Disneyland Paris has introduced audio description content across the resort, offering a more magical experience for visually impaired and blind guests.
Many locations at Disneyland Paris, including attractions, restaurants and hotels, are now equipped with audio description. This comes after the resort put in place a new accessibility programme in December.
“At Disneyland Paris, we are committed to providing a magical experience for all,” says a news release.
“Our approach to accessibility is intended to empower those with disabilities and special needs through a collection of offerings and services provided for guests.”
Accessibility at Disneyland Paris
At Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, audio content is available inside attractions and at the entrances so that visually impaired and blind guests can “live the experience in total immersion”.
Audio description and interactive audio menus can be found in restaurants at both parks, and a synchronised audio description of the Mickey and the Magician show at the Animagique Theater is on offer.
The new Avengers Campus has been equipped with audio description in its restaurants, attractions and Hero Training Center.
Disneyland Paris is using the AudioSpot mobile app and in-park installations to provide audio description information. AudioSpot is a start-up company located near Nice.
“Disneyland Paris is committed to listening and learning from our guests, cast members and accessibility experts to develop new standards of inclusion in the French theme park industry,” Daniel Delcourt, senior VP at Disneyland Paris, said in December.
Our Jyothirgamaya Foundation is indeed pleased and overjoyed to experience a multi cultural interaction with the participants of Kanthari an international institute for leadership and social entrepreneurs, in Trivandrum, Kerala .
The Founder of Kanthari and Braille without Borders Sabriye Tenberken also visited us along with her participants and co-catalyst Andrea from Germany. Sabriye Tenberken has been a mentor to Tiffany Brar since her young days. Sabriye Tenberken is too a visually challenged and has sowed the seeds of inspiration for many Blind people to live independently.
She and the participants interacted with our students asking them questions about their learning at Jyothirgamaya Foundation.
They also asked the students what their future plans and dreams are.
A life without eyesight seems to be very challenging and difficult for us. Most of us will agree that leading a normal life with a visual impairment is next to impossible. However, there are exceptions in our society who every day prove this notion to be completely wrong as despite being visually impaired they tend to live like every other person around them with a healthy vision.
One such personality is 53-year-old Anand Chandra Sahu, a visually impaired person who runs a snack shop inside the Utkal University campus in Bhubaneswar all by himself for the last 20 years.
Students who crowd his shop to get quick bites between the classes are often amazed when they see Anand nonchalantly recognise the currency denomination, returning exact change and operating the microwave, fridge and other electronic equipments in the shop just with his sense of touch and a rough idea of distance.
Anand, who hails from Nayagarh district, was just four-years-old when he lost his eyesight after suffering from typhoid for six long months that severely affected his corneas.
However, Anand had not lost his hopes after the tragic turn in his life and came to Bhubaneswar to complete his schooling in a school for the visually impaired. After that, there was no turning back for Anand as he not just completed his secondary education but also paved his own way to get an M. Phil from Utkal University.
“I came to Bhubaneswar in 1977 and joined Bhima Bhoi School for the Blind to pursue my secondary education. After completing my schooling there, I got admission in Ravenshaw University (then Ravenshaw College) in Cuttack to complete my +2 and +3. I then returned back to Bhubaneswar and Joined Utkal University where I did my post-graduation and M.Phil in Sociology. I have also won several awards in cultural events during my educational career,” claimed Anand.
However, Anand, with his wife and two children depending upon him, probably had ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time as despite having such high educational qualifications, he was unable to make a fruitful career out of it.
“Odisha was going through a critical economical crisis when I completed my higher education at Utkal University in the 90s. Due to this, the Odisha government had frozen most of the job recruitments in the state,” said Anand.
“People surely opposed me for starting a business in the campus. But once my shop was set up inside the campus, people were very cooperative with me. No one has ever tried to steal anything from my shop and harass me. However, negligible miscalculations of a few bucks is a common thing for anyone who does business,” he said while serving the students crowding his shop.
On being asked whether he has ever been ripped off by any customer, Anand said that no one in the university has ever wished ill of him and he has never been duped during the 20 years of business in the campus.
“I have never expected anyone, including the government to help me exclusively due to my disability as I have never considered the visual impairment as a weakness of mine,” Anand said proudly.
On being asked about his message to society, he said, “A life lived without hardships is not worth considering a life. Whatever life throws at us, we should keep going without losing our spirit.”
