KEH 002: Kids Entertainer Tips from a Disneyland Performer

Max Marshall Kids Family Entertainer Disney Performer

Kids Entertainer Tips from a Disneyland Performer

With over 9000 shows as a Disney Pop Up performer, Max Marshall shares performing tips, insights into creating your stage character and how legendary clown doctor Patch Adams taught him – with a rubber fish – how to make his audiences ‘feel’ the comedy.

Max Marshall is a variety performer in Hong Kong Disneyland. He has worked for Disney now for 6 years (and many more to go!) With 4 years with Cruise Line plus 2 years with Hong Kong Disneyland he has personally clocked over 9000 shows!

That’s a whole lot of laughter, a ton of happiness, literally millions of smiles and an uncanny amount of energy created 100% day in day out.

Max started juggling at 7 years old. Went to see street performers at the Edinburgh Festival and was inspired. Problem was he was shy, in his words he wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

In this episode we discuss:

Having a desire to GIVE , to affect people, and how it can drive your performing career.

Kids Entertainer Max Marshall DisneylandWhat is the ‘static suitcase’ and why was it a winner above all other magic and juggling and flaming torches.

Developing your stage character takes years.

The value of taking clown classes.

Working in 21 countries around the world makes you create many different characters. Street shows, theatre shows all require a different approach.

The importance of not ‘hiding’ behind your props

The importance of making people ‘feel’

A silent act doesn’t work as well as a unicycle, flaming torches. Why do you see the same acts, the same props all around the world? Like Cups and Balls? Because they work.

Pop up atmosphere performer is essentially a street performer without convincing people to put their hands in their pocket.

Max Marshall Kids Entertainer Ballooning hatHis Dad’s advice about selling cheese and onion crisps on building a strong business as a variety performer.

Get to know a theme park first before you apply to them. Offer them something you think would work well for them, something that would become an attribute.

The differences between Theme parks and Attraction Parks.

The Disney philosophy of treating every person as a guest.

The value of customer feedback forms.

9000 shows in 6 years working with Disney is possible because they design the costume, the working schedule, the microphones are always ready.

Character developmentMax Marshall Kids Entertainer

Sunny Magoo … his kid’s character brand that flopped.

The difficulties of performing surrounded by very famous mouse and duck characters.

Source a clown teacher. An acting clown course as opposed to an acting course. Comedy club improvisation workshops

Separate yourself from your prop so people can see who you are

What makes people laugh? What is the psychology behind it? What is it that entertains people? Its not what you do, it’s how you make the people FEEL.

Laughter workshop ..laughter yoga …laughing for no reason

Hear Max’s story of how on a two week tour of Russia, Patch Adams taught Max to entertain with nothing but a rubber fish. What does the rubber fish do?

Understanding different cultural sensitivities.

The importance of reading body language books and sales books.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Max’s Instagram … follow Max Marshall

Max Marshall Facebook .. follow Max

Ron Lucas TV show .. ventriloquism, puppets, story tellers

Maynard Flip Flap …street clown … submit  your act

Patch Adams … Clown Doctor

Max’s free video for Kids Entertainer podcast listeners …


Our sponsors are…

Practical Magic – First class international mail order service for kids magic props, videos, dvd’s books and more. is the largest supplier of face and body art supplies in the USA.


KEH iTunes Ratings and Reviews

Now it’s your turn!
What did you think of this episode? Please share your comments below. If you have any questions ask them below and Max will personally answer you.
Thanks for listening.

  • Like it? Lurv it!!!

    • Max Marshall

      Thanks Alex!! Hope to share more in the near future! This is a great site for sharing among our community and sharing is what we should do! The world need people like us to continue to spread more joy! Lurv it!

