Making the park experience more accessible to people who use ASL has been a long-term goal.
A viral video of Captain America having a sign language conversation with a Disneyland guest is melting hearts across the internet.
The video — originally posted June 29, 2016, by a woman named Jade Wilson — shows a guest telling Captain America that he's from Boston, and Cap responding by saying that he's working on his American Sign Language skills, but is a bit of a slow learner.
The exchange was exactly the type of heartwarming, magical experience Disney aims to deliver.
For those who communicate via ASL (not all deaf or hard-of-hearing people do), it can make their trip to the park even better.
In 2016, Disney even produced a video highlighting one family's trip to Florida's Disney World with their daughter, Shaylee, who uses ASL to communicate. As if meeting Tinkerbell wasn't exciting enough, Shaylee was ecstatic when Tink introduced herself in sign language.
GIF from Disney Parks/YouTube.
Disney's decision to create an inclusive experience for guests with disabilities isn't just the right thing to do, it's good for their bottom line.
Businesses have long argued that increased accommodations for customers with disability come at an excessive or unnecessary cost. The response to the Captain America video shows how wrong that thinking is.
Creating an experience that accommodates the needs of all isn't an unnecessary expense. It's a good investment.
Disability advocate David Perry explains via email:
"The response to Captain America doing ASL shows that committing to accessibility pays off, not just in serving customers with disabilities — though that's most important — but also in making people just generally feel welcome. My son, who has Down syndrome, doesn't need sign language. But knowing that Captain America is out there makes me feel more confident that Disneyland will meet his needs too."
Every Disney guest deserves the opportunity to have the same sort of magical experience at the parks, and access for people with disabilities shouldn't be treated as some sort of bonus. Stories like these are a powerful reminder that doing the right thing can pay off, and that's why it's so important to share them when we see them.
Way to go, Cap.
GIF from Marvel Entertainment/YouTube.