With the upgrade from 4G cellular data offerings to 5G comes faster and more reliable Instagram story uploads, Facetime calls, video downloads, and YouTube live streaming. While some theme parks offer wi-fi, it can be spotty or slow when the parks are busy. Some Android phones already offer 5G, and now Apple has announced new 5G capable iPhones, so we compared data between three of America’s biggest cell providers, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, to show you how your new 5G phone may handle in the parks.
Cellular service can be imperative in the theme parks with the ever growing need to use mobile apps. Virtual queues are a big part of the current social-distant experience. And boarding passes for one of the most popular attractions in the world, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, are done through the My Disney Experience app. This means a great signal is imperative if you want to ride.
UPDATE – 10/14/20, 9:19 p.m. EST: Verizon updated their entire nationwide coverage map a day after the Apple iPhone 12 event. The Verizon information has been updated to represent their new data.
Verizon was a big player during the Apple iPhone 12 announcement event. They spoke of their lightning fast 5G speeds, with Apple toting the speeds as a big change in the wireless industry. Apple, like T-Mobile, allow users on their data site to search addresses, but both of their color schemes and sizing makes it hard to decipher exact locations. We marked out the borders of the theme parks listed in yellow to help showcase the true coverage areas. On the Verizon maps below red is 5G nationwide, light red is 4G LTE, and deep red is 5G Ultra Wideband.
In Orlando, 5G Nationwide coverage is rolling out swiftly. The Universal Orlando Resort is currently covered fully, while SeaWorld and Disney are not yet complete. For Walt Disney World, this map shows that Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are fully covered. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios have spots of 5G, but are fully covered in 4G LTE.
In California, both Universal Studios Hollywood and SeaWorld San Diego are fully covered in 5G Nationwide coverage. The Disneyland Resort is partially covered, but still needs more areas to be finalized. But, Disneyland also has nearby 5G Ultra Wideband, the streets colored dark red. Verizon is toting this as the fastest 5G possible. This specific band of signal can only be received outside, but offers download speeds of up to four gigabytes a second.
AT&T is already offering their 5G service to numerous theme parks. The teal color represents 5G and blue represents 4G LTE.
For the Orlando-based theme parks, the coverage is on its way, but not yet complete. Universal Orlando Resort currently doesn’t have any 5G coverage. But SeaWorld Orlando has complete 5G coverage. At Walt Disney World, there is 5G coverage for most of the theme parks, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not complete. Epcot is also only partially covered for now.
In California, AT&T has you fully covered at the Universal, SeaWorld and Disney parks. Any phone with 5G capabilities should be able to fully access the faster cellular services.
T-Mobile is also way ahead of Verizon for rolling out their 5G service to theme parks and beyond. Their coverage map allows users to zoom in much less than AT&T, making it harder to point to exact locations. For these next coverage maps, light purple is 5G, dark purple is 4G LTE, and we highlighted the borders of the theme parks to help identify them.
The Orlando theme parks are currently lacking 5G coverage in most areas. Portions of Walt Disney World are starting to get the speedier 5G cellular service. But it doesn’t fully cover any of the four Disney theme parks in Florida.
The California theme parks are well on their way towards full 5G coverage. SeaWorld is still missing most areas, but Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood are covered with a few spotty areas.
We are stepping into the next evolution of wireless connectivity with 5G services offered by these major competitors. While the amount of 5G coverage in a theme park is certainly not the deciding factor on choosing a service, it can be helpful to know. Also keep in mind there are different levels of 5G service and some may not be any faster than 4G. But 5G coverage and speed will only get better as time goes on.
Have you used 5G cellular service yet? Are you going to buy one of the new 5G iPhones? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.