Orlando is a major city in Central Florida, USA and is the county seat of Orange County, Florida. it is also the principal city of Greater Orlando. the Orlando-Kissimmee MSA is Florida’s third largest metropolitan area, behind Miami and Tampa. Orlando is also home to the University of Central Florida, which is the second largest university in Florida in student enrollment and has the fifth largest enrollment in the nation. the city is well known for the many tourist attractions in the area, in particular the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, which is located in Lake Buena Vista about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Orlando city limits via Interstate 4. other notable area attractions include SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort. the region sees an estimated 52 million tourists a year. Orlando has the second largest number of hotel rooms in the country (after Las Vegas, Nevada), and is one of the busiest American cities for conferences and conventions with the Orange County Convention Center, the country’s second largest in square footage. it is also known for its wide array of golf courses, with numerous courses available for any level of golfer. Located several miles away from the main tourist attractions, Downtown Orlando is undergoing major redevelopment with a number of residential projects, commercial towers, and major public works projects including the Orlando Events Center and the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center. Orlando ranks as the fourth most popular city, based on where people want to live, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study. Metro Orlando has a rapidly growing $13.4 billion technology industry employing 53,000 people, and is a nationally recognized cluster of innovation in digital media, agritechnology, aviation, aerospace, and software. more than 150 international companies, representing approximately 20 countries, have facilities in Metro Orlando.
Perhaps the most critical event for Orlando’s economy occurred in 1965 when Walt Disney announced plans to build Walt Disney World. although Disney had considered the regions of Miami and Tampa for his park, one of the major reasons behind his decision not to locate there was due to hurricanes— Orlando’s inland location, although not free from hurricane damage, exposed it to less threat than coastal regions. the famous vacation resort opened in October 1971, ushering in an explosive population and economic growth for the Orlando metropolitan area, which now encompasses Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties. as a result, tourism became the centerpiece of the area’s economy. Orlando is consistently ranked as one of the top vacation destinations in the world, and now boasts more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world. the hip hop music scene, metal scene, rock music scene, reggaeton and Latino scene, are all active within the city, which is largely home to the Florida Breakbeat movement. Orlando has also been called Hollywood East because of numerous cinematic enterprises in the area. Until recently, Walt Disney Feature Animation operated a studio out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. Feature Animation-Florida was primarily responsible for the films Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and the early stages of Brother Bear and contributed on various other projects. Universal Studios’s Soundstage 21 is home to the TNA Impact Zone. Nickelodeon Studios, which through the 90s produced hundreds of hours of GAK-filled game shows targeted at children, no longer operates out of Universal Studios Florida. the Florida Film Festival in nearby Maitland is one of the most respected regional film festivals in the country and attracts budding filmmakers from around the world. in addition, the implosion of Orlando’s previous City Hall was filmed for the movie Lethal Weapon 3. Orlando’s indie film scene has been picking back up since Haxan Film’s the Blair Witch Project (1999) and a few years later with Charlize Theron winning her Academy Award for Monster (2003). A Florida state film incentive has also helped increase the amount of films being produced in Orlando and the rest of the state.