Disney wants your mobile phones to work at its theme parks. Why? Because it's counting on them to boost attendance during peak hours.

But one big obstacle was getting in the way to fully make that happen, however: Verizon.

In a new multiyear deal, Disney has made AT&T its preferred cell phone carrier of choice at its theme parks in California and Florida and its Disney Cruise line.

Under the pact, AT&T will now bolster cell phone reception by adding more than 25 antenna systems and 350 small cell towers to increase capacity. The towers will enable Disney to redistribute signals to provide more coverage in high-volume areas, while also providing free Wi-Fi hotspots for AT&T customers. An additional 10 cell sites will provide mobile services to guests across Walt Disney World.

Last summer, Disney launched "My Disney Experience" as a free mobile app that gives guests at Walt Disney World access to park hours and maps, wait times for attractions, dining and attraction information. "My Disney Experience" was designed to replace the previous "Mobile Magic" app that could be used at parks in California and Florida.

Disney is counting on usage of the apps, and new offerings like MagicBands, MyMagic+ and FastPass+ to improve wait times and traffic flow at its parks to make visits more appealing to guests -- and increase spending, as a result.

It will also expand the exposure of guest visits, as well, with more photos of park visits expected to flood Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Disney needed to make sure its guests could actually use their phones or other mobile devices while in the parks. With more consumers carrying smartphones that require access to high-speed cell networks, Disney needed to upgrade its system. AT&T's 4G LTE network is considered one of the fastest mobile networks in America. It aims to cover 300 million people with 4G LTE service by the end of 2014.

Through Verizon, however, reception was usually poor, or nonexistent at Disney's parks, especially as attendance increased throughout the day.

Separately, Disney and AT&T will use their new pact to launch a public service announcement, entitled "It Can Wait," as a campaign against texting while driving. And AT&T will sponsor events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.


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