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JAMES SONGSTER

Founder / Director of Talent

James Songster has been a professional entertainer and group program facilitator for over 25 years. After completing his military service in 1989, he began performing as a magician at street fairs and fringe festivals in Europe, which began his long career interest in improvisational performing.

 

After returning to the United States, he began his career with the Walt Disney Company as a performer at The Great Movie Ride at the Disney-MGM Studios in 1992, while concurrently appearing at numerous festivals throughout the Southeastern United States. In 1996, he became a group program facilitator for the Disney Institute where he presented programs on Disney heritage and operating philosophies.

 

In 2006, he was selected by Disney Educational Programs to facilitate new youth programs for the expanding educational programs business.

 

In 2010, he was selected to help develop and implement Disney's new Leadership Strategies and Techniques of Teamwork programs for college-level participants. He has continued in his role as the Trainer of Facilitators for these programs.

 

James is a recipient of the prestigious Disney Legacy Award, the highest recognition presented by The Walt Disney Co.! Outside of Disney, he is the Owner and Director of Talent for MAGIC AND MAYHEM PRODUCTIONS. James is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians as well as the Society of American Magicians. He has won multiple performance awards, both domestically and internationally.

ART THOMAS

Managing Producer

Art Thomas is an entertainment industry professional with over 35 years of experience as a designer, performer, manager, producer, and business executive. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ball State University with majors in both Legal Administration and Business. After graduation, he worked in the management consulting practice of Deloitte and Touche.

 

For over a decade he worked as an entertainment technical designer and production manager in theme parks, such as Opryland and Cedar Point, as well as casinos, including Harrah's and Atlantis.

 

In 1990, he joined the Creative Entertainment Division of Walt Disney World where he became Business Manager in 1991. In 1993 he was promoted to Manager of Production, while continuing to oversee all business administration.

 

In 1997 he was selected to join Walt Disney Entertainment Worldwide where, in 1998, he became Director of Operations. He continued in that position until his retirement from Disney in 2009.

 

Outside of work he is a collector of unusual magic memorabilia and is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He and his wife, Sue, have been active in the Florida Association of Magical Entertainers, where he served as President in 1999. He is also a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the Department of Theater at the University of Central Florida.

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