I grew up going to Disneyland nearly every year for most of my childhood and into adulthood.
Since then, I have perfected my Disney start-of-day and end-of-day routine.
I love starting with a Disney-themed coffee and ending with a warm Mickey beignet at the fireworks.
As a lifelong Disney fan who's been visiting Disneyland almost annually since childhood, I've got my park schedule down to a science.
I know the best route to take between my favorite rides, Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I can tell you which attractions will get packed later in the day, like Space Mountain and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. And I've figured out the best times to hit the Plaza Inn for lunch or to make a dinner reservation at Cafe Orleans.
That also means I know where to start and end my day to make it the best it can possibly be.
The best start to a Disney day is with a cup of coffee from Market House
What better way to fuel you for the screaming rides, the magical parades, and all the way to the end-of-day fireworks than a caffeine fix?
Market House houses the Starbucks at Disneyland. It is located on the right side of Main Street, about halfway down, and it sells Disney treats alongside Starbucks' signature beverages, sandwiches, and baked goods.
So when I step foot in the park, the first thing I buy is a Starbucks iced shaken espresso. Or, if I'm particularly tired and want to survive a full day until the park closes at 12 a.m., a specialty cold brew is the first thing I order.
I love that there's a Starbucks at the park so I don't have to stop on the way.
And to make things even more special, each Starbucks cup is adorned with a Disney Parks logo and little images of Disney symbols in various colors. It's as if your favorite Starbucks drink is powered not only by caffeine but a little bit of Disney magic.
I think it just makes sense to stop there before making my way to the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe for morning treats, Sleeping Beauty Castle for the quintessential "I was here" photo, or off to either side of the park to start my Disney day.
The best way to end a Disney day is with a Mickey-shaped beignet
After the long lines, crazy rides, and — in my case — Louisiana-style eats, I'm ready for the fireworks when 9 p.m. rolls around. But for any good show, you need a good snack.
I like to end the night with a warm beignet, dusted in sugar and shaped like our favorite mouse.
After enjoying one or two, I take the remaining beignets in their white to-go bag and head back towards Cinderella Castle, where, by 8:30 p.m., regulars know to have already started claiming their spot for their ideal view of the fireworks.
And, as any true fan knows, as soon as that music ends, it's a race to catch another ride before those gates inevitably close at 12 a.m.
Correction: October 2, 2023 — An earlier version of this article misidentified the castle at Disneyland. It's Sleeping Beauty Castle, not Cinderella Castle.
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