Aussie's 'awful' Disneyland experience exposes major theme park problem: 'Brought to tears'

Getting through the front gate took him an hour. But what came next left wheelchair advocate Shane Hryhorec stunned.

Shane documented his horrific experience at Disneyland Tokyo in a now-viral video. Credit: Wheel Around the World
Shane documented his horrific experience at Disneyland Tokyo in a now-viral video. Credit: Wheel Around the World

Disneyland is on the bucket list of many overseas travellers. But while the Magic Kingdom advertises itself as the happiest place on earth, a recent trip to its Tokyo theme park by one Aussie TikTok blogger escalated into a four-hour “nightmare”.

More than 1.8 million people have watched Shane Hryhorec’s video review of the world famous destination which details his frustrations accessing rides in a wheelchair. It’s part of a darkly hilarious but extraordinarily important TikTok series he’s produced about the joys and struggles of travelling with a disability.

Tokyo Disney was an absolute shambles. It was just awful. And I was actually almost brought to tears,” Shane recalled while speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle two weeks later from Paris.

Shane Hryhorec looking uneasy at the Tokyo Disneyland ticket booth.
Just getting into Tokyo Disneyland took Shane over an hour. Source: Wheel Around the World

The 39-year-old disability advocate and business owner’s ordeal begins with him trying to enter the park – something that took an hour to achieve.


But once he got through the ticket gates, Shane’s problems only escalated when he was asked to agree to dozens of terms and conditions.

"I finally got into the park to go to the first attraction, and Oh my god, the questions I had to answer as a person registered with a disability. No joke, it took maybe 45 minutes, and they just kept going," he told Yahoo.

Shane Hryhorec holding up his Tokyo Disney tickets to the camera.
Shane celebrated after being allowed inside the park, but his happiness soon turned. Source: Wheel Around the World

His TikTok suggests Shane was then blocked from entering a ride by a Tokyo Disney staff member.

In the video, Shane can be seen reading a translated message on a phone screen which advises, “We will refuse service to wheelchair users.” He responds by asking, “So can I not go on a ride?” The Disney employee responds with a negative “Yes”.

An employee tells Shane Hryhorec he can't go on the Star Wars ride at Disneyland.
Staff apologised to Shane for not allowing him on any of the rides. Source: Wheel Around the World

Speaking later with Yahoo Lifestyle, Shane explained why he wasn’t allowed to proceed.

“I registered to go on a Star Wars ride, came back an hour later, and got all the way to the entrance. Then they said: Okay, you’ve got to leave your chair here and walk 50 metres,” he said.

“I was like: What, I can't do that. That’s when it became even more of a disaster.”

After spending four hours at the park, Shane became convinced the staff didn’t want him to go on any of the rides.

“What a day. It feels to me that this park wants people with disabilities to come to the park. They want you to pay. They want you to enter,” he concludes in his video.

“But when you get inside they don’t want you to go on any rides. Would I recommend Tokyo Disneyland for people with disabilities? No.”

Shane’s Wheel Around The World video series gives tips and ideas to travellers with disabilities, but it also provides able-bodied viewers with a fascinating insight into the difficulties of entering tourist sites in a wheelchair.

"People have no idea what it's like for us," he told Yahoo. "I think people are blown away to learn about it."

His next stop is Paris Disney, where Yahoo understands Shane had the polar opposite experience.

"I literally went to the both parks — Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland — in a day. There were two or three rides that weren't accessible. But I was able to go on 15 rides in a day," he said.

Shane Hryhorec forcing a smile while a Tokyo Disneyland employee takes his photo.
By the end of his day trip to Disneyland, Shane was struggling to smile. Source: Wheel Around the World

That doesn't mean the city of Paris has been an easy adventure though.

"Paris is stunning, it's got its beauty, but it's a difficult place for people with disabilities and its certainly not prepared to be hosting the Paralympics in two months time," he said.


"None of the restaurants are accessible. There's almost no public bathrooms. The only places you can go to the bathroom in public are museums, and then you have to go through security.

"There are plenty of places to eat al fresco, but if you need to go to the bathroom, you just need to piss in your leg bag."

The back of Shane Hryhorec as he leave Tokyo Disneyland under a castle gate.
Shane's review did not recommend the park to other disabled travellers. Source: Wheel Around the World

As Shane continues to travel around the world and upload his experiences to TikTok, he’s hoping one of the big entertainment platforms like Netflix or Amazon might pick up his travel show.

“It'd be great to see a streaming service, pick something like this up and make it the mainstream,” he said.

“People do need a more inclusive perspective on travel. It just doesn't exist yet. And we need it.”

Disney’s head office was contacted for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle but it did not respond.

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