Here's an interesting case study of how the original theme park souvenir products were created...
Many people remember the perennial skulls, snakes, tombstones and tiki plaques at Disneyland and Walt Disney World's various souvenir shops. Since the early 1960s, one company supplied these novelty items to the parks: Randotti Products of Stanton California. Chalkware and plaster items were their specialty and this small family owned company landed an extremely lucrative contract with the Walt Disney Company.
They were especially lucky in that the subject matter of their Disney products could be themed price point items in several of the park's attractions. Their various skulls were sold on Main Street in the Magic Shop, The Advetureland Bazaar and The Tiki's Tropical Traders Tent, as well as The Haunted Mansion and Pirates related shops in New Orleans Square.
These shots are part of a collection of the Randotti's research tour of WDW and it's rarely seen Preview Center. Patrick Jenkins has some terrific shots that may be from the same collection here.
In late 1969 thru 1971, the Randotti's traveled to WDW to preview the new attractions and themed areas they would be providing souvenir products for. It seems they toured the property construction site and then headed to the Preview Center.
Here's the Randotti's molesting a bunch of original Country Bear maquettes...
It appears that these actual WED Model Shop maquettes were considered for replication at one point.
Here's the "WDW Temporary Merchandise Division" which was a trailer parked on dirt. I'll bet some fine times were had in that trailer!
It looks like they were especially interested in the new Country Bear Jamboree and the unrealized, Great Western River Expedition planned for WDW's Frontierland.
This series of pics are of the Marc Davis concept art that was posted around the Preview Center building.
Between this artwork and the maquettes, the Randotti's would produce figurals for mass production in chalk and plaster.
Here's some Great Western Expedition concept art.
More to come.....