Disney Hallucinations Hijacked Patient’s Psychedelic Therapy, Pin Trading to Blame

Disney hallucinations ketamine
Credit: Disney, Flickr

A 28 year-old woman who was undergoing ketamine therapy treatment says that Disney hallucinations disrupted her treatment and ruined the experience. The patient was part of a study on psychedelic treatment published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience last month. The study said she reported “involuntary visual hallucinations of Disney iconography” that greatly diminished the therapy’s “mystical and emotional qualities.”

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Disney

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects. Ketamine distorts the perception of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control of their thoughts. Therapeutically it is still experimental but is being used in the treatment of depression and anxiety as well as chronic pain because it allows the patient to disconnect from their pain and work through emotional issues in a safe setting.

The 28 year old referenced in the study says she was on the verge of an emotional breakthrough when Disney characters broke into her mind and took over her mind. Particularly, she says that Pluto, Mickey’s pet dog and best pal, invaded her mind and prevented her from having the psychological breakthrough she needed.

walt disney world disneyland theme park disney character costume head inside hot visibility mickey mouse stitch pluto donald duck mr. smee mrs. incredible

Credit: Disney

“And then I just saw Disney stuff. I don’t want to! I didn’t want to!” the patient told her therapist during the trial. The therapist responded saying, “This is your mind, you can’t really control it.”

“It hijacked it!” the patient continued, “It felt like I almost ended up going to important things and then Disney frickin’ covered it up.”

The patient believes that her time spent trading Disney pins online contributed to the hallucinations that hijacked her therapy. She reported that she spends 6 hours or more per day in Disney pin trading groups online.

Pin trader

Credit: Disney Dining

This was not her first Ketamine therapy treatment but it was her first experience that was interrupted by hallucinations of Disney characters. She was previously hospitalized and had no access to electronic devices or the internet. At that time, her therapy went well and she did not have hallucinations of Disney characters.

Dr. Kyle Greenway, an assistant professor at McGill University in Montréal, Canada was the author of the study and said that the patient experienced real and even helpful frustration at the Disney images. Greenway went on to conclude that the media a patient consumes and the mindset that they have going into such a treatment may play a part in its efficacy.

Other patients reported similar experiences,one patient especially into games reported pixelated hallucinations like he was in a video game. This patient was not disturbed by the video game hallucinations unlike the patient who hallucinated Disney images.

Greenway stated that the patient was thinking about significant relationships and unresolved emotional issues in her life during the therapy. “As she was having emotionally meaningful experiences or images of those relationships, here comes Pluto,” Greenway said. After the images hijacked her therapy session, the patient discontinued all use of Disney content online for the remainder of the trial. She remained Disney hallucination free in subsequent treatments.

Disney hallucinations ketamine

Credit: Disney Dining

After the trial concluded the patient resumed pin trading, but cut her time to just one hour a day. She has continued to limit her exposure a year later. She has not had a Disney-related hallucination since.


About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.

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