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Sign Language in the Disney Parks

Every Disney Park around the world shouts out its important information in a myriad of languages: English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese (not sure whether it’s Mandarin or not) etc,  but one language I haven’t seen represented that often is Sign Language. Every country and nation has its own Sign Language. It is as unique and individual as any spoken language, and yet in many tourists hotspots around the world, its representation is limited. Many recognise it, many don’t and what is great about Disney is that they’ve started doing something about it.

The two parks in particular are Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Through videos I’ve seen online (Youtube and different social media platforms), ASL – American Sign Language – is becoming more prevalent. There are cast member interpreters at the parades and shows, and on some of the attractions, and even some of the characters have started signing.

Just click on some of these below:

Toy Story Cast Members

Minnie and Tinkerbell Signing

Mickey and the Magical Map

Jungle Cruise

Captain America

It is fantastic for Disney to be going the extra mile and providing these services that make a trip that much more special, but it’s not enough. Other Disney parks now need to step up.

I think I’ve said before that my family and I have been to Disneyland Paris five times. Among us is my younger sister who is profoundly Deaf and communicates in British Sign Language.

What would be even more special for us, especially if my sister and I go back again, is for the park to implement some of the same examples they have in America. I can understand the difficulty in wondering which Sign Language to use because every European Sign Language is different from each other, for example French Sign Language – LSF – uses a one-handed alphabet similar to that of ASL, where as BSL uses a two-handed alphabet, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. It would just enhance the magic and create an experience even better than before.  When I think about it, if the two main spoken languages are French and English, then perhaps they should use both LSF and BSL. I don’t know. I’m putting it out there for discussion.

What are your thoughts? What are your experiences? From a Deaf or Hearing perspective, I’d be intrigued to find out.

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