Watch this Disneyland visitor's joy when Captain America joins him in sign language.

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.

One of the sweetest moments I've ever seen. Quit making me fall in love with you. đź’ś

A post shared by jade (@xoxogossipjew) on


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.

Since 2010, Disney has worked to make its parks more friendly and accessible to deaf people.

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.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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