1843 Mosquito County in Central Florida is renamed Orange County.

1856 Orlando becomes the seat of Orange County.

1875 Orlando is incorporated as a municipality.

1880 The South Florida Railroad paves the way for the expansion of Orlando's agricultural markets. Swamp cabbage hits an all-time high on the commodities market.

1884 Fire destroys much of Orlando's fledgling business district.

1894-95 Freezing temperatures destroy the citrus crops, wreaking havoc on the groves and causing many growers to lose everything.


1910-25 A land boom hits Florida. Fortunes are made overnight.

1926 The land boom goes bust. Fortunes are lost overnight.

1929 An invasion of Mediterranean fruit flies devastates Orlando's citrus industry. But, who cares? Here comes the stock market crash.

1939-45 World War II revives Orlando's ailing economy.

1964 Walt Disney begins surreptitiously buying Central Florida farmland, purchasing more than 28,000 acres for nearly $5.5 million.

1965 Disney announces his plan to build the world's most spectacular theme park in Orlando.


1966 Walt Disney dies of lung cancer.

1971 The Magic Kingdom opens its gates for the first time.

1972 A new 1-day attendance mark is set December 27, when 72,328 people visit the Magic Kingdom. It will be broken almost every year thereafter.

1973 SeaWorld opens with a splash in Orlando.

1982 Epcot opens with vast hoopla.

1989 WDW launches Disney-MGM Studios (offering a behind-the-scenes look at Tinseltown), Typhoon Lagoon (a 56-acre water theme park), and Pleasure Island (a nightclub district for adults).


1990 Universal Studios Florida opens, bringing the movies to life for all who enter its gates.

1993 SeaWorld expands, and Universal Studios unleashes the fearsome Jaws.

1998 Disney starts its own cruise line and opens most of Animal Kingdom. Universal opens CityWalk, a vast new entertainment complex. Disney's West Side, Pleasure Island, and Disney Village Marketplace become known as Downtown Disney.

1999 Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando's second theme park, featuring stomach-churning thrill rides, opens. The final section of Animal Kingdom, Asia, opens. The Disney Cruise Line launches Good Ship No. 2, the Wonder.


2000 SeaWorld opens its second park, Discovery Cove, offering a chance to swim with the fishes, er, dolphins. SeaWorld also delivers its first roller coaster, Kraken.

2001 Church Street Station closes its doors for good. The tourist industry takes a blow due to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

2003 The Waterfront entertainment district makes a splashy debut at SeaWorld.

2004 Cypress Gardens reopens as Cypress Gardens Adventure Park, featuring new thrill rides, water shows, concerts, and its famous botanical gardens.


2006 Expedition Everest becomes the first true thrill ride to debut at Animal Kingdom. SeaWorld debuts a new Shamu whale show.

2007 Disney-MGM Studios becomes Disney's Hollywood Studios.

2008 SeaWorld opens Aquatica. Disney shuts down the clubs at Pleasure Island.

2009 SeaWorld opens Manta -- its third real thrill ride. Universal Studios rocks out with a new coaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The American Idol Experience debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

2010 Aquatica opens Omaka Rocka -- a half-pipe-inspired water slide. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is revealed at Islands of Adventure. The Disney Wonder sets sail for Alaska as the Disney Dream makes its maiden voyage.


2011 The Grand Reef opens at Discovery Cove, bringing with this expansion the SeaVenture underwater walking tour. Star Tours reopens at Disney's Hollywood Studios, taking guests on an updated 3-D adventure across the galaxy. Halfway around the world, Aulani, Disney's newest Vacation Club Resort & Spa, opens in Hawaii. The Disney Cruise Line adds three new ports (New York, Seattle, and Galveston), 2-night cruises, and a slew of new itineraries. Disney breaks ground on the Shanghai Disney Resort.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.