Orlando: The City Beautiful

Orlando is a city in central Florida that is famous for its theme parks, lakes, and sunny weather. But there is more to Orlando than meets the eye. In this article, we will explore some of the fun facts, history, and culture of Orlando that you may not know.

How did Orlando get its name?

One of the mysteries of Orlando is how it got its name. There is no official documentation or consensus on the origin of the name.

  • Orlando was named after a soldier named Orlando Reeves, who died in 1835 while fighting against the Seminole Indians. He was buried near Lake Eola, and a wooden marker with his name was erected there.
  • Orlando was named after a character in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, which was performed by a traveling troupe of actors in the area in the 1800s. The locals liked the name and adopted it for their settlement.
  • Orlando was named after a plantation owner named Orlando Savage Rees, who owned land near the present-day city. He once lost his slaves during a trip and followed their tracks to Orlando. He then wrote “Orlando” on a tree to mark the spot.
  • Orlando was named after a judge named James Speer, who lobbied for the city to become the county seat in 1856. He chose the name Orlando because it sounded pleasant and exotic.

What are some of the attractions in Orlando?

Orlando is known as the theme park capital of the world, with over a dozen major parks to choose from. Some of the most famous ones are:

  • Walt Disney World: The largest and most visited theme park resort in the world, covering over 35,000 acres and featuring four main parks, two water parks, and dozens of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Walt Disney World attracts around 58 million visitors each year.
  • Universal Orlando Resort: A rival to Disney, Universal Orlando Resort consists of two theme parks, a water park, and a shopping and dining complex. Universal Orlando Resort is home to attractions based on popular movies and franchises, such as Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and The Simpsons.
  • SeaWorld Orlando: A marine zoological park that showcases aquatic animals, shows, and rides. SeaWorld Orlando is famous for its orca whales, dolphins, and penguins, as well as its roller coasters and water slides.
  • Legoland Florida: A theme park and resort that caters to children and families, featuring Lego-themed attractions, models, and activities. Legoland Florida is the largest Legoland park in the world, spanning 150 acres.

Orlando also has many other attractions besides theme parks, such as museums, gardens, sports venues, and cultural events. Some of the notable ones are:

  • Kennedy Space Center: A NASA facility that serves as the launch site for manned and unmanned space missions. Kennedy Space Center offers tours, exhibits, and simulations that allow visitors to learn about the history and future of space exploration.
  • Orlando Science Center: A science museum that features interactive exhibits, labs, theaters, and planetariums. Orlando Science Center aims to inspire curiosity and discovery in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
  • Orlando Museum of Art: An art museum that showcases local, national, and international artists, with a focus on contemporary and American art. Orlando Museum of Art also hosts special exhibitions, events, and educational programs.
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens: A botanical garden that covers 50 acres and features various plants, flowers, and trees from around the world. Harry P. Leu Gardens also has a historic house museum, a butterfly garden, and a rose garden.
  • Amway Center: A multipurpose arena that hosts concerts, shows, and sporting events. Amway Center is the home of the Orlando Magic, the city’s NBA team, and the Orlando Solar Bears, the city’s ECHL team.

What are some of the fun facts about Orlando?

Orlando is a city full of surprises and trivia. Here are some of the fun facts that you may not know about Orlando.

  • Orlando is home to more than 100 lakes, some of which are natural and some of which are man-made. The largest lake in Orlando is Lake Harris, which covers 13,788 acres and reaches 30 feet deep.
  • Lake Eola, the iconic lake in downtown Orlando, is actually a giant sinkhole that was formed by a natural aquifer 200 feet underground. The lake is 80 feet at its deepest point and has a 0.9-mile path around it.
  • Orlando was once the main hub of Florida’s citrus industry, until a devastating freeze in the late 1800s forced farmers to move their crops further south. Orlando still hosts the annual Florida Citrus Parade, which features floats made of citrus fruits.
  • The tallest building in Orlando is the SunTrust Center, which stands at 441 feet and has 30 floors. The building was completed in 1988 and is the headquarters of SunTrust Bank.
  • The first highway in Central Florida was Colonial Drive, which was originally paved with brick. Colonial Drive runs through downtown Orlando and connects to other major roads in the area.
  • The Orlando Citrus Bowl, a football stadium that hosts college and professional games, was originally constructed in 1936 with a capacity of 10,000. The stadium has since been renovated and expanded several times, and now has a capacity of 65,000.
  • The motion picture Lethal Weapon 3 featured the demolition of Orlando’s old City Hall in its opening scene. The old City Hall was built in 1958 and was replaced by a new one in 1992.
  • Orlando has over 100 parks and 21 community centers that offer various recreational and social activities. Orlando also has a public skate park and a fully functioning pottery studio.
  • Orlando has more than 50 swans at Lake Eola, from five different breeds: whooper, royal mute, trumpeter, Australian black, and black neck. The swans are cared for by the city and have their own annual festival, the Swan Roundup.
  • Orlando has had 32 mayors since its incorporation in 1875. The current mayor is Buddy Dyer, who has been in office since 2003. The first mayor of Orlando was William Jackson Brack, who served for one year.


Orlando is a city that has something for everyone, whether you are looking for adventure, entertainment, education, or relaxation. Orlando is a city that has a rich history, a diverse culture, and a bright future. Orlando is a city that is truly beautiful.

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