I was 27 when I took my first trip to Orlando, Florida. Though I believe age is just a number; I was still a kid at heart even in my 20s. My now husband and I went to Orlando for the same reason why many people go to Orlando: Disney and Sea World. Again, I am a kid at heart. We spent a few days hitting the theme parks there before heading west to the community of Clearwater. It was an amazing trip. I came back with a nasty sunburn and like 5,000 photos. I also had about 1,200 emails waiting for me at work, but that’s a different story.
Orlando is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Walt Disney World itself has four parks. Down the street, you can find Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Also in Orlando, you can find Shamu and SeaWorld. The city is surrounded by lakes and wetlands. If you head east, you will eventually run into the Atlantic Ocean and Florida’s famous white sand beaches. The city has a humid subtropical climate with temperatures averaging 70-90 degrees all year round. In 2014, 62 million people visited Orlando, making the city one of the most-visited tourist destinations in the United States.
Sadly, as I write this post, Orlando is a temporary home to media outlets around the world for all the wrong reasons. The city has seen its fair share of tragedy in a span of just a few days. It is hard to believe that a city so beautiful has been plagued with unspeakable events. These events will forever shape not just the city, but the country and the entire world. But I digress.
I have always wanted to write about Orlando. I’ve written about Disney World and Harry Potter. But there is more to the City Beautiful. Let’s talk about the 7 facts about Orlando that you may not know.
1) Orlando has been around for more than a century. The city was incorporated in 1875. It wasn’t until Walt Disney World opened in 1971, that the city became internationally known.
2) There are more than 25,000 vacation homes and rental properties in and around Orlando and Central Florida, including these International Vacation Home Exchange properties.
3) Orlando is home to more than 100 lakes. And these lakes are likely home to several alligators.
4) The city’s famous lake, Lake Eola, is actually a massive sinkhole that measures at about 80 feet at its deepest point. And it is a must-see if you visit the city.
5) Orlando was originally the main hub of Florida’s citrus industry. Farmers would eventually move their citrus crops south in the early 1900s.
6) Walt Disney World Resort sprawls across more than 40 square miles. To give you an idea of how large that is, all of Manhattan is 33.7 square miles.
7) The city is commonly referred to as The City Beautiful. Other nicknames include City Phenomenal and City Different. When I was a kid, I simply referred to the city as Mickey’s Vacation Home.
There is more to Orlando than just theme parks. The city has a bustling entertainment and performing arts scene. The city also served as backdrops to several Hollywood movies including “Jaws 3”, “My Girl”, “Parenthood”, and “Lethal Weapon 3”. In fact, Orlando is often referred to as “Hollywood East” because of the number of movie studios in the area. If you are lucky, you may see some celebrities walking the streets. And while you are visiting the city, be sure to talk to the locals. They will be excited to show you the roads less traveled by tourists. And as always, safe travels.