To help you learn a little more about our beautiful city we've compiled a few interesting facts about Orlando, its history, and some of the things you can expect during your visit. We're always adding to this list so if you have an interesting fact you think we should consider posting, feel free to contact us!
1. In 2010 over 54 million people visited Orlando for vacation or business, making it one of the largest tourist destinations on Earth.
2. If it weren’t for Walt Disney World most people around the world would have probably never even heard of the city of Orlando. However, it is interesting to note, that the Walt Disney World Resort actually lies about 18 miles outside of the Orlando city limits. In fact, some visitors might actually come to Orlando, and never actually enter the city itself!
3. The official nickname for the city of Orlando is "The City Beautiful." It is not uncommon to hear locals refer to Orlando as "O-town" and we won’t argue, that isn’t really the most creative name is it?
4. Orlando is home to the University of Central Florida (UCF), which is the second largest university in the entire United States in terms of enrollment, only behind Arizona State University. In 2011 the student body of UCF was made up of over 56,000 students.
5. Orlando was originally named Jernigan, after the first permanent settler in the area, Aaron Jernigan. After being removed from his military position against his will, it was deemed inappropriate for the city to continue to hold the name of an officer with a negative reputation. In 1857 the city was renamed "Orlando."
6. The actual origin of the name "Orlando" is not totally agreed upon. There are multiple possibilities for the origin, including tales of a soldier killed during the Second Seminole War and buried in what is now downtown Orlando or the city being named by a Shakespeare enthusiast who took the name from play "As You Like It."
7. There are over 2000 lakes in the Greater Orlando area.
8. Orlando’s Wet N’ Wild water park is the first water park in the world. It is also one of the few water parks that can stay open 365 days of the year!
9. There are over 5000 restaurants in the Greater Orlando area, with more opening up each week. If you ate at a different restaurant for every single meal for an entire year, it would still take you over five years to eat at every restaurant.
10. The Orlando area was originally the main hub of Florida’s citrus industry. After a disastrous freeze right before the 1900’s farmers began moving their citrus crops south. Many citrus farms remained in the Greater Orlando area for the next 75 years, but after the announcement of the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort many farmers quickly sold their land to development companies who were hungry to begin the expansion of the Orlando area.
11. The Greater Orlando area is home to 71 skyscrapers, the tallest of which is the SunTrust Center in downtown Orlando. It stands at 441 feet (134 meters).
Photo Credits: Greg Morgan - Lake Eola at Night (photo 1)
Airboat Ride - Photo by Kissim...
Epcot Fireworks - Photo by Ste...
Gatorland - Photo by Kissimmee...
Old Town - Photo by Kissimmee ...
Downtown Orlando at Night
Hot Air Balloon Ride - by Kiss...
"Once you step onto the road, and you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to" - J.R.R. Tolkien