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Disneyland expands sign interpretation for guests with hearing disabilities

One of my favorite memories of the holidays at Disneyland is the Candlelight Processional. A full orchestra and hundreds of voices singing in unison in the choir make for an impressive show. But if you really want to be impressed keep your eye on the sign language interpreter. They have to sign the whole performance, every piece of narration, every song, and they do it in such a way that it’s a performance itself, moving and inspirational all on its own.

This week Disneyland announced it has begun offering regularly scheduled sign language interpretation at numerous shows and attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. As part of the Resort’s ongoing commitment to guests with disabilities, individuals have access to a schedule of offerings where interpretation is provided without having to make prior arrangements.

“The Disneyland Resort is dedicated to making the Disney tradition of rich storytelling available to all of our guests,” said Betty Appleton, who oversees the Resort’s guests with disabilities program. “Our new sign language service enables guests with hearing disabilities to engage with our shows and attractions in a whole new way.”

The new sign language interpretation service is offered at the following locations: Jungle Cruise, Jedi Training Academy, Storybook Land Canal Boats, “Celebrate! A Street Party,” “Billy Hill & The Hillbillies,” “Turtle Talk with Crush” “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” and coming soon, “Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular.”

The new service is available every Monday and Saturday at Disneyland park and every Sunday and Friday at Disney California Adventure park. While no advance arrangements are necessary, it is recommended that guests request schedule confirmation at least one week in advance by calling Disneyland Resort Guest Relations at (714) 781-6176 [voice] or (714) 781-7292 [TTY]. Guests who request confirmation are contacted prior to their visit and are provided a current schedule complete with a list of attractions, dates and times of interpreted offerings.

“I am deaf, and experiencing the sign language service on Storybook Land made the attraction much more engaging for me,” said Everett Rowlett, Disneyland Resort electro-mechanical technician. “This is the first time in the 28 years I have worked at the Resort that I have been able to fully understand the stories being told.”

The new offering enhances existing, complimentary services for guests with disabilities. Various sign language programs have been available at the Resort for more than 20 years.

Additionally, more than 45 Resort cast members have basic sign language skills and can assist in answering guest questions throughout the week. The Resort also has assistive listening and several types of captioning systems available for guests with hearing disabilities.

So next time you’re at the park, think about going out of your way to attend on of these special performances, you’ll get a whole new appreciation for how Disney makes the magic. Also, a big thanks to Disney for providing this expanded service.