Yesterland Compass Books & Café
Espresso • Books • Sandwiches
café hours: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
bookstore hours: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

When you take a vacation at the Yesterland Resort, the rides and shows are the big draw. But sometimes the best part of a vacation is getting away from the crowd with something good to read.

If you forgot to bring a book or you finished the one you were reading, the Yesterland Resort has the perfect store for you—Compass Books & Café. The reading selection includes bestsellers, classics, magazines—and one of the best selections of Disney-related books anywhere. The store also sells postcards, greeting cards, notecards, calendars, and gifts.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2010

Wide store

Although Compass Books & Café looks big on the outside, it’s rather small on the inside. That’s because it’s wide, but shallow. The “big box” looming above it is part of a movie multiplex, not part of the store.

This isn’t a huge store for all kinds of media like the Virgin Megastore at Yester World. This is a small, friendly neighborhood bookstore and café.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Outdoor seating in front of the store

As the “Café” part of the name suggests, you can also nourish your body, not just your mind.

Want a hot beverage? Choose from coffee, cafe au lait, “red eye,” “black eye,” apple cider, caramel apple cider, steamers, hot chocolate, mint hot chocolate, hot tea, chai latte, espresso, doppio espresso, espresso macchiato, espresso con panna, latte, cappuccino, mocha, white mocha, Almond Roca mocha, caramel macchiato, or Americano. Add an extra shot, if you like. During the holidays, the menu also includes pumpkin latte, gingerbread latte, eggnog latte, and peppermint latte.

Too hot for a hot beverage? Then choose from iced tea, iced latte, iced mocha, iced caramel macchiato, iced americano, flavored soda, tropical soda, Italian soda, French soda, fountain soda, orange juice, iced blended mocha, iced blended creamsicle, iced blended chai, iced blended caramel, iced blended vanilla, iced blended coffee, iced blended chocolate chip, iced blended cookies & cream, bottled milk, bottled juice, bottled tea, or bottled water.

Hungry? Choose from cereal, small sandwiches, large sandwiches, yogurt, or salads, perhaps with a side of chips.

How about a something baked, either for breakfast or as a treat, such as pastries, cakes, muffins, fruit tarts, croissants, lemon bars, brownies, individual cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, swirly cookies, biscotti, or madeleines.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Explorer’s Club theme

Not thirsty or hungry? Then let’s look around the store.

The interior of Compass Books has a 1900 New York Explorer’s Club theme. As the store’s website explains, “Sporting a gigantic world globe and an Egyptian papyrus column supports our belief that book reading is an exploration and an adventure.”

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Bathed in natural light

Large windows fill the store in natural light by day and give passers-by an inviting glimpse into the store’s interior at night.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Disney books

This isn’t a mega-store and it doesn’t have a mega-selection—except for one category. There probably isn’t another physical bookstore anywhere with as many books about Disney as this one.

The round shelving fixture in a prominent spot offers Disneyland travel guides, books about Disney Imagineering, Disney park history books, Walt Disney biographies, behind-the-scenes stories about the Disney parks, Disneyland photo books, and books for children and adults about Disney and Disney-Pixar movies.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort
Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Where else can you find all these?

You’ll find “official” books from Disney’s Hyperion Books—just as you would in the nearby theme parks. But here, you’ll also find works by Kevin Yee, Don Ballard, Steve DeGaetano, Chris Strodder, David Koenig, and other Disney experts who write about Disney because that’s what they love to do.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2009

Rest and read

In this age of big chains, it’s great to have an independent bookstore—one that works hard to cater to its clientele.

This isn’t a discount store. You’ll have to pay the full list price for books and other items. But considering the location and experience, that’s not a surprise.

Compass Books at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2007

Compass Books at night

Now, here’s a suggestion... If you’re arranging to meet friends at the Yesterlend Resort, this is the best spot! If someone is early or late, it’s a very pleasant place to wait until everyone arrives. Long hours. Good coffee. Climate controlled. And plenty to read.


Compass Books & Café was one of the original stores of the Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney District, which opened on January 12, 2001.

It was the only Southern California location of San Francisco-based Books Inc. Founded in the California Gold Rush days of 1851, the company proudly boasts being “The West’s Oldest Independent Bookseller.”

Compass Books & Café at Downtown Disney closed permanently of March 31, 2012.

As the closing approached, an article in the Orange County Register (“Downtown Disney store prepares for closure” by Sarah Tully, March 23, 2012) provided this interesting insight into the business:

Although most of Compass’ building carries books and gifts, about two-thirds of the sales came from the café side, which sells coffee, sandwiches and pastries, including Krispy Kreme doughnuts, [president of Books Inc. Michael] Tucker said. A nearby kiosk, which sells magazines and sundries, also will close.

The Compass Books name lives on at two location in the terminals of San Francisco International Airport. The company has ten other bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area under the Books Inc. banner.

Rendering of Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney, Disneyland Resort

Copyright 2012 Disney

Concept art for Earl of Sandwich

The space formerly occupied by Compass Books became Earl of Sandwich, part of a chain of counter-service restaurants selling hot and cold sandwiches. This was the third Disney location for Earl of Sandwich, following one at Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney Marketplace) at Walt Disney World (2004) and another at Disneyland Paris’ Disney Village (2011).

It was the second attempt at a California location by Earl of Sandwich. The first opened in Valencia in late 2006 but lasted less than two years.

The slogan of Earl of Sandwich is “Since 1762.” That’s even more impressive than Compass Books’ claim of “Since 1851”—until you realize that 1762 just refers to the year that the sandwich was invented. The first Earl of Sandwich restaurant anywhere was the one at Walt Disney World in 2004.


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Updated June 15, 2018.