We had the good fortune of connecting with Evan Disney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Evan, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
My friends and family will tell you that I am often heard exclaiming “Be a turtle, be a turtle, be a turtle!” You might be asking why on earth would a #MagicianOnAMission be yelling “Be a Turtle” when talking about my magical success? Even if you’re not asking, I am telling you; A turtle never walks backwards, that’s just not the way they are built. A turtle moves forward to go around, through or over life’s obstacles, but it NEVER walks backwards to get where it’s going. Whether it is the fabled tortoise of old winning races, pizza eating teenage ninjas being heroes, or an ancient turtle sharing wisdom in the Swamps Of Sadness, the turtle’s sure, steady, and consistent nature is snaptastic and has been my business model for success! Much like our friends, the aforementioned turtle, I have always slowly and consistently, chipped away at cultivating my skills as a magician. I never have had an endgame as to where I want my magic to take me, but I make it a point to take advantage of every opportunity that has presented, in the interest of bettering myself while exploring the vast possibilities and overcoming any obstacles. Magic from necessity was always a good motivator. I have always said “yes I can do that” first, then figuring it out on the fly. My first show was at a school because a friend of mine asked if I could. My success as a world contending strolling magician at the Magic Castle started at the Sizzler in Missoula MT, because I did magic at my day job selling plumbing supplies. Taking the turtle’s inspiration, and mixing it with my lifelong challenge of ADHD and my passion /love for magic, proved to be a perfect recipe. Along with continuous trial and error, a recipe that earned this small town, self trained magician, notoriety at the World Famous Magic Castle as a “Delightfully off beat Magician”. To summarize, passion, love, heart, and consistency, for this #MagicianOnAMission, is the trifecta staple of my brand’s success. The only other element, perhaps the most important element, the mortar if you will, that solidifies the success is THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH!! (Read the caps one more time) In 2001, I ordered an entrepreneurial system by a gentleman named Don Lapre. I only remember 1 of his “rules to success” and that was “drop the negative people in your life”. This for sure is easier said than done, and not always realistic (face it sometimes the most negative people in our lives can be family members you just can’t “drop”). However, if you take the simplicity of the concept, (paying attention to the energy around you) and mold it into surrounding yourself with amazing people, people that believe and support the consistency of your turtleness, the heart/love, and the passion of your direction unconditionally, your success and the success of your brand, even the success of those around you will prove inevitable!!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The art of magic for an only child with severe ADHD in Missoula MT was definitely not the normal magician’s journey. I always loved magic, watching it on TV, and by that I mean a rare David Copperfield special once a year if lucky. In middle school I learned my first trick from a movie attendant at a wildlife film festival at Missoula’s historic Wilma Theater. My hyper personality, and my inability to focus made it near impossible at the age of 12 to learn much past that simple move, a move that became a cornerstone to my sleight of hand. In high school my overly large personality made it hard for others to be around me. I learned a card trick my junior year of high school by watching a Sophomore at the time, Drew Kilian, do the illusion a few times. What I learned next was life changing. The magic actually made it so my personality wasn’t so overbearing. This was the beginning of a metamorphosis that transformed my overbearing personality into an entertaining one. I discovered I could use magic to reduce the amount of bullying I endured in high school, and magic also helped channel my ADHD into an accepted outlet. Performing magic as a coping mechanism not only saved me socially, I started to realize my magic had a larger than expected impact on those I performed for. Not having any Magicians in MT, not having internet in the early 90’s, having learning challenges that made absorbing information difficult, I still managed to always continue to develop my art, always setting me apart from the other small town “starving artists”. Was it easy? Keeping in mind that easy is a perceptional term, I will simply say It was a challenging journey. It seems like my first 35 years of life were spent turning challenges into magic, starting with coming into the world 2 months premature at 4 pounds 7 oz to my parents, Don & Kathy Disney, in 1978. If you ask my Mom, just me surviving birth was magic in itself. I overcame all types of extreme obstacles, that is my current definition of life. Growing up with ADHD, made learning and relationship skills a constant struggle. Living through the “Life Magic” of 2 dissolved marriages, 5 children, 2 life changing accidents, multiple bouts of homelessness amongst other hurdles, this magician was always smiling. I was driven to finding the magic in any person or situation, making it my “Mission” to share and find the magic in all I encountered. No matter the challenges I have always found a way to continue to perform magic for others. Inspiring and unlocking the magic in those around me with my persistently contagious positivity and upbeat attitude, especially in the face of despair. Using this attitude with the “Turtle” philosophy, has been