Most people have a Disney Dream; a Disney Fantasy floating around somewhere inside them. It symbolizes the child that remains within, growing more distant with age. It's a place full of Disney Wonder and Disney Magic all wrapped up together, and there's nothing anybody can do to change that place.
In many ways, the idea of Disney is much like hearing the bell in the famous Christmas movie The Polar Express...only this time Mickey, Goofy, and Donald Duck, not Santa Claus and his entourage, are at the forefront of your family's wish list. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it... a Disney memory gift-wrapped with an ocean blue bow just for you?
The cost of Disney Cruises average between $125 and $150 per person, each night. For a family of 5, sailing 4 nights, that's a total cost of darn near $5ooo. Disney also requires a 20% deposit of course, which means you better be sure you want to go on a Disney Cruise or you're going to be out a few thousand dollars.
Unfortunately for the people — the victims and the rescues — you'll read about in this article, their plan to have a fun-filled vacation onboard a floating wonderland turned into a scary nightmare. In some cases more than a nightmare, some of these horrifying Disney Cruise stories resulted in not only tragedy, but unsolved mysteries too.
15 Is That A Man Overboard?
Here's a horror story you don't hear every day. The man seen being rescued here decided he'd jump overboard, only it was from a passing Carnival Cruise Line. A Disney Cruise Line spotted the man and stopped to help. Reports state that in "September of 2009, a 34-year-old male passenger from Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Sensation ship, jumped overboard but was rescued by the passing nearby Disney Wonder. The emergency call was made by the Carnival ship at 11:30 pm at night. The Disney ship found the man early the next morning at 12:40 am, some 3o miles off the Port St. Lucie Florida coast. Both cruise vessels were on roundtrip Bahamas itineraries leaving from Port Canaveral, Orlando. In the conducted rescue operation also participated USCG assets, one helicopter, and two boats."
14 Their Sick Daughter Was Too Young To Be Onboard
Taking care of a sick child comes first to parents. So, why was that not the case when this family's sick newborn got ill onboard a Disney Cruise Liner after it departed? A Disney staff doctor told the family "he (the doctor) said because of her age, she wasn’t supposed to be on the ship... I think the word that he used was he was ‘terminating’ our stay on the ship,” Moak revealed. Moak continued, “no one would care if they took us off the ship and we were in complete safety incomparable accommodations and brought home,” he explained. “They (Disney) were deceitful about it. No one can believe that Disney would send a 4-month-old baby off into the dark in a foreign country that they say in their brochures is dangerous.”
13 Tied Up And Robbed In Nassau
Getting robbed in Nassau while on a Disney cruise would be a horrible experience. That's what happened to these passengers, though. Newspaper reports from 2009 reveal that on "November 21, 2009, a group of seventeen passengers were robbed by two armed men while ashore on a sponsored by Disney Cruises shore excursion in Nassau. The incident occurred at 1 pm, on tour to Earth Village. The robbers, armed with shotguns, ambushed the group. The tour guide was tied up, while the passengers were ordered to lay face down on the ground and robbed of their valuables and documents. During the robbery, another tour group arrived on the scene and was also robbed. On the same day, Nassau Police Patrol pursued and arrested a 49-year-old Bahamian man, who happened to be a suspect in the robbery."
12 Disney Cruise Ship Abandons Passenger In Cozumel
A video published in 2010 on YouTube shows a man sprinting down a dock in pursuit of the departing Disney Magic. The cruise ship took off and left the man in Cozumel, Mexico if you can believe that! I'll spare you the footage of the video because it's actually quite boring. You can see the man is distressed in the photo and for good reason. Being abandoned in a foreign country would cause anyone to panic. Lucky for this guy, though, the cruise ship sent a boat to pick him up at the port and sail him out to the cruise liner. Apparently, Disney Cruises don't make sure all their passengers are accounted for before moving on to the next destination.
