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Pixar Films Now Accessible with Audio Description from Disney on Your Mobile Device

Audio described movies have been around a while. But for those that might not be aware an audio described movie provides extra verbal narration of visual elements happening in the film. It could be hand gestures, facial expressions, physical movements or a description of clothing and action happening in the movie. It describes things that a person with vision loss might not notice or realize. Typically, you can view an audio describe movie at home on your TV through a service provider like Comcast, Direct TV or a satellite station. You can also rent audio describe movies through Netflix, WGBH Media Access Group or other sources. You can also physically go to your local movie theater and watch an audio described movie with a special headset provided by the theater. But today another option is now available. Pixar Films are Now Accessible with Audio Description from Disney on Your Mobile Device.

Picture of Empish holding up cell phoneBy simply downloading the Disney Movies Anywhere app on your smartphone you can enjoy up to 16 Pixar films in audio description. Some of those movies are: Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, A Bugs Life, Monster, Inc., Finding Nemo, Monsters University, Inside Out and the Good Dinosaur. The Disney Movies Anywhere app is free but you have to have purchased the movies beforehand. That could be on a DVD, BluRay, Amazon, iTunes, Comcast or Netflix. In the future you will be able to use the app in your local movie theater and sync it with the latest movie.

The idea to create this app began at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, and was taken on by the engineers at Disney. Additionally, they made sure to include the blind and visually impaired community. Back in December 2015, nearly 200 blind and visually impaired people gathered from the Bay area to beta test the app while watching the movie the Good Dinosaur. The feedback was very positive and helped Pixar to move forward with the development of the app.

Now that you have a little background on its creation let’s talk about how the app actually works. First, download the Disney Movies Anywhere App on to your iPhone® or iPad® running iOS 7 or above. Then activate “Audio Description” by going to the “Access” section under “Settings” in the Disney Movies Anywhere App. Once activated, you can find a list of movie titles through the Audio Descriptive (AD) button on the featured tab. You must decide in advance which of the 16 movies you want to see and have it on “pause” on a separate device. Then you can push the “Sync & Play Audio” button within the Disney Movies Anywhere App to initiate syncing and playback of the accompanying narration.

Picture of Empish using audio description equipmentSomething to keep in mind that I personally noticed when I tried to use this app. Since the app is just the audio description only and not the actual movie you want to be mindful of the timing between the app and the movie playing on the separate device. I tried the app with a movie on my DVD player. I had to put my movie on pause, fast forwarding through previews, while I pulled up the movie on my app and waited for it to sync first. It took a couple of minutes and then the audio description started immediately. Currently there is not a rewind or fast forward option just a pause button so if you don’t time it right with your movie the audio description might be off track.

This app is very new and work is being done constantly to improve it. Pixar is on the cutting edge and putting the control of audio description in the hands of the blind and visually impaired community. If you have downloaded the app and notice things that can be changed to make it better or if you have questions or concerns, Pixar wants to hear from you. They have set up a special feedback email address so that you can contact them. Just send an email to

Now, let’s watch a movie! What do you think about having an app to watch audio described movies? Do you like what Pixar is doing? Do you think other movie studios will get on board and do the same? Share your thoughts and comments in the section below.