07-16-2008, 09:41 AM
Does anyone have any experience with using services available to individuals who are hard of hearing?
My son has a moderate hearing loss, and while he does wear hearing aids - there are usually so many other background noises at the shows/attractions that he had difficulty understanding any dialog that may be a part of the attraction.
This past trip, we discovered the reflective captioning at Fantasmic and he enjoyed the show so much more :thumbsup:
I've found the list of available options on WDW's site, but was hoping someone with experience could offer some insight on the best options for using any of the assistive devices WDW offers for those that are hard of hearing.
07-17-2008, 08:24 PM
I don't have direct experience with this but did seek out a trip report that talks about one family's experience with the assistive devices. So without further ado, here are some link's to Grego77's trip reports:
Day 2 at AK (http://www.intercot.com/discussion/showpost.php?p=1306821&postcount=1)
Day 3 - handheld captioning at EPCOT (http://www.intercot.com/discussion/showpost.php?p=1315667&postcount=1)
Hopefully, some others will be along soon to pipe in to the discussion!
07-17-2008, 09:33 PM
Disney has a guide for persons w/ disabilities.
I don't know what they call it, but I have noticed in the Country Bear Jamboree, that there is some sort of assistive technology that the words go across. Maybe they hand you something?
07-18-2008, 09:17 AM
Ellen, thanks for alerting me to this thread.
The cut and dry answer to this question is YES. There are devices for people who are hard of hearing. However, the bad news is that you have to ASK, and Disney does NOT advertise their services except for little tiny symbols on the map. I will explain what to do below.
My sister has 20% hearing in one ear and around 40% in the other...a very rare case. We have been to Disney together 4 times now, and it wasn't until last year (our 3rd time...her 5th!), I found out about the help. Long story short, my sister started crying after using them, mainly because she could actually understand why people are laughing or the basic premise of any ride. Like most hearing impared people, she lip reads A LOT. And for shows like Philharmagic or Bugs Life, you can't really do that.
Anyway, to the devices themselves...there are 3. The first is for the 3-D shows and performances. It's called "reflective captioning". Basically, all you have to do is go to a Cast Member (sometimes multiple times!), and tell them you need the reflective captioning. They will have you line up in the handicap line and enter first, with people who need accomodation in the BACK of the theatre. Most likely, if they are competent, they will call in to the person who is running the hall and they will set up what looks like a microphone stand with a transparent mirror that rests where your eyes are. If not, RUN up to the CM who's running the front, and they'll set it up for you then, probably with a lot of grumbling. Anyway, once the show starts, you will see closed captions (just like on your tv) projected in your mirror. It's GREAT! The only drawback is that you have to sit close enough to the captions, which means you don't always have the best view (sitting in the back). The BEST shows to get the captions for are Philharmagic, Bugs Life, Muppets 3-D, and Honey I shrunk the audience. Captions are also available in China and Canada for their circle vision 3-D shows. The other device my sister loves is the Handheld Captioning. It is like a little I-Phone thingy that automatically starts displaying captions once on a ride (mainly all the boat rides, Fantasyland rides, non-thrill rides). Half the time they don't work, so my sister manually reads the captions from what she can hear and reads along. A problem with that is that she spends most of her time looking at the device and not on what's going on visually on the ride. Another drawback is that you have to pay a $100 deposit, and every time to leave that park you have to return the device to that guest services. I lost a $100 bill this trip from keeping the cash in my pocket and taking it out so often. Not so much fun. Overall though, it helps with understanding the ride a lot better. Great rides for this are Haunted Mansion, 3 Caballieros, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Carousel of Progress, The Great Movie Ride, and Ellen's Energy Adventure. I believe the third option is headphones to amplify the sound...i believe these are used for live shows...however, my sister's hearing impairment is such that hearing aids and listening devices only amplify the NOISE to her...so i don't know much about it besides the fact that you also have to put down a deposit at guest services.
Overall, I applaud Disney for having the support, but I feel it is not good quality (especially the handheld captioning), and I also feel it should be more KNOWN to the public that assistive devices are available.
I was in Disneyland watching the Aladdin live show, and a deaf girl was in the audience before the show, and the CM gave her the SCRIPT!!!, because they had nothing else for her to help her. The mother was upset because the girl was like 6 and it's rediculous to give a 200 page script to a kindergartener! I told her about the assistive devices at WDW, and she was so grateful. They left the show and immediately went to guest relations. Ironically, the last time I was there, a family had a translator to sign the whole show for them. I asked them later and I believe the woman is contracted by Disney and she can be available for all live shows, and can be a tour guide for a day or something of the like...which makes me feel really good about the future with this. Disney is such an incredible place, and seeing my sister actually UNDERSTAND what's going on for the first time really made that trip (and our trip this year) all the more special. I hope the same for you! :thumbsup: Everyone should be able to enjoy Disney to the fullest, and they should make more of an effort (in my opinion) to accomodate everyone effectively.
Feel free to PM me with any questions. :mickey:
07-19-2008, 01:59 PM
Thanks, Greg! :thumbsup:
If you happen to be going during Christmas time, there is a person doing sign-language interpretation at the Candlelight Processional.
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