The deal represents the further melding of wireless service providers and content companies. Cellphones have branched out from being merely communications tools and are portals to other media. Verizon Wireless already has a deal with Disney's sports behemoth, ESPN.
Under the partnership, the wireless carrier - jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) - will offer cellphones next year with the ability to find restaurants, see where Disney characters are hanging out, or check on the availability of attractions in the Disneyland or Disney World resorts. Users will also receive text messages from characters and access special mobile games through a Disney program found on the phone.
"Imagine receiving up-to-the-minute tips on special park activities with just the touch of a button or receiving a call from Buzz Lightyear welcoming you to the Magic Kingdom," Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo said in a statement.
The features will be offered in specifically marketed handsets at first, but will eventually be sent wirelessly to existing cellphones. Verizon Wireless and Disney are also working to get standard park information such as show times to all mobile phones regardless of carrier.