11 Your Disney Cruise Is Canceled
Have you ever walked downstairs on Christmas morning to see no presents under the tree? A Disney Cruise is much like buying you and your family the present of a lifetime, right? I imagine Christmas with no presents is what these family's that got their cruise canceled by Disney in 2013 felt like. Cruiseminue.com states, "September 15, 2013, two early 2014 sailings were officially canceled by the shipowner Disney Cruise Line, thus allowing the ship to enter dry-dock for maintenance in Freeport Bahamas. As compensation, all booked passengers received a full refund, plus a 25% future Disney Cruise booking discount (7-night Caribbean or Bahamas itinerary). The line also covered all flight change fees for all the guests that were affected." Doesn't seem like much but at least Disney tried.
10 Norovirus Outbreak Onboard
I had to look up the definition to "Norovirus" because I wasn't aware of its meaning. It sounds terrible! With that said the official report describes it best. In "April – May 2016, CDC reported on itinerary April 27 to May 1, that a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) infected a total of 131 passengers (out of 2680, or 4,9%) and 14 crew (out of 991, or 1,4%). All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (a headache, vomiting, diarrhea) and were quarantined to their cabins. The onboard announcement stated, “We have reached over 3% of guest/crew being isolated, therefore we are currently at HIGH LEVEL of Virus Response Matrix." The illness incident occurred on a 4-days Bahamas cruise round-trip from Miami Florida to Castaway Cay (private island), Nassau and Key West FL."
9 Inappropriate Conduct With A Minor
No parent would ever think that taking their child on a Disney Cruise would result in their child being violated; otherwise, they wouldn't get on the cruise in the first place. Unfortunately, that nightmare happened to one family while onboard a Disney Cruise. The New York Daily News reported in 2013 that, "a crew member escaped without repercussions after he groped an 11-year-old Brazilian girl because Disney Cruise Line failed to promptly report the incident." An investigation by WKMG 6 revealed "surveillance footage shows the 33-year-old dining room server grabbing the girl's breast above her clothes multiple times aboard the Disney Dream on Aug. 5. The man also forcibly kissed her after he cornered her in the elevator, the girl said."
8 The Rebecca Coriam Disappearance?
What about the "Rebecca Coriam" disappearance? It's a tragedy! Reports state that on "March 22, 2011, a 24-year-old female crew of British origin was reported missing at 3 am, after failing to report for her morning shift. The woman, Rebecca Coriam, was last seen in the crew lounge. The CCTV camera shows her talking on the phone upset (possibly drunk, pounding her head on the wall), then leaving the room. Alarms for a missing person were raised 4 hours later. She was presumed to have fallen overboard. Bahamas forensic investigation showed no evidence suggesting foul play. However, her credit card activities, 2 months after her disappearance, fuelled speculations that she might still be alive. An independent journalist sailing on Disney Wonder reported that the ship’s crew apparently knew where their fellow employee went overboard." Rebecca's disappearance remains a mystery.
7 One Man Lost A Finger
Having 5 fingers and toes is a big deal, right? The last place you think you'd lose an appendage is onboard a Disney Cruise. Witnessing blood and gore aren't many people's idea of time well spent sailing the ocean blue. Neither was Marco Fidel Acosta when he lost his thumb. Mr. Acosta's attorney told the orlandosentinial.com, “he (Acosta) was near the hallway door with his thumb on the door frame, and his wife was holding the door open with her foot,” said Acosta's attorney Jordan Wagner. “She moved and her foot came away, and he didn’t realize the door was closing. The door slammed shut with force.” Ouch, is the only thing I'm thinking right now!
