Disney Ruins Family Vacation By Not Letting Adopted Child On Cruise

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!


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  1. BelleSade says:

    What a great way to make an adopted kid feel welcome, deciding the vacation is just much more important and leaving the kid behind while they go and have a blast. Couldn’t she ask for some sort of vouches or some thing and go together later on?

    • theblackdog says:

      $10 said Disney Cruises told them “No Refunds”

      It sucks, but if you’re dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on a trip and it’s about to all go out the window, you’re likely going to do irrational things to make sure you don’t lose that money.

      • backbroken says:

        Hundreds of dollars?

        You haven’t priced out a cruise or a Disney vacation, have you? This had to be a 5 figure vacation.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      From the blog, it looks like Beckham is only 9 months old.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Well, good. Because I was going to be pretty pissed at the parents. That situation is a life-long traumatic experience for a kid, in particular a kid that was just adopted.

        Unless he can’t even talk yet.

        • Doubting thomas says:

          I know you are trying to be sarcastic, but it does make a difference.
          First he will never remember this, ever.
          Second he will not understand that they are off having fun without him, as long as he is warm, dry and well fed life is good for him
          Third, staying with a loving caregiver is probably far less traumatic for a child that age that a loud chaotic park where the host is a six foot tall rat.

          • kobresia says:

            Not sure if Loias is being sarcastic, because it’s a spot-on comment.

            Just about anyone should be able to realize that the baby is better-off on shore, babies are not going to be able to enjoy the nice experiences on the cruise, and the trauma from all the chaos might be the only thing the poor kid would have a chance of remembering.

            I think it’s pretty safe to say that a baby has no concept of what “adopted” even means, much less the ramifications, so he’s not going to feel left-out, unless the vacation his family ditched him & continued on when he was a baby gets mentioned when he gets older.

            The family made a shockingly reasonable choice to continue on and not just all mope around with the baby, waste thousands of dollars on the general principle of not leaving the baby behind, and then screaming at Disney for ruining it for all of them. From the headline, that was the reaction I was expecting, but instead it just worked out pretty well for everyone, probably even better than they had originally planned.

            • chgo_liz says:

              Actually, research has consistently shown that babies and toddlers do have memories even when they cannot express them using words. Babies and toddlers are not blank slates. And more than that: adoptees are traumatized by losing their original family, staying in any number of temporary situations, and then finally ending up with total strangers who don’t look, sound or act like anyone they know. In this case, the new adoptee was handed over at the last minute to other strangers he didn’t really know yet (although the adoptive parents did). Of course this would be stressful to the child. It is also likely to be remembered.

              All this could have been avoided if the child had been born in one of the few states that allows all citizens to have access to their real birth certificates instead of issuing false new documents that don’t pass security inspection. Don’t be mad at Disney: be mad at the government for creating false vital records that don’t pass muster.

              • darcmosch says:

                or blame the cruise employees for telling them that the situation was fine. Hell, the supervisor said he was willing to accept “the commemorative scrapbook certificate” given out by hospitals — a completely non-valid form of identification.

                So how is this exactly the government’s fault for not issuing some documents right away? It’s not, the government is not the root of all problems.

                • chgo_liz says:

                  The document *is* issued right away: it’s filed at birth. But in almost all US states the legal act of adoption forces the vital record to be locked away where it can never be seen again.

                  If they had the birth certificate, which every biological parent gets back from the county registrar within weeks (long before a baby is old enough to go on a plane), they could have gone.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        Which makes the whole thing even more ridiculous.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      The kid looks about 13 months old so I don’t think he was too personally insulted.

      • Kestris says:

        Actually, he’s a little under 10 months, and yeah, way to young to even remember going to Disneyland, let alone on a Disney Cruise.

  2. PadThai says:

    Who goes on the cruise without the baby?

    • Mambru says:

      Technically is not their baby. But I know that is duouche baggery at is finest

      • falnfenix says:

        wait, what? how is that not their child?

        • Mambru says:

          Biologically speaking I mean.

          • falnfenix says:

            the kid is still theirs, whether they created it or brought it into the family.

            • Mambru says:

              No is not, that kid is a long term loaner if the real mom decides to claim it chances are baby becks is going with his biological mom.

              • missminimonster says:

                I was adopted just like the baby in the story. Since the adoption was finalized, the biological parents’ period to change their minds is over with and the baby does, indeed, belong to the couple. Nowhere in the article does it imply that it was an open adoption where the bio parents will be having contact either.

                I think of the parents who raised me since birth as my parents. My biological mother is in my life and I call her by her first name. I didn’t even consider her visiting when my son was born. She’s just kind of “there” and, while we’re friends, I would never choose her over the woman who raised me.

                Do you have any personal experience you’re basing this opinion on?

        • SabreDC says:

          Well, he’s right. “Technically”, (which would describe the technical methodology/technique/mechanics for making a baby) it isn’t their baby. Legally, it is their baby.

      • rdclark says:

        In the sense that technically, their dog is not “their” dog. Right?

    • jeadly says:

      You accidentally wrote “without” instead of “with”. It’s okay, I know what you meant.

    • Hoss says:

      It’s just a kid they got second-hand.

    • rhynole says:

      That’s what grandma’s are for. Watching the baby while mom and dad go on vacation.

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      Everyone that is sane.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t do a cruise until they are potty trained.

      Wait, I wouldn’t do it until they at least 5-6 honestly.

    • Conformist138 says:

      When my little brother was a baby, we left him with an aunt and uncle for a week while my parents and grandparents took me to Disneyland. Bro was probably about 9 months old, too young to enjoy the park or be expected to endure the plane trip. Plus, I was close to 5 and still getting used to sharing my family with a sibling, so I wasn’t really too sad to leave him behind- by then I’d caught on that babies seemed like a lot of work and didn’t do anything cool.

  3. raitch says:

    How is this the cruise line’s fault? “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. ” SHOULD. They were never promised that it would be okay.

    I’m kinda amazed that at least one parent didn’t stay home with Beckham. Seems like the kind of thing that would give any kid a complex.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      Dude, he’s a baby. Like “medically-cannot-remember-things-that-happen-at-this-age” baby.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      What? why would staying with another loving adult give a kid a complex? Kids need to be exposed to other family members and form attachments to them. Babies are pretty laid back if you just let them be that way. I’m sure the child was just fine.

