<-- More Absolutely Florida <-- More Orlando
More than 1.4 million people
June - September
History: Orlando's Origins in Old Army Post
After the second Seminole War ended in 1842, settlers came from Georgia to central Florida. One of these settlers, a man named Jernigan, settled with others in an abandoned Army post -- Fort Gatlin.
The town was called Jernigan until 1857 when it was permanently renamed Orlando. The name came from Orlando Reeves, a U.S. soldier who was killed by an Indian's arrow while on sentinel duty in what is now the downtown's Lake Eola Park.The city was incorporated on July 21, 1875, by a vote from 22 of its 85 inhabitants.
To glimpse into Orlando's past, visit the Orange County Historical Museum (407/897-6350). Its exhibits include a country store, pioneer kitchen, an 1880 parlor, and a renovated 1926 Orlando firehouse complete with antique fire trucks. In Maitland, the Historic Waterhouse Residence and Carpentry Shop Museums (407/644-2451) give visitors a feel for life in the Victorian era.
Limousines, taxis, carriage rides and buses can get you anywhere in Orlando. In fact, the bus stops are indicated by a Lynx pawprint. On International Drive, I-Ride buses make stops every 5--10 minutes; their stops' Lynx pawprint bear the words "I-Ride."
Accommodations in Orlando
Orlando abounds with accommodations, including over 86,000 rooms in luxury resorts and hotels, economy hotels/motels and bed-and-breakfast inns to campgrounds and RV parks.
Disney Resorts Those visiting Walt Disney World can enhance their visits by staying at any of Disney's nearby resort sites. Each site has a specific theme which adds to visitors' fun. The resorts include the Old Key West Resort (newly opened), the All-Star Music Resort, the All-Sports Music Resort, the Beach Club Resort, the Caribbean Beach Resort, the Contemporary Resort, Dixie Landings Resort, the Grand Floridian Beach Resort, the Polynesian Resort, the Port Orleans Resort and the Wilderness Lodge. To make reservations, call (407) W-DISNEY. To join the Disney Vacation Club which offers rates that will remain the same until the year 2042, call 1-800-800-9100. For AAA four-diamond resorts with first-class facilities and service, vacation at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, The Peabody Orlando, Renaissance Orlando Resort, The Villas at Grand Cypress, the Hilton at Walt Disney World Village, Marriott's World Center, Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, or the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan. The coziness of bed-and-breakfasts can offer welcome respites from busy touring days. Among these are the Chalet Suzanne Restaurant & Inn, the Lakeside Inn, the Perrihouse Bed & Breakfast Inn and the Unicorn Inn.
Nature enthusiasts can enjoy facilities that emphasize the outdoors, including Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, Kissimmee/Orlando KOA, the Tropical Palms Resort or Yogi Bear's Jellystone Camp Resort. For those traveling with small children, the following offer special programs for the little ones: the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort Lake Buena Vista, the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa, Embassy Suites and Walt Disney World Dolphin.
Golfing enthusiasts can tee off early by staying at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club, Poinciana Golf & Racquet Resort, the Grenelefe Golf & Tennis Resort, Mission Inn Golf and Tennis Resort, Marriott's Orlando World Center, the Orange Lake Resort & Country Club, or any of Disney's resorts.
For ahead-of-trip planning, call (800) 551-0181 to obtain the Official Accommodations Guide to the Orlando area. If you drive into Orlando without having made reservations, stop at the Official Visitor Center, which is open year-round from 8 am to 8 pm (except December 25) for immediate information about room availability and rates. The Official Visitor Center is located at 8723 International Drive, Suite 101.