Orlando, also known as “The City Beautiful,” is a well-known city in the state of Florida and is one of the most visited cities in America. Orlando is a vacationer’s paradise, where there is a never-ending list of attractions that can be found in the city. It is the county seat of Orange County and is the fifth largest city in the state of Florida. It is also Florida’s largest city that is located inland.
The city sits on an elevation of 82 feet or 25 meters above sea level. The city’s size measures 110.7 square miles or 287 square kilometers. Of this, 102.4 square miles or 265 square kilometers is land, while the remaining 8.3 square miles or 21 square kilometers is water. Orlando has a unique geography in that is has many wetlands. The bedrock of Central Florida is also made of porous limestone, making the relatively flat terrain prone to sinkholes. Out of the 104 lakes in Orlando that were named, the largest is Lake Apopka.
As of 2010, Orlando had a city population of 238,300 residents. This gives it a population density of 2,327.3 individuals per square mile, or 898.6 people per square kilometer. If the urban population is counted, the numbers balloon up to 1.3 million, while the metropolitan population is at 2.1 million people.
The city has a diverse population, lending the city a rich and colorful culture. Although more than half of the city’s residents are white, a full quarter of the population is of Hispanic or Latin American origin.
In just three decades, the Latino community in Orlando grew from 4% to over 25% of the city’s total population. In fact, the city has the largest population of people from Puerto Rico within the state of Florida. At the same time, the city’s Puerto Rican population is the fastest growing anywhere in the country. Also, there is a fast growing West Indian and Jamaican population that is making its mark in the city.
English is the primary language spoken in Orlando. However, as much as 16% of the population speaks Spanish as their first language, and only three-fourths of the city’s population uses English as their first or primary language. Other languages spoken in Orlando are Haitian Creole, French, Portuguese and a variety of Asian languages. With close to 20% of the city’s population speaking Spanish, those who wish to do business or who wish to interact with the city’s residents may need to learn to speak some Spanish. For technical or other legal matters, availing of the services of a professional language translation service company may be necessary.
There are various stories as to where the name Orlando came from. One story goes that the city’s name is believed to come from Orlando Reeves. He was a soldier who died in 1835 in a battle between Native Americans in the Second Seminole War in the area now known as Lake Eola. Although historians have been unable to verify the existence of such a person, the legend has persisted.
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Another story believes that the city’s name is from a South Carolina cattle rancher Orlando Savage Rees, who owned many large estates in Mississippi and Florida. There is another version that claims that the city’s name is based on one of the main characters of the Shakespearean play, As You Like It.
According to the 2011 U.S. News report on a study done by the FBI, Orlando ranks as the third most dangerous city in the country. Thefts and burglaries are the most common crimes in the city. However, this does not detract the volume of tourists who still choose to come to the city every year, attested by the millions of domestic and international visitors and vacationers that come to the city annually.
Travelers going to Orlando should keep in mind that they should stay vigilant to ensure their safety. It can be quite hot in Orlando, and spending a lot of time outdoors can lead to sunburn, heatstroke and even dehydration. Stay hydrated at all times by drinking lots of fluids, especially water. Be sure to apply a good sunscreen of at least SPF 15 or higher to protect your skin against overexposure to the elements. It’s a good idea to wear lightweight clothing, as well as hats, caps and other articles of clothing that offer some sun protection. Travelers going to Orlando should be prepared for a nice, warm and sometimes humid weather. However, it’s a good idea to pack along a small foldable parka, since afternoon thunderstorms do occur.
Travelers going to Orlando should be aware that there are about 50 traffic accidents in a given day. Those who come from out of state may not be used to the heavy driving conditions and unfamiliar roads of the city. Using an accurate GPS system can help, as well as being aware of signs, stop lights and not to drive aggressively while in the city. Be aware of speed limits in the city, especially in areas near the theme parks, where the speed limits can drop to as low as 35 mph. It is also illegal to use a cell phone while driving. It may also be more convenient to rely on hotel shuttles than to bring a car to the theme park. Many parking lots are huge and travelers have been known to misplace their vehicles.
