OC Lawyer Invents iPhone App for Disneyland

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According the OC Register’s Around Disney blog:

Did you ever wish you could immediately know wait times for Disneyland rides?

Or maybe you wanted to know info on the park’s shops and restaurants within 100 yards of where you were standing?

Scott Graziano, a Newport Beach lawyer and Disney enthusiast, has solved your problem. If you have an iPhone and $2.99.

He is a gadget nut — he’s really enamoured of the iPhone.

“I’ve had the iPhone since it first came out,” said Graziano, 38. “I go to Disneyland fairly frequently. I don’t want to knock down Disneyland, but their web site isn’t easy to navigate.

“Also, the only place you can go to find ride wait times is a centralized, manual board (near Adventureland’s entrance). I looked online, and nobody has this information.”

Having no programming experience, Graziano’s project to build a tool for his phone that would solve those problems was going to be tough.

So he spent hours and hours working out a hand-drawn progression of screen shots that demonstrated what he wanted in an iPhone application to aggregate all this information on a GPS-enabled map of the park and a built-in calendar.

“I just kept working with it until I had a 40- to 50-page mock-up,” Graziano said.

Once he figured out exactly what he wanted the program to do, Graziano went through a classifieds Web site call “Elance,” a clearinghouse for independent software developers to hire out their services.

Graziano put together a team of developers to help him write the coding to realize his project.

Six months later, Apple has approved his application for sale at the iPhone app store online for $2.99.

The program aggregates wait times through a Wiki effect – each user makes a list of rides he wants to ride, which appear as dots on a map of the park. The dots are color-coded based on how long the wait time is.

The information on line length comes solely from other app users throughout the park with their own lists of rides — whenever a user has finished riding one of the rides on his list, the program asks him to input the time it took to wait for the attraction.

The more people using the program, the more accurate the wait times will be.

Furthermore, Graziano manually inputs events and parades with times and dates into a server months in advance. The calendar function of his application lets park-goers plan their trips down to the minute, with pop-up alerts that warn them as scheduled events approach.

The app holds the telephone numbers of the park’s restaurants; after calling for a reservation, the user hits a button and it is scheduled in the phone’s calendar.

If you’re just cruising the park, you can click a menu item on your iPhone and icons will appear on the map all around your location — clicking any of them will bring up information about the attraction, shop or restaurant.

You can even use the phone’s GPS feature to record where you parked.

So how does Graziano make money off this thing?

Apple takes 30 percent of the $2.99 it costs users to download the program, so he takes home $2.10 of that. He figures if his program sells as he hopes it will, he’ll break even on the project within a year.

He said in the first week the app was available for sale at the iPhone app store, it sold 500 copies.

Meanwhile, Graziano said he and his developers are continuing to streamline the program to make sure all of the bugs are worked out — even after the painstaking six months spent making the application run smoothly.

Though he isn’t affiliated with Disney, Graziano said he wants to be worthy of the kind of minute detail and smooth experience associated with that brand.

“We want this to be at a level of quality people associate with Disney,” he said. “We don’t want to put a piece of junk out there.”

The first picture is a screen shot from inside Graziano’s app. The second is Graziano, himself. Both photos are courtesy of Scott Graziano.