Disney with a Deaf Child.

When we adopted Gigi and brought her home, there was almost NO time for me to plan our Disney adventure this year.  I had laid the groundwork, obviously, before we left, but I am usually a master planner when it comes to vacations.  This year, not so much.  We were flying by the seat of our pants a little more than we’re used to.  I failed to get a lot of the services we needed for Gigi in place.


If you look at the Disney website, it’s a little difficult to understand what is offered.  Two weeks ago, I called the number listed and got Guest Services.  I was told they do have interpreters and that the interpreters serve certain parks on certain days.  The schedule is as follows.  On Sundays and Wednesdays, they interpret at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios (previously known as Disney-MGM Studios); Mondays and Thursdays at the MAGIC KINGDOM Park; Tuesdays and Saturdays at DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM Park; Fridays at Epcot.  So, right away, I had messed up.  I had chosen different days to be in the parks.  Only our Tuesday in Animal Kingdom matched up.

So, I asked the Cast Member at Guest Services what time the interpreted shows would be at the Animal Kingdom on Tuesday.  She, incorrectly, informed me that ALL the shows would be interpreted that day.  I informed her they were not, I was sure of it.  She said they were.  I hung up and called back.  I spoke with another Cast Member who agreed they are NOT all interpreted, only one per day is.  Sadly, he didn’t know which one.  It was becoming slightly comical.  I had no choice but to take to Facebook.

A friend called and was on the phone for longer than I was to get the schedule emailed to me.  When we went to the interpreted showing of Nemo in the Animal Kingdom on Tuesday, the interpreters were AMAZING.  And, they told us they had received a request for our group for the next day in the Magic Kingdom.  WHAAATTT?!? You can request that certain attractions be interpreted for you if you request far enough in advance.  I’ll remember that for next year too.  We were SO blessed to have interpreters willing to help us out this year!  DSC_0064At this point, you’re probably wondering why Gigi needs an interpreter at all.  I mean, she has all of 15 signs.  Well, her receptive language is increasing every day.  So, just because she doesn’t always say anything back to us, doesn’t mean she isn’t absorbing the language we’re giving to her like a tiny sponge.  And, watching an interpreter is AMAZING practice for her.  Plus, it is great practice for the other kids and Joe and I.  Should you need an interpreter, you can email WDWsignlanguageservices@disney.com.

Disney doesn’t have signing characters, unlike this video would have you believe.  The email I got said “communication is not integral to the character experience.”  Gigi would beg to differ.  This Anna knew a little bit of ASL.  You should have seen Gigi’s face light up when Anna told her she was beautiful.  She’s telling her back that she is having fun.

DSC_0084Overall, this has been an amazing experience for her.  There were moments when the language gap could be bridged and she played just like any other kid does.  This morning at our character breakfast, she led the parade.

DSC_0095 Like a total boss.

We learned to do Disney with Dwarfism.  We’re learning to do Disney with deafness.

–FullPlateMom, who is so thankful to everyone who helped us make the absolute most of this for Gigi!


One thought on “Disney with a Deaf Child.

  1. When I worked at Disneyland last year, one of the cast members was Deaf. He had been working at Disneyland as a cashier at a clothing store for 7 years! Getting to sign with him was one of the highlights of my time spent there. Thanks for sharing your journey – watching Gigi pick up ASL is amazing.

    P.S. – I know your kids have a few more years, but they should look into doing the Disney College Program when they are in college. It was one of my favorite life experiences so far!

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