ThePineapple - What it was like going to Disneyland on acid

Going to the Magic Kingdom on acid

One good trip and one bad trip

There’s a certain allure and intensity about Disneyland. I’ve been there several times in the past and always had a fun experience. The lights, the noise, the hustle and bustle of the park—it’s all very childlike, and for a day you get to be transported into the creative world that is Walt Dinsey’s dream.

Having experienced psychedelics now, walking through Disney again was an entirely different experience. It’s hard not to notice that certain things you see there must have been created by people who have experience with psychedelics. The obviousness about it just becomes so apparent. The Winnie the Pooh ride is a trip in and of itself. The wild colors, designs, and expressions of the artists as you sit through a very slow-moving cart are quintessential elements of an acid trip.

For the first time this year, I tried visiting Walt’s world while on acid. Both times were vastly different, though. The first time was with just one other close friend, and the second time was with a whole group of people—some of whom I met for the first time that day.

My first trip was truly magical and intense. I was with someone close, who wanted to share in the same experience, so the day felt safe. We both went into it with the awareness that we had each other to rely on and that we’d keep each other comfortable. There was an understanding that we could just be ourselves. This was the major difference between my two trips.

My friend and I walked together leisurely and often didn’t say much to each other. There were many moments when we would just stop and stare at things because the visuals were so interesting. From the patterns on the ground to how certain walls looked to the animated kaleidoscope-like clouds, we were just soaking in the experience.

We found “magic” in the most mundane aspects of the park. Neither of us wanted to go on any rides that day—we were content just to walk around and look at things and express our amazement. The best part of the park that day was the Disney art gallery located near the beginning of the entrance.

Every painting had life. Mickey Mouse was moving. Water in a painting of The Little Mermaid was glistening, and the sun rays piercing the water looked real. My friend’s favorite was a painting of Elsa from the movie Frozen. Every painting we looked at took on a life of its own that we both felt the artist wanted to convey. If something was glowing, it shined. If there was motion, things moved. It wasn’t until this experience that I truly visited the Magic Kingdom.

My second time to Disneyland on acid, several months later, was vastly different. 

On my second trip, I went with eight other people—some of which I only met on the same day. The original idea behind this second trip was to meet new people that we were trying to recruit for thepineapple. Everyone wanted to go on this trip on something—whether it was acid or mushrooms or just a few hits of weed. The entire group was open-minded enough to share the experience.

I realized afterward that this kind of acid trip wasn’t for me but came out of it with a much better understanding of “set and setting” being crucially important.

First, there were some expectations around me and what things I needed to do on that day. Meet, greet, and talk about ideas with the team. This would normally be fine and exciting for me, but on acid, it was too heavy. I couldn’t shake it out of my head and stay relaxed. This headspace I was in made everything feel uncomfortably intense. And the more uncomfortable I felt the more my thoughts spiraled into a bad space.

Second, going on rides while on acid was too much for me to handle. I love the slow long strolls, but because there was a group I was with, there was some peer pressure to go. I felt it, but couldn’t say it. This also contributed to a bad state of mind.

Finally, the one consistent thing I can’t take on acid is being narrated about how I should think or behave while on a trip. It happened the first time I tried, and it was never good. My thoughts become significantly more difficult to control and to have someone speak into my ear about how to think and be while I’m on my trip becomes too unbearable—even if they sincerely meant well.

“Take your time whatever you need don't feel pressured to do anything. We'll keep you posted on what's happening, and you can decide how much you want to participate, if at all that's totally fine.”

When it became clear that day that I needed to be alone, I didn’t know what to do. I just had to step away from the group and just obtain any sense of serenity, but things became scary. Was I behaving oddly in front of the others? Was I coming across as unusual and distant? What were the others thinking of me? What if I said something wrong? If I took a walk alone for a while, would it set off alarm bells? If there was any part of me that was neurotic, it was now coming out in full force.

After some struggle, I managed to get myself away just to take a walk alone and put on some relaxing music. I tried to drown out the voices in my head, though admittedly, even with music it was difficult. I had full-on arguments in my mind that felt like it was going on for hours. I thought things were fucked up. I thought I was fucked up.

It wasn’t until I was sitting on a bench just inside the princess’s castle that a text came through my phone that took the spiraling anxiety away:

“Take your time whatever you need don't feel pressured to do anything. We'll keep you posted on what's happening, and you can decide how much you want to participate, if at all that's totally fine.”

I must have re-read that message to myself 20 times over and even cried. It made me feel that I was being normal. During such a storm in my head, the only thing I was searching for was that it was okay just to be me—to be comfortable and at ease with it all without any pressure. It anchored me back into reality, back into my state of who I understood myself to be.

An hour after receiving that text and walking on my own, I was able to integrate myself back into the group just fine and enjoyed the rest of whatever time I had left at the park. That very kind text I received will be forever imprinted in my mind on how to respond to others when they’re having a tough moment.

Sandy, our editor-in-chief, once said to me: good or bad, you’ll always have the trip you’re meant to have. I believe it. I learned that huge group trips are not what I can deal with, and more intimate gatherings are better for me. I learned that the set and setting matter greatly, and one must honestly feel comfortable beforehand—if there’s any doubt, don’t attempt to trip. There should never be a rush or pressure to do any psychedelics. 

Beautifully, my communication with all parties after that day grew deeper and much more enjoyable. Feeling comfortable to say you’re uncomfortable is critically important. Being allowed to say so, though, is just as important. Although we’d all like to have enjoyable moments in life, sometimes the most powerful lessons about people and yourself come from the most uncomfortable experiences.