For people with a visual impairment, accessing simple information can sometimes be difficult. How can a nonsighted person get their bearings and choose the best route to get to their destination? Or read a document that’s not available in braille? Answer an email from a co-worker? Fortunately, technology keeps innovating: a lot of apps are specifically designed to help blind or visually impaired people in their everyday lives.
Indeed, 89% of them have a smartphone, a tool that truly revolutionizes their lives! If they can gain more autonomy today, it’s thanks to features that are more advanced and accessible to the general public or thanks to apps that are specially designed for them. Blind or visually impaired people who find it restrictive and stressing to get around can now be more serene!
Let’s explore the apps used by blind or visually impaired people to gain more autonomy in their everyday lives!
VoiceOver is a screen reader that’s integrated into iPhones that, as its name indicates, enunciates emails or other textual messages aloud. It’s up to the user to choose the speaking rate and the volume.
Not to forget that braille also remains an option for those who have a braille keyboard to connect to the smartphone or who just want to write in braille directly on the screen of their iPhone.
VoiceOver also describes all the elements on the screen such as apps icons, the battery level and even in part images thanks to artificial intelligence. All the information is thus accessible!
Android smartphones also have a similar screen reader with TalkBack. It follows the same guideline as for iPhones: reading textual elements aloud, exploring the screen, using braille with BrailleBack… Everything is set for an optimal and smooth navigation!
Directly integrated into iPhones, Siri is an easy-to-use vocal assistant. For blind or visually impaired people, for whom finding and clicking on the right button can be difficult, using a voice control enables them to save time!
They just need to ask Siri to call a contact, to send a dictated text message and everything is therefore easier!
Also activated by voice control, Google Assistant has the same functionality as Siri. The user totally controls their smartphone according to their needs: sending an email, setting up an alarm, managing their schedule…
It’s one of the most popular GPS navigation apps. Being able to anticipate their route is essential for blind and visually impaired people. And this also applies for other types of profiles in general since people with disabilities use 30% more the GPS on their smartphone than the rest of the population. (Find out all the facts and figures concerning their use of smartphones in our infographic.)
Google Maps enables users to have access to all the real-time traffic information which is ideal when choosing the right means of public transportation!
The app even provides a new feature called “Accessible Places” that enables users to even more apprehend their environment thanks to information concerning the seating plan of a restaurant, the exact location of a building entrance…
The app provides precious help for blind and visually impaired people to serenely get around!
For those who are used to taking public transportation, this app lists all the possible means of transportation, their itineraries, their timetables and other information on real-time traffic.
The app even indicates the users the names of stops while on the bus, the tram or the subway. This proves to be essential for blind or visually impaired people when voice announcements aren’t activated.
Developed by Microsoft, this app is particularly innovative since it uses audio 3D technology to describe blind or visually impaired people their environment.
Soundscape enables them to better apprehend their surroundings, to call out intersections and to find their bearings in the city with great facility. And all of that by having their smartphone in their pocket: their hands remain free for their white cane or their guide dog!
Compatible with VoiceOver and TalkBack, the app provides audio instructions to blind and visually impaired people to guide them step by step. People with disabilities can easily find the reception desk or the classroom without needing to know the premises in advance.
We’re once again on the theme of mobility with MyMoveo developed by Okeenea Tech. This app enables blind or visually impaired users to activate connected Accessible Pedestrian Signals aBeacon to know when the pedestrian signal is green and thus safely cross the street.
Users can even use the app to activate the audio beacons NAVIGUEO+ HIFI which can locate points of interest such as the entrances of a public building or a subway station.
Available on both Android and iOS, an update is coming!
Be My Eyes
An app with which users can ask the help of sighted users in order to match their clothes or to know the expiry date of a product. Thanks to an audio-video connexion, users can easily get in touch.
Aira works in the same way as Be My Eyes since it connects nonsighted people with sighted ones to help them in various tasks such as finding the gate of an airport.
What sets this app apart is that the sighted users, called agents, are specifically trained to assist blind or visually impaired users referred to as Explorers.
Although the app can be downloaded for free, users are charged according to the different plans and services Aira provides. Depending on the formula they choose and their needs, the cost can thus be high.
Lookout is the equivalent app of Seeing AI on Android. The user just has to activate their smartphone camera so that Lookout can identify banknotes, objects… Thanks to its Quick Read Mode, the app skims through a text which is ideal when sorting the mail for example.
An app that enables blind and visually impaired people to simplify their everyday tasks and to save time!