Orlando, Florida Theme Park Capital of the World

Mention the words Orlando, Florida to anyone and the phrase Magic Kingdom or Walt

Disney immediately comes to mind. Smack dab in the center of the Sunshine State is a resort area that plays host to 62 million visitors annually eager to see not only Walt Disney World but also Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld, Gatorland and Wet n’ Wild, among other attractions.

Located in central Florida and the county seatofOrange County, it sits in the center of theOrlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,134,411 as of the 2010 census. This makes it the 26th largest metropolitan areain the United States, the sixth largest metropolitan area in the South and the third largest metropolitan area in Florida.

Tourist Influx

With a city population of 238,300, Orlando is the 77th largest cityin the U.S., the fifth largest city in Florida, and the state's largest inland city. Nicknamed the “City Beautiful" because of its majestic fountain at Lake Eola, it’s perhaps better known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World” for the reasons mentioned above.

The Orlando International Airport(MCO) is the thirteenth busiest airport in the United States and the 29th busiest in the world, perhaps due to the number of visitors it constantly receives. The most visited city in America (as of 2009), Orlando’s attractions form the backbone of the state’s tourism industry: Walt Disney World Resort, located approximately 21 miles southwest of Downtown Orlando inLake Buena Vista, was opened by theWalt Disney Companyin 1971; theUniversal Orlando Resort, opened in 1999 as a major expansion ofUniversal Studios Florida; the SeaWorld Orlando marine life theme park and zoological park (1973), the home of one of the first orca whales in captivity. (The original Shamu died in 1971, but orcas using the Shamu name continue to perform shows at the park); Gatorland (founded in 1949), a privately-owned theme park and wildlife preserve that houses alligators, crocodiles, snakes and other dangerous or exotic animals; and Wet n’ Wild, a water park founded in 1977, which is scheduled to close on December 31, 2016.