When going to theme parks, be sure to obey the park rules and regulations for the safety and enjoyment of all visitors. Avoid bringing in weapons or consuming alcoholic beverages that can impair your judgment.
When purchasing theme park tickets or Fast passes, do so only from reputable sources, such as the theme park website, at the park gate or from your hotel. There are fake passes that are sometimes sold, leaving visitors with worthless tickets. Also, it should be one ticket per person. Some travelers have tried to save money by passing tickets from one family member to another. However, the tickets are now linked to fingerprint laser scanners to properly identify ticket holders.
Travelers with children should be prepared for large crowds. Use baby leashes for young children or give explicit instructions to your family members so no one gets lost in a theme park. Teach young children to approach park guards if they get lost to help locate parents. It’s also best to visit the theme parks in the off season, when the crowds are smaller. Another option is to return to the park in the evening hours, when many of the visitors have left for the day. This will allow you to enjoy the park with cooler temperatures and less people.
There are a number of package deals available. To get the best value, assess what you and your family can realistically use given your stay in Orlando. While it may seem like a great deal to have access to all the theme parks, you may not actually get to visit all of them if you have a limited amount of time.
Travelers should also exercise precaution when interacting with animals. There have been some alligator sightings in the city, and it’s best to steer clear of these creatures. Stay at least 25 yards away from wild creatures, especially alligators. Snakebites have also been known to occur. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately to get the proper anti-venom administered right away.
The warm climate of Orlando is one of the city’s top attractions. Orlando has a tropical climate. The city receives a lot of sunshine, with 89 clear days out of the year. Annually, cloudy sky could occur for about 132 days while the sky may be partly cloudy for 147 days out of the year. This gives travelers ample time to enjoy the many outdoor attractions Orlando has to offer.
There are two seasons every year. The first one is hot and rainy, and lasts from June to late September. The second season is dry and warm, lasting from October until May. Orlando’s weather is warm and humid because its elevation is low and its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and the Gulf Stream.
During the humid summer season, the minimum temperatures are no lower than 70 °F or 21 °C, with daytime temperatures in the mid 90s or about a sizzling 32 °C to 37 °C. At the same time, the afternoon hours are marked by daily thunderstorms, which are caused by the air masses arising from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, which collide over Central Florida. Lightning, strong winds and even hail have been known to occur.
During the dry and warm season, the average temperatures during the daytime stay in the 72 °F or 22 °C range, while it drops down to a much cooler 50 °F or 10 °C at night. Snow is rare although it has been known to occur in Orlando. Given the moderate climate of Orlando during the winter season, it’s no wonder that millions of tourists flock to the city to escape harsh winters from other states.
Orlando receives a lot of rainfall, averaging over 40 inches or 122.8 centimeters of rain in a year. The bulk of the rain falls between June and September. The hottest and driest months are from October to May, creating some unfortunate wildfires in the area. Given that the city is 42 miles or 68 kilometers away from the Atlantic Ocean, it is often spared from heavy hurricanes. However, the city of Orlando can still suffer from hurricanes.
Whether you’re looking for some thrills at the many theme parks in the city, or simply want to enjoy the hot Florida sun, Orlando has something for everyone. It’s a city that continues to grow, providing travelers more and more reasons to visit this beautiful Florida city.
The city of Orlando traces its history back to 1838. During the Seminole Wars, the US Army built a fort on what is now Orlando City. Fort Gatlin was meant to protect the European settlers from Indian attacks.
Back then, the area was known as Jernigan, named after Aaron Jernigan, who was a cattleman who owned property by Lake Holden. The Jernigans established the first permanent settlement in the area.
However, in 1857, Jernigan became known as Orlando. There were various legends as to where the name Orlando originated. Whatever the origin, the name Orlando stuck. Alongside the name change was a northward expansion of the city. It was also named as the county seat of Orange County.
In 1875, the Town of Orlando was incorporated. After its incorporation, the city experienced an economic boom. The Golden Era of Orlando was from 1875 to 1895. It was this time that Orlando became known for its booming citrus industry.
