• Originally part of Mosquito County in 1824, Orange was carved out in 1845 and named for the fruit that was its main product. The original land eventually became several counties, including Osceola, Seminole, Lake and Volusia.
• Orlando became the county seat in 1856 and was incorporated as a town in 1875 and then as a city in 1885. How it got its name is the subject of much speculation and various stories passed down through history.
• Florida’s largest inland city, Orlando is nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” and its symbol is the fountain in downtown’s Lake Eola.
• Orange has the sixth-largest population among all of Florida’s counties.
• Orlando International Airport logs more flights every year than any other airport in Florida except Miami International. It is the 13th-busiest in the nation and the 29th-busiest in the world.
• The airport’s code is MCO because it was originally an Air Force base named for Colonel Michael McCoy, who died during a training flight in 1957. Orlando pledged to retain the name McCoy.
• In Orlando, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the second-largest in the nation, serving more than 58,000 students.
• UCF’s Business Incubation Program, founded in 1999, operates in 10 locations throughout the region and has helped more than 300 emerging companies create more than $500 million in annual revenue and 1,600 new jobs with an average salary of $59,000.
• Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City houses Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s hospital, the UCF Health Sciences Campus, a University of Florida Academic and Research Center, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute. It eventually will include a U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center and a cluster of businesses and homes that focus on healthy living.
• Orange County is home to some of the most popular theme parks in the world, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando.
• Walt Disney World is the largest single-site employer in the United States, with more than 66,000 employees the company calls “cast members.”
• Walt Disney World contains two cities: Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, which are both part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District that spans Orange and Osceola counties.
• Orlando is developing the largest public building project in Central Florida history: a $1.1 billion public/private investment in three state-of-the-art community venues: the Amway Center, which opened in 2011 and is one of the most technologically advanced arenas in the nation; the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled to open in mid-2014; and renovation of the Florida Citrus Bowl, which hosts two nationally televised college football playoff games a year.
• Neighboring Tinker field is named for baseball great Joe Tinker of the Chicago Cubs, who moved to Orlando in 1920.
• The county is home to the corporate headquarters of Darden Restaurants, which include Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Seasons 52; and Ruth’s Hospitality Group, which includes the Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Mitchell’s Steakhouse and Cameron’s Steakhouse brands.
How does Orange County rank on the 2012 Central Florida Scorecard? Here are some highlights:
• Population: 1.2 million, by far the largest in the region, with Polk County coming the closest at 609,500.
• College attainment: 31.3 percent, the second-highest in the region behind Seminole County, which has 35 percent.
• Water consumption: 189 gallons per day per capita, the second-highest in the region behind Lake County with 193 and well above the regional average of 154.
• Unemployment rate: 9 percent, the second-lowest in the region behind Seminole County with 8.5 percent.
• Voter turnout: 44.3 percent, the second-lowest in the region behind Osceola with 36.6 percent.
• Charitable contributions: $4,200 per capita, the second-highest in the region behind Polk with $4,800.
Municipalities in Orange County
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