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Greater Orlando is a region of Inland Florida surrounding the city of Orlando. It's famous for amusement parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios, though it's not far from Cape Canaveral in the Space Coast to the east, and therefore attracts tourists from within the United States as well as other countries.

Cities[edit]

Map of Greater Orlando
  • 1 Apopka — large suburb on the western side
  • 2 Christmas — small town east of Orlando
  • 3 Lake Buena Vista — home to Walt Disney World
  • 4 Maitland — modern suburb north of Winter Park
  • 5 Orlando — the largest and most important city in the region, and the location of the main airport
  • 6 Winter Garden — suburb on the shore of Lake Apopka, with downtown and shopping
  • 7 Winter Park — upscale suburb with downtown and Rollins College campus
  • 8 Altamonte Springs — urban extension of Orlando City to the north
  • 9 Casselberry — extensive suburb, mostly residential
  • 10 Lake Mary — mostly residential area between Sanford and Casselberry
  • 11 Oviedo — mostly residential area on the eastern edge of Orlando
  • 12 Sanford — the location of a second airport in the region, on the south shore of Lake Monroe
  • 13 Celebration — Disney-inspired community
  • 14 Kissimmee — large suburb on the south side of Orlando, with much of Orlando's Hispanic/Latino community
  • 15 St. Cloud — Kissimmee's little brother, or sister.

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Walt Disney World — the location of EPCOT and other theme parks, which function like city districts of the broader Disney World
  • 2 Universal Orlando — closer to central Orlando, Universal is the other major amusement park in the region

Understand[edit]

Downtown Orlando

The region is the location of three counties: Orange County, the location of the city of Orlando itself; Osceola County, the suburbs to the south; and Seminole County, the suburbs in the north. Seminole County is between Orlando City to the south and Volusia County, and specifically the Deltona-DeLand area, to the north. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated in 2019 that the population was 472,000. Its county seat is Sanford. Orange County is the core of the Orlando metropolitan area, with its seat at Orlando. It is one of Florida's most populous counties with a population of approximately 1.4 million in 2019. Osceola County is south of Orange County, and its county seat is Kissimmee. Its population is the least of the three, but still substantial at 376,000 in 2019.

The Greater Orlando area is diverse, and integration is high among the three ethnic groups that comprise almost all of the population: white, Black, and Hispanic/Latino. The southern part of the city is primary Latino, but as a whole the city's culture doesn't have Miami's prevalence of Latin-American culture. Cities such as Sanford, where there is fairly equal population of these three ethnic groups, is a good example of the city's "melting pot" culture, despite its notoriety for the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Contrary to what some may assume, Metro Orlando's economy isn't dominated by theme parks. The theme parks are concentrated in the southwest, and they're not important to the northern side of the city. The economy of the north is mixed, but on the whole prosperous, with high levels of "gentrification" in Winter Park and to a lesser extent, Sanford. Farther from downtown, the north becomes less diverse and less cosmopolitan, and traditionally, more Republican, although on the whole the Orlando Metro Area is one of the most liberal cities in Florida. In this northern region, white-collar jobs such as Advent Health's headquarters are an important economic contributor, as is construction due to the increasing population.

Sanford's Lake Monroe

There are college campuses throughout Orlando, even if it's not called a "college town." University of Central Florida (UCF) is a large public college offering a wide range of degrees, while there are some more focused colleges, such as Full Sail University for video and music production, and the wealthy Rollins College, a liberal arts college.

The west side of Orlando, the location of a major part of the city's Black community, is mostly suburban and has some nice town center areas, such as Winter Garden near Lake Apopka, which has emerged along with Apopka as one of Greater Orlando's most important suburbs. However, as the city is diverse and integrated, there are communities of ethnic minorities throughout the city, and finding African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and whites all dining in a Middle Eastern restaurant in Maitland or Winter Park is a common sight.

Unfortunately, Orlando's massive area, scattered feel, and in places, lack of character, make the metro area disjointed. There's a little of everything, from beautiful neighborhoods with fine dining, to non-descript residential areas, to major highway routes where poverty and crime (and dangerous driving) are common. Much of metro Orlando feels as though urban planning was nonexistent when it was built, and consequently US highways even in the nicest towns are unattractive. You have to know where the best restaurants and tourist attractions are before you visit, or else they'll be hard to spot, because they're hidden away from the main roads.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

I-4 connects West Central Florida and Daytona Beach with Orlando. The Florida Turnpike connects southeastern Florida with Orlando's theme parks. FL-46 goes to the Sanford area from Titusville.