By 1885, Orlando was recognized as a city. Orlando soon became the largest inland city of Florida. By the 1920s, the city experienced a housing boom, known as the Florida Land Boom, wherein land prices in the city soared. The establishment of the Pinecastle Army Air Field and the Orlando Army Base brought in plenty of soldiers who were stationed in the bases and most brought their families along and decided to settle in the area after the Second World War. Martin Marietta, now known as Lockheed Martin was established in Orlando in 1956, spurring further population growth and development in the city.
In 1962, Orlando Jetport was opened, which linked the city to other parts of the country. This would later become the Orlando International Airport and is one of the reasons for the economic prosperity experienced by the city in the latter half of the 20th century.
In 1965, Walt Disney started plans to build Walt Disney World in Orlando. It was because of the city’s inland location that Disney chose to build his theme park here instead of Tampa, which was more exposed to hurricanes. In 1971, the resort’s doors opened to guests and has since then been attracting millions of visitors annually. This brought an explosion of growth and development in the Orlando metropolitan area.
Today, Orlando is one of the most exciting cities in America. It is a top tourist and convention destination in the country. Sea World, Universal Studios and Disney World are just some of the top attractions of the city. It has become a melting pot of cultures, especially from Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. Visitors to Florida, whether on business or pleasure, will find that it is a dynamic, exciting and fun filled city to be in.
Orlando is a busy city in the United States. The total population of Orlando is 238,300 as of the 2010 census, which translates to a population density of 2,327 residents per square mile. However, the bulk of the people in Orlando are actually tourists, since the city receives more than 50 million tourists annually./p>
About half of the population of Orlando is non-Hispanic whites. These usually have German, Irish, English, American and Italian lineage. Blacks or African Americans make up 28% of the population, while Hispanics and those with Latino heritage make up a quarter of the total population. There is a small but growing Asian community in Orlando, with close to 4% of the population belonging to an Asian ethnicity. About 3.4% of the city’s residents are multi-racial.
The Hispanic population of the city has tripled since 1980, making this the largest growth of Hispanic residents in the country. The Hispanics in the city come from Latin American countries such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. With the Hispanic population comprising 25% of the city’s population, it makes sense for travelers and those who wish to do business in Orlando to learn some Spanish words and phrases to help them get around.
Other immigrants to Orlando come from Haiti, France, Canada, Germany, Vietnam, India and other Arab countries. There is also a growing Russian and British population in Orlando. Over 14% of the city’s residents are foreign-born. Over nine percent come from a Latin American country, while 2.4% emigrated from Asia. One of six Metro Orlando residents was born in another country.
There are over 121,000 households in the city as of 2010. However, over 15% of these are vacant, which means than many of the homes in Orlando are utilized as vacation or investment properties.
The people of Orlando have an interesting demographic. Only about a quarter of total households have children, while almost half of the households are non-families. 35% of total households in Orlando are occupied by individuals living alone. The average household size in the city is 2.25 individuals per home, while the average family comprises 2.97 family members per home. The population change in Orlando is quite dramatic. Since the 1990s, there has been a 12.7% increase in the city’s population.
The average age of an Orlando resident is 33 years old. Only 22% of the residents are minors, while more than 10% are between the ages of 18 to 24 years old. Over 37% of the population falls between the productive ages of 25 to 44 years of age, while seniors account for over 11% of the total population. There are also more females than males in the city.
More than 82% of the population has at least a high school diploma, while more than 28% have a Bachelor’s degree. 8% of the residents are graduates of a professional degree course.
The people of Orlando enjoy a comfortable median income of $35,732. The per capita income in the city is placed at $21,216 a year. The median gross rent in the city as of 2009 is $947, while a single detached home in the city has an average price of $327,202. As of January 2011, the cost of living index in the city is 93.6, which is lower than the country’s average of 100. Close to 16% of the total population lives below the poverty line, many of which are minors and seniors.
Over a third of the people in Orlando are religious. About 14.25% are Catholics while the Jesus of Latter Day Saints has a 0.56% following. Various Christian religions are followed by 3.82% of the population. Several Eastern religions represent 0.04% while 1.09% are Jewish. People affiliated with Islam represent 0.27%.
