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« Mars and Beyond Robot | Main | Bob Gurr answers "How do I become an Imagineer?" »
Wednesday
Nov302011

Frito Kid Mysteries Continue

Last year we posted a look at the mysterious Frito Kid at Disneyland. Since then we have set out to answer a few questions about him– specifically “Where exactly was he located??” and “What still exists today?” Here's what we've found.

 
Location 1– 1955-1957

We knew his first location was next to Aunt Jemima's Pancake House (River Belle Terrace today) just inside the front door. But which door? We searched high and low for a photo showing the Frito Kid taken from a distance.

After no success I decided to adjust this old Casa de Fritos photo from Daveland. A simple curves adjustment in Photoshop and bam! There he is. Just inside the front left door.

Zoom in and compare.

UPDATED. Dave from Daveland has provided a lightened version of the original photo. Notice the detail!

Now to visit the location to see what remains.

Hmm. Door slightly ajar. Let’s open and have a peek. Sadly there is a wall right behind the door.

According to the cast member bussing tables, “there is nothing behind that door”. Also according to the cast member, “the Frito Kid was never anywhere near this building nor was Casa de Fritos”. That’s ok, they don’t teach this stuff in orientation. I was happy to hear that he had at least heard of the Frito Kid/Casa de Fritos. Kudos also to the girl at the River Belle cash register for knowing that the restaurant was once Aunt Jemima’s.

In 1957 this part of the building became home to Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue. So the odds are slim that anything from the Fritos setup still exists today. But maybe there's a utility box with a "Frito Kid" label on it? Or something? Someone let me know if this is the case.


Location 2– 1957-1967?

The Frito Kid and Casa de Fritos stayed in their first location just shy of two years. Though Casa de Fritos stayed in its second location for over 25 years (Rancho del Zocalo today), the Frito Kid was removed much sooner. I'm guessing his removal took place in the late 60s when Fritos corn chips stopped using Frito Kid as a mascot.

So where exactly was the Kid in this second location? This fantastic photo (thank you to whoever posted this online) shows where he stood. The architecture on the left still stands today. The wooden log structure around the figure no longer exists.

Now to determine more exactly where he stood. At first I believed be backed up right against the Frontierland Shooting Gallery (Frontierland Shooting Exposition today). Side note: The Shooting Gallery was not an Opening Day attraction like some official Disney history publications claim. The Miniature Horse Corral preceded it. Ok...

Looking at old photos and blueprints (blueprints that don’t happen to mention the Frito Kid) I noticed a hallway running behind the Frito Kid, between him and the Shooting Gallery. So he had to have been located a few feet away from the Gallery wall (with the mural), right about here:

So now we know. Now we know a little more about something extremely obscure and quite insignificant. But isn't that what makes it great? Now you can go to Disneyland with your friends and whip out this bit knowledge and be the nerdiest one in the group. If you read this blog, there's a good chance you are already the nerdiest. We see that as a good thing.

If you happen to have Frito Kid photos not currently on the internet, send 'em to us! I've never seen a video so send those too.

For some more Frito Kid history, visit Kevin Kidney

 

Related posts:

Frito Kid and Deeee-licious Fritos!
THEN
 AND NOWDisneyland [Part 1]
Frontierland Shootin' Arcade Like You've Never Seen It
Diana Lai: An Original Enchanted Tiki Room VIP Hostess
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland
Swiss Family Treehouse Model
Marc Davis and Disneyland's Rivers of America Rehab


Reader Comments (16)

Great article! I love learning all those little tidbits that the books often don't address.
Thanks!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

Ok. So few people working at Disneyland know anything about this. Some know about Frito Kid from the "Disneyland Then Now and Forever" book that came out a few years ago. But I don't think that more than a couple of them know what you have just posted. Thanks for sharing.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSkipper8085

Thanks guys. You know, we do this kind of thing, in part, to help spread knowledge to Disney employees. It's not every day a guest asks a cast member something from Disney's deep history. But in those moments it's great for the guest to hear, "let me refer you to the cast member who knows all about that" or "yes, I know what you are asking about".

At bare minimum, I think every cast member should know a basic history of the location they work. If you work at Space Mountain, you should know it wasn't an opening day attraction. If you work at the Winnie the Pooh ride, you should know that Country Bear Jamboree once occupied that building. This is not too much to ask, in my opinion. In my years working in the parks, I knew few managers or cast members who felt this way. It's a shame, really.

December 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterFritz

Oh thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post!!!!! One of my earliest and dearest memories is of my father giving me a nickle so I could run up to the Frito Kid, put in that nickle and watch my bag of Fritos slide down into my waiting hands!!!

