On January 17, 1997, the Department of Justice and Walt Disney Co. (Disney) signed an agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure services to people who are deaf or hard of hearing at Walt Disney World attractions. The agreement includes attachment A which identifies auxiliary aids to be provided at each Walt Disney World attraction.


Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing will have access to the following services:


Oral and sign language interpreters will be provided at three major Walt Disney World parks -- Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, and Disney-MGM Studios -- and Disneyland on a regularly scheduled basis. Interpreters will be available at shows, performances, and some moving attractions, on a daily schedule at one of the three Walt Disney World parks each day. Days scheduled for interpreting will rotate around the three parks, so that interpreters will be available at each park on certain days each week. On the day that interpreters are scheduled at a park, Disney schedules will permit guests who are deaf and hard of hearing to attend all, or nearly all, of the interpreted attractions at that park in a single day. Some Disney attractions are already being interpreted; interpreters will be added at many others no later than March 1, 1997 at Walt Disney World, and no later than December 31, 1997 at Disneyland.

Requests for Interpreter Services

Certain attractions at Epcot Center will be interpreted upon request with two weeks' notice even though they are not on the general interpreter schedules. For guests who can show special circumstances, including trips of less than two days that will not permit the guest to take advantage of scheduled performances at the park of choice, Disney will attempt to honor requests for interpreting services at any park on a day not already scheduled for interpreting.


Disney is installing existing captioning technology and may be developing other technology in the future. Guests may request auxiliary aids for captioning at any performance or attraction without advance notice by asking Disney personnel at the entrance to a particular attraction. Some attractions are already captioned and many others will be captioned by December 31, 1997.

"Rear Window"

One captioning system already in use at Disney is the "Rear Window" system developed by CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) and inventor Rufus Butler Seder in Boston. The system provides captions that can be viewed on plexiglass panels connected to a theater seat and permit the viewer to see the screen and the captions at the same time. "Rear Window" is currently in use at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's Langley IMAX Theater, the Entergy IMAX Theater in New Orleans, the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, and soon at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. A similar NCAM-developed system is in place at the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston. (For more information, call WGBH's NCAM at 617-492-9258; or find them on the Internet at http://www.wgbh.org/ncam)

ALS's and Written Transcripts

Disney has been providing assistive listening systems (ALSs) to permit hard-of-hearing guests to increase the volume of sound at many attractions. Disney has also provided written transcripts for most of its attractions for some time and will continue to provide those transcripts at Guest Services upon request. On rides such as Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Carribbean, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Space Ship Earth, and others, guests who are deaf or hard of hearing will have the opportunity to promptly ride a second time in order to better understand the text.

Employee Training

Disney will improve employee training in the treatment of guests with disabilities, the availability of services and auxiliary aids, and procedures and policies regarding guests with disabilities.


Disney will include in all advertising the availability of services for persons with hearing disabilities and the availability of aids for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Future Technology

Disney has agreed to continue to evaluate and develop other technologies and methods of providing effective communication for any attractions at which captions or interpreters are not provided by December, 2000.


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