Here's How To Make Disney's Famous Chili Recipe

Walt Disney may have been one of the 20th century's greatest success stories — Celebrity Net Worth notes that his lifetime earnings, if valued at their current worth, would have put him among the ranks of the nation's billionaires. Despite his vast fortune, Walt's tastes remained simple. One of his favorite meals was chili, but not any kind of fancy chef-concocted creation. No, he favored canned chili, although his preferred preparation involved blending two different brands. Disney Family relates that Walt liked to mix the meat-heavy Gebhardt's with the beanier Dennison's. He liked this chili mashup served with a side of saltines (they are chili's perfect mate, after all) and a glass of V-8.

Walt's plebeian passion for canned chili was embarrassing to some of his associates, although he did eventually grew to enjoy the chili served by legendary Hollywood restaurant Chasen's. At home, his family was finally able to persuade him that they had a cook, so he might as well eat what the cook was cooking — luckily, the family cook was able to come up with a recipe that approximated Walt's beloved Gebhardt's/Dennison's mix. This same recipe is the one used to make the chili that is still on the menu at Disneyland's Carnation Café, and it was supplied to Disney Family by Walt's daughter Diane.

What goes into Walt Disney's favorite chili

The Carnation Café chili recipe calls for a mixture of both stew beef and ground beef, along with a can of pinto beans and veggies including onion, garlic, green pepper, and diced tomatoes. Beef base and tomato paste are used to flavor the stock, and the chili is spiced with cumin, cayenne, onion powder, and salt. And just like Walt would have preferred, the rest of the process is as basic as it gets. Cook, stir, serve.

D23, the official Disney Fan Club, has also shared a recipe for what they claim to be Walt's own chili recipe, although they do not provide the same extensive provenance. Their version calls for using dried pink beans instead of canned, although it omits the stew beef. For vegetables they use onions, garlic, tomatoes, and celery, while spices include chili powder, paprika, and dry mustard. If you want to serve the chili (either version) as it comes in the Carnation Café, top it with shredded cheese, sour cream, and diced tomatoes.

If you prefer your chili on the spicier side, both recipes suggest adding coriander, turmeric, chili seeds, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and ground ginger, although it's doubtful that these more exotic additions would have pleased Walt's Midwestern palate. Still, Walt is long gone, so go ahead and throw in some out-there ingredients like soy sauce, sriracha, or even coconut milk if you wish (upon a star). After all, he's the one who taught us that it is a small world, after all, so we might as well taste everything it has to offer.