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Yippie Ki Yay! You've preserved a small part of my fond memories! Keep up the good work. Yes it's sad when the cast members don't know about this kind of stuff.

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDK
December 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

You need to commiserate with these guys: http://miehana.blogspot.com/search?q=frito+kid

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbobd

Love the site. The thing I miss most is the "official" DL Castle logo on each Frito bag. They must have been printed for the park.

BTW- Who does the graphic design on this site and how can I reach them?

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Sotto

Thanks all! I love to hear from people who actually remember interacting with the Frito Kid machine.

Dave- Amazing. This is fantastic. I must update the post now. Thanks a million.

Bobd- Yes, Kevin and Jody do great work and I love their Frito Kid posts. Maybe we'll link directly to those.

Eddie- What a compliment coming from you! Mitch does the design work. You can email him at imagineering.disney@gmail.com .

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFritz

I remember remoldeling Casa De Fritos when we did Big Thunder in 1979. I believe that's about the time Lowry's Seasonings became the new sponser, as they had a great Mexican restaurand at their plant near WED where we used to eat. I remember people still loved the Fritios so they kept serving them, but the Frito kid was gone then. As a kid ourselves we used to open the Frito bag and pour our hot chili, salsa and onions into the bag from Casa De Fritos, and eat with a spoon. Probably someone in decorating knows where the kid is today. He's not in the Mansion Attic. Their is a video of the Frito Kid and what he and the man in the mining tunnel would say when serving you on You Tube. Rusty

December 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRusty

On our Disneyland vacation in 1963, I encountered the Frito Kid. To my 7 year old eyes, this was seriously cool. My dad gave my sister and me a nickle each and we watched the Kid did his thing. I vividly remeber the Fritos coming down the chute and hearing his spiel. Truth be told, approaching the Kid was a little scary because you didn't know what he was going to do, and this being the Magic Kingdom, I was sure that once the nickle went into the slot, he would come to life. I also recall that to us Nebraskans, Mexican food (even the relatively tame stuff at the Casa de Fritos place) was very exotic. Fun fun times. God, I wish I could go back in time a relive some of this..................

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEduardo

Sweet! I dig your detective work, as always, on something so small yet incredibly cool. Frito Lay should send you a truck load of Frito Corn Chips and 18 passes to Disneyland.

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHoot Gibson

The Frito Kid and his pal Klondike up in the shaft, really looked like something from Knott's Berry Farm which had it's Spanish maidens in waiting that you could take a photo with. Frito Kid seemed to be in keeping with Natures Wonderland at the time, with it's perspectively done head frames and mine shafts up above Rainbow Ridge. Like the recently Lost Stouffers Tree mural on Mainstreet, the Frito Kid was probably lost when they expanded the kitchen. Decorating at Disneyland would have removed him and he may have been in their prop storage area at one time. I sent this to TonyBoy to see if he may remember where he went. Thanks for the memories. Rusty

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRusty

I'm 90% sure that there is a scale model, if not the original, Frito Kid on display in a hallway at Frito-Lay world headquarters in Plano, TX (a suburb of Dallas). I remember seeing him there while I was working on location several times between 1990-2005.

Was it "the" original from Disneyland? Dunno. But he sure looked the same size and color from your photos here.

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKraemer

This is my first time to hear about The Frito Kid. Good thing there are still places which remembers all the memories.

- Dylan

December 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrochure Printing

Off and on over the years, I've searched for things about the Frito Kid and Disneyland. My father worked for the Frito Company in KC for most of the 1950s. I have several photos of his truck, of him and his truck and me, the truck, my dad and me. In 1955ish my grandfather and one of my uncles were part of the construction crews that built Disneyland. I have no idea what parts and there is no one left to ask. In late summer of 1955, we visited my grandparents and Disneyland. My proof is in pictures taken at Disneyland of various family groups, on the side of the pictures is September 1955. And being that I started kindergarten the day after Labor Day in 1955, I'm guessing that we were there in August. Since my father worked for the Frito Company, we had to visit the Frito Kid. I have only one picture of my bother, about age 2, sitting by the Frito Kid, this picture is also stamped September 1955. We bought 2 ceramic Frito Kid mugs on that trip. I still have them, plus I've managed to add a couple more. It took me a long time to find out anything about them, but they did come from this trip and were sold at the Kiosk as souvenirs and they were only made and sold that one year. Their value isn't great, but I have seen a few bidding wars on EBay.

June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara Friend

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