Today I’ve got some news that hits the ultimate trifecta of my interests: Disney, Entertainment, and Accessibility! In advance of their launch on November 12, Disney has been providing information not only about the long list of films and series available on the new streaming platform, Disney+, but also about the ways in which they’re ensuring it will be accessible and usable for everybody.
What is Disney+?
Let’s do some quick background first. Disney+ is The Walt Disney Company’s answer to Netflix – their own streaming service that will be filled to the brim with their beloved classics and original, sure-to-be-talked about new movies and series. Let’s be honest y’all – having a Watch List on this platform is going to be entirely redundant for me because the entire platform is going to be my Watch List. I’m so ready to revisit the action of Captain Marvel, the worlds of Star Wars, and the adventures of the original Duck Tales (woo-OOO-ooo!) and solving a mystery with Timmy Failure after entering the The World According to Jeff Goldblum.
You know I particularly love entertainment that everybody is able to enjoy, and I’m excited to share the Disney+ accessibility features that will be available at launch!
What Disney+ Accessibility Features Have Been Announced?
Before jumping into the Disney+ accessibility features, I want to share the statement Disney has included as part of their dedication to inclusive design practices and the desire to make sure that their content can be enjoyed by anyone (oh hey – kind of like what we’ve been talking about over here!):
At Disney+ we are committed to bringing magical and inclusive experiences to all of our guests. Our dedication includes continuously striving to adhere to best practices and standards in accessibility. We diligently work on improving our guests’ experiences, and work with third parties to stay informed on best practices and standards.
We want Disney+ to be inclusive and enjoyable for everyone! There are a variety of accessibility options our guests can use to enjoy the experience in the app. Some of the features that we provide to assist with the experience include:
Audio Descriptions (AD) assists individuals who are blind or have visual impairments by providing additional auditory context to describe what is being shown on screen during video playback. AD availability varies by title and by language.
(Author note: As of the November 12 launch date, there is not a way to filter or search for movies and shows on Disney+ which have audio description, so I’ve put together a list of almost 300 Disney+ Titles with Audio Description. There has also been some confusion as to how to enable audio description on Disney+. The best way I have found is to play a title with audio description, like Dumbo or The Mandalorian, and from there you can change the audio settings to English Audio Description. Once enabled, audio description will continue to play for any title that has it).
Text to Speech
Text-to-speech assists individuals who are blind or have visual impairments by narrating the on screen elements while navigating through the Disney+ interface. Disney+ will offer text-to-speech support through the entire experience. Available on all platforms and screen reader software, excluding Playstation 4.
Closed Captions (CC) assists individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing additional context and information beyond standard subtitles. Most titles on Disney+ will be available with Closed Captions or Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Availability varies by title and by language.
Disney+ is designed so text an elements on screen are easy to see and read for individuals with varying degrees of visual impairment.
Each screen and interface across Disney+ is designed to support screens of various sizes so individuals can use their devices in ways that work best for them. Disney+ will also support zoom tools to assist individuals with visual impairments. Availability varies by platform.
For individuals who do not use a mouse to navigate on a desktop or laptop web browser, Disney+ will be navigable via an individual’s keyboard of comparable input device. Availability varies by platform and browser.
Some Disney+ content may contain flashing lights sequences or patterns which may affect users who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities. This content will be labeled with an alert stating “Contains content that might trigger photosensitive epilepsy.” Additionally, 4K Ultra UHD content versions enable greater brightness and color saturation which may also affect users.
That’s all the information Disney has provided for now, but I’ll be sure to update this page if they make updates or changes. And while not distinctly an Disney+ accessibility feature, the service will have a setting to allow users to automatically play the next episode in a series – unlike Netflix who frequently likes to shame me by asking if I’m still watching. YES NETFLIX, THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS YES.
Want more info about Disney+?
If you want all the details on cost, signing up for Disney+ and a small glimpse at some of the shows and movies that will be available on November 12, be sure to check out D23’s Everything You Need to Know to Be a Disney+ Expert! And for news, reviews, and hilarious commentary, subscribe to the Now Streaming Disney Plus podcast, hosted by the amazing duo of Patty Holiday and Andrea Updyke!