It is impossible to think about Orlando without thinking about a certain mouse, but there is a lot more to Florida's 3rd-largest metropolitan area and the state's 6th-largest city. With a bustling downtown district featuring several natural and man-made lakes throughout, a major university within city limits, three professional sports teams, and several shopping malls, Orlando is one of Florida's most engaging and exciting urban centers.
Weather plays a big part in the attraction to the area. Orlando temperatures are typical for much of Florida with summertime highs in the 80s and winter highs in the 60s. Orlando is also far enough inland to not get much of an ocean breeze, which can make it feel rather oven-like during the warmest days.
Orlando is one of the best known tourist destinations with attractions such as Walt Disney World Resort, Sea World and Universal Orlando Resort, all in near vicinity.
The city has emerged as one the major business districts. Central Florida Research Park is one the country's largest research parks with over 1,025 acres of land. Various Army and Navy activities for simulation and training are conducted here.
Downtown Orlando is the city's major business district. The city council has put forth some major plans for the development of infrastructure and amenities here.
Some key Orlando neighborhoods include:
Orlando has a total area of 101 square miles. The population has grown by over 20 percent since 2000 and is more than 240,000.
Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral are all in the vicinity of Orlando; military training and operations have played a major role in the local economy since the 1950s.
Tourism is, of course, a major employer, along with the film and electronic gaming industries. Orlando is also a major industrial and high-tech center, with Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics. Darden Restaurants, the largest restaurant revenue generator in the world, is headquartered in the area.
There is never a shortage of things to do in Orlando. The city was ranked as the 36th "Most Fun U.S City" in a survey conducted in 2003 by Cranium Inc. An estimated 52 million tourists visit Orlando every year.
The destination for many is any one of the Disney theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach. The famous resort opened its doors for the first time in 1971, bringing with it a huge boom in jobs and tourism. Walt Disney had considered Miami and Tampa as locations for his venture, but chose Orlando because of its inland location and lower risk of hurricane damage.
Orlando has more theme parks and entertainment attractions than any other location in the world. In addition to Disney, other theme parks and attractions in the area include:
Orlando's cultural heart is Loch Haven Park, home to the Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, and the Orlando Science Center
There are plenty of alternatives for those seeking entertainment outside the amusement park circuit. Orlando has a rich cultural base, including a renowned theatrical community. Cultural offerings include:
There are also many festivals and outdoor music events scheduled throughout the year, including the Annual Concert under the Stars at Historic Bok Sanctuary, "Date Night at the Gardens" at the Harry P. Leu Gardens, the Florida Music Festival, and the Spring Jazz Stroll.
There are many educational facilities in the city of Orlando. These include:
The Orlando Sentinel is the primary newspaper in the city and is one of the largest newspapers in the country with a daily circulation of over 225,000 copies.
Other newspapers in the Orlando area include:
Local television stations include:
Radio stations include:
Famous Orlando natives include:
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