    • CalicoGal says:

      Like naming him “Beckham” already hasn’t??

      I keed, I keed…

      • Cat says:

        No. You’re not alone thinking that. I know one couple that named – and called their kid – “B. Miles”. The kid had serious issues, but hey, what do you expect when you give a kid a douchebag name?

      • Jane_Gage says:

        No wonder they expected the rules to be bent!

      • bdgbill says:

        No kidding! I was born in the sixties and I’m glad my parents had the foresight not to name me “Koufax” or “Unitas”.

    • az123 says:

      I do agree, and I more imagine the phone call being something more like

      CSR “It is required for customs purposes”

      Mom “I can bring all this documentation (listing stuff) that proves the kid is mine, that should be sufficient right”

      CSR “um, I would imagine it should be, but the rules say birth certificate”

      Mon “OK perfect I will bring all that and no birth certificate and we will be set to go”

    • StarKillerX says:

      Let’s not forget that they then didn’t bring everything they had and had their neighbor looking for one of the things they didn’t bring.

      • bhr says:

        I cant believe that official court records of adoption don’t count. They do for things like HS athletics.

        • iesika says:

          I assume Disney wanted it for proof of citizenship, since they were coming and going from the US. They said they needed to prove the baby was born in the US.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      eh, my parents went on vacations and cruises without me and my sister on a regular basis when we were little. they didn’t start taking us on vacations that weren’t trips to see grandma until i [the youngest] was 6. before that it would have been too much hassle for everyone.

    • CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

      Are you really this stupid?

  4. MikeF74 says:

    Salespeople. They’ll tell you anything to make the sail, because they never have to deal with the eventual shitstorm they cause.

  5. PunditGuy says:

    That’s really unlike the mouse. It’s too late now, but I’m guessing if you went beyond the cruise division you’d find some satisfaction further up the chain of command.

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    All that stuff to make their vacation better, but the person that needed the special attention wasn’t even there.

  7. GrayMatter says:

    Interesting post.

    And let me state outright: I AM NOT BLAMING THE OP!!! She seems to have prepared for this possibility pretty darn well, and was able to set up an alternative for her child.

    My suspicions are that the dockside personnel know immigration policy far more accurately than the customer service people. And, these days ICE can be pretty darn sticky about any problems with paper.

    Still, Disney should have arranged better communications with the proper people. And, I credit Disney for the way they apologized. It seems to indicate that they realized their error, and with the extent of their considerations, that they are planning on avoiding such a problem in the future.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If I’m not mistaken, birth certificates aren’t required for children under 1 yr old (or was that part of the change in the last few years?) The child appears to be less than 1 yr old.

      • GrayMatter says:

        From what I have read, ICE can be a PITA or worse. “OK ma’am, I agree that a child under one year of age does not need a birth certificate. But prove to me that this child is under one year of age! A birth certificate will suffice.”

      • az123 says:

        Passports are not required for some ports of travel for children under 1, however you do need a birth certificate to get back into the country… Otherwise great way to sneak babies in

      • huadpe says:

        This is likely not an issue with ICE, but with the foreign port(s) they’d be landing at. If they’re landing at 4 ports, and even one of those rejects the kid, that means the kid has to be flown back, possibly on chartered air if a commercial flight is not available, while a parent stays with the kid to fly back, while being in a Caribbean island’s immigration detention until the flight can be arranged. It’s a really crappy situation, but the potential consequences of bringing the kid on board could have been even crappier, and the crew probably knew that.

      • aerodawg says:

        last cruise we went on I was lead to believe that everybody regardless of age had to have proof of citizenship, either a passport or birth certificate.

  8. dolemite says:

    “I’m sorry you couldn’t go, our new son, but just so you know, they upgraded our package and it was a BLAST…probably once in a lifetime thing…ohhhh boy, you shoulda been there!”

    That being said…adoption confuses me. It’s a long, drawn out process that costs a ton of money. Here, you have a kid that needs parents, and here, you have parents that want a child. Then the government steps between them and makes it a huge long difficult process, despite the couple being successful and responsible.

    Then, down the street, you have a woman with no education and no interest in providing for her 8 kids, and she can pop them out at will and live off the state. Something seems backwards about this situation.

    • ajaxd says:

      Well, imagine if there was a very simple process to adoption. Great. Now 5-10 years down the road, imagine one of the birth parents showing up and demanding the child back claiming the original adoption was not legal. Not so great anymore.

      • George4478 says:

        Why does the existence of a signed give-up-your-claim-on-your-birth-child document mean the process must be long, convoluted, and expensive?

        • StarKillerX says:

          Let’s be honest here, the government is involved so can you really expect it to be fast, painless and low cost?

      • bhr says:

        My friends have gone international. In a couple cases it was because they wanted a baby of the same race (and fuck anyone who says not wanting to go through the extra difficulty of raising a different race child in a small town makes them evil) and partially because a mutual friend raised a child for five years before the birth mother sued for custody.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      It’s a double edged sword — If the process is made too easy, it will just wind up like the foster system, where a disproportionate number of parents will adopt a child just for the check or for religious indoctrination.

      We fostered for close to 10 years, attempted to adopt two kids (failed both times) and simply gave up three or four years ago. The entire system is a nightmare if you’re just regular parents trying to do good.

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      My wife and I adopted internationally in 2006. We are have been in the process to adopt 1-2 children ages 3-11 from foster care since 2009. It is long. It is painful. It is frustrating. No offence meant, but you have no clue what you’re talking about.

      Placing “a child” with “a family” doesn’t work. The child (or children) need to be given the best chance that the new family will NOT give up on them.

      The vast majority of kids in the foster system are older and have a number of issues simply related to being abandoned by their parents and extended family not to mention any issues stemming from the neglect/abuse that caused them to be taken into the system in the first place. This meands that the older the child, the harder it is to place them. Children with disrupted adoptions in their history are even harder to place.

      • dolemite says:

        Not to nitpick, but you state I have no idea what I’m talking about (and you certainly have 10x more experience in the matter) when I state it is a long, painful, expensive process, then you explain at length that it is a long, painful, expensive process.