  • Pete

    Great interview. How many of us stress over being staged next to a distraction like a bouncy house…I appreciate that Max has been able to blend his craft to work with a performance zone designed to have guests looking in all different directions. Having been a former entertainer (“cast member”) at Disneyland as well as Six Flags theme parks, I can also appreciate the great amount of energy it takes to pull off 7 sets a day and not looked pooped, bored, discouraged, sick, weathered or anything less than fresh and crisp. The mouse is a tough boss and “just okay” does not cut it. Kudos Max.

    • What’s your story Pete? Where do you perform now? I’m fascinated by this whole cast member and guest relations philosophy. Seems like such a good grounding as you move back into the open market.

      • Pete

        When I was in my early years of college I worked at the theme parks mentioned. I then went on to build a career in the information technology world. I spent 19 years in I.T. (started before there was even a defined “I.T.” to belong to. In 2004 when gas prices went through the roof, the truck manufacturing plant where I worked as as a business technology analyst got hit hard and downsized. I decided I was not getting any younger and wanted to follow my passion of playing music and formed my company “One World Rhythm.” Today I work in the typical kids markets (schools, libraries, corporate & city family events etc.) I am based in Burbank, California just north of Los Angeles. Regarding the Disney philosophy running their parks, all new cast members attend sessions at Disney University (a real place on property) where protocols are covered. When you walk into the park, you are considered “on stage” even if your role is that of PSA (park service attendant). It is quite the operation. I would not trade my time spent there for anything. Ever day was a teachable moment.

    • Max Marshall

      Yes Pete! Then you know the value of stage time these companies give us! It’s brilliant! What a gift! And what’s more important is the stamina and mind set to pull off these shows as though we were brand new! With all of these elements we grow fast as entertainers adapting to it all. Fantastic stuff!

  • These hand games will be great when it isn’t quite time to start the show yet – happens often at libraries etc where some kids have turned up early to get seats near the front.

    • Max Marshall

      Yeah andrew your not wrong there. Filling time can be difficult for the best of performers but we are entertainers too so having back pocket ready to go tricks and games are a very strong to have handy. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Jeffrey Knight

    Great chat! Thanks so much for sharing, Max.

    • Max Marshall

      My pleasure Jeffrey! This place is ideal for sharing. I hope I can bring some ideas and good times to the table. Cheers!

  • Dwayne Morris

    Max, thanks so much for sharing your story and your insights. Very valuable stuff. Also, thanks for the hand gags. I work with children every week and theses should be a lot of fun.

    • Max Marshall

      That’s great to hear you like it. I find this stuff to be very powerful for the fact you can perform anywhere any time! Aaaaand it’s great with all ages! :o)

  • Max – count me as wanting to bring you back for a part 2, really enjoyed listening to what you have to share. Like @julianmather:disqus, I feel like you could talk for hours and it would be engaging the entire time. I’m definitely going to be using those hand gags – thanks for sharing those.

    • Max Marshall

      Thanks Bartholomew! Yes these games are a lot of fun and great time fillers with zero prep time! I will be more than happy to come back and share more!

  • Just wanted to take a second to post to you about your video. I was working an event (I was the “handler” for the Easter Bunny) and needed to stall for the magician who was about to start entertaining. I used the content in your video to throw together an impromptu routine and the crowd LOVED it. In fact, I even had the owner of the venue reach out to me after the event and inform me that my routine and my stalling were WAY more impressive than the magician at the event. (And he was really good!) Thanks again for the words, time, and the routines you’ve put together. It means a lot. I do balloon animals for a living and think it is pure gold ANY time I can learn something entertaining which doesn’t require balloons. Thanks Max! Can’t wait to meet you in person and buy you a coffee. You saved the day for me and for my magician that needed to take a quick potty break too!

    • Max Marshall

      Hi Jonathan! A great story! Im happy to hear you were able to utilise the things a shared. Things like this are extremely valuable to have in the back pocket as extra. I hope to do more stuff for everyone very soon, so watch this space! (and yes I love a coffee!) All the best and keep on doing! 🙂

  • Love the hand games. I am interested in learning more of these type of audience engagement activities and gags. Where can I learn more of this kind of entertainment?