Orlando is a major center for digital media, agricultural technology, aerospace and aviation industry, as well as software design. There are more than 150 international companies that are based in Metro Orlando. Some of the largest companies in the world have operations in Orlando, such as missiles manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, KDF, General Dynamics, Raytheon Systems, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Siemens, Veritas/Seagate, AT&T, Boeing and Hewlett-Packard. Darden Restaurants, the parent company of olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is based in Orlando. This is the largest restaurant operator in the world in terms of revenue. Many of the training facilities utilized by the US Army and Air force are also based in Orlando, such as the United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and the US Army Simulation and Training Technology Center.
Orlando continues to attract many investors to the city. It was ranked by FDI magazine as the third most business-friendly among the large cities in North America. It also ranks fourth in the “quality of life” category among large cities in the country. Entrepreneur magazine called Orlando as “one of the most highly-coordinated entrepreneurial engines in the country.”
According to Forbes magazine, the diversity of the city is a major asset to the economy of Orlando. The city has access to a large multi-lingual workforce that enables it to remain competitive in the global stage. Metro Orlando has many minority-owned businesses.
Orlando isn’t just about theme parks and SeaWorld. The city is an important industrial and high technology center in the country. It has a vibrant $13.4 billion technology industry, which employs more than 53,000 people. Its film, TV and media industry is also strong.
One of the largest research parks in the United States can be found here, the Central Florida Research Center. The complex has more than 120 companies and 8,500 employees. At the same time, it is used as a center for various military simulation and training programs for the US Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.
Historically, Orlando is a good place for people looking for jobs. Prior to the recession, unemployment levels were low, and many residents also had the opportunity to work in nearby headland of Cape Canaveral. As of mid 2010, the city’s unemployment rate is at 11.1%.
Hotel and food services account for the bulk of employment opportunities in the city followed by construction and the arts, entertainment and recreation industries. Technical, professional and scientific services are the other major players in the employment sector. Administrative support and waste management services account for 6% of the jobs in the city, while finance and insurance has four percent of the city’s workforce. Finally, the health care industry has 3% of the city’s employees.
A large portion of Orlando’s economy comes from its vibrant tourism sector. After all, Orlando ranks as the most visited city in America in 2009, outranking other cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The number of exciting theme parks found in the city is one of the main draws of the city. Orlando is where Sea World Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort are located.
The convention industry is another top draw for tourism to the city. The Orange County Convention Center is the second largest convention center complex in the country. Currently, Orlando ranks as one of the most popular convention venues in the country, alongside Las Vegas and Chicago.
All the tourists that come to Orlando can be accommodated by the many hotels found in the city. Orlando has the second most number of hotel rooms in country, next only to Las Vegas. There are accommodations available for all budgets, even those looking for luxury accommodations, such as JW Marriott, the Ritz Carlton and Waldorf Astoria.
The Orlando International Airport, is one of the top 20 busiest airports in the country, placing at number 13. At the same time, it ranks as the 29th busiest airport in the world. It is also the headquarters for AirTran Airways. There are two other airports in the city, the Orlando Sanford International Airport, and the Orlando Executive Airport.
Orlando is a large city that has much to offer travelers. It is a premiere tourist destination as there are many exciting attractions that cater to young and old alike. No wonder the city attracts more than 51 million visitors annually. Of these, 3.6 million come from different parts of the world. Orlando is a base for a number of enjoyable theme parks. The city is also blessed with a number of beaches for those who want to enjoy the hot Florida sun.
Walt Disney World Resort is probably the most popular theme park in all of Orlando and is the largest attraction in the city. It is the largest of the Walt Disney World resorts and is a major reason for the economic boom experienced by the city in the last part of the 20th century. Sitting on 47 square miles of lands, Walt Disney World Resort comprises several theme parks: Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot Center, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It also has Downtown Disney, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
The Magic Kingdom Park features all the beloved Disney characters in 107 acres and has the popular Disney rides such as Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. Magic Kingdom Park is divided into six lands: Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, making it “the happiest place on earth.” Aside from the various theme park attractions, there are entertaining musical numbers, character meet-and-greet and photo opportunities, various shops, restaurants, parades and a fantastic fireworks display at night.
