Location in the state of Florida
|o Total||4,012 sq mi (10,390 km2)|
|Highest elevation||Sugarloaf Mountain
312 ft (95 m)
|Lowest elevation||Sea level
0 ft (0 m)
|Population (2014 est.)|
|o Rank||26th in the U.S.|
Greater Orlando, commonly referred to as the Orlando metropolitan area, Metro Orlando, and for U.S. Census purposes as the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, is a metropolitan area in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. Its principal cities are Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines it as consisting of the counties of Lake, Orange (including Orlando), Osceola, and Seminole.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Greater Orlando is 2,134,411, an increase of 51,990 new residents between 2009 and 2010. By population, it is the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida, the fifth-largest in the southeastern United States, and the 26th largest in the United States. The MSA encompasses 4,012 square miles (10,400 km2) of total area (both land and water areas).
The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA is further listed by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as part of the Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, Florida Combined Statistical Area. This includes the Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area (Volusia and Flagler counties), as well as the micropolitan area of The Villages (Sumter County). The Combined Statistical Area was estimated to have a population of 2,818,120 in 2010.
Principal cities (sometimes called primary cities) are defined by the OMB based on population size and employment. In general, a principal city has more non-residents commuting into the city to work than residents commuting out of the city to work.
Greater Orlando is a popular tourist destination thanks to the many theme parks in the area. Famous attractions include Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando. Millions of tourists visit these and other attractions every year. In 2015, the Orlando area attracted 68 million people.
The citrus industry historically dominated the Orlando area economy, but has declined over the past 100 years. The Christmas 1989 impact freeze proved particularly damaging to commercial citrus farming within Greater Orlando. There are still three major orange juice plants remaining in the area: Cutrale Citrus Juices in Leesburg; Florida's Natural Growers in Umatilla; and Silver Springs Citrus in Howey-in-the-Hills. Minute Maid maintains a major juice flavoring plant in Apopka. Other agricultural pursuits, particularly cattle farming, remain important parts of the Central Florida economy, but are now all located on the outer fringes of the metro area. Orlando is also a major food processing center.
Metro Orlando has served as a major military defense and aerospace center since World War II. The most prominent defense contractor in the area is Lockheed Martin, which operates both a laboratory and a manufacturing facility in Orlando. Military presence began in the 1940s, with the opening of McCoy Air Force Base and the Orlando Naval Training Center. McCoy AFB was a major hub of B-52 Stratofortress operations. McCoy AFB was split between the city and NTC Orlando in 1974, and NTC Orlando closed in the mid-1990s. McCoy AFB is now the location of the Orlando International Airport. Farther north in Sanford, the Orlando Sanford International Airport was originally Naval Air Station Sanford.
Metro Orlando's economy has greatly diversified from tourism, and the area is now considered a primary city for the modeling, simulation and training (MS&T) industry. The University of Central Florida is home to more than 60,000 students, the second largest public university campus by enrollment, and established the UCF College of Medicine in 2006. The Central Florida Research Park is the seventh largest research park in the United States by number of employees, and fourth largest by number of companies. In addition to having a Lockheed Martin branch, it also hosts other major hi-tech companies such as Oracle Corporation, Electronic Arts, and Siemens.
Orlando is targeting the biotechnology and life sciences industries, with major new projects clustering in the Lake Nona Medical City. In addition to the UCF College of Medicine, a VA Hospital, a Sanford-Burnham Institute research center[when?] and a Nemours Foundation children's hospital are being constructed.[when?]
Tavistock Group, an investment firm that held 7,000 acres (2,800 ha) of land immediately South East of Orlando International Airport began formulating new possibilities for its land use after the decline in tourism to the state. Tavistock decided to use part of the land to establish a Bio-Sciences cluster. In 2005, the state of Florida along with Tavistock Group and the University of Central Florida agreed that Tavistock would donate 50 acres (20 ha) and $12.5 Million (which the state would match for a total of $25 Million) to start the UCF College of Medicine and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. The UCF College of Medicine won approval from the State Board of Governors in 2006. That decision was key to attracting Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to Central Florida. Tavistock then donated another 50 acres (20 ha) and $17.5 Million to Sanford-Burnham which allowed Sanford-Burnham's East Coast expansion.
In February and March 2007 respectively, Nemours and the [[United States Department of Veterans Affairs announced Lake Nona as the site of two new hospitals. Other prospective tenants of the Lake Nona Medical City included MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando, the University of Florida research center, and Valencia Community College. It was determined in 2008 from a study done by Arduin, Laffer and Moore Econometrics that the Lake Nona Medical City cluster has in two years reached 80% of the Milken Numbers which were based on the commitments made by the economic development statements. The study then released new projections for the 10-year period which included 30,000 jobs created and a $7.6 Billion economic impact.
Limited-access highways in Greater Orlando include:
The Beachline, Central Florida GreeneWay, East-West Expressway and Western Expressway are all run by the Central Florida Expressway Authority. Florida's Turnpike and portions of tollways not inside Orange County are run by Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, a special district of the Florida Department of Transportation.
