Source: Death and Taxes Mag
August 1955 – April 2001
Frontierland – Casa de Fritos/Casa Mexicana sat in the center of Frontierland, next to the Mine Train. Today, this space is part of the Rancho del Zocalo patio.
- Service Type – quick service
- Seating – adjacent patio
- Entertainment – periodic live music
Frontierland was originally Disneyland’s wilderness retreat in the park, so there wasn’t much in the way of dining aside from the Golden Horseshoe and picnic areas. But two months after Opening Day, Casa de Fritos arrived in western Frontierland, near what is now the River Belle Terrace. Casa de Fritos was a large quick-service spot serving a variety of Mexican-inspired meals and snacks. The restaurant opened as part of a partnership between Disney and Frito, so the snack food was featured in almost every meal. If guests just wanted a bag of Frito chips, they could stop by the Frito Kid statue/vending machine.
After two years of operation, Casa de Fritos outgrew its small space, and moved to its permanent location in central Frontierland. Over time, the restaurant became increasingly run down and outdated, and Frontierland was in need of a new and improved Mexican spot. So in 1982, Disney ended its partnership with Frito, and Casa de Fritos closed for an extensive overhaul. Later that year, the Casa reopened as Casa Mexicana, a spacious and combination indoor/outdoor Mexican restaurant. Casa Mexicana quickly became a success, and was one of the more popular quick service spots in western Disneyland for almost two decades.
In 2000, Disney announced plans to revamp and upgrade Casa Mexicana. The restaurant closed in early 2001. Its replacement, Rancho del Zocalo, opened before Casa Mexicana officially closed, so both restaurants ran side-by-side for about a month. The Casa finally closed in March 2001, and its space was absorbed by Rancho del Zocalo. The new quick-service spot had the same concept as Casa Mexicana, with newly decorated mosaic features, an upgraded menu, and a new sponsorship from Ortega.
Casa Mexicana was sponsored by Lawry’s Foods from 1982-2000.
Casa de Fritos and Casa Mexicana were both known for having periodic Mariachi performances.