In a Disneyland restaurant, unused tortilla chips were cut into triangles and fried to create a very popular snack.
In Disneyland’s Frontierland, there was a Mexican restaurant called Casa de Fritos (later called Casa Mexicana and then renamed Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante).
Several of the park’s attractions, shops, and restaurants were sponsored by companies that helped Walt Disney raise money for his dream theme park.
Charles Elmer Doolin, the founder of Fritos in 1932 (which is now part of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay business), was an early supporter of the event. Doolin was encouraged by Walt Disney to build a Fritos-themed Mexican restaurant in Disneyland. On August 11, 1955, little more than a month after Disneyland’s inauguration, Casa de Fritos opened its doors. Fritos, which in Spanish means “little fried things,” Casa de Fritos, combined classic Tex-Mex with Fritos-inspired touches.
Visitors to Disneyland could enter a nickel through the coin box to see the Fritos mascot, The Frito Kid, appears, licking his lips and ordering Klondike the Miner to send down a bag of Fritos through a chute. Each purchase changed the stereophonic audio track, resulting in a unique recording of the Kid and Klondike’s conversation.
From the tortillas to the fresh veggies, Alex Foods provided all the non-Fritos ingredients for Casa de Frito—near Disneyland. Also, at the time, Alex Foods supplied most of the Park’s eateries. (Presently, Alex Foods is known as Don Miguel Mexican Foods).
Casa de Fritos was throwing away unused tortillas at the end of each day. In the early 1960s, an Alex Foods salesperson saw this. He advised the chef to cut up the extra tortillas into triangles, deep fry them, and season them to recreate the Zapotec snack known as totopos. That’s how Doritos happened. If you don’t like the complimentary bag of Fritos that came with your lunch, Casa de Fritos gave them the triangles. And visitors to Disneyland loved it.
The tortilla chips were introduced to the Casa de Fritos menu without the Fritos company’s knowledge. On a visit to Casa de Fritos in 1964, Frito-Lay marketing VP Archibald Clark West spotted the newly introduced and popular snack. West and Alex Foods struck a partnership to manufacture tortilla chips. West tested the chips, which were named Doritos (Doritos means “tiny bits of gold”), in Southern California. Alex Foods couldn’t keep up with the demand.
At some point, Frito-Lay began making Doritos at its Tulsa, Oklahoma, facility and distributing them throughout the country. Doritos first came out in 1967 with a taco flavour, but now they come in a huge range of colours and tastes.
Walt Disney’s favourite meal consisted of chilli beans and crackers, which he ate practically every day.
West’s genuine excitement for Dorito is also inspiring. As a taste tester after retiring as vice president, he stayed devoted to the snack. Although he admitted to liking Cool Ranch, his favourite was plain corn. Before he died, he spat up a Dorito flavoured with cheeseburger. After he was buried, his daughter did as dad asked and tossed Doritos into the coffin with him.