t The iconic and imposing Hogwarts™ castle on a sunny day
Experience Orlando and the Space Coast
Orlando started out as an army post, which was established during the Seminole Wars. A town later developed, but even through the first half of the 20th century Orlando and neighboring towns such as Kissimmee were only small, sleepy places dependent on cattle and the citrus crop.Everything changed in the 1960s. First came the job opportunities associated with the space program at Cape Canaveral. Then Walt Disney World® Resort started to take shape, with its first theme park opening here in 1971. Its success generated a booming entertainment industry in Greater Orlando as an increasing number of attractions appeared on the scene, all eager to cash in on the captive market.
With everything from roller coasters to rocket launches, the Orlando area is undeniably a family-oriented fantasyland and the undisputed theme park capital of the world. However, the region also has a subtle beauty, with hundreds of lakes bordered by moss-draped oaks or stands of cypress trees, spring-fed rivers, ancient forests, and verdant farmlands. The barrier islands across the broad Indian River boast 72 miles (116 km) of stunning sandy beaches, and there are two nature preserves rich in birdlife.