By air[edit]

1 Orlando International Airport (MCO IATA) is the largest and most important local airport. 2 Orlando-Sanford International Airport Orlando Sanford International Airport on Wikipedia (SFB IATA) is southeast of Sanford and east of Lake Mary, on the edge of the city.

By train[edit]

There is passenger train route coming from the north and passing through Maitland and Winter Park.

Get around[edit]

By train[edit]

  • Sun Rail, +1-855-724-5411. M-F 5AM-11:30PM. Sun Rail is a north-south train on weekdays through Sanford, Orlando, and Kissimmee, from Poinciana at its southern end, and DeBary at its the northern end. Bus connection is provided from Orlando International Airport to the Sand Lake Road station by Links 11, 42 and 111; and from Orlando-Sanford International Airport to the Sanford station by Link 46E. Cross platform connections to Amtrak trains are only in Kissimmee, Orlando Health/Amtrak Station, Winter Park and DeBary $2-5 one way, with discounts for round-trip tickets, and 50% off for seniors 65 and over, and youth between the ages of 7-18. SunRail (Q3503715) on Wikidata SunRail on Wikipedia

By bus[edit]

  • LYNX - Public transportation by Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority. With the main hub centered on Orlando, bus service provided in Osceola, Orange, and Seminole Counties. Some buses link to neighboring counties. Service to Disney World is available.
  • I-Ride Trolley - If you're looking to ride up and down International drive this is one of the best offers! The busses offer many stops up and down International drive, especially if you plan on visiting Sea World! For about $2.00 for adults, $1.00 for kids and only $0.25 for seniors its extremely affordable, especially if you don't plan on renting a car. However, keep in mind, that the trollies only run until 10:30PM, so if you're a late bird be sure to plan!

By car[edit]

I-4 goes through Orlando and is among the most important highways in the city itself. FL-44 connects New Smyrna Beach to DeLand, the latter being a city at the northern end of Greater Orlando.

State Road 60 runs east-west through the southern half of Osceola County. S.R. 60 leads from the Tampa and Brandon areas in the west through Mulberry, Bartow, and Lake Wales after which it runs for 80 mi through rural areas before reaching Vero Beach on the East coast, also intersecting with the Florida's Turnpike halfway. About 20 mi east of Lake Wales, it is reduced to two lanes with occasional passing lanes and can be a little hectic between tailgaters and slow drivers (speed limit is 60 mph, but the average is a bit higher). The 25 mi between Yeehaw Junction and Interstate 95 has little traffic and a 65 mph speed limit. This offers a lower cost alternative to travelling on the Florida Turnpike between Yeehaw Junction and South Florida.

See[edit]

Downtown Orlando

The amusement parks, Universal Orlando and Disney World, are the main points of interest for travelers, though local parks and forests are also popular with some. Others use Orlando International Airport as a starting point for tourism in Central Florida. Cirque Du Soleil: La Nouba is a breath-taking theatrical performance in Lake Buena Vista.

As a modern urban area, Greater Orlando does not have many historic sites, compared to some of Florida's older towns. Some cities in parts of Inland Florida surrounding Orlando, such as Lake County on Orlando's eastern and northeastern fringes, have historic houses dating to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while St. Augustine some distance away is Florida's primary historical travel attraction for early North American colonization.

Do[edit]

  • Visit Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista
  • Get splashed by Shamu at SeaWorld in Orlando
  • Ride your favorite movies at Universal Studios in Orlando
  • Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in Orlando. If you are in the area this is a must see. This attraction is like no other! Keep in mind that it is a narrow part of the part, so they limit crowding during peak months and strollers, wheelchairs or walkers may be difficult to navigate. None of the rides in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter allows bags or carry-ons however; each ride provides free lockers outside of the attractions for the duration of your ride. If you don't mind not sitting with your party or going on a ride alone, use the single rider line, the wait is always shorter. Don't forget to try a Butterbeer, it's the only section of the both parks that offers the refreshing frozen or non-frozen treat.

Eat[edit]

Cuisine in metro Orlando is more diverse than that of neighboring regions, where seafood and American cuisine dominate. In a few neighborhoods such as downtown Winter Park, cuisines from around the world can be found on the same street. In less prosperous and less diverse suburban areas, there are fewer or even no restaurants serving cuisines other than American. You can, and should, avoid statewide or larger restaurant chains because there are more upscale standalone dining establishments placed within the nicest parts of the city. Restaurants serving foreign cuisines are typically better than their American counterparts. This is not to say that there aren't good restaurants in the American style, but most are aiming at the budget and medium-range categories, while foreign cuisines tend to be advertised at only somewhat higher prices while offering more cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Sleep[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]


This region travel guide to Greater Orlando is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.