Major surface highways include US 17, US 92 and US 441 (which overlap through Orlando as Orange Blossom Trail), US 27 (Claude Pepper Highway), US 192 (Irlo Bronson Highway), SR 50 (Colonial Drive and Cheney Highway), John Young Parkway, and International Drive.
Bus transportation in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties is provided by Lynx. Lynx is also doing studies into mass transit in the form of light rail, which has received varying degrees of support over the past decade.
The SunRail opened for operation in 2014. The terminal stations are currently at Sand Lake Road and DeBary. When fully completed, it will eventually connect from DeLand to Poinciana through Downtown Orlando.
SunRail (formerly referred to as Central Florida Commuter Rail) is a commuter rail system under construction in the Greater Orlando, Florida area, linking Poinciana to DeLand through Downtown Orlando. When Phase 1 is completed in May 2014, it will run for 31 miles (50 km) with 17 stations along the CSX Transportation "A" Line (former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad main line). Service is scheduled to begin from Volusia County through Orlando with eventual connectivity to south Osceola County under Phase 2.
Church Street Station, once a stop along the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, has since been redeveloped as an urban night life center, while the station itself will serve as Downtown Orlando's centerpiece SunRail stop.
Amtrak serves stations in the area in Kissimmee, Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford and DeLand. The Sanford station is the southern terminus for the Auto Train, which transports people and their vehicles directly to Washington, D.C., via Lorton, Virginia.
The other stations are served by the Silver Meteor and Silver Star, which both travel to New York City. The difference between the two lines is their paths through the states of South Carolina and North Carolina: Silver Meteor takes a coastal route through Charleston, South Carolina, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, while Silver Star moves inland through Columbia, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Orlando is also the nominal eastern terminus of the Sunset Limited. However, damage to train bridges caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 has halted service to Los Angeles. As of 2007, the Sunset Limited only runs between Los Angeles and New Orleans. The Amtrak website still lists Orlando as the end of the route, suggesting that service will resume in the future.
Orlando is usually named as the initial focus of plans for a Florida High Speed Rail system in which the majority of its residents had supported, but 2.4 billion dollars of federal funding for this new system were refused by Governor Rick Scott of Florida after taking office in January 2011 due to long-term federal funding uncertainties.
Orlando International (MCO) is a focus city of JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. AirTran Airways was headquartered in Orlando and had a major hub in Orlando. JetBlue Airways also has a training facility known as JetBlue University, and is the main training center for JetBlue's pilots, inflight crew, plus support training for its technical operations and customer service crew. JetBlue also provides general aircraft maintenance and LiveTV installation and maintenance in Orlando.
Orlando Sanford International (SFB) is generally served by charter flights from Europe, though it is also a hub for national small-city carrier Allegiant Air and home to Delta Connection Academy, a pilot training school.
In the Combined Statistical Area, Daytona Beach International Airport also serves the area, and is used by many tourists seeking to directly connect to Daytona Beach's many local offerings, such as Daytona Beach Bike Week, Speedweeks and Spring Break. It is located so its runways cradle Daytona International Speedway, making it convenient for some fans to arrive in Daytona, watch the Daytona 500 or Coke Zero 400, and then return home the same day. Daytona Beach International also serves as the main airport for pilot training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
A Chinatown (Chinese: ; pinyin: ) as of 2002 at 5060 West Colonial Drive (located outside city limits). According to the West Orlando News, the Chinatown features a monument of Sun Yat Sen, a donation from his granddaughter Dr. Lily Sun who unveiled it on the 87th anniversary of his death in 2012, making this the first commercial location to hold such a monument. In March 2013, a paifang was unveiled at the entrance to the Chinatown plaza, "... helping legitimize the plaza as a center for Chinese commerce." The Chinatown features an eclectic blend of Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Indian cultures through its numerous pan-Asian businesses.
According to an article by the Orlando Weekly, the location of Orlando's Chinatown was once the Westside Crossing Plaza, which was a Walmart shopping center with a Publix supermarket. In 2003, the old shopping center was converted to house "... 60 pan-Asian businesses and restaurants." Financing for the project came from Chinese investors.
The Orlando Sentinel further states that "... by retrofitting the mostly vacant strip center, which includes a former Wal-Mart discount store and Publix supermarket, a group of out-of-state Chinese investors are hoping to draw more than 60 Asian-owned businesses to the site by the end of the year. " The article states that this is "... creating what the project's developers are calling the region's first Chinatown." The amenities include bakeries, restaurants, and an Asian grocery store. So the article further elaborates by saying "... finally, there's a place to buy cuttlefish and black chicken."
Since the project was a success, its report on its conceptualization and development is used as a reference for the real estate and tourism industries.
The primary newspaper of the area is the daily Orlando Sentinel, owned by Tribune Company. It was created as the Orlando Sentinel-Star in 1973 when the Orlando Morning Sentinel and the Orlando Evening Star were merged. It dropped "Star" from the name in 1982. It is also served by various weekly and semi-weekly papers, including Orlando Weekly, The West Orange Times, The East Orlando Sun and The Osceola News-Gazette in Kissimmee.
All six major broadcast networks are represented in Orlando with their own channels. WESH brought NBC to Orlando when it moved its main operations from Daytona Beach to Eatonville in 1991.