The Centerpiece of Orlando

As noted in the previous article, Orlando has a multitude of cultural activities one could partake all throughout the year.  Added to that, we also have a number of artistic boutiques and independent bookstores.  If one feels like strolling down the street during a calm Saturday afternoon, Lake Eola is a definite must-see.  A relaxing atmosphere surrounds you just off the banks of Lake Eola, as you stroll along the generous walkway around the water.  If you feel like stopping for a cup of coffee, window-shopping small galleries, or enjoying some afternoon ice cream dessert – it can all be found in and around the area of Lake Eola.

Lake Eola has been continuously updated ever since 1888 when Lake Eola was declared a public park.  Originally donated by the Summerlin Family, the agreement was contingent on the city beautifying the land for public use.

In 1922, an Englishman raising swans on Lake Lucerne needed to separate two breeds of swans after a battle over territory.  Because he chose Lake Eola to move them to, it is now home to a variety of swans including the species Black Neck, Whopper, Royal Mute, Trumpeter and Australian Black.\

Enjoying Lake Eola

Renting the swan boats to paddle across the lake makes for a lovely afternoon date.  If you’re into photography, you can take advantage of the abundant wildlife or wait for sundown hour to capture the sky lights across the water.

There are many events held in the Lake Eola area throughout the year.  Concerts, movies and plays are held throughout the year at the Walt Disney Amphitheater.

The first fountain to sit in the lake was built in 1912 for $10,000.  It became a popular focal point for postcards.  By the late 1950’s the now aging fountain was replaced by the “Centennial Fountain” for $350,000.  In 2009, this fountain was struck by lightning but because of its history to the city of Orlando, they spent two million dollars repairing and updating it.  During the day, park visitors can enjoy the tumbling water and spraying jets.  Be sure to come back after dark to enjoy the nightly light show choreographed to music.

Parking at Lake Eola

The Lake Eola area has a handful of parking options.  On the north side of the park is the Lake Eola Parking Garage.  This garage can get quite busy and some would consider the turns and parking spots to be ‘tight’.  If you drive a compact car, this is an easy option. 

On the east side of the lake is the Thornton Park Central Garage.  While it may be conveniently located, it is comparatively expensive and limited in access.

On the south side of the park is MAA Parkside Garage.  It’s most convenient to pay online for your parking here and it’s a five minute walk across to Lake Eola. 

On the southwest side of the park you’ll find the Library Garage.  Mainly used for those who are frequenting the downtown library, it is paid parking so you’re free to use it as needed.  From here it’s near a ten minute walk to Lake Eola, but this garage does feature security so there’s less worry for you in that aspect.

What’s so great about Orlando FL?

The Orlando Metropolitan area extends over four thousand square miles and consists of four counties: Orange County, Seminole County, Lake County and Osceola County. An extensive highway network weaves the four counties together. 

The Atlantic Ocean is approximately an hour away and the Gulf of Mexico is approximately a two-hour drive. Proximity to local, regional, national and global markets has helped Orlando become one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic business environments.

Orlando International Airport (MCO), Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) and Port Canaveral offer global export and import possibilities for businesses involved in international trade, and have bolstered the tourism trade since 1962.

Orlando is host to a variety of culture enriching activities

• Broadway Across America: Orlando 

• Florida Film Festival 

• Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts 

• Orlando Ballet 

• Orlando Fringe Festival 

• Orlando Museum of Art 

• Orlando Science Center 

• Zora Neale Hurston Festival

We also have a number of sports venues:

• Orlando Magic (NBA) 

• Orlando City (MLS) 

• Orlando Pride (NWSL) 

• Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) 

• Orlando Apollos (AAF) 

• UCF Knights (NCAA-1) 

• NFL Pro Bowl (2015-2019) 

• NCAA Bowl Games – AutoNation Cure Bowl, Citrus Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl, Florida Blue Florida Classic 

• Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard (PGA) 

