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 ORLANDO AT A GLANCE

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ORLANDO, Fla. - With seven of the top theme parks all in one sunny location, Orlando is the theme park capitol of the world. And, with more than 59 million visitors in 2013, this Central Florida city is also the most visited tourist destination in the United States. From theme parks and sunshine to continuously evolving dining scene, Orlando is the only destination where everyone in a travel party can do it all and enjoy it all together.

ATTRACTIONS

Orlando is best-known as home to the world's top theme parks and water parks including the four theme parks and two water parks at Walt Disney World Resort - Disney's Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Typhoon Lagoon; the two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort - Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida; three parks from SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment - SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica - SeaWorld's Waterpark and Discovery Cove; and LEGOLAND Florida Resort. With a unique mix of legendary theme parks, water parks, spectacular museums, world-class entertainment and blockbuster rides and attractions, it would take about 67 days to visit all of the entertaining offerings in Orlando. 

ACCOMODATIONS

With approximately 450 hotels and more than 116,000 guest rooms - including 35 AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star award recipients - Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any destination in the world. Accommodations range from luxury resorts and themed hotels to charming bed and breakfasts, economy hotels/motels and campgrounds. Vacation ownership units, private condominiums and homes are also available.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

With more than 5,000 restaurants, Orlando's dining options read like a world map as visitors from all over the world can find a taste of home here. Restaurant options run the gamut from African to Vietnamese and include eateries by popular American celebrity chefs, intimate cafes and wine bars, dinner shows and dining experiences in uniquely themed environments. Once the sun sets, the pulse quickens as Orlando's thriving nightlife comes alive. From ultra-hip bars and high-energy dance clubs to laid-back pubs and multi-venue entertainment complexes, Orlando offers plenty of hot spots to live it up.

SHOPPING

Despite the tremendous appeal of Orlando's world-famous theme parks, one of the top reported activities for visitors is shopping. Within a 20-minute radius in the heart of Orlando's attractions area, visitors will find 12 versatile shopping malls and outlet centers. No other destination in the U.S. offers fashionistas the world's most sought-after brands including Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Rolex among 100 other designer brands in such a compact shopping district and outlet options. Shoppers will also find major department stores such as Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Macy's, along with numerous trendy, independently-owned boutiques. Theme park souvenir shops, museum stores, art galleries and antique shops add to the wealth of shopping options. In all, Orlando's retail offerings are vast enough to fill 900 American football fields (or 676 FIFA football fields).

ENTERTAINMENT & SPECIAL EVENTS

Visitors take great delight in Orlando's impressive lineup of entertainment options. Pointe Orlando features several entertainment venues, including an IMAX Regal Cinemas and the Orlando Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre, in addition to its collection of outdoor shopping and dining options in the heart of the attractions area. In addition, Amway Center, House of Blues, The Social and Hard Rock Live offer concerts many nights of the week. Cirque du Soleil has a permanent show at Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk is home to the Blue Man Group show. From rodeo performances and celebrity concerts to ethnic festivals and art shows, Orlando hosts more than 450 year-round events to please everyone and add more vacation variety. Visit Orlando's official website, VisitOrlando.com, for a comprehensive calendar of events.

SPORTS AND OUTDOOR ADVENTURE

Sports fans are in their element in Orlando thanks to the area's great lineup of collegiate and professional sporting events. From the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic and the University of Central Florida Knights football to Orlando Predators arena football and spring training with the Atlanta Braves, the Orlando sports scene gives fans plenty of reasons to cheer. Sports fans also enjoy attending the Orlando Solar Bears professional ice hockey games and Orlando City Soccer Club American professional soccer matches. Orlando is also a top golf destination and hosts some of the sport's most talented players each year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill (March). With mild temperatures and sunny blue skies year-round, outdoor activities are virtually limitless for adventure enthusiasts. More than 2,000 lakes, rivers and springs invite visitors to enjoy Orlando for fishing, kayaking or waterskiing. The surrounding national parks and acres of lush foliage are a paradise for hikers, cyclists, horseback-riders and those who enjoy adventure trekking, off-road driving and ziplining.

