Monday, February 05, 2018

Casa de Fritos & Rainbow Ridge, October 1961

I always enjoy a good look at the old "Casa de Fritos" restaurant. That being said, this isn't exactly a good look, but it is a look - and that is good enough for me. As seen from the side, the Casa might well be an old adobe abode (see what I did there?), inspired by the wonderful buildings of Indian pueblos. The gnarled olive tree (sans twinkle lights, I am guessing) adds character, and some much-welcomed shade, while the little garden nearby is not as manicured as the plants in other parts of Disneyland. 

Here's one of the actual pueblo structures in New Mexico...

Meanwhile, nearby was the li'l mining town of Rainbow Ridge. Some say it's haunted! Well, actually, only I said it. But hey, maybe a spooky Halloween version of Big Thunder would be cool. Disney, please send my check to the usual address.

Favorite detail (as always) is the big golden tooth near the dentist's shingle.


Nanook said...


That Fritos casa certainly looks authentic. In fact - since Disneyland is always on the lookout for more space - how's about taking a cue from their New Mexico amigo and building skyward-! I think 'ol Klondike and the Frito Kid would love the elevated view.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love the late afternoon lighting on the buildings in that second pic. And I'm wondering if there's any chance that olive tree in the first pic could still be standing? I guess not. Are those kumquats growing just to the right of the olive tree? I'm assuming that those white rails in the foreground mean that the pic was taken from the Mine Train's loading platform. I think those rails are a part of the entrance or exit ramp for the attraction.

Chuck said...

Note the strategically-placed bench in the first photo, letting gusts subtly know not to attempt opening those doors.

Ditto TM!'s comment on the late afternoon shadows. I always thought of Rainbow Ridge as a separate town, distinct from the rest of Frontierland. Not sure if it's the "sleepy little mining town of Rainbow Ridge" copy that did it, or just that it seemed to me to be a separate place within the same world.

Nice way to start the day, Major. Thank you.

Chuck said...

I'm sure that bench trick also worked at deterring guests, too.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Dr. Holliday is the dentist? Neat touch.

John Henry "Doc" Holliday of O.K. Corral fame started out as a dentist.

DrGoat said...

Any pic of Casa de Fritos is welcome. Couldn't get enough of the Frito Kid sending me another bag of Fritos down the chute.

Stu29573 said...

Doc Holliday practiced in my hometown of Denison, Tx for a while. Not while I lived there, but still... They have a Doc Holliday Saints and Sinners celebration there every year.

Patrick Devlin said...

I had forgotten all about that Doc Holliday reference in Rainbow Ridge from seeing it years ago. Thank you for refreshing a lovely bit of theming in depth.

Anonymous said...

So much depth in such a small space. I missed the RR tombstone reference until just now.

@Chuck, I agree, and the small scale and the fact that you couldn't go into to walk around helped reinforce the distinctive nature of Rainbow Ridge. Those photos look like a real place, without people to spoil the scale.

Major posted a pic a while back with a CM standing by one of the buildings, he looks like a giant.

We never tried Casa De Fritos, we had better Mexican food options at home, while the creole choices over at the French Market were unknown in the San Joaquin Valley at that time, and probably still. Mom and Dad loved NOS and we always had dinner there.

@Tokyo, I think those flowers are lantana >>

It is a colorful shrub that is fairly drought-tolerant and common in the southwest. It would be a natural choice for Disney landscaping when theming this location, as is the bougainvillea (on the twig roof), which is not a Mexican native, but very common there.

Thanks Major for more Rainbow Ridge.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, they could also go underground. WAY underground. Which reminds me, years before the “Tower of Terror” attraction existed, I remember reading rumors of a “mine car drop” ride that could possibly be built somewhere in Frontierland. Does anybody else recall that rumor?

TokyoMagic!, I have no idea if that olive tree is still around. Maybe it is in Tony Baxter’s yard? I can’t tell if those little orange things are kumquats or not, but I love them, so I am hoping that they are (were).

Chuck, I agree, Rainbow Ridge was it’s own thing, not part of Frontierland (although of course it was that, too). Somehow, to my kid brain, it felt more like a “real” town, with a dentist, a saloon, a church, etc. I know, it makes no sense!

Chuck II, that bench was also electrified.

Steve DeGaetano, before Doc Holliday was a dentist, he sold Avon products door to door. True story!

DrGoat, I wish I had experienced that Frito Kid “corn chip delivery system”!

Stuart Powley, I’m glad to know that you are not 140 years old! ;-)

Patrick Devlin, you just know that some Imagineer has that golden tooth hanging in his den.

JG, for some reason my family never ate at Casa de Fritos either. Maybe my parents just figured that we kids would eat hamburgers with no complaints, while Mexican food was a wild card (although we did eat plenty of that back in the day). I’m sorry I never saw it in its heyday; I still like going to Rancho El Zocalo to eat - it’s not the greatest food ever, but I rarely expect the greatest food at Disneyland. As for the “kumquats”, I thought they might be flowers (likely), but they do look like little oblong orange things.

Melissa said...

That being said, this isn't exactly a good look, but it is a look - and that is good enough for me.

L is for lookee; that's good enough for me...

The narration for both pictures would be, "It was quiet in town - too quiet."

Technically, BTMRR already is a haunted attraction. The spirits who were disturbed by the mining are the ones making the train run wild. And at night, anyway, I do feel like it's a bit spooky. Not on the scale of the "ghost town" at DLP's Phantom Manor, though.

Melissa said...

And now I'm craving some Frito pie.

Nanook said...

Funny - the story I heard about Doc Holliday was he always hosted the ‘best’ Tupperware parties-!

“Munch, munch, munch a bunch of Fritos corn chips”.

Tom said...

Any picture of Casa de Fritos is a good one! Thanks for sharing another amazing angle!

Nanook said...

Or more completely...

♪ Munch, munch, munch a-bunch of Fritos corn chips.
It's not polite to smack your lips, but you can't help it, with Frito's corn chips.
Munch, munch, munch a-bunch of Fritos corn chips. ♫

K. Martinez said...

Major, I don't think you missed anything. I never cared for the Mexican food at that location whether it was Casa de Fritos or Casa Mexicana. I didn't even bother with El Rancho del Zocalo since I had such poor experiences when ordering food there in the past.

I love the sunlight hitting the buildings in the last pic. Very beautiful! Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Munch a bunch a
Munch a bunch,
Munch a bunch a
Munch a bunch,
Munch a bunch a
Frito's goes with lunch!