If you’re a fan of the crunchy, reddish-orange chips known as Doritos, you might be curious to learn about the history of these triangle-shaped snacks.
According to the book Taco USA, Doritos were invented at Disneyland. That’s right—those delicious bites of salty, cheesy goodness were born next to Mickey and Minnie, or so the story goes.
A few months after Disneyland opened in 1955, a Tex-Mex restaurant called Casa de Fritos opened in the park. The restaurant was the idea of Frito-Lay founder Elmer Doolin, who wanted to serve up Fritos with Tex-Mex combo platters, tamales and enchiladas.
The restaurant was a hit and soon relocated to a larger location. A company called Alex Foods Co., located 10 minutes away from the park, made all of Casa de Fritos’ tortillas and taco shells.
One day, a salesman for Alex Foods saw the Casa de Fritos cook throwing away some stale tortillas. The salesman suggested he fry them up and make them into tortilla chips.
These new snacks were a hit with restaurant-goers, so the managers at Casa de Fritos put them on the menu.
Later, an executive for Frito-Lay walked by the Disneyland restaurant and saw guests eating the tortilla chips. Frito-Lay bought all the equipment Alex Foods would need to mass-produce the chips and Doritos debuted in 1966.
The name means “little golden things,” according to Taco USA.
“We were running our plant seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to make the chips,” says Michael Morales, grandson of Alex Foods’ founder Alex Morales. “We just couldn’t stop, they were selling so fast.”
Eventually, Frito-Lay started making Doritos at its own plants. The chips were initially plain, but later Frito-Lay began coating them in a Mexican seasoning called “Taco” in 1968. The nacho cheese flavor that we know and love today debuted in 1974.
Since then, the company has created more than 100 flavors of Doritos, according to Consumerist.