Why is Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture?

What comes to your mind when you hear Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture? You may think of Tokyo Disney Resort. Why is Tokyo Disney Resort built in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture?


Quick Look at the contents

1. What is Tokyo Disney Resort?

2. History of Urayasu City

3. Why was Tokyo Disney Resort built in Urayasu?

4. Why is Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba, named “Tokyo”?

5. Why is the nearest station named “Maihama”?

1. What is Tokyo Disney Resort?

Tokyo Disney Resort is a theme park baced on the film produced by Walt Disney. Tokyo Disney Land was opened in 1983. 18 years later, Tokyo Disney Sea was opened in 2001. The number of visitors to Tokyo Disney Resort is more than 30 million per year.

2. History of Urayasu City

Urayasu City had been a flourishing area of land before Tokyo Disney Resort was build, called fishing village. Urayasu City is surrounded by sea and river, so there are a lot of kinds of seafood. During the peak of the fishing industry in 1940s, the settlement for fishermen was formed around the Sakai river flowing through the center of Urayasu. It was used as moorings for several thound fishing boats. Urayasu is famous for its seaweed. The largest amount of seafood catch was seaweed, which accounted for 60 to 70% of the total. Urayasu was developed as a “seaweed town”. Many people made a living from fishing industry during the Edo period to the high economic growth period. However, in 1958, Honshu paper mill built along Edo river leaked contaminated water. The contaminated water which was black killed many seafood. It is called “black water incident”. According to this incident, more than 80 percent of the shellfish in the farm had been killed. As a result, the number of the fishermen who changed their jobs increased because they were worried about the future of fishing industry. Urayasu, where fishing could not be done, realized another form of development.

3. Why was Tokyo Disney Resort built in Urayasu?

Oriental Land was established in 1960, by Electric Railway, Mitsui Fudosan, and Asahi proprietary company. The purpose of this company was reclamation work in Urayasu. In 1962, the agreement was concluded. From 1964 to 1970, the reclamation work had been concluded. The reclaimed land was 874ha. 343.14ha were transferred from Chiba prefecture to Oriental Land in 1977. The price of the land was 50 million yen per 1ha. In comparison with 2019, the price of land in Urayasu is 3.35 billion yen. So Oriental Land got the site next to nothing. In fact, all of the reclaimed land was not used for land of TDR. The land for amusement park was 210.9ha. The rest of the land was used for housing land. The housing land was resold. As a result, Oriental Land made a profit, 40 billion yen.

before landfill
after landfill

Initially, Walt Disney refused to build Disney Land in foreign countries, because he was alive, and he worked hard for Florida Walt Disney World. He could not afford to dispatch the person and spend money. Then, why TDL was established? Because there are no risk and no money for Walt Disney. Oriental Land suggested a plan that guaranteed Oriental Land bear all the cost. Walt Disney only lent the name and expertise. So TDL operates under franchise. The Walt Disney Company has accepted royalty fee, which is 10% of admission fee and 5% of product sales. Because of this royalty fee, The Walt Disney Company makes 20 billion every year. However, this contrast will have expired 45 years later.

4. Why was Tokyo Disney Resort named “Tokyo”?

First, it is easy for residents of Tokyo to go to Urayasu. Now from Tokyo station to Maihama station, you only have to do is to use Musashino line. In addition, Urayasu faces Tokyo Bay. Second, Tokyo is the capital city of Japan. You can easily understand its location.

5. Why was the nearest station named “Maihama”?

The name of the theme park is often used as the nearest station. For example, Fujikyu Highland station and Huis Ten Bosch station are easily known as the nearest station at a glance. Why the name of the nearest station of Tokyo Disney Land is “Maihama”? In fact, Maihama station was open in 1988. You know, TDL was open in 1983. It would not be strange if the station had been open. The temporary name was Nishiurayasu station. The national rallway and Oriental Land agreed to “Disneyland station”.

However, Walt Disney Company was opposed to the name. It was based on the belief that Disneyland is “The Happiest Place on Earth”. If “Disneyland station” is open, the stores built in the neighborhood will identify theirselves as the store in front of “Disneyland station”. These stores may different from the belief. In addition, if these stores cause an incident, the name will be reported. Walt Disney Company was afraid that the easy use of Disneyland name can be a negative brand image. After all, “Disney land station” plan didn’t realize. Although there are many theories, now I’ll tell you two theories. First, Maihama is named after Maiami beach, in which there is Florida Walt Disney World. That is Maiami no hamabe in Japanese. Second, Maihama means Urayasu no Mai in Japanese. Maihama was named the station in hope that it would prosper. In 2001, renovation work was done. The host of this work was not only East Japan Railway Company but also Oriental Land for the designs. Oriental Land paid 3.2 billion yen, about 80% of all the cost. All advertisements in the station are unified by the sponsor companies of Tokyo Disney Resort and Park.

If you visit Tokyo Disney Resort again, you may feel a great deal of effort. I hope you’ll enjoy your stay at Tokyo Disney Resort!