Disney Honors 25 Years of ASL Inclusion

in Events, Walt Disney World

A Christmas Choir sings at EPCOT

Credit: Orlando Weekly

Disney’s Candlelight Processional is a Christmas tradition that goes all the way back to Walt’s day, and has since become one of the biggest events on the Parks’ calendar. In 1997, Disney incorporated ASL for deaf and hard-of-hearing Guests who wanted to attend the production. Angela Roth, Disney’s current ASL interpreter and choreographer, has shared her experience with the Disney Parks Blog as the event celebrates 25 years of inclusion.

Angela Roth ASL Interpreter
Credit: Disney

Known for her mix of sign language and performance, Roth has developed a particular flavor of interpreting she dubs “Eye Rhyme.” During her interview with the Disney Parks Blog, Roth described her work by saying,

“Eye-rhyme is where I put together the signs into a visual rhyme that to the Deaf eye creates a visual flow… I use these eye-rhymes and sign to the pace of the music’s rhythm to create a similar effect to hearing the lyrics with the rhythm.”

Related: Disneyland’s Candlelight Processional Gets ‘Black Panther’ Narrator

Going far beyond the average ASL signing, Roth’s skill developed with members of the deaf community has made her as much a part of the show as the musicians, singers, and narrators. Thanks to interpreters like Roth and her work, Disney has cultivated a more inclusive initiative that continues to bring more and more Guests to the event each year.

candlelight processional epcot
Credit: Disney

Mark Jones, Manager of Accessibility for Walt Disney World said it best when he stated,

“Disney sets the standard for the entertainment industry, and by highlighting this offering among others at Walt Disney World, we give extensive exposure to the ASL community, and motivate for others to take similar steps.”

Related: Christians Outraged After Disney Makes Minor Change to Candlelight Processional

At a time where Disney continues to face a certain amount of heat amidst their current season of change, it’s refreshing to. know that more positive acts of inclusion are being maintained on a regular basis. 25 years is a long time to continuously work with the deaf and hard-of-hearing to bring Disney magic to all of the Guests in attendance. The Candlelight Processional runs until December 30th, 2022, leaving Guests of all communities more than enough time to still enjoy the special event.

Have you seen Angela Roth’s ASL performance? Tell us in the comments below!

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