Ever notice the Cigar Store Indian on Main Street USA in Disneyland? What is he doing there? There’s no tobacco store anywhere in Disneyland.
When Disneyland first opened in 1955, there were a number of shops on Main Street that are now closed or have been replaced by other unique and magical boutiques. One of those original shops was the Tobacconist on the east side of Main Street, right next to the Cinema. It closed in 1990 and has since been replaced by the 20th Century Music Company, but its Cigar Store Indian is still presiding over Main Street USA.
It’s pretty well known that Walt Disney was a smoker and, in the early days of Disneyland, smoking was permitted everywhere in the park except on the attractions themselves and in their wait queues. That made a lot of sense because in 1955, 52% of men and 24% of women were smokers (National Institute of Health). (Today only about 14% of adults smoke.)
New Disneyland Smoking Policy
Effective May 1, 2019, both of the Disneyland Resort Parks (Disneyland and Disney California Adventure) are smoke free. Also, the Esplanade (area between the main gates to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure) as well as the Downtown Disney District are smoke free.
History of the Main Street Tobacco Store
Most small towns in 1890’s America had a tobacco shop so, to be authentic, Main Street USA had to have one as well.
The tobacconist was one of the original shops in Disneyland on opening day, operated by an outside company, Random Parts, Inc. It was open for business from 1955 – 1990, when it was replaced by Great American Pastimes which sold sports memorabilia & baseball cards. Then in 1999, Great American Pastimes was replaced by the 20th Century Music Company, which still stands today.
The smoke shop sold an international collection of cigarettes, pipes, pipe tobacco, cigars and accessories. They also distributed complimentary match books.
Cigar Store Indian
The tobacco shop is long gone, but we still have one remaining feature of the shop – the Main Street Cigar Store Indian.
Cigar Store Indians or Wooden Indians were used as advertising contrivances to draw people into smoke shops. The idea apparently derives from the fact that North American Indians first introduced tobacco to Europeans.
Wooden Indian in Frontierland at Disneyland, California
There is a second wooden Indian in Disneyland – located in Frontierland near the Shootin’ Exposition.