        I think the only thing we differed on is whether it needs to be.

    • WB987 says:

      How do you define “live well off the situation?” you and I must have completely different standards of living. Do you even know what the allotment is for a kid in your state? Are you stating that there are a significant number of poor people who only have kids in order to get assistance? Kids do have to be fed to survive. And that’s an ugly statement to make and might say more about you than people living on state assistance if you believe there are large numbers of people doing this.

    • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

      We just typed up and signed a ‘guardianship letter’ in front of a $10 notary public. We made it through school registrations, doctors’ visits, etc. … Now she’s 18.

    • Conformist138 says:

      Actually, there is a shortage of kids- of the “right” kids. What a lot of people want is a baby, specifically a baby of the same race as at least one adoptive parent. White people are more likely to have the resources to adopt, leaving disproportionate numbers of both older and ethnically diverse children in the foster system (while this is changing, international adoptions are more popular than domestic for parents seeking a child of a different race- so our own kids stay in the system). Not that adopting one of the kids stuck in foster care is any easier- older kids tend to have problems that can be extremely severe. And “older” can mean kids as young as 4 years old. These adoptions have to be done carefully to make sure the new parents are prepared and the child isn’t further traumatized by being yanked again from one place to another with more strangers.

      I knew a couple with two adopted kids that were adopting two more (a brother/sister pair that were removed from their home due to severe neglect). The kids were so cute- these little blonde-haired, blue-eyed dolls, but they did nothing but swear- it was most of the words they’d learned at home. The little boy, not even 5 years old, had to be taught to hug over the course of many months. He was so sweet, but when he put his arm around you, he would squeeze and not let go. Even if he was hugging around your neck. That kid was deceptively strong- I was on the squeezing end of these “hugs” and more than once needed an extra adult to help pry him off before I was choked out.

      Not every family is prepared or equipped to deal with a child that screams “You f***ing c**t!!” during every tantrum and seemingly tries to kill you when he’s in a “good mood”. This can lead to the child being further abused by family members that expected a ‘normal’ kid and got one that is ‘screwed up’.

      So, the process is long and frustrating, but the combo of parents being choosy about the kind of kid they want and the special needs of abused children make this really inevitable. That, and the US government isn’t known for doing anything efficiently compared to any other country, so we’re bound to bring a little extra suck into the situation.

  9. bigdirty says:

    Looks like this is a clear cut case of “It’s Betsy’s Fault”

    No Birth Certificate = No Boarding Boat

    It would be the same if I tried to go out of the country without my passport. Disney owed her NOTHING!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I blame the official representative who gave the instructions to the family, and/or the representative who then contradicted the other official representative’s instructions.

      If you don’t, I’ll just say it: You’re an idiot.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        BigDirty may be big and dirty but he’s not an idiot. Disney – at most – said they SHOULD be fine with all those documents but Customs insisted on a birth certificate. The parents took the risk thinking they could talk their way through any difficulties.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          This is a process Disney does daily, for many years. They should be as much an expert on Customs requirement as anyone.

          • StarKillerX says:

            Any how frequently do you think they deal with people booking cruises immedateiy after adopting an infant?

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              The closeness doesn’t matter, it’s what documents are acceptable. Th documents the OP described would just as likely be what a parent has for their adopted child whether it was 1 month ago or 3 years ago.

              If the rep wasn’t sure, he definitely shouldn’t have made any guesses or half-affirmations. He should have said “I don’t know” and potentially sent them to a supervisor.

              • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

                We don’t know the precise words or affirmations that were used. If, as the parents say, the rep said ‘should work’ then the onus is back on the parents to make sure.

          • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

            I don’t buy it. Chatting with a Disney travel rep they were more than likely told that a birth certificate was required. It’s right there in the travel docs and TOS. Getting the rep to agree that the plethora of other documents ‘should’ be OK is not an official approval or promise. These parents were determined to go on a cruise, thought they could bend the rules, and even left their baby behind. One of them could have stayed with the baby. I bet they wouldn’t have left their birth daughter behind.

  10. mikedt says:

    Why does disney need proof that a minor was born on US soil? I can see the questioning whether or not a child is legally yours, but birthplace?

    • GrayMatter says:

      The cruise goes to other countries. The US requires proof of citizenship, or a visa, to get back into the country.

    • sphenodont says:

      International travel is involved. It’s an Immigrations issue, which means it was likely out of Disney’s hands.

    • SharkD says:

      You cannot leave the U.S. with an infant, without the presence/legally documented permission of both parents and proof of citizenship status (birth certificate or passport).

      • Brainswarm says:

        I worked the reservations desk for a major airline. I once got a call from a woman who had already booked tickets for a trip to Mexico. We were talking about the documentation requirements, passports, birth certificates, etc. when I brought up the parental permission rules. That’s were it got complicated. She was in the middle of a foreign adoption from one of the African nations, but it wasn’t complete. Therefore, while they had custody of the child, they weren’t legally the parents. Unfortunately, I had to help them cancel their trip.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Read the article. It was Customs – not Disney – who denied boarding.

  11. az123 says:

    Though Disney sounds like they were idiots in this, the OP should have either gotten written documentation from Disney or held off the trip till she had the correct documents.

    Though it would have been funnier if they had let the kid go and then when the ship returned ICE took him as an illegal alien without documentation and decided to deport him someplace…. This rule is not exactly a Disney special it is a requirement from the government and they just want the records to prove everyone on the ship was a US citizen

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      “written documentation”.

      Yep. In my line of work, it’s either written documentation or it never happened.

  12. ninabi says:

    I looked at her blog and I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone enjoy their terrible consumer issue so much.

  13. spartan says:

    I gotta agree 100% with Belle Sade. The family blew this one worse than Disney did. Disney knows PR, and had they waited I will bet they would have been offered the best cruise EVER once the proper documents arrived.

    In fact below is the opening paragra[ph of this womans blog.

    “”””””We had an incredible fun-filled Disney Cruise Vacation minus one very heart-breaking and unexpected set-back. (I will explain later in the post.) Other than this MAJOR problem, we had a magical time and have tons of pictures….so this is long (and I left out about 150 pictures). Hopefully I will be able to re-cap the fun so we will always remember.””””””

