Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Mouse-standing List: Days To Go WDW App (And Giveaway!)

Ever since I got my iPhone back in June, I've been trying to find out about all the cool apps that are offered both Disney and Non-Disney.  It's been a fun project for sure!

In my quest to find interesting apps, I was told about one such Disney app from a listener of the show.  This app is called Days To Go WDW and was created by Joe Fratianni.   The app's main feature is to keep a countdown of how many days until your next WDW Trip.  It's been fabulous as I've been counting down to the BOGP Cruise 2.0.  

The great thing about this app is that you can customize it to fit your needs.  Not only can you countdown the number of days left til your trip, but you can also include your own photos in your countdown.  (As you can see above with my photo of Chip on the Dream acting a little "nutty".

You can also customize the app.  So, don't like the color for the borders?  No problem, you can change them.   Want to change the font?  Guess what, you can do that too!  You can even add your own music to play!

The app also has Facebook integration which posts your countdown on your wall, showing the number of days left until your trip!

You can even set reminders for yourself!  Mine tells me every day at 4:00 pm how many days are left until my trip! 

This app offers so much to it, that you really have to play with it to figure out what suits your needs best!  You can make it what you want it to be! 

The app can be purchased via iTunes and it's compatible with iPhones, iPod touch, and iPads. 

So because I liked the app so much, I thought I'd interview the author of the app, Joe to find out a little more about the app in general as well as more information about his passion for Disney!

Me:  Tell me a little about yourself

Joe:  I love just about everything Disney creates, but have a special affinity for WDW.  My other love is all things Apple.

What is your project about?

I love Disney.  I love creating iPhone apps.  What could be better than combining the two?  I created an iPhone app, Days to go WDW which allows a user to "Count the Days until your next WDW Vacation, with style."

Where you did you get your inspiration for it?

My hairdresser told me her daughter would like an app to count the number of days to a special event, like her next Disney Trip.

What makes your project different from others like it?

I love creating apps I want to use.  I also try to integrate every idea or suggestion from users, but maintain Apple's philosophy of simplicity on the surface, but functionality underneath.  I think it makes a big difference when an app is made by someone with a passion for the subject.

How long did this project take?

Although it never will be done, I've spent about 300 hours over countless months so far.  I like to think of my apps like Walt Disney World:  Always in a state of becoming.  Never quite finished.

What was something that you learned from creating this project? 

- Simplicity is very difficult and complex to implement.
- The time between two dates are computed in seconds
- Not all days have 24 hours
- I take thousands of pictures at WDW, but very few are any good
- Pictures take up huge amounts of memory, of which iPhones have very little.

What was the most challenging thing when creating the project?

Programming is like building a house.  There are numerous parts and skills needed to put together a quality app.  You need to become a jack of all trades.  There is rough carpentry which no-one will see, but it is no less important than the finish work.  A shortcut taken along the way sticks out in the finished product.
One of the most frustrating things programming is running into a dead end.  A problem that you do not understand and cannot figure out.  It tends to occur when thinks are progressing well.  A great example is when I was asked to add font color choices to an app.  Seemed very simple, but took a week and about 30 hours to implement.  I found that sheer persistence works - eventually.

What got you started on your Disney obsession?

My obsession has existed as long as I can remember, but remember a family trip my wife and I took with our two kids and her parents in 2001 that really seemed to kick my obsession into high gear.  I grew up going to Disney once in a while, but never staying on property.  I recall staying on Disney property was never even a consideration - it was something only royalty could afford.  Then during the summer of 2001 we saw an advertisement for Disney Value Resorts: $49 per night!  I had some concerns.  I wasn't sure what a Value Resort would be like.  How bad could it be?  They must have running water and flush toilets.  We should give it a try.  That was a big jump in Disney obsessive - compulsive disorder.  I became fascinated with how Disney categorized resorts into Value, Moderate and Deluxe, and how they differentiated them.  Things spiraled downhill from there.

What's your favorite Disney memory?

A father / son trip to the World in 2008.  What a blast.  To this day we can relive the fun of the trip just by naming an attraction.  We add some dramatic flare and say "Expedition Everest" or "Toy Story Midway Mania" for example.  We still call each other Disney Buddies.

What is your favorite park?


What's your favorite attraction?

Soarin.  Fun for all ages, doesn't leave anyone out.

What's your favorite restaurant? 

Crystal palace.  Food, not so memorable.  Pictures of the kids with Pooh, Tiger and Piglet?  Unforgettable.

Do you plan on creating another project in the future?  If so, what? 

Working on a fun Disney app for Tony Calselnova: Disney by the Numbers.

Anything else you'd like to add?

The Disney community is such a cool group.  I find it so wild how everyone expresses their Disney Passion in his or her own way.  Some people blog, some make podcasts, write books and so on.  I am not a blogger, a podcaster or writer.  I love expressing my passion in my own geeky way.

I'd like to thank Joe for sharing his passion with us today!  He sums it up the best that it really is so wild how everyone expresses their Disney Passion.  But to me, it's so great that there are so many outlets that people can use to share that passion with everyone who wants to listen.

Now, thanks to Joe, I'm going to give away, not 1, but 2, Days To Go WDW Apps! 

To enter: Since this year at Disney is about sharing memories, share with me your favorite Disney memory in the comments section!

Additional ways to enter:

  • Tweet about the giveaway!  I just entered to win the Days To Go WDW App from @RikkiNibs and you can too!  #DaysToGoWDWApp
  • Facebook me a photo of your favorite Disney Character.  

You can enter all 3 ways, but you can only enter all 3 ways once per day.  The contest will end on November, 22nd.  The winner will be announced on or around Nov. 23rd on the site.  The contest winners will be chosen via  Best of luck to you all!  And remember, if you want to purchase the app yourself, just search for "Days To Go WDW" in iTunes!


Gemma said...

My favourite Disney memory is sitting in the River Roost lounge listening to YeeHa Bob. Anywhere else we'd baulk at spending $10 on one drink but just for this night we wanted to enjoy the moment.

minnie411 said...

My favorite Disney memories always involves time spent enjoying it with family and friends.

Dawn B said...
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Dawn B said...
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Megan said...

My favorite Disney memory is riding the teacups with my dad! He spun them so fast we could barely keep our heads up! :)

dragynally said...

My favorite Disney memory is riding test track in the rain with my BFF. They kept threatening to shut down the ride because of the weather but we waited it out and got the last ride of the afternoon.

Cozyflier said...

I tweeted!

Cozyflier said...

I'm fb a pic right now!