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Disney World moves to Colorado if Nuggets win, governor 'bets'

It's not the first time Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has tried to lure "the happiest place on earth" amid the company's ongoing dispute with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

DENVER — Colorado's governor is again trying to insert himself in the feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company.

Democrat Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted a "bet" to the Republican governor of Florida that if the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, Disney World would move to Colorado — "the ACTUAL happiest place on earth to do business, have fun, and be free!"

> The video above is from May 18.

It's not the first time Polis has invited Disney to the Rocky Mountains.

Last year, Polis said Florida's "authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector were driving businesses away" and that Colorado does not "meddle in the affairs of companies" like Disney.

"We're ready for a Mountain Disneyland," Polis said.

The best-of-seven NBA Finals begins Thursday when the Nuggets host the Heat in Game 1 at Ball Arena in Denver.

The feud between DeSantis and Disney goes back to at least last year when the governor signed a bill to dissolve a private government controlled by Disney that provides municipal-like services for its 27,000 acres in Florida.

The law was largely seen as retribution for Disney's criticism of a state law that critics dubbed “Don't Say Gay,” which barred instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Disney is currently seeking a dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which was appointed by DeSantis to oversee Disney World. The fight is over who controls the special governing district which decides what gets built at Disney World and runs the municipal-like services on the 25,000 acres that make up the theme park resort. 

“Just over a year ago, Disney expressed a political view that Governor DeSantis did not like. In response, the Governor unleashed a campaign of retaliation, weaponizing the power of government to punish Disney for its protected speech,” Disney said in the motion.

DeSantis is also facing a First Amendment lawsuit filed by Disney last month that alleges the governor and his appointees violated the company’s right to free speech, as well as the contracts clause, by taking over the special governing district.

The ongoing dispute has caused the company to adjust its plans. Disney announced earlier this month it was scrapping plans to build a new campus in central Florida and relocate 2,000 employees from California to work in digital technology, finance and product development.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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