Disneyland Tunaburgers – The BEST Vintage Tuna Recipe!

Posted on Aug 17 2011 - 6:24am by RetroRuth

Well, here we are!!! Finally at the BEST tuna recipe that was submitted by you, the readers. Or, to be more specific, the recipe that was submitted by Toni. Toni writes:

My parents have been going to Disneyland since forever and saved all sorts of things from gift bags to receipts! I had a whole collage of Disneyland memorabilia that got destroyed in one of our moves, so unfortunately I don’t have the original placemat this came from. 🙁 Also lost A-E Tickets, motel receipts, the first passport issued to Magic Kingdom Club members in 1977! Broken heart.

Anyway, here is the recipe for tuna burgers from The Pirate Ship Restaurant that was in Disneyland.

Disneyland Tuna Burgers

· 1 can of Tuna (Chicken of the Sea was their brand)

· 2 tbsp Mayo

· ¼ cup finely chopped celery

· Sesame Seed Hamburger Buns

· Thousand Island Dressing.

· Sweet Pickle slices.

Mix first three ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread Thousand Island Dressing on bottom half of buns. Top with tuna mixture and sweet pickle slices. Top with Bun. Wrap tightly in foil and heat in 350 oven for 20 minutes.

I’m hoping this is one Tom will like. I have more disgusting ones for other entries!


Is there any doubt? Even for a second? Of COURSE Disneyland would have the best vintage tuna recipe! Thanks for the wonderful submission and way to go, Toni!  I know that you sadly lost the original placement the recipe was on, but I did find an image of the placemat on the site Daveland Web, in Daveland Disneyland. What an awesome site! Check it out if you want to see TONS of great vintage Disneyland photos. AND a Chicken of the Sea advertisement from Kevin Kidney’s blog, which has a picture of the sandwich in all it’s glory.


But, enough of that. Let’s get down to business!


Can you see the magic of Disney at work already? The singing celery? The magnificent mayonnaise? The…thunderous…Thousand Island…

Okay, well. That didn’t really work.


If you squint and kinda turn your head to the side, the Thousand Island dressing kinda looks like a little like Pluto.


But now it just mostly looks like delicious.


Fresh, hot and crispy straight from the oven. Yum!


Let me tell you, after all the tuna crap we choked down, we were really, really excited to eat these. They smelled great!

But first…the big test!





“These are really, really good.”

The Verdict: Very good if you like your tuna salad a bit on the sweet side. The sweet pickles and the Thousand Island together can be a bit overwhelming, and I can see why this would be really good kid food.  When I was first putting them together, I was concerned that the buns would end up being soggy and wet, but that actually didn’t happen. The buns were pretty crispy, and the whole thing was nice and toasty warm from the oven.

Congratulations, Toni!! It is a great vintage recipe.


“What do you mean you only made two?”

Make sure to head back next week when we announce the final winner for our “Let’s Sing A Tune To Tuna” contest: Tom’s Choice! It’s going to be a fun one, and everyone who submitted a recipe has one more chance to win!

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit in...to the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (www.midcenturymenu.com), No Pattern Required (www.nopatternrequired.com), and I Ate The 80's (www.iatethe80s.com).

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12 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. veg-o-matic August 17, 2011 at 9:20 am - Reply

    It’s not really much of a “burger”, but looks tasty anyway. I’d add a slab of cheese and make a tuna melt out of it.

    Why are you suddenly called “The Style”??

    • RetroRuth August 17, 2011 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Hi Veg!
      I was tempted to add some cheese to mine as well, but refrained. Got to go with the purity of the recipe test, you know!!

      It says The Style at the top because I am in the middle of uploading the theme again after a nerve-wracking blog-crash this morning. It went back to the default settings, so it is going to be a bit of craziness until I can get everything ironed out again! The job of a blogger is never done! 🙂

  2. Andrea August 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    This one does actually look pretty good! I am thinking it might also be good cold as well?

  3. Toni August 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    I really wanted to give Tom a good recipe. I’m glad he liked it.

  4. Retrochef August 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I bet my kids would love that sweetness, and you could always switch to dill pickles for adults who need a zing. This DOES sound like a well-deserved “BEST” 🙂

  5. Doug September 4, 2011 at 12:00 am - Reply

    The graphic from Kevin Kidney’s blog shows the original triple-decker sandwich, and his blog also has the original recipe. Toni’s recipe is an updated version made simpler by using 21st Century shortcuts like Thousand Island dressing and precut buns.

    Here’s the original recipe from Kevin Kidney’s blog:

    Mix one can of Chicken of the Sea Tuna with 1 tablespoon of chopped onion, a quarter cup of chopped celery, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of mayonnaise. Slice 4 hamburger buns (the kind with sesame seeds) into 3 horizontal sections. Spread tuna mixture onto the middle bun slice.

    Now mix 2 more tablespoons of mayonnaise with 2 tablespoons of catsup (it’ll make kind of a 1950s version of pink “thousand island” dressing); spread that onto the bottom bun slice and cover with a layer of sweet pickle slices. Put all the sections together to make a a “triple decker” sandwich.

    Besides the triple-deck bun, in the original recipe you get acid from onions and lemon juice to cut the sweetness of the pickles.

    Trouble is, all hamburger buns now come pre-sliced. So how do you get that middle section? Cut out a round section from a slice of white bread using a large biscuit/cookie cutter or a can of Chunky soup and you are home.

  6. Jozelle April 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Actually, the original Disneyland tuna burgers never used sweet pickles – but bread-and-butter pickles. Also, you need to use a Thousand Island dressing that’s extremely light on the relish, like Krafts. Spritz the inside of the foil before baking, too, as the original burgers were never ‘crispy’.

  7. MANNA February 21, 2015 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    I had to try this one. If your a fan of tuna-melts then you will like this. I liked it. I also used sriracha in place of the thousand island dressing.

  8. OLD&GRUMPY March 31, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    I ate the tuna burger at Disney land as a kid.Never forgot it.That is why I found this.I go way back.The day before Disney Land opened to the public they had a dry run to see if everything would work. My dad worked for NBC so we got to go.I was 2. i sort of remember it.

  9. Steve Roberts September 7, 2016 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Loved these sandwiches at Disneyland. My dad thought you could eat a tuna sandwich at home why spend the money and eat one here. “Let’s go get hot dogs instead.” Say what!!

    Anyway, at home I peel an apple, core it and dice up the apple into itsy pieces. I substitute the apples for the pickles. Gives the sandwich a sweet flavor and is healthier. Great sandwich on cold days. I make them for my wife and me on Saturdays and holidays when I’m off work.

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