• MLB Spring Training – Atlanta Braves 

• Invictus Games Orlando 2016

If you’re interested in a cruise or some great saltwater fishing, consider the access we have for Seaports:

Port Canaveral | Atlantic Ocean 

• Foreign Trade Zone No. 136 

• 50 miles east of Orlando; depths range from 39 feet to 41 feet 

• Eleven deep-water cargo piers with two gantry cranes 

• World’s only quadramodal foreign trade zone 

• Undergoing a $650 million expansion

Port of Sanford | Intercoastal Waterway 

• 350-foot main pier and bulk unloading pier of 100 feet 

• 250,000 square feet of industrial and distribution space

Port Tampa Bay | Gulf of Mexico 

• Foreign Trade Zone No. 79 

• Florida’s largest cargo tonnage port 

• Largely a bulk commodities port

Port Manatee | Gulf of Mexico 

• Foreign Trade Zone No. 169 

• Closest U.S. deep-water seaport to Panama Canal 

• Port-owned railroad interchanging with CSX 

Making a Living in Orlando, FL

If you’re worried about how you’ll make a living, look at our largest employers:

Walt Disney World Resort 75,000

Universal Orlando Resort 26,000

AdventHealth 21,815 

Orlando Health 20,500 

Publix 19,783 

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority 18,000 

University of Central Florida 13,483 

Resource Employment Solutions 8,400 

Lockheed Martin 8,000 

Darden Restaurants, Inc. 7,178 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 6,032 

Valencia College 5,824

Many more benefits to living in Orlando soon to come.  We hope you found this spurt of information about our favorite place, Orlando, FL useful!

What used to be Orlando…Jernigan?

picture of lake eola with downtown buildings as it is today

Prior to being known as Orlando, it was known as Jernigan.  Named so after the Jernigan brothers, Isaac and Aaron, cattlemen who moved down from Georgia in 1843.  Aaron Jernigan actually became Orange County’s first state representative in 1845,  The town name Jernigan appeared on an 1855 map of Florida, and in 1856 it officially became the County Seat of Orange County.

There are a few stories that surround how Orlando got its current name.  One variant is how a man with a herd of oxen was attacked and killed by Native Americans, and buried under the marker “Here Lies Orlando”.  Then in 1857 at a town meeting having a debate over the town name, James Speer rose and said, “This place is often spoken of as ‘Orlando’s Grave’… let’s drop the ‘grave’ and just make it Orlando.”  And thus it was.

Another variant claims that James Speer simply used the marker as reinforcement for his argument, but his motivation lay in the fact that ‘Orlando’ was the protagonist’s name in the Shakespeare play, As You Like It.  We should also note the heroine’s name as Rosalind.  Could it be that Rosalind Avenue, a prominent downtown Orlando avenue was named so after the Shakespeare play as well?

Yet another accounting of how Orlando got its’ name is based off a soldier named Orlando Reeves.  While there were quite a few who had something to say about the man, there was no historical account ever traced to him and historians agree that likely, he did not exist.

Progress in the 21st Century

In the last hundred years, Orlando has risen up to have a large population and has hit quite a few milestones.

Tourism became the biggest industry for Orlando in 1971 with the opening of Walt Disney World.  After consideration of Tampa and Miami, Orlando was chosen for its inland location, meaning there would likely be less damages during hurricanes.  Since then, Orlando has risen to have the most theme parks and entertainment attractions in the entire world.  Currently Walt Disney is the largest employer in the State of Florida.

Tourism was helped with the establishment of what is today known as McCarren International Airport.  In 1962, McCarrnen’s precursor Orlando Jetport, was built from a portion of the McCoy Air Force Base. By 1970, four major airlines (Delta Air Lines, National Airlines, Eastern Airlines, and Southern Airways) were providing scheduled flights. While McCoy Air Force Base officially closed in 1975, what still exists is part of the airport today. McCarren International Airport also retained the former Air Force Base airport code (MCO).
This excerpt of Orlando history was inspired by a perusing of this article.  More to come soon as we enjoy our life here in Orlando, Florida.