the secret to overcoming every challenge I have ever faced, finding the magic one day at a time. In 2015, your #MagicianOnAMission”, was urged by friend and mentor, David Mirisch, to brave the “lion’s den” and come to LA to pursue my magic. David, renowned PR and philanthropy expert, was honest with me about how hard it would be. With 5 decades in the entertainment industry, he also knew that if I applied myself I would be successful. Shortly after my arrival to Southern California, David introduced me to Academy of Magical Arts member, Brandon Scott, who sponsored me, a necessity in order to audition. I jumped on the opportunity to achieve the ranks of one of the most coveted achievements in magic. I nailed my audition for the 13 board members, becoming a “Magician Member” of the World Famous Magic Castle in June 2016, proving this small town, self trained spaz, is a World Class Magician. In the years to come, your #MagicianOnAMission proved David Mirisch right! Within months of arriving in LA I was performing at venues like The World Famous Comedy Store, The Fonda Theater in LA, and the Red Rocks Lounge in Las Vegas. I even landed a 5 second spot on season 15 of America’s Got Talent with a quote stating “how great America is”. In the midst of all the sudden success, I realized my true passion was using my magic for philanthropy, to give my magic to humanity for the hope of bettering it. Since my arrival in Southern California 5 years ago I have raised over $50,000 for non profits on my name and magic alone. I was named the “Official Magician” of the World Special Olympics in 2015 and I have been the “Official Magician” of United Cerebral Palsy San Diego since 2016. In 2017 I achieved one of my most favorite accomplishments. With the help of the love of my life and business partner, Terecita Baker, I created a magic show to help “curb bullying” called W.H.A.M. (Words Have Amazing Magic). A magic show for schools that demonstrates the magical power of “positive unexpected responses”, or the “Magic of P.U.R.s”. Topping off 2019, your #MagicianOnAMission was recognized as EZway’s top stage performer of the year in Orange County. Moving forward I am super excited to start my next chapter, #Evanlution; A Disney, A Magician, A Dream Evolved!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friend actually HAS visited from Montana a couple of times. From an NBA playoff game in the Staples Center, to parasailing on Newport Beach. Dinning at places like Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and Flemings Steak House. Visiting entertainment hot spots such as Sea World in San Diego, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Magic Mountain in Santa Clara, or the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, there is never a loss for things to do. These were some of my favorite endeavors while he was here. If you ask my best friend Doug Hannan though, he might tell you his highlights were the cornucopia of high end cars and car dealerships, the freedom to go to karaoke on ANY given night, looking at the history of Los Angeles high above the skyline at the OUE SkySpace, atop the US Bank Building, or he might mention the epic Dodgers game for my 40th birthday. There is ALWAYS something for everybody in Southern California, and Doug is constantly telling stories of his trips to visit his crazy Magician best friend.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to have many wonderful people in my life, but there’s no question that there are two individuals I would love to shout out! First and foremost, my sanity, my calm in the storms of my mind and life, my heart’s home, the person that the saying ”Behind every successful man there is a woman smiling and rolling her eyes” was made for, Terecita Baker. My success would not be as meaningful, as sweet, or as consistent without my business partner, and love of my life. She inspires me with her innate faith that everyone’s story has magic in it. She is the Black Widow to my Captain America, The Bonnie to my Clyde, The Flubber to my Absentminded Professor, my lobster! Terecita helps me find magic every single day! To shout her out is not enough, the appreciation I have for her, for her compassion and support, cannot be put into words. Second, I would like to pay tribute to my mentor, my friend, and my faithful business partner, “The Man With The Golden Rolodex”, David Mirisch. David showed me the real difference one man can make. David Mirisch, the man who discovered Farah Fawcett, noticed my talent in 2013 at a Farmer’s Market in Missoula MT. David has spent the last 55 years raising over 35 million for non profits all over the world. He did this by having his celebrity friends and talent help raise money at various types of fundraisers. After 7 years of partnership and attending 50+ of David’s 2500 events, I found I was most inspired and super- motivated to use my magic for Philanthropy! With out David Mirisch, I may have never realized the potential MY magic has for contributing to the betterment of humanity, Without these 2 very amazing and important individuals in my life, I may have never unlocked the magic of Philanthropy or the true compassion of my trade. Using the amazing media skills, and compassionate heart of my loving Business Director Terecita Baker, and honing the knowledge shared with me by David Mirisch, your #MagicianOnAMission has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for non profits all over the United States. I was named the Official Magician of Cerebral Palsy San Diego in 2016, And the official Events Magician for families of pediatric cancer’s Bumblebee Foundation. Making a difference in humanity with magic, is magic, and both of these individuals need shouts to the Moon!!! Thank you Terecita and David!
Terecita Baker, Taylor Wong