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After Florida votes to dissolve Reedy Creek, Disney receives bid to build new theme park resort in South Texas

A judge in south Texas has extended a warm invitation to The Walt Disney Company, welcoming them to pack up, head west, and plant Disney roots in the Lone Star State.

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After news of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing a bill that will dissolve Disney World‘s Reedy Creek Improvement District, at least a handful of local and state leaders across the country have extended a word of welcome to The Walt Disney Company, each one essentially telling Disney that if the company is sick and tired of Florida’s actions, there are plenty of places outside the Sunshine State where Disney will be welcomed with open arms.

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In Fort Bend County, Texas, Judge K. P. George penned an e-mail letter to Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek, asking him and The Walt Disney Company to consider building a brand-new Disney theme park resort in Texas, in a county that lies just southwest of the city of Houston.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis made a similar invitation via Twitter last week, saying that the Centennial State would grant Mickey and Minnie Mouse “full asylum.”

According to Fort Bend‘s Judge George, the invitation is not part of a political stance, and it’s not a joke.

“With a strong focus on economic development, we encourage small and large business growth through a business-friendly climate,” George wrote in his email to Bob Chapek.

George further touted the county’s “wide open and affordable land” as a selling point for a new Disney theme park resort in the south Texas county. He also said that Fort Bend County is “more than ready” to bring jobs and investments to a new Disney resort.

“My job is to seek or reach out to these organizations and let them know our county is open for business and we have numerous advantages, [and a] highly skilled and educated workforce,” George said about his written communication to The Walt Disney Company.

Judge George did, however, make a statement about Florida’s politics in his letter to Walt Disney CEO Chapek, saying the actions of the legislature are “authoritarian” and “anti-business” and added that the company is experiencing “culture war attacks from extremists in Florida.”

Fort Bend County, Texas, is home to more than 811,000 residents, meaning that only 2.8% of Texans live in Fort Bend County. Its largest city is Sugar Land, Texas, which is home to almost 120,000 residents, and also one of the most affluent and fastest-growing cities in the Lone Star State. Its population exploded in the last decade of the 20th century, increasing by 158% between 1990 and 2000.

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Judge George gave Chapek several reasons for his belief that Fort Bend County is “the best place for a new Walt Disney World Resort.” George noted positive things about the county, including it being hailed as one of the most diverse counties in the United States, which, according to The New York Times, means that “this county southwest of Houston comes closer than any other county in the United States to having an equal division among the nation’s four major ethnic communities: Asian, black, Latino, and white residents.”

According to The Times, Fort Bend County was also the fifth fastest-growing county in the country from 2010 to 2012.

Fort Bend County is located just southwest of Harris County, the biggest city of which is Houston, Texas. Harris County has a population of 4.7 million people. (In comparison, Dallas County is home to 2.64 million.) This means that even though Fort Bend County is a smaller county, there would be no shortage of parkgoers from surrounding cities, especially those in Harris County.

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When asked where in Fort Bend the judge would suggest Disney build its newest theme park resort, Judge George said the county has lots of available land.

“We have large, large tracts of land available on the south side of the county,” George explained. “And when there is a conversation about a thing like this happening, we will find that location somewhere. I don’t have a specific location because that conversation has to happen.”

George said that large tracts of land are readily available to the south of the Brazos River.

He says his letter isn’t a stunt, and that his offer is serious.

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“As the chief executive in Fort Bend County, my job is to make sure every opportunity comes our way and we take advantage of it and we reach out to these companies and request their attention to our region, our county,” George explained. “We have numerous new companies [that have] started coming to our county.”

Judge George says his office invited Twitter, as well as Elon Musk‘s Tesla to set up housekeeping in Fort Bend. Since that time, Tesla opted to move to Austin, Texas.

The judge further said his letter is not a political statement.

“I see there is an opportunity and I am definitely looking at an opportunity to bring more economic development and more possible jobs and more opportunity to Texas,” the judge explained. “I have no comment about what the governor is doing in Tallahassee or what’s happening in Washington. This is not a response to what is going on there. I don’t control what is going on there.”

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The final line of Judge George’s letter to The Walt Disney Company says that he and his office await a call from CEO Bob Chapek.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!