The Disney brand is synonymous with being the happiest place on earth. The Jackson family from Missouri was looking forward to their Disney cruise. Ten family members flew to Miami and headed to the check-in desk to board the ship. Emily Jackson is 25 weeks pregnant; when she reached the desk, she was informed she couldn’t board.
Before leaving home, Emily did receive clearance from her physician, but Disney has a policy that doesn’t allow for women more than 24 weeks pregnant to participate in a cruise.
Emily took issue with how the company handled the situation. She posted a video on YouTube detailing how her family, which included her father and two children under the age of two, were told to wait outside for their luggage to be removed from the ship.
What alarmed her the most was how an armed guard carrying what looked to be an AR-15 was sent to escort them from the area.
“They sent out guys with AR-15s when my dad was talking to them about not being able to get on,” Emily Jackson says in her uploaded video, “All he said to them was ‘Can we hurry up?’ and they sent out AR-15 guys.”
Emily posted a second video the next day where she continued to vent her frustration. She said, “the fact that they felt they needed AR-15s to escort us out when they knew we had no weapons because we had been through security.”
She told Cosmopolitan, “In today’s world with so many shootings, it’s like [unnerving] to have a guy with a big gun standing next to your kids, especially when you don’t know their intentions or what’s going on.”
Disney released a statement to Fox News, which reads: “our policy does not allow women who have reached the 24th week of pregnancy to travel, which is consistent with other cruise lines and is noted on our website and in travel documents our guests receive before sailing.” Cynthia Martinez, the spokesperson for Disney Cruise Line who spoke to Fox News, also stated: “The Miami-Dade Police Department is responsible for security at the port and handled the situation as they felt appropriate given the guest’s actions.”
A statement on the Disney Cruise Line website’s FAQ page reads “Neither a doctor’s medical statement nor a waiver of liability will be accepted. In addition, Disney Cruise Line cannot be held responsible or liable for any complications relating to pregnancy at any stage.”
Emily said in the video how she, “felt so bad because [she] felt like it was [her] fault that everybody couldn’t go.”
She was also angry her two toddlers had to wait outside in the heat. She told Miami’s WPLG Local 10 News “we then had to take both babies outside, wait almost two hours for our luggage, outside in the heat, and both babies are red-faced.”
Disney Cruise Line has promised the Jackson’s a refund but has since to follow through. Emily told Cosmopolitan, “Our goal was not to get a refund though. I mean, yes, it’s nice, but I just hope they fix that specific port [in Miami]. When you book a Disney cruise, you expect to be treated with happiness and smiles.” She added she was happy her kids are too young they might not remember the bad experience, but that it was “traumatic” for her and her husband.
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