Epcot Center sits on 300 acres and includes Future World and World Showcase. Those looking for some thrills will find it here. Some of the exciting attractions here are a number of hair-raising rides, interactive play areas, boat rides, the impressive entrance of Spaceship Earth, many pavilions and the World Showcase Lagoon. Visitors to the park can enjoy the cuisine and culture of eleven different countries while here, which is a reflection of the cultural diversity found in Orlando. There are also fireworks, musicians, mimes, dancers, comedians, hand gliding, Segway transporters and a number of other attractions.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Disney’s answer to Universal Studios. It gives travelers a behind-the-scenes look at the art of filmmaking, set against a glamorous Hollywood art deco-themed backdrop. There are also exciting rides, such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and Star Tours. Kids will like Toy Story Mania and enjoy watching Fantasmic! and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage performances. The American Idol Experience is the newest attraction.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is dedicated to nature and conservation. There are more than 1,700 animals and 250 different species found on 500 acres of land. This is the largest animal themed park anywhere in the world. Travelers can spend the day going through the seven areas of the park: Oasis, Discovery Islands, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and Dinoland.
Disney also operates two water theme parks in Orlando: Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach has the tallest and fastest free-falling waterslide in the world, Summit Plummet. The park is designed to resemble a snow-covered ski resort, even having a working chairlift. The park has a number of water-based thrill rides for the whole family to enjoy, such as Toboggan Racers, Country Creek, Runoff Rapids and there are also water slides for children, such as snow-castle fountain play in Tike’s Peak.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is a tropical paradise water park. There are nine water slides, a lazy river, a six-foot wave pool called Surf Pool and even a Shark Reef with real sharks. Crush ‘n’ Gusher is the newest park attraction and is a water coaster.
SeaWorld Orlando is divided into two parks: Aquatica and Discovery Cove.SeaWorld is designed with various zoological attractions alongside various theme park rides. The most famous resident of SeaWorld is Shamu, a killer whale that has been delighting audiences for decades. Travelers can learn about various marine life and get up close to dolphins, sea lions, seals, penguins, sharks, stingrays and manta rays. Those who opt to go to SeaWorld also have the option of visiting Busch Gardens in Tampa. Aquatica is a waterpark set on 60 acres of land, mimicking the South Sea Islands, where visitors can freely interact with the animals. Both parks teach visitors about the various marine life and allow visitors to swim and touch the animals in the park.
Gatorland is the place to observe alligators, birds and other animals in a natural setting. This is a 110-acre theme park dedicated to alligators and a number of other creatures and has been open to the public since 1949, making it one of the oldest attractions in the area. Its marsh was featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Orlando Universal Studios has two theme parks in Orlando: Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios is similar to the theme park in Los Angeles, although it is not a working back lot studio. On the other hand, the most exciting rides can be found in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Travelers can also take a stroll, shop at the various boutiques or enjoy a number of restaurants found on the CityWalk.
Visitors to Orlando who want a taste of art should take a look at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which showcases artwork pieces from the Renaissance period and a number of contemporary art pieces. The Orlando Museum of Art is located in the Orlando Loch Haven Park. The museum is considered one of the best museums in the south, and features a collection of 19th and 20th century American artwork pieces, as well as African art and pre-Columbian art.
Part of the Orlando Loch Haven Park complex is the Orlando Science Center. The 207,000-square foot facility is the largest of its kind in the southeast portion of the country and has the Dr. Philips CineDome, which utilizes the world’s largest film format named the 15/70. It uses a projector manufactured by IWerks Entertainment. It also has a digital planetarium.
Travelers who want some culture can catch performances by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, which is also home to the Orlando Opera and Orlando Ballet. Or catch any of the theater productions of the Broadway Across America Orlando, Orlando Shakespeare Theater or the Winter Park Playhouse. Other cultural performances can be found at the IceHouse Theater and Mad Cow Theater.
Travelers would also enjoy a number of activities outside of the many theme park attractions found in the city. This is the city where visitors can go car racing or enjoy a hot air balloon ride. Water skiing is another popular outdoor activity. Those looking for some thrills can go indoor sky diving or go zip lining.
