We Have Disneyland To Thank For The World's First Doritos

Casa de Fritos, the restaurant responsible for introducing Doritos, discovered the secret to making the beloved cheese-coated snack treats via a happy accident. This shouldn't come as a surprise — after all, it happened at Disneyland, aka "The Happiest Place on Earth."

No, Casa de Fritos wasn't at Disneyland on July 18, 1955, the first day the Anaheim, California-based theme park was officially open to the public. Less than a month later, however, on August 11, the restaurant was up and running near the Rivers of America exhibit in what was known as Frontierland. At the height of its popularity, it welcomed thousands of people with offerings like enchiladas and tamales, giving many Americans their first taste of Mexican cuisine.

Fritos, the iconic corn chips, were an integral part of the Casa de Fritos experience. Not only was the restaurant named for them, but it was also owned by The Frito Company (the merger with Lay didn't occur until 1961). The business' mascot, The Frito Kid, was also well-represented, but what wasn't, at least originally, was Doritos: In fact, their main ingredient was being thrown in the trash.

How a snack legend was born

Like any Mexican restaurant, Casa de Fritos went through many tortillas. But until an opportune comment by a salesman from the tortilla's producer, Alex Foods, the establishment was tossing out the ones that were no longer fresh: His advice was to snip them into triangles and toss them in a fryer instead. From this wise counsel, an iconic snack was born. No, there wasn't any mention of cheese, as that ingredient was added later. But even without it, the new food item quickly found favor with the restaurant's customers.

By the time Casa de Fritos closed its puertas for good in 1982, Doritos were sold worldwide. Archibald Clark West, a Fritos employee, was responsible for the snack's global reach: He first publicly debuted the newly minted Doritos in 1964 via a partnership with Alex Foods. But by 1966, the chips had landed permanently with Frito-Lay, which still produces them today. In fact, by the time West died in 2011, Doritos were accounting for $5 billion in yearly sales. 

Of course, Doritos are still alive and well; since first offering its nacho cheese variety in 1974, the brand has introduced over 100 additional flavors.