  14. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    That’s a bad situation, but not having a very young child on a cruise is not something I can imagine actually ruining a vacation. We left ours with my mom when we went on our cruise and all was fine.

    Also, Disney’s written policy is that you have to have the birth certificate. Honestly, if something is in a written policy, I wouldn’t ever take someone’s word that they will accept something else. especially when it comes to something big like a cruise.

  15. Costner says:

    I think the most traumatizing fact of this story is they named their child after a UK-born footballer (soccer star).

    I can’t really fault Disney for having a strict policy on this one though. I can fault them for misinforming her over the phone, but the policy itself is a good one. We wouldn’t want child traffikers to realize all they need to do to smuggle a child from one country to another is to board a Disney ship.

    • t-spoon says:

      Good, somebody else brought it up so I can comment on it. Proof that giving your kid a bad name will cause him to pass it on – Karson begets Beckham.

      Ugh. What’s wrong with James and Christopher, people?

      • CalicoGal says:

        Psshh—he can’t be expected to be a snowflake with a name like Christopher, Robert, Richard, Steven, or Benjamin, can he?

        Those are way too normal!!

      • Eyeheartpie says:

        Those names are not snowflakey enough.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I was thinking the same thing. What a terrible name. Then I looked at the blog and saw the woman. It all clicked at that point and I was no longer shocked.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Is it possible she didn’t name the child. It was adopted if you recall.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      But they provided a pretty good array of documentation for proof of adoption.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      They should have named him Drogba!!!!

    • dolemite says:

      I think a child should be named Stark. You win on the Game of Thrones front and the Iron Man front.

  16. clippy2.0 says:

    Is the problem here really Disney, or is it customs? Granted, I don’t see why it matters with a 9 month old, but I doubt it’s Disney’s policy to turn away paying customers; more than likely this is a customs issue

    • StarKillerX says:

      Why but bitching and moaning about customs wont get then a free cruise from but whinging and moaning to, and about Disney just might.

    • GrimJack says:

      This was my take:

      1. Disney travel rep (individual) provides (unwittingly) bad information about getting around birth cert requirements for a relatively rare situation (mitigated by the ‘you *should* be ok).
      2. US Customs denies the child boarding privileges.
      3. Disney (corporate entity), who is in no position to override US Customs, feels terrible about the bad situation and goes above and beyond providing extra services and upgrades to annoying patrons.
      4. Annoyed patrons go on trip, gush about how amazing it was, how they got free upgrades, services, etc, and then go on to bash Disney for miscommunication.

      Just can’t side with the OP on this one – Disney did their best after the fact to apologize for the mishap, and the OP accepted it gladly (until they got home…)

  17. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Does anyone know what the background of this policy is? Is it a strict interpretation of US Custom’s regulations; ie, get the documentation prior to leaving the US, so the child doesn’t have issues getting back on the cruise at foreign ports? Is a birth certificate used in lieu of a passport for children?

    • chgo_liz says:

      Disney is very careful about children. One time my father took one of my kids on a Disney cruise and the paperwork to verify that he was related and allowed to take the child without a parent present was quite substantial.

  18. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    There was misinformation, the should be fine part was the mistake. These ships stop at ports in many countries and they must keep the paperwork in order for each one.

    It sounds like they really tried to make it up, so I think the headline is terrible.

  19. jonroknrol says:

    Wait…you left the kid? WHAT???

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      I know! This is pretty crazy on the OP. The right thing would be to refuse to go and fight to get your money back (chargeback, EECB, etc).

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Unless she had something in writing, I doubt she’d have much luck.

        • bhr says:

          It sounds like it was a family reunion type trip, and leaving a toddler behind isn’t exactly gonna leave him with a lasting memory

          • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

            Yeah, I’m thinking that the leaving the kid behind deprived a lot of distant relatives the chance to meet him. Otherwise, why care? Not having to take care of a baby on your vacation with all the extra goodies Disney dished out should otherwise be a big plus.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Why do that when you can go and have a blast on the cruise and then afterwards whine and complain and if your lucky get a second cruise for free?

    • mollyflogs says:

      The kid is 9 months old. It’s fine.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      The kid was young enough that he couldn’t remember and there was family willing to take them. They did the right thing here — staying behind would have been heartbreaking to the other kids who were old enough to know better.

  20. DogiiKurugaa says:

    Wow, bad policy and bad parents all in one post. I blame everyone involved. Disney for not allowing some bending of the rules, especially when they gave the family blatantly false information. And the parents for getting on that ship instead of demanding a refund right then and there. Family vacation or not, there is no way I would have abandoned my kid if I was in that situation.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Demand a refund because of customs laws? Disney doesn’t get to decide that one. Customs and immigration laws do. Disney’s written policy is to have the birth certificate. Customs laws require it as well.

      As for being a bad parent for leaving the kid, the kid will live. He’s 9 months. He will not be traumatized. He won’t even remember. He was most likely perfectly happy, and he had a chance to form a close bond with another family member. It will make him more well adjusted in the long run.

      • DogiiKurugaa says:

        No, demand a refund because of giving blatantly false information and ruining your family vacation because of this act.

        As for the parents, thankfully the child was so young and I would sincerely hope they would not have done this if the child was like 2 or 3. But somehow I doubt it.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Does she have anything in writing from Disney indicating she didn’t need a birth certificate or is all based on a phone call?

          • malraux says:

            And since it isn’t Disney’s policy at fault but ICE, it is certainly plausible that ICE clarified or changed a ruling between her phone call with Disney and the cruise date. That said, who brings a 9 month old on a cruise?

          • One-Eyed Jack says:

            Disclosure: I’m a travel agent with an Earmarked agency who sells Disney cruises.

            From the DCL website:
            In bold type: “Guests without proper documentation will be denied boarding.”

            Also see http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_sa.html and the section about “Closed Loop Cruises.”

            I did not RTFA (or in this case the FBlog). How far out did they book this cruise? It seems risky to pick a date so close to the adoption. What if something went wrong and the legal proceedings were delayed? What if documents were delayed? Oh wait, they were.

