The Forgotten Frito Kid of Frontierland

As mentioned in my previous post, today I’m sharing the costume I made and wore to D23, but first a little bit of backstory…

When entering Disneyland one of the first things Guests see are posters for the various attractions and restaurants. One such poster in the early days was for the Casa de Fritos.

A poster, with an orange background, white western buildings sit along the lower third of the poster. The back of a cowboy in fancy, Mexican influenced attire takes up the left half of the poster, text in white and blue reads "Eat Delicious Mexican Foods at Casa De Fritos" smaller white text displays items offered, "Taco in a 'Tacup,' Tamales, Chili and Beans, Frito Chili Pie, Mexican Combination Plate" along the bottom a small blue and white cowboy peeks in from the side, his shirt reads "Frito Kid" and near him in blue letters reads "See the Frito Kid in Action" and at the very bottom in blue western font reads "Frontierland"

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You can see near the bottom a little cartoon cowboy with a shirt reading “Frito Kid” and text saying “See the Frito Kid in Action.” So who was the Frito Kid? And what the heck is a “tacup”!?

The Frito Kid was developed by the Frito Company as their mascot, and the success of Fritos landed them their very own restaurant at Disneyland, the Casa de Fritos. Here Guests could enjoy Mexican inspired food including one of my favorite dishes, Frito pie, along with a thing called a “tacup.” Think of it as a miniature taco salad sitting in a Frito bowl. This tacup is actually one of the things my dad remembers eating as a kid during his early visits to Disneyland. Also inside the Casa de Fritos Guests could, just as the poster boasts “See the Frito Kid in action” via a unique vending machine.

A large, cartoon looking cowboy in a blue hat atop blonde hair, wearing a red bandana around his neck, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" holding a bag of Fritos stands next to a mountain with a long slide coming from the top.

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Here, Guests could put in a nickel, and the Frito Kid “came to life” moving his eyes and tongue side to side. He would call to his unseen partner, Klondike, for a bag of Fritos, and a bag would come down the slide. The Frito Kid had a variety of sayings, and I was excited to find that someone had uploaded them to YouTube!

The Casa de Fritos was originally located between what is today the Stage Door Cafe and the River Belle Terrace, but due to its popularity, it moved in 1957 to what is today Rancho del Zocalo.

A black and white photograph of the Casa De Fritos on the opening of its new location. A Mexican style building in the right foreground features a painted sombrero and script reading "Casa de Fritos" along the left is a large crowd of people. In the background are various western buildings. Caption at the bottom reads "A portion of the crowd attending opening ceremonies of the new 'Casa de Fritos' location in Disneyland. San Antonio's Brackenridge High School Band is pictured in the background."

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A couple years after the Casa de Fritos moved, Fritos merged with Lay potato chips to form Frito-Lay in 1961. In 1965 Frito-Lay merged with Pepsi, who happened to be the sponsor of another Frontierland restaurant, the Golden Horseshoe. The Frito Kid was featured in an advertisement along side Wally Boag, who portrayed Pecos Bill at the Golden Horseshoe, where they were “friendly rivals.”

Advertisement featuring images of the Mexican style restaurant Casa de Fritos, and the western saloon the Golden Horseshoe. An image features saloon girls around a piano with Wally Boag as Pecos Bill at the keys, a cartoon of the Frito Kid sits on the piano. Bags of Fritos and bottles of Pepsi also sit on the piano. Text reads "Meet the Happiest Pair in Frontierland. As the hosts at Fritos' Casa de Fritos and Pepsi-Cola's Golden Horseshoe Revue, the Frito Kid and Pecos Bill are 'friendly rivals' in Frontierland at Disneyland. But when the sun sets in the west, and friends drop by for some old-fashioned hospitality, you'll always find the happiest pair in Frontierland...or any old place. What's there to argue about - even for friendly rivals - when there's plenty of ice-cold, sparkling Pepsi-Cola and delicious, crispy Fritos corn chips? So if you want to make friends quickly, make sure there's plenty of Fritos and Pepsi-Cola around your house. That way, whenever folks drop by, they'll never get the drop on you. Drink Pepsi cold - the colder the better. Pepsi-Cola's taste was created for the cold. That special Pepsi taste coems alive in the cold. Drenching, quenching taste that never give sout before your thirst gives in. Pepsi pours it on! One way to find out 'What's So Good About Em?' is to try Fritos corn chips with your favorite sandwich, dip or beverage. The crisp, roasted, golden corn flavor of Fritos corn chips gives a satisfying munchiness to any snack adventure."

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When the restaurant relocated, the Frito Kid vending machine moved too, and there he stood serving up delicious bags of Fritos for ten more years. In 1967 the Frito Kid rode into the sunset and was replaced by the Frito Bandito as the mascot of Fritos, however he was never represented in the park. Even without their mascot, the Casa de Fritos remained at Disneyland until 1982, when it was replaced by Casa Mexicana, which lasted until 2000, becoming Rancho del Zocalo, which it remains today.

So, being a fan of western, obscure Disney things, and wanting a comfy, functional costume for a day at D23, I made a Frito Kid costume! I also painted “Casa de Fritos” in the script as seen at the park onto a bag to have a fitting purse for the day.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots, holding a cream canvas bag reading "Casa de Fritos" is red script.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots, holding a cream canvas bag reading "Casa de Fritos" is red script.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots, holding a cream canvas bag reading "Casa de Fritos" is red script.

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots.

And a little bonus picture that includes Colonel Whiskers, because he hand to come get in on the action…

Myself standing in our backyard, with lush agave plants, wearing a blue cowboy hat, blue gloves, red bandana, a white shirt with blue plaid and red text reading "Frito Kid" and blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots. Our grey fluffy cat, Colonel Whiskers, sits by my feet.

I originally wanted to pass out bags of Fritos to people who got my costume, but the event restricted outside food and beverage. Sigh. I also only had about seven or so people know who I was. But those seven people were pretty excited!

Today, the Frito Kid and Pepsi’s sponsorship of the Golden Horseshoe are nearly completely forgotten. The Disneyland Resort only serves Coke products today. But next time you pass by Rancho del Zocalo at Disneyland think about the forgotten Frito Kid and his pal Klondike, and if you’re craving Frito pie at the park, step over to the Coke Corner on Main Street and order a Firefly or cross over to California Adventure’s Cozy Cone and order a “Chili Cone Queso”!

Sources
Fritos. Museum of American History. Accessed 27 August 2019.
Get To Know Us – Company. Frito-Lay. Accessed 27 August 2019.
Kidney, Kevin. “MAN OF LA MUNCHA.” Kevin Kidney, 11 May 2008. Accessed 27 August 2019.
Korkis, Jim. “The Frito Kid Rides Again.” Mouse Planet, 20 October 2010. Accessed 27 August 2019.

Outfit
Hat: Amazon, hand painted by me.
Shirt: Roper, hand painted by me.
Bandana: Amazon
Gloves: Amazon
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Belt: ???
Boots: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Bag: Michael’s, hand painted by me.

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