SPA SERVICE

Everyone deserves to be pampered - especially on vacation - and Orlando has that covered. Whether it's for a couple of hours or for a full-day's treatment, guests can relax at any of the area's more than 20 spectacular destination spas, including the Waldorf Astoria Spa, Mandara Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Spa and Senses, and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. From mini manicures and men's sport facials to invigorating body wraps and exotic treatments, Orlando's spas offer the ultimate respite.

ARTS & CULTURE

Visitors may be surprised to learn about the multitude of arts and culture offerings in Orlando. The Orlando Ballet; Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, In Partnership with UCF; Bach Festival Society; Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra; Orlando Repertory Theatre, in partnership with UCF; Mad Cow Theatre; Broadway Across America - Orlando series and several professional and community theatre companies are just a few of the area's options. The same ideals of creativity and innovation that rank Orlando's theme parks among the best in the world, not to mention raw talent and showmanship, overflow to the surrounding community, making the area a haven for artists and performers. The area is also home to hundreds of museums, galleries, theatres, gardens and historic homes.

MEETING SPACE

Orlando is a world-class meetings destination that hosts more than 5 million delegates each year and offers a variety of facilities that accommodate small groups as well as large citywide conventions and trade shows. Orlando's Orange County Convention Center is ranked second in the United States in terms of exhibition space with more than 2.1 million-square-feet (640,080-square-meters). The Center also offers 479,190 square feet (14,605 square meters) of meeting rooms and is the largest convention center in the world to receive LEED Gold EBOM certification. Already underway, the convention center is undergoing a $187 million, 5 year capital improvement plan which includes aesthetic enhancements, life safety updates and the addition of a multi-purpose ballroom. There are more than 17,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the facility. Also, more than 4.6 million square feet (427,353 square meters) of meeting space is available in the area's hotels and cultural venues.

AIRLINES

Orlando's major airport is Orlando International Airport (MCO), located within 15-miles (24-kilometers) of the Orange County Convention Center and major attractions. With 38 scheduled airlines and two charters, MCO provides nonstop service to 76 destinations in the U.S. and 32 international cities. More than 35 million passengers use Orlando International Airport annually; making MCO the third busiest airport in the U.S. Orlando Sanford International Airport is located within 18-miles (29-kilometers) of Orlando city limits and 45 minutes from the Orange County Convention Center and major attractions. With four airlines and two charters serving 57 U.S. and 29 international destinations, this bustling facility serviced more than 1.5 million passengers in 2012. Orlando Executive Airport, located 3 miles (4.83 kilometers) from downtown Orlando, is ideal for the business traveler with a private jet or charter plane.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION

Major highway networks provide easy access for visitors to reach their destinations and for traveling in and around the Greater Orlando area. Primary roadways include Interstate 4, the Florida Turnpike (toll), Highway 528 (Beachline Expressway-toll), Highway 408 (East-West Expressway-toll), Highway 417 (Central Florida Greenway-toll) and State Road 429 (toll). Orlando's main train service is Amtrak, serving 29 Florida communities. The I-Ride Trolleys serve the popular International Drive Resort Area year-round. In addition to taxi and limousine service to anywhere in the Greater Orlando area, the city's LYNX bus system provides economical and dependable public transportation. For a leisurely spin around downtown Orlando, carriage rides and bicycle rickshaws are also available through local vendors. Go to VisitOrlando.com for more information on local transportation.

HISTORY

Before Mickey Mouse called Orlando home, the destination was a leader in the emerging citrus industry, fulfilling the country's need for grapefruits, tangerines and oranges. As the citrus industry flourished, the City of Orlando was officially incorporated on July 21, 1875. Capitalizing on Orlando's near-perfect, year-round flying weather, aviation brought another economic boom to the city. Orlando's Municipal Airport became the Orlando Army Base and quietly contributed to the war efforts both before and after World War II as one of the first places to train bomber pilots. The military built a second Air Force Base which today is the Orlando International Airport. The Wells' Built Museum of African American History preserves Central Florida's unique African-American history and heritage through tours of the museum and South Street Casino, home to famous performers like B.B. King, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. The Orange County Regional History Center chronicles life in Orlando when the area was first known for its cattle ranches and, later, orange groves.

 

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Editor's Note: For additional press information or high-resolution downloadable images,
please visit VisitOrlando.com/media