Dust off your mouse ears, because the 32nd International Symposium on Human Identification will be held at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando Florida from September 13 – 16, 2021. Many of you have been to Orlando before, but in honor of ISHI 32, here are 32 fun facts about the city that you may not know.
Written by: Tara Luther, Promega
Orlando was originally known as Jernigan, after the first permanent settler in the area. No one knows for sure how the city came to be named Orlando, but some believe it was named for a character in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”.
Disney was not the first themepark to be opened in Orlando. That honor goes to Gatorland, which opened in 1949. The main attraction was a 15-foot gator, which was said to be the largest in the world at the time.
One of Orlando’s best kept secrets is a boat tour of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. An 18-seater pontoon offers an hours-long guided cruise through three of the seven lakes and two canals in the Winter Park chain.
The Orlando Magic basketball team was almost known as the Orlando Juice. A contest was held in 1987 to pick the name of the team, with the finalists being “Heat”, “Tropics”, “Juice”, and “Magic.”
Orlando is home to 100+ lakes, though Lake Eola in downtown Orlando is actually a giant sinkhole and is 80 feet deep.
The number of people who visit Orlando each day is equivalent to the population of Atlanta, GA.
You can find 30 different species found on the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Threatened and Endangered Wildlife List in Orlando. Visit the Orlando Wetlands Park, located in Christmas, Florida to view some of them.
Orlando is home to over 100 recreational parks. From lakeside spots to athletic fields, there is a lot to explore!
The official nickname of the city of Orlando is “The City Beautiful”, though it is also known as “O-Town”.
When looking for funding to demolish it’s old city hall, Orlando turned to Hollywood for help. Producer Joel Silver blew up the building in the opening scene of Lethal Weapon 3.
Universal Studios opened in 1990 with Nickelodeon, Back to the Future, E.T., Ghostbusters, and The Bates Hotel as main attractions.
Orlando was once the main hub of the Florida citrus industry, but a deep freeze in the late 1800’s caused the farms to move further south.
Prior to tourism, the main industries in Central Florida were cattle, cotton, and citrus. In fact, you can still experience cattle country in Kissimmee, where you can attend the annual rodeo at a working cattle ranch.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2014, was named among the “50 Coolest Places in the World in 2015” by Travel + Leisure.
After Disneyland opened in California in 1955, Walt Disney began purchasing thousands of acres of swampland in Kissimmee, Florida. Walt Disney World opened in 1971, 15 years after Walt Disney passed away.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, located at Universal Studios, reportedly cost more than half a billion dollars to create.
Rogers wrote “Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” as his senior thesis at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
SHARKNADO 3”, “Sisters”, “Apollo 13”, “Days of Thunder”, “Transformers”, “Armageddon”, “My Girl”, “Oceans 11”, “The Waterboy”, and more had scenes filmed in Orlando.
Orlando is the lightening Capital of America.
SeaWorld Orlando opened in 1973 as a marine park with animal shows.
The oldest tree in Orlando is located at Big Tree Park and is likely between 300-400 years old.
The largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world is located at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Orlando.
Orlando’s known for new restaurants popping up. If you at a meal at every single restaurant, three times per day, for an entire year, you’d need over five years to eat at them all.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando serves butterbeer that took corporate executive chef Steven Jayson three years to perfect the recipe. Before it went public, J.K. Rowling herself was invited to taste the finished product.
Pilots at Orlando International Airport love their Disney. There are five approach procedures they all follow, called CWRLD ONE, COSTR ONE, PIGLT ONE, MINEE TWO and GOOFY FIVE.
Orlando is located in Orange County, but before Florida became a state, it was once known as Mosquito County.
Orlando ranks number two for the highest number of hotel rooms in one city. Number one is Las Vegas.
The Walt Disney World Resort is so big that the city of San Francisco could fit inside it.
Orlando’s first highway was actually paved in brick. It was called “Colonial Drive.”
Spaceship Earth—the golf ball-shaped centerpiece of Disney’s Epcot Center—measures 165 feet in diameter and weighs16 million pounds.
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. More than 6000 cell phones are turned in every year as well.
There’s so much to do in Orlando that it’s been estimated that the average traveler would have to spend a full 67 days in the city to experience it all.
So make sure you save the date for September 14 – 17, 2021 for ISHI 32, and bring your walking shoes, because there is much to explore in Orlando!
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