Travelers who want a taste of nature will find that there are a number of eco-tourism oriented activities. A day trip from Orlando to the Florida Keys will allow travelers the experience to swim with dolphins. Another quick two-hour bus trip will take travelers to the Manatee Adventure Tour. This is held at the Crystal River, and allows travelers to snorkel, swim and get up close to endangered Florida manatees. The largest formal rose garden in the State can be found here, the Harry P. Leu Gardens. This 50-acre garden has a number of roses, camellias, palm, herb, bamboo, vegetable gardens and even a butterfly garden. A relaxing time can be had at the Historic Bok Sanctuary where you could listen to the music from the 60-bell carillon that plays every afternoon at three. The bell is located within the gardens that are beautifully landscaped and planted with exotic trees and flowers. Wild birds and wood ducks are some of the denizens in the gardens.
Another beautiful tropical paradise you could visit is the World of Orchids, where you can see literally thousands of beautiful and exotic orchids in bloom within a rain forest greenhouse. There’s also a 1,000-foot boardwalk so you can see wetlands, parrots, waterfalls and streams.
A ride on Boggy Creek Airboats is another thrilling experience. Travelers going on 45 mph can see eagles, osprey, snakes and alligators on Lake Toho.
Those who want to go shopping can go to the largest mall in the city, The Florida Mall. There is also the upscale The Mall at Millenia, as well as the Orlando Fashion Square. Finally, there is Festival Bay Mall, which gives shoppers a variety of shopping and dining options.
There really is no end to the number of activities that travelers can do when visiting Orlando. People of all ages will find various entertainments and attractions in the city that are sure to help create a wonderful and truly memorable vacation.
There’s always something going on in Orlando. The many number of festivals and cultural events in the city is a reflection of the city’s rich diversity.
Every February, the city hosts the Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Rodeo. This is the largest rodeo event east of the Mississippi. Every March, the Central Florida Fair is held, as well as the Orlando Bike Week, wherein more than 110,000 Harley Davidson bike owners participate. In April, the longest running Latin American festival is held, the Fiesta Medina.
Every May, there is the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Buddha’s Birthday Festival as well as the Orlando Cabaret Festival, which is celebrated in the spring. Orlando Black Pride is celebrated in the early days of June. In October, there is the Orlando Beer festival, coinciding with Oktoberfest. The Latin community has a large month-long celebration that honors its Hispanic roots, the Hispanic Heritage Month, which is from September 15 to October 15.
Sports enthusiasts will be glad to know that Orlando is home to a number of top-ranked sports teams. These include the NBA teams Orlando Magic, the football team Orlando Predators, hockey team Orlando Seals, and minor league baseball team Orlando Rays.
Travelers to Orlando should sample some of the city’s exotic cuisine, such as gator nuggets or alligator tail. Diners will also be pleased to know that there are a number of dining options available, from American-style comfort food, to Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisine.
The culture in Orlando is becoming as diverse as its people. Thanks to the growing Latin-American population, Spanish influences can slowly be seen in the city. Not only are more and more residents speaking Spanish and Portuguese, but there are also a growing number of businesses that cater to and are owned by Latinos in the city. The largest Spanish language newspaper in Florida is the Orlando Sentinel, which is also the second largest newspaper in the State in terms of circulation.
Orlando continues to grow and attract a number of residents and tourists every year.
- The World Cities Study by Loughborough University classifies Orlando as a Gamma world city. It is similar to the cities of Belfast, Islamabad and Milwaukee.
- Orlando was ranked in 2011 as the 9thof the best Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs, according to Forbes magazine. Miami is the only other Florida city to make the list. There are more than 11,000 businesses in the city that are owned by African-Americans.
- Orlando is also one of America’s newest immigrant capitals. Forbes magazine ranked it number five in the country, thanks to the many number of jobs available in Orlando, generated by the booming tourism and technology industry. Another reason is the city’s close proximity to Latin America.
- Orlando is the third fastest growing metropolitan area for Asian-Americans and African-Americans. By 2020, it is estimated that minorities will make up half of the residents of the region.