6 Engine Problems, Really?
Each Disney cruise ship costs between a half million and a billion dollars to build. So, do these ships break down? Yes, they do! As this cruiseminus.com report from November of 2009 says, "while on a seven day, eastern Caribbean itinerary and en-route to the Bahamas from St Thomas, the ship experienced engine problems (a failure of its main diesel generator- 1 of all 5 units). The incident was caused by a short circuit in the alternator’s winding, which resulted in the generator’s shutdown... These shutdowns led to a total blackout (electrical power loss). The ship also lost propulsion and drifted...The main generator’s repair cost the cruise line ~US$1 million." A total blackout on a Disney cruise sounds more like a scary movie, not the dreams Disney sells.
5 Avoiding Hurricane Joaquin
People who've been through a hurricane know that high winds and pounding rain are merciless. I've been through two myself (Florida days), and they're incredibly powerful storms. Experiencing a hurricane on a Disney Cruise Liner would suck, to say the least. That's a lot of seasick people! News reports state that "the Disney Fantasy’s seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise was altered to avoid Hurricane Joaquin," in 2015. "As a result of an altered course, the scheduled call to Castaway Cay was spent at sea according to tweets shared from a passenger onboard. The Disney Fantasy sailed as close to land as possible trying to avoid the outer bands of Hurricane Joaquin. Passengers claimed conditions deteriorated quickly. Wind reports via the stateroom TV were 58mph." Being on a ship that big with a hurricane looming doesn't sound like much fun to me.
4 Sailing Off Into The Sunset
Dying while on a Disney Cruise is not something anyone thinks is going to happen to them when they're booking their vacation. It's sad to say but that did happen to one man. The orlandosentinial.com reported a story about a person who is believed to have died from natural causes while onboard. Thank goodness for that. With as many passengers as these huge ships carry a horrible situation like this is probably going to happen sooner or later. Their report states that on "March 1, 2015, a 56-year-old male passenger was found dead in his cabin. The accident occurred at 7 am, while the ship was docked in call port Castaway Cay; an exclusive Disney Bahamas private island resort. The investigation showed the man from Cleveland, Ohio died from natural causes."
3 Rescued Sailors Turned Over To Authorities
Here's a crazy Disney Cruise Line horror story about the ship rescuing sailors in distress; only these distressed sailors turn out to be wanted fugitives by the FBI. Disneycruiselineblog.com reported in 2016 that "the Disney Wonder came to the aid of a husband and wife following a distress call received from their vessel off the coast of Cuba. One of the persons rescued is suspected of being an anonymous member who waged a computer attack on Boston Children’s Hospital in 2014... The FBI claims Gottesfeld and anonymous are responsible for shutting down the Boston Children’s Hospital servers. Gottesfeld appeared in court on Wednesday in the US on conspiracy charges. If convicted he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine." Talk about running into the wrong guy while on vacation!
2 A Man Drowned
Disney owns its very own private island called Castaway Cay in the Northern Bahamas! Makes you wonder how much a private island like that would cost, huh? My goodness, the dollars! Somewhere in the middle of getting his tan on and swimming in the beautiful blue water, one man's Disney Cruise tragically ended in death as he swam around in the ocean. "February 27, 2015, a 38–year-old male passenger drowned on the Disney Cruise Lines private island Castaway Cay, Bahamas, formerly Gorda Cay. The man, from New York, drowned while swimming offshore at the adult beach. The unfortunate incident occurred while the ship was docked at the island." That's a sad story about a man who was just 38-years old.
1 Assault Of A Minor
In 2007, a sexual assault occurred onboard the Disney Wonder. Official reports state, "a 21-year-old male passenger was arrested and charged with sexual contact with a minor. The man from Rochester, New York assaulted a 13-year-old female passenger on the ship, returning from a 4-days Bahamas New Year cruise from homeport Port Canaveral to Nassau. In the early morning of Jan 1, after leaving the teens-only disco club, Vibe. She was stalling around with 2 other teens when the defendant approached and told them they should return to their staterooms. The girl followed him, believing he was a security staff. Then the adult man took her to a secluded stern area on Sports Deck 10... he also threatened to throw her overboard if she screamed or called for help."