Tobacco Shop Yesterland
Photo of Tobacco Shop in 1987
The Tobacco Shop is behind two adjacent store fronts on Main Street.

Do you smell the aroma of pipe tobacco? It’s coming from the Tobacco Shop here on Main Street in Yesterland. As your park guidebook says, you can buy “tobacco and smoking accessories from around the world” here. As a souvenir of your day at the park, take home a handcrafted pipe and a tin or pouch of the finest tobacco.

Sorry. None of the products feature Disney characters.

If you’re looking for cigarettes, you’ve also come to the right place—even though you don’t see them on display. The tobacconist keeps them under the counter. Just ask for any of the popular brands.

Don’t forget to take some complimentary Tobacco Shop matchbooks.

Puff on your cigarette as you walk around the park. Smoking is prohibited in attractions and their waiting queues. You can put out your cigarette in the ashtrays conveniently located at the entrance to every attraction.

The Tobacco Shop is one of the reasons Main Street feels like a real American town around 1900. You’ll find many of the shops that you would have found in a real town of that era, such as a pharmacy, candle shop, china shop, and table-service ice cream parlor.

Disneyland Tobacco Shop matchbook cover

The Tobacco Shop opened in 1955 as one of the original shops on Disneyland’s Main Street. It was located between the Magic Shop and the Main Street Cinema on the east side of Main Street. In the year 1991, the Tobacco Shop closed permanently. In its place, a new shop, Great American Pastimes, sold baseball cards and sports memorabilia until 1999. Then, 20th Century Music Company moved in, selling Disney CDs and videos, including CDs featuring Disneyland entertainment.

Photo of former Tobacco Shop location in 2007
The former Tobacco Shop now sells music.

A traditional cigar store Indian stood in front of the Tobacco Shop on Main Street when the shop opened. When the Tobacco Shop went away, the Indian stayed. And he’s still there today—an ornamental resident of Main Street who reminds long-time Disneyland guests that there was once a Tobacco Shop here.

Photo of the Tobacco Shop cigar store Indian
The Tobacco Shop is gone, but the cigar store Indian is still there.

The tradition of cigar store Indians goes back centuries to a time when many trades had visual signs. It was a way to call attention to the goods or services available in the shop, even if the customer was illiterate or a recent immigrant who did not read English. Barbers had barber poles; locksmiths had keys; tailors had scissors; shoemakers had boots. Tobacco has long been associated with Indians, who introduced Europeans to tobacco. In fact, Christopher Columbus wrote about tobacco in his diary in 1492. But while the symbols of other trades were attached to a shop’s exterior wall, a cigar store Indian was a statue that stood on the sidewalk in front of a tobacconist’s shop. By the late 19th century, the heyday of cigar store Indians ended as municipalities passed ordinances prohibiting them from blocking public sidewalks.

Disneyland has another cigar store Indian in Frontierland, where he draws attention to the Westward Ho Trading Company, a western wear shop.

Photo of the Tobacco Shop cigar store Indian
Another cigar store Indian without a cigar store.

It’s a lot harder to smoke at Disneyland now than it was when the Tobacco Shop was operating. Of course, this means that it’s a lot easier to breathe smoke-free air. Indoor smoking is no longer allowed anywhere in Disneyland Park, and outdoor smoking is severely restricted.

Disneyland Park stopped selling cigarettes anywhere in late 1999. In early 2000, Disneyland Park limited outdoor smoking to three locations. The locations have shifted slightly over the years. The current smoking spots are near the Tomorrowland Railroad Station, on the side of Big Thunder Mountain, and at Fowler’s Harbor near the Haunted Mansion. Most smokers respect the rules.

Elsewhere at the Disneyland Resort, smoking is also restricted. There’s no longer indoor smoking anywhere. Disney’s California Adventure has five designated smoking areas. So far, outdoor smoking is still allowed throughout much of Downtown Disney. When the Grand Californian Hotel opened in 2001, it was 100% smoke-free, including all guest rooms. The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel became smoke-free in 2006.

The smoking restrictions are similar at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Melody Time DVD cover
Pecos Bill doesn’t smoke on the Melody Time DVD.

The Walt Disney Company’s aversion to smoking isn’t limited to its parks and resorts. In July 2007, Disney became the first major movie studio to restrict depictions of smoking on screen. New films that carry the family-oriented Walt Disney label show no smoking at all. Smoking is “discouraged” in films from Disney’s more adult-oriented Touchstone brand.

The change in attitude toward smoking is not unique to Disney. Until 1988, when the U.S. Congress banned smoking on flights of less than two hours, most flights had smoking and non-smoking sections (although the smoke tended to spread throughout the cabin). By 2000, most of the world’s air routes were smoke-free. Where Hollywood once portrayed smoking as glamorous (so that the actors would have something to do with their hands), now smoking in movies is largely limited to criminals and nervous types. It will be interesting to see if other studios follow Disney’s lead. Indoor smoking outside of private homes is becoming a thing of the past. And outdoor smoking restrictions are becoming more and more common.

However, it can get ridiculous. When Walt Disney’s 1948 animated feature Melody Time was released on DVD in the United States, the Pecos Bill episode had been edited so that Pecos Bill would no longer be a smoker. One “offending” scene, in which Pecos Bill rolls a smoke and lights it with a lightning bolt, was cut entirely. Throughout the rest of the episode, the cigarette hanging from his lips was digitally removed.

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© 2007-2017 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated December 29, 2017.

Photograph of Tobacco Shop on Main Street: 1987 by Robert Demoss.
Disneyland Tobacco Shop matchbook cover: year unknown.
Photograph of former Tobacco Shop location on Main Street: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photograph of Westward Ho in Frontierland at Christmas: 2001 by Allen Huffman.
Photograph of cigar store Indian on Main Street: 2006 by Werner Weiss.
Melody Time DVD cover: from © Disney