[tabi] Disney Unveils First-of-its-Kind Outdoor Audio Description Technology for Guests with Disabilities

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2010 16:44:11 -0400

  Disney Unveils First-of-its-Kind Outdoor Audio Description Technology
for Guests with Disabilities


  National Association of Professional Engineers Names

 Handheld Assistive Technology Device "New Product of the



  LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., June 22, 2010 - Beginning

 June 27, guests with visual disabilities will be able to

 explore Walt Disney World theme parks in a whole new way

 through an enhanced Disney-designed device that provides

 detailed audio description of outdoor areas and fits in the

 palm of a guest's hand.


  "Disney Parks have long been at the forefront of

 providing accessibility for guests with disabilities," said

 Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of

 Worldwide Safety and Accessibility for Walt Disney Parks

 & Resorts. "We are pleased to build on this legacy with

 new technology that enables us to do something that has

 never been done before - provide rich audio description in

 moving rides and outdoor environments."


  Link to a demo of the outdoor environment audio




  Via an interactive audio menu, the newly enhanced

 Assistive Technology Device lets guests choose the type of

 information they would like to receive about outdoor areas,

 from architectural elements to the location of the nearest

 restroom. The 7.2-ounce device, which utilizes wireless

 technology to pinpoint its location and take pre-programmed

 actions also offers guests at Walt Disney World Resort and

 Disneyland Resort:


  * Detailed audio description of key

 visual elements, including action and scenery, for more than

 50 attractions;

  * Amplified audio for most theater-type

 attractions for guests with mild to moderate hearing loss;

  * Handheld captioning that enables guests

 to read captions while enjoying specific rides; and

  * Activation of closed captioning in

 pre-show areas where television displays narrate the

 upcoming experience.



  "I know of no other public space in this country -

 or anywhere else for that matter - that is as welcoming

 and accessible to people with disabilities as Disney's

 theme parks," said Larry Goldberg, director of media access

 at WGBH Boston, which is considered a pioneer in developing

 multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible

 for the disabled. "With their captioning systems for guests

 who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and now outdoor

 environmental description for guests who are blind or

 visually impaired, Walt Disney World is now more inclusive

 than ever. WGBH is proud of our role in helping make this



  WGBH teamed up with Disney to deliver outdoor audio

 description, marking the latest collaboration between the

 two organizations, which began with the installation of

 WGBH's Rear Window(r) Captioning system in Disney's

 theater-based attractions in1996.


  Disney has patented and licensed the assistive

 technology, which could serve a wide variety of retail,

 commercial and industrial applications. The technology is

 already being used at the World of Coca Cola Museum, The

 Hall at Patriot Place and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and

 will receive the National Society of Professional Engineers

 2010 "New Product Award" next month.


  "We are particularly excited to make this technology

 available beyond Disney Parks and extend accessibility where

 it was previously impractical," added Hale. Softeq

 Development Corporation is licensed to make the technology

 available beyond Disney Parks.


  Other examples of Disney Parks' services for guests

 with disabilities include:


  * Accessible Experiences - From

 vehicles at Toy Story Midway Mania! that enable guests to

 remain in their wheelchair during the ride to American Sign

 Language interpretation at live shows, the focus is on

 providing accessible experiences.

  * Recreation Devices - Specially

 designed vehicles, such as an adaptive golf cart and sand

 and aquatic wheelchairs, enable guests to experience leisure

 activities throughout the resort.

  * Guide maps for Guests with Disabilities

 - Theme park-specific maps provide an overview of services

 and facilities available for guests with disabilities.

 Braille guidebooks are also available to assist guests

 during their visit.

  * Resort Access - Resort hotels at Walt

 Disney World Resort offer special equipment and facilities

 for guests with disabilities such as phone text, visual

 indicator door knocks and sloped-entry pools.



  The Handheld Assistive Device is offered at no cost

 with a refundable deposit at Walt Disney World Resort and

 Disneyland Resort theme parks. Audio description of outdoor

 areas will be available at Disneyland Resort next year. For

 further information about services for guests with

 disabilities, guests should visit the Walt Disney World Web

 site at disneyworld.com
<<http://www.disneyworld.com/http://www.disneyworld.com/ or contact Walt

 World Information at 407-824-4321 (voice) or 407-827-5141


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