            Passengers are denied boarding all the time for documents issues. If these had been my clients, I would have advised them to move the date of the sailing when it became clear that all the documents would not arrive in time, or I would have advised them to pick a later sailing date from the start.

            But I’m glad they were able to enjoy their cruise even though the little one had to be left behind. They’re very fortunate that someone was nearby who could step in at the last minute.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      This is not Disney’s rule to bend. This is a US Customs rule. You need proof of birth or a visa, otherwise the kid would not be allowed back in to the country when the cruise returned to US soil.

  21. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I know I’m going to take some flack here, but I’m going to say it.

    I looked a the blog. Betsy says “Izzy has been on about 20 flights, but this is the first one she remembers”. It sounds like this family has quite a bit of money and they travel a lot. Beckham is a baby, maybe 9 months old at the most. While stressful for his parents, he will have no memory of this. The parents should have put off the trip until they had the necessary documents, or gotten something in writing from the cruise line that said “instead of the birth certificate, you can have this, this, or this”, and not depended on some phone rep’s word.

  22. maxamus2 says:

    “should be fine” does not mean “no problem at all”.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Yeah, the “should” language would make me nervous. It’s like booking a connection flight, where a half hour “should” be long enough to switch flights.

      With the cruise, when it comes to immigration and customs, I’d definitely want something in writing and then follow regulations to the letter. When it comes down to it, I’d rather be held up at the departing port than wind up having issues reboarding the ship when in a foreign country.

  23. longfeltwant says:

    Gah, I want to side with the OP, except that they named their child Beckham.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      I know. Makes me want to give them triple the blame I normally would give.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      Click through to the source blog. All will be made clear there. Then, your disgust of the parents will become even more solidified.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Yes, their choice in name has incredible bearing on the situation.

  24. shepd says:

    This one is fun for me.

    I’m adopted, and in Canada, that means I cannot get a full birth certificate. Mine consists of only my name and Birthdate. It cannot list parents. Yes, this is annoying, it meant the UK would not let me emmigrate there, despite both my parents being British born, as the UK had a requirement of a full birth certificate (I consider it the UK being ‘racist’ against adopted children, as the birth certificate rule was created while Canada was a dominion of the UK [around 1941 or so], and is therefore a UK law–so the UK should know better).

    The rules have changed a little now in both directions, but the UK also has a rule that you have to be under 18 to apply for citizenship through your father/mother.

    • shepd says:

      I should mention I do now have a copy of my full birth certificate, due to the rules being lifted a little, but it is not an official one–rather it is a bad photocopy of the handwritten form the doctors filled out when I was born. I did manage to get a copy of the adoption papers, which is what the UK requires now for adopted children, but I’m too old, so I’m SOL now. Oh well, probably for the best, really. The UK doesn’t seem like a great place to live anymore.

      Was a little heartbreaking to find out my birth mother was 13 at the time. Was odd to find out I had moved with two blocks of her house (She was in a city over an hour away when I was born).

    • az123 says:

      You are a moron, you are blaming the UK for not letting you claim your parents are UK citizens even though you have no documentation of it? And the practice of not listing birth parents is not just in Canada, that is the way adopted kids get their birth certificates in many states in the US etc…

      And I highly doubt the UK will not let you immigrate to their country, they will not just let you move their and claim that you are a citizen by birth right, which makes perfect sense since you have no proof that you actually are. So if you really want to move their, get off your lazy but and follow the proper procedures and do so, sounds more like you are one of those people who likes to blame everyone else in the world for your problems rather than do something to fix them

      • longfeltwant says:

        Are you sure about that? I’m adopted and I’ve never heard of a state which doesn’t list the adoptive parents on the birth certificate. Mine does. I guess that’s only one state, but I have a hard time imagining doing with a partial cert.

        • shepd says:

          Canada, well, at least Ontario, has (or had) incredibly screwed up methods for adoption. Here’s how it went at the time I was born until I was ~19 (things have changed somewhat, but not as much as you’d think):

          – Physician fills out certificate of live birth, birth mother names child, that name goes on that documentation
          – Judge creates a name change with the serial number of the live birth in place of the last name (the first letter of the last name is still present)
          – Judge issues adoption order using that falsified name
          – Judge issues name change from falsified name to new name as given by adoptive parents
          – Judge issues order permanently sealing all previous documentation–this order may not be countermanded except by a court–yes, even physicians were not permitted to have access to it (If I can dig it up, a case in the 90s changed this slightly as a physician needed access to medical records of the parents to diagnose a genetic condition–the child died before the courts came to a decision to permit physicians to access the information in limited cases)
          – Adoptive parents are given a short form birth certificate, as shown here: http://www.ontario.ca/ontprodconsume/groups/content/@onca/@lifeevents/@birthcert/documents/images/ont05_039051.jpg

          The adoption order itself remains sealed permanently despite the new legislation which has opened up access to medical data and the birth certificate (unless the birth mother denies the access), but there is an alternative procedure to access it, if you know how to get it. I can tell you this: To get that documentation, I had to fill out a form explaining my need (Requirement of immigrating to the UK). When I presented it to the employee who dealt with these requests, they said that in their 20+ years working there, not a single person was ever given the documentation, but he wished me good luck. I gambled $15 that my excuse would hold. It did.

      • shepd says:

        You are an asshole for assuming my parents didn’t apply. They did, and were denied as they didn’t send a full birth certificate. They were told by the British government only a full birth certificate was legal. My parents attempted to get one and were denied it. They didn’t go further than that because it wasn’t worth the fight.

        Not sure what evidence you’d want for me to prove it? The fact that I was adopted a week from birth by two loving British parents and that every single piece of documentation in my life proves they are my parents, and that the Canadian government would be more than happy to tell the UK government I am their child?

        I attempted to apply for citizenship about 3 years ago. I was told flat out by the British high commission after explaining my situation I had no way to become a British citizen despite having two British born parents, with British birth certificates, and now my adoption certificate which provides the proof they now ask for. When asked why I can’t retroactively apply due to the UK having rules changes, they explained it is not possible. I am certain if I were to hire an expensive lawyer I could fight it. Honestly, if that’s what it takes, I’m content to say the UK government treats adopted people as second class non-citizens, because it’s true–if this were for someone whose birth father were British, they would have gotten the citizenship when they first applied.

