Your Visit to Disney World Can Be a Road Trip for Beer
Walt Disney World touts itself as “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” Millions of visitors each year to the sprawling theme park and resort property in Central Florida means that a lot of folks believe that.
If you have an iPhone, there’s now a simple way to answer that question. The Beers and Ears Walt Disney World Beer List offers a handy inventory of Disney World brews and where to find them.
You can read more about how it works here, but the developer of the app agreed to an interview with Road Trips for Beer to talk a bit about how the concept became reality.
Scott Oliver said the app developed from a group of Disney World fans who used Twitter to share pictures of the beer they were drinking while at the parks and resorts. They used the hashtag #beermouse. But between the 140-character Twitter limit and the growing list of Twitter handles , it became too unwieldy to maintain on that platform.
“This is when we decided to move it to a blog,” Oliver said, “I already had a server and plenty of space on it, so I put together a WordPress install for the group to use and Beers and Ears was born in December 2010.”
Originally, the site didn’t have a beer list, he said. It was just articles and pictures of beer at the theme parks.
“The first version of the beer list was all hand-written pages,” Oliver said. “It was a nightmare to manage.”
“With the help of a WordPress plugin, we have been able to link up the beers and the locations and create a WDW Beer List that is fairly easy to maintain, and the list is over 160 beers long,” Oliver said. “We also have a beer list just for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.”
The next step involved migrating the list to an iPhone app.
Because he lives in Houston with his wife and young children, and isn’t able to travel regularly to Disney World, Oliver enlisted the help of the others in the group to fine-tune the app.
“I made betas available to the rest of the Beers and Ears team, and a few even took the app to the parks on their trips to test out,” he said. “The app was written in my spare time, a couple hours at a time, so it took several months.”
The data is compiled through several sources such as online Disney World menus and reports from team members visiting the parks. The Beers and Ears team also encourages users of the app to report any changes or new finds via Twitter, emails or the “Contact Us!” button on the app, an important method for keeping it current.
“Most of us don’t live near enough to Walt Disney World to be there all the time, so we really appreciate the tips” Oliver said. “Also, whenever we make a change, it’s immediately updated on the site and the app; no need to download a new version of the app for updates to the actual beer list data.”
As far as the future, a 1.2 version of the app has been submitted to Apple for approval and should be available any day.
“We’re investigating the possibility of an Android app, but haven’t decided when that would happen,” Oliver said.
The free Beers and Ears Walt Disney World Beer List app can be previewed here and downloaded on your iPhone from the App Store.