When looking at the booming metropolis of Orlando, it is hard to believe that once upon a time it was just a modest town surrounded by cow pastures and citrus fields. Today, Orlando is home to some of the most identifiable attractions in the world including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, as well as prestigious athletes, glamorous movie stars, and millionaires. With a population of over 2 million, this tropical city is the sixth largest city in Florida.
Orlando has consistently ranked as one of the top vacation destinations in the world. An abundance of nightclubs, restaurants, and bars bring this urban metropolis to life. The 18,000-seat Amway Arena offers a wide range of entertainment for sports fans including Orlando Magic basketball games, Orlando Predators Football League games, and the Orlando Solar Bears. And Orlando soon will be adding professional soccer and tennis to the list in 2016 with a new 19,500-seat stadium to be the home of MLS Orlando City Soccer, and the largest tennis center in the country to house the USTA's Community Tennis and Player Development division. Abundant in entertainment, this city has nearly 100 attractions including five of the top 10 in the world.
Orlando is the 27th largest metro area in the United States with an estimated population of nearly 2 million. A cultural center, its diverse population is made up of Puerto Rican, Colombian, Venezuelan, French, Canadian, Arab, Indian, British, American, and many other communities. The city's music, theater, art, and restaurant scenes have all been influenced by this eclectic melting pot of unique backgrounds and tastes. Orlando is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation with uniquely defined neighborhoods springing up around every corner.
Often referred to as the Hollywood of the East, there are many cinematic businesses in the area. For years, Walt Disney Feature Animation ran a studio out of Disney/Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney Resort. Much of the animation for recognizable films like Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear was produced at Animation-Florida. Orlando also represents the capital of pop music with well-known artists like Britney Spears, Mandy Moore, NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys all originating from the hip metropolis.
With the opening of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in 2014, live music and theater are booming as never before. The two-block community arts space features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, School of Arts, the DeVos Family Room - all of which can be rented for private events. Future Center expansion plans include a 1,700-seat acoustic theater, rehearsal room and some commercial development spaces. Elsewhere, professional and semi-professional community theatres are dispersed throughout the community: Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Starlight Dinner Theatre, to name a few.
A popular resort destination, Orlando is within driving distance to several beaches, offering an escape from the fast-paced life of the city. Take a day trip to Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Cocoa Beach, Clearwater Beach, or New Smyrna Beach to enjoy activities like sunning, fishing, boating, sea kayaking, kite flying, and much more.