- People want to live in Orlando! It is the fourth most popular city to live in, based on a 2009 Pew Research Center survey on where people want to live.
- Orlando’s geography allows for a number of activities any time of the year. The city has more than 80 golf courses in Metro Orlando. The most famous golf course in the city is the Bay Hill Club and Lounge, which is where the Arnold Palmer Invitational is held. At the same time, there are more than 800 tennis courts. The city has over 100 campgrounds, 3,000 acres of park, 30 recreational facilities and thousands of acres covered by national forests. Orlando is also just over an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico.
- The tornado activity in the city is 123% greater than the average in the country. Hurricanes, fires, tropical storms and tornados are some of the natural disasters experienced in the city.
- Orlando is fondly called “Hollywood East.” This is thanks to a number of movie studios in the city. In the 1990s, the city was busy with filmmaking. Today, many post production works, product commercial productions and TV production works are done in the city.
- Many movies were filmed in part or in its entirety in Orlando. These include Larry the Cable Guy, Passenger 57, Jaws 3, My Girl, Parenthood, Lethal Weapon 3, The Waterboy, Monster and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
- A number of music groups hail from Orlando. Boy bands like ‘N Sync and Backstreet Boys have their roots in Orlando, so do O-Town, Matchbox 20 and Group 1 Crew. Metal band Death is also from the city.
- Orlando is one of the few cities with a car named after it, the Chevrolet Orlando.
- The city of Orlando has the most number of foreign consulates in the State of Florida, preceded only by Miami. The countries of the United Kingdom, Mexico, Argentina, Austria, Italy, Haiti, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Jamaica and the Ivory Coast all have consulate offices in the city.
- Orlando was supposed to be served by a billion-dollar high speed rail that would link the city to Tampa and Miami. However, Florida Governor Rick Scott declined the project in 2011.
- Some famous personalities that hail from Orlando, Florida are: comedians Wayne Brady and Carrot Top; TV actress Delta Burke; actor Wesley Snipes; Backstreet Boys members Howie Dorough and A.J. McLean; ‘N Sync members Lance Bass and Joey Fatone; author and artist Jack Kerouac; athletes Shaquille O’Neal (NBA), Johnny Damon (MLB), Warren Sapp (NFL), Zack Greinke (MLB) and Brian Kendrick (WWE) and golfers Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.
- The city of Orlando is sister cities with some prestigious cities in the world. These include Valladolid, Spain; Curitiba and Belém in Brazil; Guilin and Qingdao in China; Orenburg, Russia; Reykjanesbær, Iceland; Marne-la-Vallée, France; Tainan City, Taiwan; Urayasu, Japan; Monterrey, Mexico; Bethlehem, Palestine; Kiryat Motzkin, Israel; Anaheim, USA; Vientiane, Laos and Swindon in the United Kingdom.
- The Big Tree Park used to be the site of the world’s oldest pond cypress or bald cypress tree. It was estimated to be around 3,400 to 3,600 years old. Alas, it burned down from the inside out last January 16, 2012 due to the carelessness of a woman. The tree was 38 meters or 125 feet tall before it burned down. What remains now is about 25 feet. Its trunk was 5.3 meters or 17.5 feet in diameter. Park officials believe the tree is still alive as they have spotted saplings around its base. Nearby is another 2,000-year old bald cypress that stands around 27 meters or 89 feet high. It is called Lady Liberty. This cypress tree is also considered as one the oldest in the world.
- There are about 5,300 restaurants in the city of Orlando and it will take you about five years to be able to eat one meal at each restaurant.
- The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art located in Winter Park has the world’s biggest collection of Tiffany glass.
- The water park Wet ‘N Wild, which opened in 1977 is the first water park in the world and still one of the few water parks that remains open every day of the year.
- The Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain or the Lake Eola Fountain is the unofficial symbol of the city of Orlando. It is located in the 80-foot deep sinkhole that is now known as Lake Eola. It was installed in 1912 and replaced in 1957. It was struck by lightning in 2009 and was repaired and rededicated that same year. The city of Orlando icon has been equipped with state-of-the-art water jet and lighting systems that cost the city $2.3 million, a far cry from the original fountain cost of $10,000.