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Surprising Disney Park History: Disney Once Had a Gun Store Inside a Park

Disney History of Gun Store
Credit: Disney / Canva

While Disneyland is certainly “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and for good reason, it once housed a surprising store: one for guns.

Either Disney Resort—be it in Central Florida (Walt Disney World Resort) or Southern California (Disneyland Resort)—is an incredible place to enjoy a Disney vacation. From the myriad rides and attractions at any Disney theme park to the amazing dining offerings, there’s a lot to love.

Whether it’s a global Disney Park like Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Shanghai Disneyland, or a local Disney theme park, guests from all over the world flock to the parks to enjoy the ultimate Disney experience. But there was a time when that experience gave a little more than guests today are used to.

disneyland resort pixar pier

Pixar Pier, Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

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Recently, a Disney fan shared an old newspaper clipping from 1961 which explained that two teenagers stole $1330 worth of guns from Disneyland’s gun store. The clipping details that the teenagers returned the stolen guns and even left an apology note, per police reports from the time.

The newspaper also specifies that the guns were left at one of the security gates of Disneyland. The note left with the guns read, “We’re sorry for what we’ve done. We didn’t realize the seriousness of the situation.”

That time two teens stole $1,330 worth of guns from Disneyland’s gun store in 1961 (but felt bad, and returned them, with a note!)
byu/ExoticaTikiRoom inDisneyland

Disneyland’s Gun Store: The Frontier Gun Shop

The gun store in question was called The Frontier Gun Shop. It was between The Golden Horseshoe and The Oaks Tavern (today’s Stage Door Café). The OP also shared a photo of the gun store in 1959. The space was officially home to The American Rifle Exhibit & Frontier Gun Shop.

It was both an attraction and a storefront. Guests could experience and explore a collection of antique American weaponry—ranging from Revolutionary War muskets to Colt pistols—after which they could even purchase replicas of the weaponry. The exhibit was meant to share a glimpse into the history of firearms in the United States.

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

It should be noted very little is known about this store. Disney has made a real effort to hide its existence from its history. The exhibit lost steam by the 1960s. At this time, Disneyland souvenir books and maps no longer listed the exhibit, simply calling this space the Frontier Gun Shop.

Eventually, Frontier Gun Shop faded into the background of Frontierland, and by 1986, it closed for good. The Golden Horseshoe absorbed the space as part of an expansion.

a view of the villas in Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

While the store closed for good in 1986, Frontierland continued selling toy guns and replicas until 2001, when they finally stopped the practice altogether.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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