EDUDEAF: Disney to Caption the Magic

Key words: Information, Technologies for Deaf/HH

Subj: Thought you all would be interested
Date: 97-01-18 06:24:44 EST
From: BradIngrao@AOL.COM (Brad Ingrao)
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Date: 97-01-17 16:48:37 EST

.c The Associated Press
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Walt Disney World Co. agreed Friday with the Justice Department on steps to aid deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

At the California and Florida parks, Disney will add sign-language interpreters, innovative captioning systems and other audio-visual aids for more than 100 moving rides, parades and staged performances, according to an announcement by the Justice Department.

The agreement was reached under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

``Walt Disney World is combining its tradition of innovation with a commitment to ensuring that deaf and hard-of-hearing people can experience Disney's magic,'' said Assistant Attorney General Deval L. Patrick, head of the department's civil rights division.

``This is a great example of the public and private sectors working together to remove barriers to communication for all people,'' Patrick said, expressing hope other theme parks would follow the Disney example.

``Through our efforts with the Department of Justice, we will remain leaders in this important area,'' said Al Weiss, president of Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. ``We have improved on our existing services and developed a program that will go far beyond what has been done before.''

In its theaters, Disney will install a new system called rear window captioning, invented by the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media and Rufus Butler Seder of Boston, that allows some patrons to see subtitled captions without displaying them to the entire audience.

The system projects captions on a screen in the back of the theater in mirror image of the desired captions. A small plexiglass panel, placed in front of the guest, catches the reflection of the text in reverse, readable form. The plexiglass panel is transparent and mounted on an adjustable gooseneck arm, which allows the guest to move it to the best viewing position.

The agreement covers ``The Magic Kingdom,'' Epcot and MGM-Disney components of Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The company also agreed to train its staff in helping hearing-impaired patrons.

Even before reaching the agreement, Disney began captioning or interpreting some of its presentations and offering listening aids that increased the volume for hard-of-hearing people, the department said.

AP-NY-01-17-97 1644EST
Copyright 1997 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Uploaded by: B.J. Lawrence / Kent State University / Deaf Education Major