        Then again, until 2010, it wasn’t legal for women to pass on british citizenship, so it’s no surprise, I guess, that the UK has such screwed up rules.

        Oh well, you must be trolling, and I bit. But you are a serious asshole. I think I’ll ignore your next comment, would be best.

  25. KTK1990 says:

    I see disney went above and beyond, they didn’t need to give the OP anything more like room upgrades and couldn’t bend the rules because they have to follow US Customs rules exactly.

  26. Blueskylaw says:

    “They told us bring everything we have… and that
    should be fine. So we thought nothing else of it”

    Well there’s your problem.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      Not only that, but they said “bring everything you have and you should be fine”, but they brought SOME of what they had. There was the commemoration certificate, which would have been accepted and the neighbor couldn’t find for them. So they didn’t even bring everything they had.

    • RedOryx says:

      Yes, the ‘should’ would make me very nervous, especially with planning such an expensive trip so close to the adoption date. That’s the sort of thing I would constantly be checking back about, just to make sure.

      Then again, I have a mother who is crazy anal when it comes to planning family vacations making sure everything is set way in advance, so I think’s rubbed off on me.

  27. LightningUsagi says:

    I want to preface this by saying I’m not trying to blame anyone…however, why did they plan this huge vacation to happen so soon after the adoption if there was any question about what papers were needed? Anytime you take a child out of the country, you have to provide certain identification, with a birth certificate being the most common. I don’t understand how you could start planning an international trip without knowing you have the required documents.

  28. jrwn says:

    So much trauma, being on a cruse. If it was so hard, they shouldn’t have gotten on the boat.

  29. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    RTFA. It was Customs (Immigration) *not* Disney who denied boarding.

    “Everything had gone great until we checked in at customs at 1:00 (Ship sails at 5:00). …. In our final effort, the customs agent made a special call to head of customs to see if they would accept the hospital discharge papers which are clearly marked St. Mark’s Hospital.”

  30. ToddMU03 says:

    Am I missing something? They checked in at customs. Customs isn’t Disney. That’s the feds not Disney. Although the feds I interact with through work seem to work for a Mickey Mouse operation. No fed on the front line is A) capable or B) willing to make a decision.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah but customs wont give them a free cruise, but if they whine loud enough maybe Disney will.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Yes. You are missing the part where Disney incorrectly said what documents would be sufficient.

      • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

        Should – not would. The couple had a unique situation. They should have verified with Immigration.

      • ToddMU03 says:

        Didn’t miss the “should be” part. The OP didn’t check with customs.

  31. SteveZim1017 says:


    wow, those are some bastard parents right there.

  32. CalicoGal says:

    I think the real issue here is that Disney charges $1/min for Internet and $7/min for ship-to-shore phone calls.

  33. rah0180 says:

    I blame this on the OP, from the standpoint that she is totally blaming Disney for getting the wrong information from them. The ultimate problem is that she should of contacted Customs to get definitive information on all of the proper documentation that would be needed

    While the Disney employee should have been better trained on what documentation would be needed they probably assumed that given all of what she had would be enough. While the Disney agent should not have assumed that, the OP should not have assumed the Disney agent knew all of the proper customs regulations. Final point being is that you should never trust someone or a company concerning information of which they are not the authority over.

  34. Admiral_John says:

    … and they left without him??? WTF???

  35. Hi_Hello says:

    They called the wrong people. Should’ve called customs instead of Disney.

    Either way, I would’ve cancel the trip and ask try to get a refund.
    But I wouldn’t put myself in such bad timing.

  36. SharkD says:

    What upsets me more than anything else was the inadequate way that they had the children travel on the airplanes.

    The blog is full of photos of their 2-year old and 9-month olds sitting in airline seats with just the lap belt (and, in the case of the infant, being held on a lap).

    If you’re spending that kind of money on a family vacation, including limo rides, why not spend another $65 per child and buy a CARES harness? Especially given that their cute little girl has flown “more than 20 times” in less than 3 years.

    So long as their son wasn’t too traumatized by being left in the care of an aunt, I can’t truly fault them — especially since this appeared to be a sort of ‘family reunion’ and I have no doubt that not going would have traumatized their daughter.

    Oh, and Consumerist headline writer — though Disney gave the family the wrong info, you can make the argument that ICE ‘ruined’ the family cruise. (Ah, first world problems.)

  37. cyntil8ing says:

    As an adoptive mom who cruises, this whole thing just ticks me off. Who leaves their infant son behind like a forgotten extra suitcase? The happy, happy blog pictures made me want to throw something.

    Not to mention the car seat photo where the poor child is strapped into a seat for kids over forty pounds, sitting sideways (where the seat offers little to no protection) with the straps not adjusted correctly. But woo-hoo, they’re in a limo!

    Disney did not ruin their cruise, they did. Here is the law:

    “Closed Loop” Cruises: U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization). Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the foreign countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents. (from http://www.getyouhome.gov/html/lang_eng/eng_sa.html)

    To cruise without a passport, everyone must prove that they’re US citizens. In addition, parents must prove they have legal authority to the child. Mexico, which I assume is the destination because of the west coast departure point, also has some requirements. It’s the passenger’s responsibility, not the cruise line’s, to meet these requirements.

    Because our son was adopted internationally, we got him a US passport as soon as we got home. We also have a state birth certificate for him that proves we’re his parents. We’ve had no issues traveling anywhere.

    I can’t help but think about that child, years from now, looking at his family vacation photos where he’s conspicuously absent. As if adopted children don’t have enough potential abandonment issues already. What will they tell him then?

  38. Galium says:

    Why didn’t she contact INS.? It would seem INS knows more about what immigration papers are needed than Disney. (A great big Duh for the OP). Personally I would not trust (trying to sell me something) Disney, with my immigration questions.

  39. Tacojelly says:

    Really, the only way to make this right is to refund everything (hotel, plane fair, limo, everything) apologize and invite them to come along for another cruise.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Why, they went on the cruise and from what people are posting about what she said on her blog they had the time of their life.

      As someone posted earlier, this seems like the best ruined vacation ever.

