The opening of Disneyland in 1955 was nationally televised on ABC, and three of Walt Disney’s friends from Hollywood -- Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan -- were on hand to show viewers a theme park like no other. Not long after that, Frito-Lay founder Elmer Doolin persuaded Disney to let him open Casa de Fritos, a quasi-Mexican restaurant, in Frontierland. Customers got free Fritos, and the snack chips were incorporated into many dishes. When a rep for one of the park’s suppliers noticed stale tortillas in the garbage, he suggested that the cook cut them up and fry them, instead of throwing them away. The result: heavily seasoned chips that became known and loved as Doritos.
"Little golden things" and other snacks:
- Building on the success of these tasty new tortilla chips, Frito-Lay began mass-producing the snack as Doritos, which is Spanish for “little golden things,” in 1966. They were an immediate success.
- Tortilla chips were prevalent in southern California long before cheesy, spicy Doritos were introduced, as far back as the early 1900s.
- Nachos took tortillas chips to the next level. They were invented by Ignacio Anaya in 1943. He fried up tortilla chips, topped them with shredded cheddar cheese and sliced jalapeños, and served them as canapés at a restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico.