It’s pretty common knowledge that Orlando and Central Florida are home to the top attractions and tourist destinations in the world, but take a look at these interesting, historical facts about Orlando that you may not have known.

  1. Central Florida’s first and longest running theme park is Gatorland, opened in 1949. Now known as the Alligator Capital of the World, it opened with a giant reptile touted as the “largest crocodile in the world” and many snakes.
    black and white photo of founder of gatorland, Owen Godwin wearing a brimmed hat holding many baby alligators

    Owen Godwin, Founder of Gatorland courtesy of Gatorland Orlando

  2. Central Florida’s NBA Team, the Orlando Magic, was almost called the Orlando Juice. By popular vote, “The Magic” won in a contest hosted by The Orlando Sentinel. Other name options included “The Heat” and “The Tropics”.
    Blue, black and white basketball logo for Orlando Magic

    Logo owned by Orlando Magic for Orlando Magic.

  3. Central Florida has hundreds of lakes, many of which are the result of sinkholes. Lake Rose in Winter Park is a sinkhole which formed in 1981, swallowing a home, a Porsche dealership and several other businesses.
    An aerial view of the Winter Park sinkhole in 1981. (Orlando Sentinel file)

    An aerial view of the Winter Park sinkhole in 1981. (Photo Courtesy of Orlando Sentinel file)

  4. Notable Orlando resident and Air Force Command Pilot Joe Kittinger was the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone by gas hot air balloon.
    photo of Joe Kittinger in front of a light blue background with a blue hot air balloon in the background

    Photo of Joe Kittinger courtesy of http://joekittinger.com/

  5. Many famous movies have been shot in Orlando including Lethal Weapon 3, a film that includes a scene of the explosion of Orlando’s City Hall, which helped fund the cost of its demolition. Other films produced in Orlando include Sharknado 3, Apollo 13, Waterboy, Jaws and Sisters.
  6. Central Florida is known at the Lightning Capital of America due to the number of fatal hits as well as the density of lightning strikes. Over 20 flashes per square mile occur every year.photo of a nighttime skyline with lightning
  7. Walt Disney World estimates that, since 1971, a staggering 1.65 million pairs of sunglasses have been handed over to its lost and found department 

We hope you ENJOYed these fun facts about Orlando! Do you have any interesting facts about Orlando or Florida? We would love to hear about them!