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Synchronized Handheld Captioning System To Expand At Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Honoring its commitment to provide outstanding experiences for guests with disabilities, the Walt Disney World Resort has announced it plans to expand its Handheld Captioning service during 2003.

This service, which uses a handheld receiver, enables guests to read captions while enjoying specific theme park attractions where captioning previously was impractical or unattainable. To develop the handheld system, Disney engineers looked at all of the recent advances in wireless communication and took it one step further.

"Our challenge was finding a way to deliver captions in narrative attractions where fixed captioning systems weren't an option," said Greg Hale, vice president of Safety, Accessibility, and Advanced Technology for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "When we couldn't find an 'off-the-shelf' solution, we developed our own technology. We are now exploring opportunities to make this technology available in venues outside of theme parks, where it could provide synchronized captioning, audio translations and other services in a wide variety of applications such as museums, movie theaters, tours and transportation."

This service debuted on Dec. 5, 2001 -- the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birth -- at the "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios. Handheld Captioning is currently available at twenty Walt Disney World attractions. Disney announced plans to add at least ten more attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort and begin testing this service in at least four attractions at the Disneyland Resort during 2003.

The Handheld Captioning system joins several existing services for guests with hearing disabilities including Reflective Captioning, American Sign Language interpreters, Assistive Listening systems, Video Captioning, pay telephones equipped with TTYs, and printed attraction aids. The Guidebook for Guests with Disabilities offers an overview of the services and facilities available at each park.

"With our Handheld Captioning program, Disney has once again shown its commitment to provide an outstanding experience for our guests with disabilities," said Al Weiss, president of the Walt Disney World Resort. "The program perfectly illustrates our willingness to meet challenges with creative, innovative solutions for exceptional guest service."

For additional information about the Walt Disney World Resort services for guests with disabilities, please visit the web site at www.disneyworld.com. or contact Walt Disney World Resort Information at 407-824-4321 (voice) or 407-827-5141 (TTY).

(January 2003)

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