I’m a VIP tour guide at Disneyland. Here are 12 of my favorite things to do in the parks.

  • I’m a VIP tour guide at Disneyland who’s been visiting the California parks my entire life.

  • I always grab food and drinks at Joffrey’s, Corn Dog Castle, Adorable Snowman, and Oga’s Cantina.

  • Pixar Pier is a great spot to snap photos, and you can watch the fireworks from Incredicoaster.

Skip the Starbucks line and head over to Joffrey’s.

I prefer Joffrey’s coffee.Amber Wainwright

If you’re like me and wake up early for Disneyland, then you know coffee is a must.

But the line at Starbucks can get really crowded and waiting can take up precious park time.

Try starting your day in California Adventure instead and grabbing a coffee from the Joffrey’s cart between the boardwalk and the pier.

There are lots of creative photo spots beyond the castle.

amber posing in front of pixar pier sign at disneyland

There are lots of fun, colorful spots around Pixar Pier.Amber Wainwright

Castle pictures are iconic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s next to impossible to get a great shot without a bunch of people in the background.

Disneyland is covered in artwork and has so many other cool photo areas, like the wall on Pixar Pier.

I spice things up a little at Corn Dog Castle.

corn dog being help up in front of corn dog castle sign at disneyland

I order the hot-link corn dog.Amber Wainwright

Corn dogs are a Disneyland staple. But I like to take a step away from the classic and try something a little outside the box.

At Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure, you can try the hot-link corn dog.

If you’re not a spice lover this may not be for you. But if you don’t mind turning up the heat, you’ll thank me later.

Cool down with boozy, frozen treats from Adorable Snowman.

hand holding frozen treat in front of adorable snowman sign at disneyland

The little stand is great for adults over 21.Amber Wainwright

If you’re 21 or older, head to Pixar Pier’s Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats and order the chile-lime mango margarita.

The nondairy mango soft-serve is covered in yummy fixings like chamoy, diced mango, and a splash of tequila.

It’s the perfect sweet-and-spicy treat for a warm day.

Take a moment to chat with the characters.

amber talkign to max and goofy at disneyland

The characters aren’t just there for the kids.Amber Wainwright

If you think you’re too old to interact with characters, you definitely aren’t.

These small moments can create lifelong memories, and they always put a smile on my face — especially when you get to see more obscure characters, like Goofy’s son Max.

I always make time to visit a galaxy far, far away.

amber wearing a star wars shirt standing in galaxy's edge in disneyland

Everything in Galaxy’s Edge is so detailed and immersive.Amber Wainwright

“Star Wars” fan or not, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is a must-visit.

On the fictional planet of Batuu, you feel completely transported, and it’s very easy to forget you’re still in the theme park.

It’s a great place for unique shopping, dining, and character experiences. You can eat a Ronto Wrap at Ronto’s Roasters, build a lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop, and hunt rebel scum with Kylo Ren.

I love Disneybounding as my favorite characters.

amber disneybounding as tiana at disneyland

You can get creative with how to dress like specific characters.Amber Wainwright

Disneybounding is using your normal clothing to resemble a character you love, and if you haven’t tried it, you definitely should.

You can dress it up or down as much as you want and completely make it your own.

It’s a fun way to interact with park employees as well — I know I’m always on the lookout for a great bound at work.

You can learn how to draw beloved characters with actual animators.

amber and friends holding up drawings for doland duck after an animation lesson at disneyland

The animators teach guests how to draw different characters every day.Amber Wainwright

At the Animation Academy, you can take a free drawing class where you learn to sketch a beloved animated Disney character.

I’m not an artist by any means, but this class always pleasantly surprises me.

It’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the parks and crowds. It’s also a great place to get a little bit of air conditioning on a warmer day.

I head over to Cars Land in the evening to watch them light up Radiator Springs.

amber posing in front of the carsland area at disneyland

There’s a lighting ceremony every evening.Amber Wainwright

Every evening at sunset, the lights come on in Radiator Springs in what has popularly been dubbed the “Sh-Boom Moment.”

You’ll see people stop what they’re doing and look around as the lights make their way up the street throughout the whole land.

It’s one of those small moments that’s really special to be a part of.

The fireworks look even cooler when you ride by them on Incredicoaster.

amber riding a rollercoaster at disneyland

You can see the fireworks from some of the rides.Amber Wainwright

If you love seeing the fireworks but hate squishing in the crowd, try riding the Incredicoaster during the showtime.

You get a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful display with the thrill of an amazing coaster.

This is my favorite unique way to enjoy the nighttime show.

There’s always new Mickey merchandise to browse.

amber dressed in disney merch in front of a christmas tree at disneyland

I love wearing Disney apparel to the parks.Amber Wainwright

There’s no such thing as wearing too much Mickey print in the parks.

If I’m not Disneybounding, you can catch me head to toe in mouse print.

You can shop your park favorites online when they’re out of season to save some money, or you can try other authorized Disney merch sellers like Box Lunch Gifts or Her Universe.

Oga’s Cantina is the perfect spot for a nightcap after a long day in the parks.

interior shot of ogas cantina at disneyland

Oga’s has tasty cocktails.Amber Wainwright

Oga’s Cantina is a great spot to end your trip.

It’s open for all ages, and guests over 21 can enjoy up to two alcoholic beverages a visit.

It can be very hard to get a reservation, but it does have a daily walk-up waitlist. I highly recommend trying to join it toward the end of your night because that’s when it seems to be the least busy.

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