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The city of Orlando is the county seat of Orange County, Florida. A 2005 U.S. Census Estimates population count put the city population at 213,233 (metropolitan area over 1.8 million). It is the sixth-largest city in Florida, and its largest inland city. Additionally, Orlando is home to the second largest university in Florida, the University of Central Florida.
The city is well known for the tourist attractions in the area,
particularly the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, which is in the
Reedy Creek Improvement District . Other area attractions include
SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort. Despite being far from the
main tourist attractions, downtown Orlando has recently seen much
redevelopment, with many more projects currently under construction
or planned. One of the oldest attractions in this area is Gatorland.
Orlando sees an estimated 52 million tourists a year and is the
2nd largest city in the country for number of hotel rooms. It is a
leader in medical care and research, especially at Orlando Regional
Medical Center, the only statutory teaching hospital in Central Florida.
To no surprise, a large part of the Orlando area economy is involved
in the tourist industry. Tourism surrounding Orlando is worth
billions of dollars to the area's economy. Over 48 million visitors
came to the Orlando region in 2004. The convention industry is also
critical to the region's economy, due partly to the multitude of
attractions available for all age ranges in the area. The Orange
County Convention Center, expanded in 2004 to over two million square
feet of exhibition space, is now the second-largest convention
complex in terms of space in the United States, trailing only
McCormick Place in Chicago. However, when the total annual number of
convention attendees is considered, Orlando is now second to Las
Vegas, having passed Chicago in 2005.
The area's economy includes other industries besides tourism, such as
manufacturing. Lockheed-Martin has a large manufacturing facility for
missile systems, aeronautical crafts and related high tech research
due to Orlando's proximity to the NASA Kennedy Space Center. Since
the 1970's and 1980's the area is also home to many computer software
and hardware firms, such as IBM. Other notable engineering firms have
offices or labs in the Central Florida area: KDF, General Dynamics,
Harris, Westinghouse, Siemens, Veritas/Seagate, multiple USAF
facilities, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division
(NAWCTSD), Comair Aviation Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University, GE, Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS),
Army Simulation Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), AT&T,
Boeing, CAE Systems Flight & Simulation Training, HP, Institute for
Simulation and Training, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Systems. The
Naval Training Center until a few years ago was one of the two places
where nuclear engineers were trained for the US Navy. Now the land
has been converted into the Baldwin Park development.
Another developing sector is the film, television, and electronic
gaming industries, aided by the presence of Universal Studios, Disney-MGM Studios, Full Sail School, and other entertainment companies and
schools. Numerous office complexes for large corporations have popped
up along the Interstate 4 corridor north of Orlando, especially in
Maitland, Lake Mary and Heathrow.
Nearby Maitland is the home of Tiburon, a division of the video game
company Electronic Arts. Originally Tiburon Entertainment, it was
acquired by EA in 1998 after years of partnership, particularly in
the famous Madden NFL series and NCAA Football series of video games.
Due to this, there were rumors in 2005 that EA may move its corporate
HQ to Orlando.
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