- For further information on the geographic location of Greater Orlando, see Central Florida.
Common name: Greater Orlando (Disney)
|Other cities||- Kissimmee
- Winter Park
- Altamonte Springs
|Population||Ranked 26th in the U.S.|
|– Total||2,171,360 (2011 est.)|
|Area||4,012 sq. mi.
|– Highest point||Sugarloaf Mountain
312 feet (95 m)
|– Lowest point||Sea level, 0 feet (0 m)|
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) square miles 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 Metropolitan Statistical Areas of Deltona–Daytona Beach–Ormond Beach (Volusia County) and Palm Coast (Flagler County), 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.
Suburbs with more than 10,000 inhabitants
- Altamonte Springs
- Azalea Park
- Buenaventura Lakes
- Citrus Ridge
- Doctor Phillips
- Fairview Shores
- Horizon West
- Hunters Creek
- Lady Lake
- Lake Butler
- Lake Mary
- Meadow Woods
- Mount Dora
- Oak Ridge
- Pine Castle
- Pine Hills
- Saint Cloud
- Wekiva Springs
- Winter Garden
- Winter Park
- Winter Springs
Suburbs with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants
- Bay Lake
- Bay Hill
- Belle Isle
- Fern Park
- Fruitland Park
- Holden Heights
- Lake Buena Vista
- Lake Hart
- Lake Helen
- Lake Kathryn
- Lake Mack-Forest Hills
- Mount Plymouth
- Orlo Vista
- Paradise Heights
- Silver Lake
- Sky Lake
- South Apopka
- Tangelo Park
- Union Park
- Yeehaw Junction
Greater Orlando is best known for its tourism industry, which attracts millions of visitors each year. Famous attractions include Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Tourism has brought to Orlando numerous hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls all ranging from low-cost to upscale options.
The citrus industry has declined over the past 100 years as farmers moved orange groves further south to more frostproof areas. Some consider the Christmas 1989 freeze to be the death knell of 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 the largest city in Central Florida and 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 major hi-tech center. University of Central Florida is regarded as one of the best computer, and engineering public universities in the United States, and is currently building a new medical school. The Central Florida Research Park is the seventh largest research park in the United States. In addition to having a Lockheed Martin branch, it also hosts other major hi-tech companies such as Oracle Corporation, Electronic Arts, and Siemens.
By 2012, Orlando is expected to become a major biotechnology cluster. In addition to the UCF College of Medicine, a VA Hospital, a Sanford-Burnham Institute research center and a Nemours Foundation children's hospital are being constructed.
Roads and freeways
Limited-access highways in Greater Orlando include:
- Florida's Turnpike, which heads southeast to the Treasure Coast and South Florida, as well as northwest to connect to Interstate 75 south of Ocala
- Interstate 4, which meets Florida's Turnpike near the Walt Disney World Resort, heads north through the Orlando area to Daytona Beach and southwest to Lakeland and Tampa (the only entirely non-tolled freeway in the area)
- The Beachline (Formerly Bee Line Expressway; SR 528), which meets I-4 near SeaWorld and connects to the Orlando International Airport, Space Coast, Cape Canaveral, and the John F. Kennedy Space Center
- The Central Florida GreeneWay (SR 417), which passes around the edge of the eastern half of the area as a beltway, and connects to both Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport
- The East-West Expressway (SR 408), which crosses the area from west (where it connects to Florida's Turnpike) to east (where it connects to Colonial Drive, south of UCF), passing through downtown Orlando, where it connects to Interstate 4
- The Western Expressway (SR 429), which is partially completed, will eventually serve as a beltway in the western half of the area, connecting to Interstate 4 on both ends from Sanford in the north, through Apopka and Ocoee, and around the west side of Walt Disney World to connect southwest of Kissimmee.
- The Apopka Bypass (SR 414), is a partial tollway beginning at US 441 Orange Blossom Trail west of Apopka to Maitland Blvd at US 441 south of Apopka. From there, the road continues as "Maitland Blvd", but is a surface road. The spur west of Apopka will eventually run north to begin the "Wekiva Expressway".
The Beachline, Central Florida GreeneWay, East-West Expressway and Western Expressway are all run by the Orlando-Orange County 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 system will open for operation in 2013. When completed by 2015, it will eventually connect from DeLand to Poinciana through Downtown Orlando.
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.
Orlando International (MCO) serves as a secondary hub to AirTran Airways, and is a focus city of JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. AirTran Airways is headquartered in Orlando, but its main hub is in Atlanta. Orlando was a focus city but was re-classified as a "mini-hub", providing more nonstop destinations than any other AirTran location outside Atlanta, and connections to every AirTran destination outside Florida. 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.
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 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.
- "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011" (CSV). 2011 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. April 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- "OMB Bulletin No. 10-02: Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses". United States Office of Management and Budget. December 1, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2010.
- Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses, page 114
- Census Bureau Geographic Concepts – retrieved July 2, 2009
- Inside TV Ratings | Nielsen Media Research
- The Orlando Travel & Visitors Bureau
- The Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Orlando Welcome Center