This favorite Super Bowl snack was created at Disneyland

Of all the beautiful things Disney has given the world – anthropomorphic mice, immersive environment theme parks, monorails – there is only one that is part of the countless Super Bowl broadcasts to homes across the country. America today. (And no, I’m not talking about the “I’m going to Disneyland!” thing. That’s another story.) You probably have it in your kitchen right now, actually.

Doritos, you might be surprised to learn, was invented at Disneyland. Not only that: they started out as garbage.

In Disneyland’s early years, corporate sponsorship of attractions was more overt than today’s more subtle approach. Pym Test Kitchen at Avengers Campus for example, which opened last year, is sponsored by Impossible Foods, but the restaurant’s name is much more prominent than the subtle “Featuring Impossible” signage underneath. At the time, these were places with obvious naming rights and exclusive offerings, such as Monsanto’s Hall of Chemistry showing what the LA Times truly described as “the romance of chemistry,” the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship offering “a tuna sandwich”. , a tuna burger or a tangy tuna pie” and the Welch’s stand selling Welch’s grape juice.

One of these corporate sponsorships came from Fritos (what later became Frito-Lay), which opened Casa de Fritos in 1955, just months after the park opened. The restaurant served “authentic Mexican cuisine”, as it says on this 1955 menu, such as “spaghetti and chili” for $0.40 and a combo plate including two tamales, rice, beans, salad and a “ta-cup”, which is apparently a salad of miniature tacos in a small bowl made from Fritos, for $1. The plate also came with a side of Fritos.

Each Casa de Fritos menu told the story of how company founder CE Doolin bought the recipe for what would become Fritos from a family-run Mexican restaurant in San Antonio and turned it into a huge snack brand. The restaurant also had an interactive attraction featuring the Frito Kid, the food’s former mascot.

“You just want a snack?” While at the Casa, visit the Frito Kid, a combination statue and vending machine,” Werner Weiss wrote for the Disney Yesterland blog. “Drop a dime in the coin slot and a bag of delicious Fritos corn chips appears in the Kid’s gold mine.”

With all the “ta-cupping” going on in the kitchen, the restaurant consumed a lot of tortillas, sourced from Orange, Calif., Alex Foods. This is where the Doritos magic begins.


“A salesman at Alex Foods once noticed that Casa de Fritos was throwing stale tortillas in the trash,” Bob Sorokanich wrote for Gizmodo. “He gave the kitchen a tip: Instead of throwing away the stale tortillas, cut them up and fry them.”

In fact, it was just tortilla chips, minus the orange “nacho cheese” powder we happily lick off our fingers today. But people loved them. With “Spicy Tuna Pie” as a contemporary dining option in the park, it’s no wonder Doritos have been a hit with park visitors.

One such person: Archibald Clark West, who worked for Fritos. He contacted Alex Foods to begin producing the snack for sale in 1964, and by 1966 Alex Foods had come out and Frito-Lay was selling Doritos – Spanish for “little golds” – nationwide. This flavor was “original,” but in 1968 the company launched “taco,” then “nacho cheese” in 1974, according to Consumer Reports. “Over the past 50 years, there have been over 100 different varieties of Doritos,” wrote Laura Northrup.

You can now buy Doritos and Fritos at snack stands in Disney parks, but not at the restaurant where they were invented.

La Casa de Fritos was originally located near the present Stage Door Café and the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland, but moved to a larger location due to its popularity. After Frito-Lay’s sponsorship ended, the restaurant became Casa Mexicana sponsored by Lawry’s Foods, and eventually what is now Rancho del Zocalo near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which was originally sponsored by Ortega. It serves the same kind of Mexican-inspired dishes such as enchiladas and tacos. There remains a relic of the Casa de Fritos in the park today, as Disney historian Marcy Carriker Smothers noted: The California flag that once flew over the original restaurant is now framed inside the Rancho del Zocalo.

When West died in 2011, he asked to be buried with his favorite invention. “Munching on Doritos is generally discouraged at funerals, as the loud crunch of popular junk food tends to drown out heartfelt praise and generally detract from the somber mood of the occasion,” Seth Abramovich wrote for Gawker, but not at this particular funeral. West’s family complied with his wishes, tossing Doritos into his grave in Dallas before he was buried.