, and that he needed proof their son had been born on U.S. soil.
B. says he was willing to accept “the commemorative scrapbook certificate” given out by hospitals –Â a completely non-valid form of identification. She called a neighbor to see if he could check their house for that document, and it couldn’t be found.
As time ticked away, the family thought of everything — calling the hospital where their son was born in an attempt to get his certificate released. In the meantime, B. and family realized they might need another plan. An aunt agreed to come and pick up their son from another friend living close by, and the family prepared to go on vacation with one of their number missing.
When nothing could be done, and the cruise officials said their son wouldn’t be allowed to board, B. and her family bid a tearful farewell to their little one, entrusted to friends, and boarded the ship.
Disney seemed to feel kind of bad for the family, she writes.
Guest services on the cruise did reach out to us. They upgraded all 5 of our rooms in our family to deluxe outside balconies, they gave us free phone calls to check on him everyday (normally $7/min), they gave me a single stroller since I had my double, they gave us free internet (normally $1/min) and sweet E. emailed pictures of him and the fun he was having everyday. They tried to make it right but THIS WAS THEIR FAULT!!!!! We wanted a family vacation with our ENTIRE family. My whole side of the family was there except [our son]! Their employees should have given us accurate information when we called months ago, and we would have been saved the trauma!!!!!
*Thanks to Brittney for the tip!