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Student James Yothers has been to Disneyland a handful of times, and that was enough for him to spot an inefficiency in their Fastpass system. The idea behind Fastpass is that someone can effectively make an appointment to go on a certain ride at a certain time, and thus skip the endless lines that amusement parks are known for. However, that appointment may be hours in the future, and there is no way to acquire another pass while one waits to use the first one. Until now: Yothers hacked through this issue by building Exchange Disneyland Fastpass, an app that facilitates Fastpass trades. The app was built by Yothers and Caly Moss, Kevin Liang, Justin Cheung, Josh Wyatt, Alexander Gugel, and Salman Kahn.
The app, which is released in Google Play and awaiting approval in the Apple App Store, creates the possibility of a market which would otherwise be too cumbersome and time-consuming to facilitate.
Yothers, who has been to Disneyland as both a child and a parent, knows as well as anyone how much the experience can improve by getting to rides more quickly.
“I probably go every few years, but I had a lot of affection for it. Having kids now [aged five, three and one], it’s even more exciting, because the kids have such a good time.”
The app could be expanded into broader uses, both as a market facilitator and a social network.
“The idea for Fastpass Exchanges was not necessarily about Fastpasses, it was about this overall idea of social connection in a physical area. One of the detriments I see of social networks, is that they are supposed to remain online.”
Disneyland is small enough that if, say, Yothers wanted to use it to meet up with other families, that would be possible with a quick repurposing of the app’s messaging function.
The app was built using Ionic, with Firebase to manage the database. Yothers started the project during a hackathon, and then continued it with a different team during a two-week project period. The second team helped make adjustments to the UI and UX.
“It was hard to do because you get attached to what you’ve done,” says Yothers, “but if the user has a better idea, you have to take that into consideration and change. It was a great learning experience.”