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

  • I am a VIP Disneyland tour guide who has visited California parks my entire life.

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

  • Pixar Pier is a great place to take photos and you can watch the fireworks from Incredicoaster.

Skip the Starbucks lines and head to Joffrey’s.

I prefer Joffrey’s coffee.Amber Wainwright

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

But the line at Starbucks can get very crowded and the wait can take up valuable time in the park.

Instead, try starting your day at California Adventure and grab a coffee from Joffrey’s cart between the boardwalk and the pier.

There are plenty of creative photo spots beyond the castle.

Amber posing in front of the pixar pier sign at disneyland

There are lots of fun and colorful places around Pixar Pier.Amber Wainwright

The images of the castle are iconic, don’t get me wrong, but it’s almost impossible to get a great shot without a group of people in the background.

Disneyland is covered in artwork and has many other cool photo spaces, like the wall at Pixar Pier.

I’m spicing things up a bit at Corn Dog Castle.

corn dog being helped 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 stray from the classic and try something a little off the beaten path.

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

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

Cool down with frozen and alcoholic treats from Adorable Snowman.

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

The small stand is ideal for adults over the age of 21.Amber Wainwright

If you’re 21 or older, head over to Pixar Pier’s Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats and order the Mango Lime Margarita.

The non-dairy mango serve is topped with delicious toppings like chamoy, diced mango and a splash of tequila.

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

Take a moment to chat with the characters.

amber talks to max and goofy at disneyland

The characters aren’t just for kids.Amber Wainwright

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

These little moments can create lifelong memories and they always make me smile, especially when you see more obscure characters, like Goofy’s son, Max.

I always take the time to visit a galaxy far, far away.

Amber wearing a star wars shirt standing at the edge of the galaxy 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 is an ideal location 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.

disneybounding amber as tiana at disneyland

You can get creative to dress up as specific characters.Amber Wainwright

Disneybounding uses your normal clothes to look like a character you love, and if you haven’t tried it on, you definitely should.

You can dress it up as much as you want and completely customize it.

It’s also a fun way to interact with park employees – I know I’m always looking for a good bang at work.

You can learn to draw beloved characters with real animators.

Amber and her friends holding drawings for Doland Duck after an animation lesson at Disneyland

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

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

I am not an artist at all, but this course always pleasantly surprises me.

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

I head to Cars Land at night to watch them light up Radiator Springs.

Amber posing in front of the carsland area at disneyland

There is a lighting ceremony every evening.Amber Wainwright

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

You’ll see people stop what they’re doing and look around as the lights go up the street across the land.

It’s one of those little moments that it’s really special to be part of.

Fireworks look even cooler when you ride alongside them on Incredicoaster.

amber on a roller coaster at disneyland

You can see the fireworks from some rides.Amber Wainwright

If you love seeing the fireworks but hate rushing through crowds, try riding the Increcoaster during the show.

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

It’s my favorite unique way to enjoy the night show.

There are always new Mickey products to browse.

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

I love wearing Disney clothes in the parks.Amber Wainwright

There’s nothing quite like wearing too many Mickey prints in the parks.

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

You can buy your park favorites online off-season to save money, or you can try other authorized Disney merchandise sellers like Box Lunch Gifts or Her Universe.

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

interior shot of ogas cantina in disneyland

Oga’s offers delicious cocktails.Amber Wainwright

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

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

It can be very difficult to get a reservation, but there is a daily walk-in waiting list. I highly recommend trying to reach it towards the end of your night as that’s when it seems to be the least busy.

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