For a time in the early 20th century, Orlando began to become a resort town; hurricanes and the Great Depression reduced the appeal of the area for a time. Happy economic times returned during World War II as airmen at local airbases decided to stay on and put down roots.
The town’s focus on tourism came about when Walt Disney sought an all-weather resort region that would be less impacted by hurricanes than coastal cities. Growth and development of Orlando International Airport lured more tourists to play in Florida over the winter months, and other theme parks began to develop the area as well.
When visiting Orlando, you may wish to get to know more about the city. The Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando is Smithsonian Institution-affiliated and ofers four floors of exhibits. Here you can learn about tourist attractions that didn’t survive into the modern day, discover more about the region’s contribution to aviation, discover more about the Native Americans, Spanish, and African American influences on the region, and even check out a pioneer cabin.