  40. Galium says:


    INS also may have had a way for them to take the child with them on the cruise, without a birth certificate. Gov agencies have many types of ways to handle weird situations. Just saying

  41. Mike says:

    They shouldn’t have gone on the cruise without their child.

  42. kobresia says:

    Hate to blame the OP, but Disney lays it out in black & white:

    “Required Documentation and Customs Regulations

    Required Documentation for Disney Cruise

    Please ensure that you have the proper identification and required documentation. Without proper proof you will be denied boarding, and will not be entitled to a refund. We suggest that all US and Canadian Citizens travel with a passport.
    All U.S. and Canadian citizens must travel with proof of citizenship, which is a valid passport, or certified birth certificate (with official raised seal) and picture identification, or a certified naturalization certificate with a picture identification. Acceptable forms of picture identification are state or provincial driver’s license, or federal, state, province, or local government photo I.D. card. Guests age 17 and under who are U.S. or Canadian citizens are only required to have proof of citizenship, excluding picture identification. These guidelines are based on U.S. government regulations which are subject to change at any time. It is the Guest’s responsibility to check with their Travel Agent, government agencies, embassies or consulates prior to their vacation to ensure that they have proper documentation. Any Guest traveling without proper documentation will not be allowed to board the vessel and no refund of cruise fare will be issued.
    New security guidelines require all adult Guests to show a picture I.D. to embark and disembark the ship in all ports, excluding Castaway Cay . Please be advised that anyone under the age of 18 wishing to go ashore unaccompanied will be required to have a consenting parent, guardian or other responsible adult with them at the gangway, to provide their signature as authorization.”


    Calling customer service, putting them on the spot, and trying to get someone to agree to something other than what is clearly stated is an exercise in frustration. I’m sure they were just trying to be helpful in the call center, telling them they could try to bring other forms of ID and see if it would work, but it was kind of dumb to count on getting an exception to what is very clearly stated. In fact, the precise requirement couldn’t be more clearly stated.

    Also, why were they begging Disney for an exception to US Customs policies?

  43. britswim04 says:

    Really… You left the adopted kid behind? After having him less than a year? Wow… Um, way to make him feel like part of the family.

  44. RJPA says:

    What kind of a family leaves behind one of their own? Forget who caused the situation here. The OP is plain and simple bad family. Glad she is not mine.

  45. Fishnoise says:

    Something like this happened to friends of my wife — naturalized couple with U.S.-born baby and grandparents visiting from China went on a cruise. Except they only had the hospital birth certificate for the baby. Dad and baby ended up staying home while new mom and her parents went without them.

    • StarKillerX says:

      You wouldn’t have been able to drag either my wife or I onto a cruise ship without our son.

      At least when he was a baby, now that he’s 12 going on 20 we might not put up much of a fight. lol!

  46. nopirates says:

    not a fun story, but seriously, you should NEVER name your child “Beckham”

    • bigdirty says:

      I’ll agree there, Thierry or Henry are much, much, much more appropriate names!

  47. dush says:

    So the parents didn’t stay with their kid?

  48. reimero says:

    The fact is, at the end of the day it’s on the OP. Disney Cruise Line is quite up front about required documentation, and they’re quite up front about the fact that this documentation is mandated by the government, not DCL. The OP also left a fair amount of other relevant information out.

    First, when you book a cruise through DCL (at least, if you book more than 75 days out), you get a preliminary package that has a ton of documentation about things you need to do before you sail, and they are very clear about required sources of identification. The government requires that you prove everyone’s citizenship or permanent residency status, and for adopted and foster kids, you have to show proof that you’re actually in legal custody of those kids (to prevent kidnappings and such). But my point is, DCL did give the OP adequate warning as to what the legal requirements are.

    Second, if you spend any time perusing internet message boards for cruisers (and first-time cruisers in particular), a frequently-recurring exchange is: “Do I need to get passports for everyone? They’re soooooo expensive!” And the equally-frequently-recurring answer is, “You don’t necessarily need them, but if you opt for a non-passport option, things can and do go wrong more frequently.”

    I do feel bad about the OP’s situation, but it most certainly was not DCL’s fault.

  49. SerenityDan says:

    Who goes on vacation right after adopting a kid? Yeah sounds like a blast going on a cruise while having to take care of an infant.

    • StarKillerX says:

      The same type of people who would leave their adopted child behind because they themselves screwed up and didn’t have the proper paperwork.

  50. msky says:

    Stretch limo….. Nice…..

    Plus, the kid is adopted. Its about time they started treating him like second class….

  51. TechDriver says:

    As a father of adopted children — this story doesn’t make sense… EVERY parent of adopted children know that you can’t leave the country without a birth certificate. In fact, may times you cannot cross state lines until the court o.k.’s it.

    I feel for the parents in this story — but, really — after going through the adoption process a few times.. It was always made clear to me that we had travel restrictions until that final documents were in our hands. (all of those other decrees and tax IDs are NOT proof of citizenship)

    And — as for leaving the child behind, and going on the trip — no way! At least one of the parents should have stayed behind.

  52. dourdan says:

    if you don’t have a passport don’t book a fligth to paris.
    if you don’t have a birthcertificate- DON’T BOOK A CRUISE. she could have waited; she did not have to drop all this money for something that she hoped could “slide by.”

    and as for her being misinformed- there are many many articles about the “help line” for cruises they NEVER know what they are talking about. no matter what they say, the actual people who check you in will only know what is written in their handbook- “you need a passport/birth certificate/ id– no exceptions.”

  53. NettyM says:

    We don’t travel much so when we flew with our kids I double- and triple-checked things on the TSA and government web sites and the airline site to make sure what we needed as far as documentation. I was too afraid I’d be far away from home and someone with just enough authority would say “prove these are your kids” or something.

    I don’t think you can trust just one source – particularly at a call center – to know the real deal.

  54. HammRadio says:




  55. HammRadio says:

    There is NO WAY these people would have gone on that vacation if this was there BIRTH CHILD. No way. These people made an AWFUL AWFUL mistake.

