While often associated with Walt Disney World® and Universal Studios Florida™, Orlando has a lot more to offer than just cartoon characters and wild rides. With year-round sunshine, renowned golf courses, award-winning restaurants and easy access to a variety of sugary white sand beaches, The City Beautiful has endless adventures for all ages and interests to enjoy. Whether you’re planning a getaway for the whole family or escaping for a romantic weekend, make the most of your travels while spending less with exclusive Orlando travel deals from Vacations by Marriott.
Entertain your family and friends on your way to the resort with five fun facts you probably didn’t know about The Theme Park Capital of the World:
1. More than 100 lakes: With so many watering holes to choose from, a relaxing afternoon fishing or an exciting speedboat adventure is always within reach. While some of Orlando’s infamous lakes began as sinkholes, many are now large bodies of water where locals can be found paddle boarding, kayaking and swimming throughout the year. Lake Eola Park, located in the heart of Downtown Orlando, is one of the city’s most notable former sinkholes and is home to hundreds of beautiful swans. You can even rent a swan-shaped paddle boat and make your way around the park while soaking up views of the city’s skyline.
2. Silver Spurs Rodeo: Despite having a flip-flop and Tommy Bahama island shirt reputation, Orlando locals dust off their cowboy boots to honor their city’s Southern cattle roots at least once a year during an annual rodeo. Known as the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, Silver Spurs Rodeo features everything from bull riding and barrel racing to steer wrestling and team roping. But unlike most rodeos, Orlando tops off the event off with an annual golf tournament. It is still Florida, after all.
3. The Dr. Philip Phillips influence: While the name might not mean much to you, Dr. Philip Phillips was a prominent Orlando businessman in the early to mid-1900s, and his influence had a lasting impression on the city. Phillips began a business that revolutionized the orange juice industry, then sold his company for $50 million in 1954 to Minute Maid, still the largest transaction in the history of citrus. Today, when you mention Dr. Phillips to locals, they’ll direct you to his namesake neighborhood, an affluent Orlando area where dozens of award-winning eateries can be found on “Restaurant Row.” Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is another Orlando tribute to the citrus king. It is ranked among the “50 Coolest Places in the World in 2015” by Travel + Leisure.
4. Gatorland: Long before Mickey and Minnie moved to town, Orlando’s sole theme park was Gatorland. Built in 1949, the unique attraction is still known as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” inviting family and friends of all ages to enjoy an afternoon of fun with a free-flight aviary, petting zoo and a zip line over a natural alligator breeding marsh.
5. World’s largest McDonald’s: Theme parks aren’t the only thing kids love about this Florida city. With a two-story, 18,716 square-foot restaurant in the heart of the city, Orlando’s McDonald’s brings a whole new meaning to the big yellow arches. Big Macs and McNuggets are not the only items on tap. The eatery also serves a special menu with everything from customized omelets to brick-oven pizzas. While you’re waiting, get your energy out in the super-sized indoor playground and arcade, or snap a picture with the 30-foot Ronald McDonald out front.
Ready to see Orlando for yourself? Get special rates on airfare, car rentals and accommodations now and start making memories.