    Let’s go on a magical family vacation to welcome our new child… OH… F’ him… leave him home. it doesn’t matter if the kid was 9 months or 9 years old. You just taught the other child that life’s lesson is don’t let paperwork or a 9 month non blood relative in the way of meeting snow white.

    Awful. Awful people.

    Boy… all that TRAUMA we could have saved, had we just abandoned the kid from the get go. If there was a REAL TRAUMA that mother wouldn’t have gone on the trip.

    Awful. Awful people.

  56. Poisson Process says:

    I can’t believe this one. No one is that shallow to both leave a newly adopted child at home and brag about it online.

  57. xamarshahx says:

    WAIT!! They left the child???????? Not even one parents stayed behind? Why are they adopting a child if they don’t consider him to be family???

  58. axiomatic says:

    Incessant rule followers are incessant.

    Boooo Disney.

  59. Harry Greek says:

    This is disturbing – how does a mother leave behind her child like this??

  60. Clyde Barrow says:

    ,,,”tried to make it right but THIS WAS THEIR FAULT!!!!!”

    I didn’t quite hear that whine. Could you speak louder?

  61. spazztastic says:

    This isn’t in any way Disney’s fault. The issue is with US Customs, NOT the cruise ship.

  62. SteveHolt says:

    Who brings a baby on a cruise anyway? Like they’re going to remember it.

    Seems like Disney needs to communicate better within their own company. If I were OP I’d be pissed, but not because my son was missing out on a great experience.

  63. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Read much?

  64. Luigi says:

    We just returned from an amazing week long vacation on The Disney Wonder with 18 family members. However I can relate to what happened to this family. My niece has SMA and is in a wheelchair and has a service dog named Billy. My brother and his wife started the process of getting the proper paperwork and approval to bring Billy on board a year before our departure date. Everything was signed and approved. TWO DAYS before we were to set sail Disney called to say the paperwork wasn’t complete and that more was needed although they didn’t know what!!!! We were detained before boarding and it began to look as if Billy could not board. It worked out but it was clear that there are definite lines of communication on policy that needs to improve within the Disney cruise lines. Also, they lost my brother in laws bag and it took going way up the chain of command and numerous attempts to get any clothes for him to wear. It’s strange that a company that is superb at so many things can’t get it together on others.

  65. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Oh wow. I don’t think I would have gone and left the kid behind. Just wow.

    Also shame on Disney. They did cause this by telling them one thing and doing another. I would have demanded at least a partial refund or something. Sheesh.

    • Carlee says:

      Disney Cruise Line told them one thing, and US Customs was the one who did something else. DCL doesn’t mandate the paperwork – Customs does. Not to mention, the DCL rep supposedly told them that it “should” be okay, did not say it was 100% confirmed okay.

  66. susan48 says:

    Why didn’t they get a copy of the original birth certificate before the adoption was finalised? Surely that along with the other paperwork would have sufficed.

    Also, it would be good for their son to have his OBC for future since in most states, he may never be able to get a copy again.

  67. offtopic says:

    From the original post – “Everything had gone great until we checked in at customs at 1:00”.

    So the issue was with customs not Disney. I wonder just what was said on the phone call to Disney. If Disney guaranteed the woman that there would not be an issue then shame on them. However I can not imagine this was the case.

  68. offtopic says:

    From the original post – “Everything had gone great until we checked in at customs at 1:00”.

    So the issue was with customs not Disney. I wonder just what was said on the phone call to Disney. If Disney guaranteed the woman that there would not be an issue then shame on them. However I can not imagine this was the case.

  69. dks64 says:

    “Their son is adopted, and realized Disney has a policy that each child needs a birth certificate to board the boat”

    Each child needs a birth certificate. Needs a birth certificate. Needs… you get it. It’s a customs rule, not Disney, so why would you assume that what someone told you on the phone would work considering it’s a customs rule? Sounds like they called the wrong people. I’m on the fence about the type of people who would leave a kid behind for a cruise. Meh, he was a baby, I guess since the kid won’t remember, it’s not that big a deal. Still makes them questionable parents.

  70. I Love Christmas says:

    This headline is very misleading. Should read “Customs Ruins Family Vacation By Not Letting Adopted Child On Cruise”

  71. Microconn says:

    If I’ve learned one thing through all of our travels it’s “get it in writing!” I have had a lot of experiences where, if I didn’t have the print out, it would have been a costly error.

    That being said, I do not see how Disney is in anyway in the wrong here and went above and beyond in accommodating this family in an unfortunate situation which the family themselves created. Disney didn’t have to do anything for them in my opinion.

    If they want to blame someone, blame the US Government. Disney is only adhering to the rules set out by the government. It is clearly stated that, “as of June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens embarking on a cruise that both originates and terminates at the same U.S. port are not required to have a passport, but will need proof of citizenship such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate, a certificate of naturalization, a passport card, an enhanced driver’s license (EDL) as well as a government-issued photo ID. Children are also required to bring proof of citizenship, and if 16 and over, a photo ID is also required.” The family also clearly knew this was a problem as per their own admission of knowing Disney required the ID. For us as Canadians, a passport is a must! We have no other choice and we know if we don’t have it, we don’t sail.

  72. shinazzle23 says:

    9/11 changed everything.

  73. history_theatrestudent says:

    I’m curious if the certificate is a legal requirement? As for all the company’s fault, while there was some misinformation, what would they have done if they were given accurate information? They would have still needed the birth certificate and be out of luck.

  74. PaulSQL says:

    Disney Cruise Lines is not liable for the passengers immigration papers or requirements. Thinking that Disney is responsible is like claiming Ford is responsible if you don’t have a driver’s license. It’s just stupid.

    To quote form the DCL Passenger Contract that they clicked agreeing that they had read:

    28. All passports, visas and other travel documents required for embarkation and disembarkation and at all ports of call are the responsibility of Guests. Guests must take proper steps (including provision of all necessary documents) as may be required to enable Guests to land at any port of call and generally to comply with the laws of the country in which each such port is situated. The Carrier shall not in any circumstances whatsoever be liable for the consequence of any insufficiency or irregularity in such documents or the noncompliance by the Guest with such laws; notwithstanding that such documents are produced to the Carrier by the Guest or that information or advice as to said laws is given by the Carrier to the Guest.

    They have no case.